10 Best Things To Do In Gettysburg In The Winter From A Local

Most people think of Gettysburg PA as a summer destination, but if you’re wondering about things to do in Gettysburg in the winter, I have you covered.

As a lifelong resident of this historic town, I know that winter can be a great time to visit Gettysburg — but it also has its drawbacks.

Read on to find out if visiting Gettysburg in the winter lines up with the things you want to see and do.

Visiting Gettysburg In The Winter PROS Visiting Gettysburg In The Winter CONS
Crowds are thinner. Easier to explore.Museums and restaurants may have limited hours
No leaves on trees helps to see & understand the battlefieldWeather can be unpredictable
Hotel rooms are less expensiveSome NPS Roads could close due to snow.
More parking spaces available!

Background On Gettysburg

Gettysburg PA is well known for its pivotal role in American history, particularly the famous Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Since the battle took place on July 1, 2 and 3 of 1863, many people like to plan their visit over the Fourth of July holiday.

If you’re of student of history and want to see a Civil War battle reenactment, then July is a good time to visit. However, visiting Gettysburg during the winter months has its own special charm.

For one thing, snow can transform the Gettysburg Battlefield into a picturesque wonderland that makes a great place to explore for history buffs, nature lovers, and families alike.

The winter season in Gettysburg has other advantages as well, such as fewer tourists, a more relaxed pace, and cheaper hotel rooms.

Read on to find out the many different things to do in Gettysburg during the winter.

A flat landscape with a light covering of snow against a blue sky showing the Gettysburg battlefield in winter. There is a tree and a stone wall in the foreground.

My Top 3 Picks For Gettysburg in The Winter

#1 TOP PICK

A picture of the 5-story Gettysburg hotel against an evening sky.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
GETTYSBURG HOTEL
✔️ Walk To Everything
✔️ Restaurant On-Site
✔️ Cozy Rooms

#2 PICK

A small red cabin with a white porch and framed by tree branch.

HICKORY BRIDGE B&B
✔️ Country Setting
✔️ Gas Fireplaces
✔️ Quiet & Peaceful

#3 PICK

Chairs sitting on a porch overlooking an expansive view of fields and mountains.

THE LODGES
✔️ Stunning Views
✔️ Rustic Elegance
✔️ Electric Fireplace

10 Things To Do In Gettysburg In The Winter

1. Historical Tours and Museums

Visiting Gettysburg in the winter should not stop you from taking a historical tour or visiting a museum. Although hours may be more limited than during the summer months, most are open all year.

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With the variety of museums that Gettysburg offers, visitors should be able to find one that aligns with their interest.

From realistic tours that explore what Gettysburg residents endured (like the Jennie Wade House Museum and the Beyond the Battle Museum), to a new museum that tells about the American Experience during World War II, museums are a great way to spend an afternoon in Gettysburg in the winter months.

A WWII tank is parked in front of the American Experience WWII Museum in Gettysburg, with men standing in front, and reenactors standing on top.
The American Experience World War II museum should be on everyone’s bucket list who visits Gettysburg in the winter.

And don’t forget about the Gettysburg ghost tours! They run all year long.

Pro Tip: For a unique museum that will appeal to all ages (especially cat lovers), check out Civil War Tails.

2. Winter Outdoor Activities

Did you know there is a ski resort with a snow tube run less than 15 miles from Gettysburg?

Liberty Mountain Ski Resort is located in nearby Fairfield, PA, which is a charming small town with its own Civil War history. Even if you have no skiing experience, Liberty Mountain offers both ski and snowboarding lessons and they have a tubing hill for those who just want a quick thrill.

A snow-covered hill under a blue sky at Liberty Mountain Resort's snow tubing area.
Winter Fun! Snowtubing lanes at Liberty Mountain near Gettysburg.

For a little history, as you travel through Fairfield, you will be passing along Robert E. Lee’s retreat route. It is also close to a little-known Civil War battlefield called Monterey Pass.

You can find beautiful walking trails at Monterey Pass that offer stunning views in the winter.

Book A Room at Liberty Mountain Ski Resort

3. Historic Taverns and Restaurants

Dining in Gettysburg during winter presents its own charm, with cozy restaurants and local eateries offering warm, hearty meals that reflect the town’s culinary heritage.

What could be better than eating a dinner in a historic restaurant with flickering candlelight and fireplace? You can do that in Gettysburg in the winter at the Dobbin House Tavern.

The two-story stone Dobbin House in Gettysburg as seen between two bushes, under a cloudy sky.
The Dobbin House Tavern is a cozy place to enjoy lunch or dinner in Gettysburg in the winter.

Another cozy pub with a fireplace is the Reliance Mine Saloon. (But don’t tell anyone. It’s one of Gettysburg’s best kept secrets).

Whether you’re looking for quick sandwich, pizza, wings, or fine dining, you’ll find a great selection of restaurants that are open all year in Gettysburg.

An Ad that says TRAVEL in white against a dark background.

4. Visit Local Wineries and Breweries

Gettysburg is also home to numerous wineries, breweries, and distilleries that showcase the region’s rich agricultural background.

You can even take a Beer, Wine and History Walking Tour, but don’t forget to bundle up!

If you have some free time during your winter trip to Gettysburg, I recommend taking a drive to explore the beautiful farmland and orchards that surround the historic town.

5. Shop For Unique Gifts and Souvenirs

As a local, I love shopping in Gettysburg! There are so many unique shops with items that you can’t find anywhere else.

For instance, you can get a made-to-order hat at Dirty Billy’s Hats.

A sandwich board sign that says Dirty Billy's Hats on a sidewalk in front of a storefront with a window full of hats. There is a street lamp with a Christmas wreath and red bow.

Downtown Gettysburg is also home to women’s clothing stores, gift shops, vintage clothing and shoe stores.

It is a vibrant downtown that is great for walking–as long as you’re dressed for the weather!

Another option for shoppers is the Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, which is located less than 5 miles from town.

Pro Tip: There is no sales tax on clothing in Pennsylvania!

6. Antique Shopping

Hunting for historical treasures is one of my favorite things to do in Gettysburg in the winter.

The Gettysburg Antique Center is located on Baltimore Street and offers a wide assortment of military items from all wars, as well as coins, ladies jewelry and books.

Another great place to spend a winter afternoon in Gettysburg is The Horse Soldier on Steinwehr Avenue. It is part antique store and part museum. You can explore for hours!

Inside you’ll find weapons, books, paintings, original documents and photographs and thousands of other items, all of which are for sale.

7. Winter Festivals and Events

If you’re planning a trip to Gettysburg during the winter months, and think you’ve missed out on all of the special events, you’re wrong.

One of Gettysburg’s most famous events is the Remembrance Day Parade that is held on the Saturday closest to November 19.

If you’re visiting the first weekend in December you can attend Gettysburg’s Christmas Festival, which is a three-day extravaganza that will get you into the holiday spirit.

New Year’s Eve is another fun time to visit Gettysburg. The town usually rings in the New Year by closing down the square and hosting free music and fireworks.

A Christmas tree with red ribbons beneath a blue sky and a lamp post with a wreath and red ribbon. The Gettysburg Hotel is in the background.

8. Winter Hiking Trails

I’m not really a cold-weather lover, but it is fun to explore the battlefield and hiking trails in Gettysburg in the winter.

Perhaps the best thing about winter walking is NO humidity. Gettysburg is famous for its hot and humid summers, so spending time in Gettysburg during the winter can be refreshing.

Another bonus is no flies and mosquitoes. I’d still be aware of ticks if you visit before a good hard freeze.

The photo below is a walk I did across Pickett’s Charge in winter. Although the snow made walking a little difficult, it was a very fun 4-mile hike.

The backs of a group of people as they hike across a snowy field, showing one of the things you can do in Gettysburg in the winter.
A winter hike across the Pickett’s Charge area of the battlefield in winter.

9. Cozy Bed and Breakfasts

If you just want to relax and enjoy the experience of visiting Gettysburg in the winter, you have plenty of choices in booking a historical bed and breakfast or hotel in Gettysburg.

Some campgrounds also offer small cabins and cottages.

As far as prices, there is no better time to book a room or lodging in Gettysburg.

10. Catch a Show

Gettysburg is home to the Majestic Theater, known as “the greatest small town theater” in the country. First opened in 1925, the theater underwent a complete renovation and reopened in 2005.

It now features two cinemas, as well as a live performance stage. Shows range from comedic acts to country shows, ballet and opera to children’s shows, and everything in between.

In December, the theater hosts the popular Charles Dickens Christmas show “A Christmas Carol.”

Helpful Tips For Visiting Gettysburg In The Winter

  • Wear layers of clothes. It’s not unusual for temperatures to be in the teens or 20s early in the morning and warm up into the high 30s and 40s during the day. The colder weather requires appropriate attire, especially for outdoor activities like hiking and touring, to ensure comfort and safety.
  • Watch the weather forecast. The weather can be unpredictable, especially in January and February.
  • Check the hours of museums and restaurants before your visit. Gettysburg does not close down over the winter, but there are reduced hours at some places.
  • If you plan to walk on the battlefield, wear proper footwear, suitable for mud or snow.

Winter Things To Do In Gettysburg Wrap-Up

As you can see, Gettysburg in winter offers a unique experience, very different from the bustling summer months.

The colder winter season transforms the historic town and its surrounding landscapes into a peaceful retreat, ideal for those who appreciate a quieter exploration of history and nature.

The best part about visiting Gettysburg during the winter months is that the crowds are thinner, and you can take your time while exploring, instead of feeling rushed.

However, winter visits to Gettysburg do come with certain considerations. The best time to visit Gettysburg really depends on your own particular tastes,

Overall, a winter trip to Gettysburg is a rewarding journey for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and anyone looking to explore this iconic destination in a tranquil setting.

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