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Want to experience one of the most charming small towns in America? Come discover the top things to do in Ligonier PA!
Growing up in the Laurel Highlands, we’ve come to discover and love so many small towns. Ligonier Pennsylvania has been recognized by Country Living Magazine as one of “The Most Charming Small Towns in America” and by The Washington Post as a “Small-Town Charmer.” This small town in the heart of the Laurel Highlands attracts locals and visitors from Pittsburgh has a city escape because it has so much to offer. Ligonier has so many fun things to do for couples, families, and young adults. Keep reading to learn about all of the lovely things to do in Ligonier Pennsylvania!
Top Things to do in Ligonier Pennsylvania
A Local’s Travel Guide to Ligonier
Fort Ligonier is a reconstructed fort from the French and Indian War. Fort Ligonier was an important fort that supported British troops as they planned their successful capture of France’s Fort Duquesne from the French, which is located in modern-day Pittsburgh.
At Fort Ligonier, you can explore the site, see reenactors, and learn at the museum detailing the history of the French and Indian War! We consider Fort Ligonier to be the top thing to do in Ligonier!
During the fall, the Fort hosts Fort Ligonier Days, which is a weekend-long festival featuring reenactors, vendors, activities, and community events!
- Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily
- Admission: Up to $12
Southern Alleghenies Museum of Aart
Founded in 1976, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art At Ligonier is a community art museum that features thousands of works from local artists to world-renowned artists!
- Hours: 12 pm to 4:30 pm Wednesday to Sunday
- Admission: Free
Ligonier Diamond and Shops
The Ligonier Diamond, or the downtown area of Ligonier, gives the town its small-town charm! At the Diamond, you can walk around, visit local businesses, and eat at local restaurants. Ligonier is unique because there are no chain restaurants or shops within the town limited! The Ligonier Diamond is the best place for shopping in Ligonier!
Throughout the year, there are events held at the Diamond such as the Ice Festival, the Pumpkin Spice Festival, and Fort Ligonier Days. Check these links from the Chamber of Commerce throughout the year for updated information on these events!
Since the Diamond is the cultural and community hub of Ligonier, this spot is always beautifully decorated throughout the seasons! At Christmastime, there is a holiday light display. In the fall, its beautiful with the fall foliage. And during the summer, its curated with blooms and color!
Ligonier Country Market
Every month, the Diamond comes alive with local vendors at the Ligonier Country Market! Here you can shop local and support small businesses!
Powdermill Nature Reserve
Powdermill Nature Reserve is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s field biology station in Rector, PA. At the nature center, scientists and curious minds come to explore and study local wildlife. The nature center features exhibits on local animals, a living stream, and a machine that naturally cleans all of the water throughout the building. Throughout the year, Powdermill offers lectures series, children’s storytime, and summer camps. Powdermill has multiple trails of ranging difficulty from ADA accessible to more advanced.
- Hours: 9 am to 4:30 Wednesday to Saturday, 12 pm to 4:30 pm Sundays
- Admission: Free
Idlewild and Soakzone
Idlewild and Soakzone, named “Best Children’s Park” by Amusement Today, and “Best Park for Families” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association, is a great way to spend the day in Ligonier with your family. Many of the rides and attractions at Idlewild are historic and on the National Register of Historic Places! Storybook Forest is a magical place at Idlewild where fairy tales and legends come alive making it a great place for children and parents alike.
If you’re visiting Ligonier with your family, going to Idlewild and Soakzone is a must for family fun!
Ligonier Beach- Now Permanently Closed
The Ligonier Beach was constructed in 1925 and served as a local swimming pool for locals and travelers from Johnstown and Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, as of 2018, Ligonier Beach was unable to reopen for the summer and is up for sale. Hopefully, this historic pool can be reopened in the future!
Ligonier Valley Railroad Museum
The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum is housed in the original Ligonier Valley Rail Road station from 1896! The Museum features 3,000 historic artifacts from the railroad industry in Ligonier and the Laurel Highlands. This small museum is great if you’re looking to learn some local industrial history!
- Hours: Saturday 11 am to 3 pm
- Admission: $5
Linn Run State Park
Ever since we were little, we’ve gone on hikes at Linn Run State Park. Located a short 15-minute drive from downtown Ligonier, Linn Run is a perfect place to go hiking, have a picnic, or go mountain biking. Read more about some of our favorite hikes in the Laurel Highlands here!
Annual Events in Ligonier:
Ligonier Ice Festival: Every year the Ligonier Ice Festival dazzles visitors with life ice carving demonstrations.
Fort Ligonier Days: For Ligonier Days is one of the top events in the Laurel Highlands. This weekend event features reenactors at Fort Ligonier, museum tours, local arts and crafts, and food.
Pumpkin Spice Ligonier: Pumpkin Spice Ligonier is an event featuring discounts and special events at locals businesses around the Ligonier Diamond
Compass Inn Museum
Not far from Ligonier is Laughlintown, a small town with historic charm. Laughlintown is historically known for being the site of a Stagecoach Stop for people traveling along what is known as present-day Route 30.
The Compass Inn is a restored 1799 stagecoach stop in Laughlintown, PA. Today, you can tour the restored Inn and three reconstructed outbuildings: a cookhouse, blacksmith shop, and barn, all completely furnished with period pieces. The Compass Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places!
Where to Eat in Ligonier
Pie Shoppe: If you visit Laughlintown, stop at the Pie Shoppe for some baked goods. Everything from the Pie Shoppe is wonderful!
The Kitchen on Main: The Kitchen on Main is one of the best restaurants in Ligonier. If you plan to go, definitely make a reservation because their tables fill quickly! The Kitchen is BYOB so grab a bottle of wine before you go. Interestingly, the chefs at the Kitchen rotate their menu throughout the year which gives you a different dining experience each time you go! And on the weekends, brunch is wonderful!
Carol and Dave’s Roadhouse: Carol and Dave’s Roadhouse is another great option for dinner and lunch alike. The menu is very diverse from seafood to pasta to sandwiches.
Ligonier Tavern: The Ligonier Tavern is a lovely place to have a quiet dinner. The Victorian home the restaurant is located in has an interesting history. Ligonier’s first mayor originally built this fine Victorian Home for his family and in 1927 the home was converted into a hotel under new ownership. In 1976, another family purchased the building and made the Tavern into what it is today!
Ruthie’s Diner: This little diner looks like nothing from the side of the highway, but it is delicious! On weekends, Ruthie’s gets packed for brunch.
Darlington Inn: This restaurant is housed in a historic Stagecoach Inn and serves authentic Hungarian and Transylvanian cuisine!
Abigails Coffeehouse: Local coffeehouse with pastries and small eats
Ligonier Creamery: local ice cream shop with hard serve and soft serve ice cream
How to Get to Ligonier Pennsylvania
Ligonier is located in the heart of the Laurel Highlands! This southwestern region of Pennsylvania is accessible via PA State Route 30 or Route 22. Getting to Ligonier is quite easy from Route 30. It’s also a short 25-minute drive from the Donegal Pennsylvania Turnpike exit. If you’re not driving to Ligonier, the Latrobe Airport with Spirit Airline services is located 25 minutes away.
Where to Stay in Ligonier Pennsylvania
Colonial House on Main: a local Bed and Breakfast on Main Street in Ligonier
Campbell House: another local Bed and Breakfast on Main Street in Ligonier
Sunset Cottages: Small cabins that offer weekend and weeklong stays
Who is ready to explore Ligonier?!
Which of these things to do in Ligonier are on your list? Let us know in the comments!
More Things to Do in the Laurel Highlands
Visit Latrobe: Latrobe, another charming small town in the Laurel Highlands was the birthplace of Fred Rogers, Arnold Palmer, and the banana split!
Have fun during the fall with fall festivities in Westmoreland County