City Review: Harrisburg, PA

Myself and Bride love to travel and experience the cities that we visit and I believe that one of the best ways to experience, and get to know a city is to run around it.  Knowing this I am going to start regularly writing about not just the cities that we are travelling to now, but I will write about the cities that I have traveled to in the past.

Overall Opinion:

Harrisburg is situated on the Susquehanna river and has the benefit of having many waterfront parks that provide the perfect environment for a great running trail.  Harrisburg’s waterfront is home to many old homes, stores, and buildings that have maintained their charm.  Harrisburg, being the capital of Pennsylvania, has the capital building and the surrounding area to run through.

Route:

When researching my route my realized that many of the regular online resources are not very active for Harrisburg routes.

Samsung Galaxy 5 Upload 07-07-2014 3223 Normally a simple Google search will provide ample routes in many cities I have visited in the past.  As I looked the most commonly states area was city island.  This small island is home to the Harrisburg Senators Minor League baseball stadium as well as attractions and the city marina. This island became the starting point for my run.

Samsung Galaxy 5 Upload 07-07-2014 3215 I parked near the capital building and planned on finishing my run with a nice run around the capital complex.  I started by running down Walnut Street to the pedestrian bridge to city island.  When I first made it to the island I quickly was impressed with the atmosphere.  Even though it was early and there were not many people on the island I could tell that before during and after baseball games this would be a great place to hang out and enjoy America’s pastime. The island included places to eat, a paddle boat, a miniature golf course and a small train that goes around the stadium.  Running around it allowed me to see everything and I really think this island would be a great place to go back to.

After running two laps around the island (around 3.75 miles) I ran back across the pedestrian bridge and started running on the path along the river that is part of the Capital Area Green Belt.  The Green Belt is a 19 mile trail  through and around the city.  My time was running tight so I just ran one mile west on the trail and one mile back to Walnut Street.  The parks that this trail connects are clean and are sprinkled with memorials and gardens.

PA CapitalAfter making it back to Walnut street I ran up to the Capital and was very impressed  with the grounds surrounding the capital as well as the building itself.  This capital is one of the few that I have been too that is not built on a hill yet they built it in such a way to still provide strong and dignified feel to the building.  That being said, I can imagine that this area is not an ideal place to run during the week when there are many employees and visitors on the grounds.

 

Highlights:

  • City Island was not only a great place to run in the morning, but I could tell that it would be a highlight for any night when the Senators are in town.
  • The pedestrian bridge to City Island provides a safe and scenic way to get to and from the island
  • The Capital Area Green Belt provides a clean and easy running trail that any runner can follow.
  • The capital is one of the most impressive that I have seen and provides a great area to run

Lowlights:Samsung Galaxy 5 Upload 07-07-2014 3228

  • I have ran in many neighborhoods in many cities but I felt that in the area between the capital and the waterfront was not the safest for any runner.  I felt that the stop lights were not very pedestrian friendly and could use some improvement
  • Although the Capital Area Green Belt is a nice path, that was really the only option for any run over a few miles if you did not want to just do laps around City Island.
  • One of the highlights of running in DC is the ample amounts of water fountains in and around the mall and on many of the public routes that I have frequented  but in Harrisburg I passed only one water fountain and it was not turned on.

Score (1-5): 2 Despite Harrisburg’s waterfront charm its attractiveness does not go far from the water and despite much of my route was empty of traffic so I was not distracted or affected by it but on work days the normal traffic would greatly effect the attractiveness of my route.

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One thought on “City Review: Harrisburg, PA

  1. For those of you desparately wondering what I was up to… I got up with Runner to grab a bite of our hotel’s free breakfast (well done, Quality Inn of Harrisburg) and promptly returned back to bed.

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