I've lived in Harrisburg for several years now. I came here from a much larger city so it took a little adjusting at first, but I eventually I fell in love with this place.
Harrisburg is a lovely smaller city, with a downtown area that covers a few blocs and has a city feel to it, yet just a few minutes drive from downtown are some very nice, quiet, and upscale neighborhoods of single family homes with plenty of yard space for those who like a suburban feel, yet can be minutes from the city. Overall, the city and its surroundings are very drivable, there is practically no traffic, and most to all of the neighborhoods are very affordable and safe. There are plenty of good schools.
There are enough parks and recreation areas. There are some large playgrounds for kids. The city is very green and has plenty of nature trails and outdoor activities. There also seems to be one of everything in entertainment: small area of bars and nightlife, several museums, a symphony orchestra, plenty of gyms and shopping, etc.
Perhaps Harrisburg is a not a place for those seeking a booming metropolitan area with tons to do and vibrant night life, the price for which is usually cramped living, higher costs and higher crime rates. But for those seeking a nice, not too remote, place to raise a family, Harrisburg is a great fit.
One area Harrisburg could do better with is food. This city is by no means a food mecca, neither for restaurants, nor for grocery stores. It would be nice to have more food variety, more multicultural food options, and just better places to go out to eat or shop. Another lagging area in Harrisburg is public transportation, anywhere outside few blocs of inner city one can't get around without owning a vehicle.
I love Harrisburg! No, really, I love Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While choosing a weekend getaway Harrisburg came up on my list of cities close by. Considering that I have never been, I decided to give it a go. Upon arriving in Harrisburg I instantly fell in love with this capital city with a small town feel to it.
If you are a history buff such as me, you cannot go wrong with visiting this city. I paid homage to the National Civil War Museum and was in awe of their collection. I did run into a few problems with directions on my way to the museum, took me a while to find it after initially seeing a street sign directing me to the museum. However, it was worth it, touring the museum was an emotional experience.
During my stay in Harrisburg, I stayed at the Union Canal House, which is an Inn combined with a fantastic restaurant that offers a tranquil and romantic dining experience. The Inn is located on S. Hanover Street, and has a colonial feel to it. There is a secret tunnel located under The Union Canal House giving it a charm that is hard to come by in our modern world.