Summer vacation is just around the corner, and Downtown York offers plenty of kid-friendly experiences, attractions and events to ensure nobody is stuck on the couch complaining about boredom.
Whether you want to get some exercise on a beautiful rail trail, beat the heat indoors at the downtown arcade or experience Revolutionary history as a family, Downtown York has plenty of kid-friendly activities worth a weekend getaway or daytrip this summer.
Check out this list, then visit for yourself!
One of York County’s favorite factory tour locations, Sunrise Soap Company gives people of all ages the ability to become a maker. The friendly staff will teach you and the kids how to make your own soap, bath fizzies, lip balm and more. Afterward, browse the shop and take home all-natural soap to give as a gift or to use yourself.
Ditch the smartphones and play video games the old-fashioned way: at the arcade. Located in the heart of Downtown York, Timeline Arcade offers dozens of classics like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Mario and more. You don’t even need quarters - just pay by the hour and use your pass to play. With so many favorites from the 80s and 90s to play, even the parents will get a kick out of Timeline Arcade.
School’s out, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to end. A visit to the York County History Center will both entertain and educate, as visitors relive the days of the American Revolution. Tour the Colonial Complex, where you’ll discover the Golden Plough Tavern, the General Horatio Gates House, the Barnett Bobb Log House and the reconstructed Colonial Courthouse, which tells the story of the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in York. You can also explore the Historical Society Museum, Agricultural & Industrial Museum, Fire Museum and the Bonham House.
While the history will hook you, the kids can also get hands-on with the York County History Center’s Muggle History Family Workshops and discover some surprising connections to the wizarding world! From designing coasters worthy of a castle window in our stained glass workshop to creating a historic lip salve in our potions class, families can create magical memories together during five Harry Potter-themed workshops this summer. Enjoy Magical Glass, Harry Potter-Inspired Scherenschnitte, Harry Potter-y, Historic Home Remedies and Explore Hagrid’s Kitchen. Advance registration required.
Watch and learn as the skilled pretzel makers hand twist dough into that familiar knot before sending them into the oven for baking. Then, enjoy the treat as it’s still warm, all while learning about the history of the humble pretzel. Plus, York City Pretzel Company also offers sandwiches (on a pretzel bun, of course), making it an awesome lunch spot.
Nothing says summer like a night at the ballpark, where the whole family can enjoy watching the Atlantic League champion York Revolution defend their title. Chow down on ballpark food and enjoy family-friendly entertainment, fan-favorite giveaways and fireworks on select nights. And when the Revs homer, be ready to celebrate with a cannon blast from Cannonball Charlie! Consider visiting for July4York, the annual Independence Day celebration at the ballpark that culminates with a spectacular fireworks display.
Designed by architect John Dempwolf and built in 1888, Central Market is the social hub of Downtown York. It features more than 60 vendors selling everything from old-fashioned soda to Korean barbecue to candy, so everyone in the family is sure to find something to take home. Central Market is also the go-to spot for lunch every Tuesday and Thursday and a popular gathering spot for a Saturday morning breakfast. During the summer, take your lunch outside to nearby Cherry Lane Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays and enjoy the Box Lunch Revue Concert Series while you eat. But no matter when you visit, you’ll quickly find out why “Market Day” means so much in Downtown York.
One of York’s hidden gems, the York Time Institute trains the next generations of watch and clock makers in the leafy WeCo neighborhood. Tours are available by appointment, and it’s a popular stop during the annual Made in America Tours Event in June. Older children will be fascinated to watch students honing their craft at decades-old workstations and see timepieces dating to the 1600s.
While exploring Downtown York, you and the kids can get a little exercise, too. The York County Heritage Rail Trail runs through the heart of Downtown York, and you can hop on for a leisurely hike or bike ride. Don’t have your own bicycle? No problem. Rent from one of the three downtown Zagster locations, and you’ll be cruising the trail together before you know it!
While Downtown, swing into 1st Capital Kidz Clothing for a little shopping. Tucked on West Philadelphia Street, parents will love the excellent selection of children’s clothing, while the kids will like to browse the toys!
Older kids will want to check out Vault Video Games on Beaver Street. While the store carries the latest gaming offerings, it truly shines with a retro selection that takes gamers back to the glory days of Super Nintendo, Sega and more! Plus, you can always find a selection of toys perfect for gamers.
Bring the kids here to find a healthy treat that’s still packed with flavor. Sarah’s Snacks offers a full line of organic granola in flavors like Peanut Butter & Jelly or Banana Maple. Better yet, you can enjoy all the granola on top of fresh Beck’s ice cream.
For another treat, head to Memory Lane Sweets, where the nostalgia is as sweet as the candy. This boutique shop features treats that will remind anyone of their childhood. From Root Beer Barrels to Pixy Stix to Goetze’s Caramel Creams to Swedish Fish, there’s sure to be a treat for everyone’s taste.
The York Symphony Orchestra will present an all-ages show on Saturday, June 9, with The Magical Music of Harry Potter at the Appel Center for the Performing Arts. Children are encouraged to dress in costume and experience music from the Harry Potter movies, including the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Goblet of Fire and more!
Downtown York comes alive the first Friday of every month, as downtown merchants stay open late to celebrate. Spend your summer evenings together exploring the eclectic boutiques, art galleries and restaurants that make Downtown York the creative core of York County. You can also do some salsa dancing at First Friday Latino, a roving party that moves to a new location every month. First Fridays run 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Music will become a unifying force June 15-16 for the inaugural Gusa World Music Fest in Downtown York’s Foundry Park. With a goal to bring people from all backgrounds together for a weekend of music, the free concert will introduce youth to new music as it builds community and fosters an appreciation of the city’s diversity.
York’s premier fine arts festival, Yorkfest fills downtown streets with beautiful creations from 100 select artists from August 25-26. Plus, the whole family will enjoy free entertainment, hands-on activities, food and an evening jazz concert. It’s the perfect end-of-summer weekend getaway before the kids go back to school.
Skip the beach this Labor Day weekend and bring the kiddos to York’s Penn Park for a food truck extravaganza on September 2. What the Food Trucks fills an entire city park with food trucks, local merchants, live music and more. There is no admission charge, just pay as you eat.
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