Visit a majestic palace in the heart of Harrisburg and wander Pennsylvania’s halls of power in a building created as a tribute to art, freedom and democracy.
Such is the grandiose elegance of the Pennsylvania State Capitol that the palatial structure is impossible to miss when exploring Harrisburg. Don’t just observe it from the outside, however; step into its storied chambers to see even more of its beautiful design. Tours of the building offer a glimpse into Pennsylvania’s seat of government and allow visitors to appreciate the artistry of the rooms.
President Teddy Roosevelt himself presided over the opening of the Capitol in 1906. The extravagant building was constructed in the American Renaissance style, also seen in Washington D.C., and was intended as “palace of art.” Different projects added extra elements to the building over the following century, yet it maintains the elegant turn-of-the-century style that makes the National Historic Landmark so distinctive.
Amble around the square outside and admire every detail of the impressive exterior. Get out your camera for shots of the fountain by the East Wing, with the eye-catching building in the background. The 272-feet (83-meter) high dome in the Capitol's center is flanked on either side by symmetrical wings dotted with circular windows.
Delve into the heart of the building on a guided tour. For half an hour, you can explore the interior of one of Pennsylvania’s most impressive public buildings. Gaze upward at the domed ceiling of the Rotunda, where a circle of red and golden beams emanate from the center. Different styles are employed throughout the building, which draws on influences such as Roman and Victorian architecture.
Wander the halls of the Governor’s Reception Room, surrounded by hardwood panels, and the painting-lined Senate Chamber, which is lit by art nouveau chandeliers. The route takes you behind the scenes of Pennsylvania’s legislature, into the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court Chamber. Tours happen twice an hour throughout the week and four times a day on the weekend.
Find the Pennsylvania State Capitol in central Harrisburg, next to the State Museum and the Susquehanna River. On-street parking is available in the blocks surrounding the building.