Have you been working on the railroad all day? Well, the great ancestors of Altoona certainly did, and in doing so they helped to make this central Pennsylvanian city into the economic and historic hub that it is today. Learn more about what it means to be a strong American city at one of Altoona’s many museums, take in brunch at an old-style café, or plan an exciting trip to the famous Horseshoe Curve National Park.
Things to see
Grab a barbeque sandwich and slip on your giant foam finger because baseball season in Altoona is no joke. The Blair Country Ballpark is the official home of professional baseball in Altoona and an important landmark in the city. A visit to park will see you cheering the Altoona Curve, the city’s official team.
If you’ve ever wondered how the other half lives, wonder no more. Peek into the colonial upper crust Baker Mansion. This Greek Revival-inspired building was home to local Elias Baker and was built during the 1800s. The mansion is comprised of three stories and has a gargantuan stone façade.
Don’t get us wrong, Altoona is great, but there’s no harm in a daytrip to the nearby city of Ebensburg. Located only 30 minutes’ drive from Altoona city center, Ebensburg is just as quaint a town but is far more rooted in its history. Here, visitors can visit one of the many historic Civil War sites and a few stellar museums.
The home of markets in the county, Huntingdon, is less than an hour’s drive from Altoona. Sample the best home-made cheese a local farmers’ market, win a furry stuffed animal at a fun fair, or devour the local fare at any one of the traditional street markets held in different locations throughout the week.
Hotels in Altoona
Altoona is not a big city, an aspect which is mirrored in the nature of the accommodations offered here. Travelers should expect myriad family-run inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and quaint guesthouses typified by crackling fireplaces and floral-print furniture.
For the more refined palate, there are also plenty of upscale hotels and resorts. These venues tend to be located in the downtown area of the city. Also to be found here are mid-range motels which often provide reasonable value for money.
Where to stay
The widest range of accommodations and the best value for money can be found in the downtown area of Altoona. Downtown is the cultural and historical cornerstone of the city, and is always buzzing with activity.
The city center is different from the historic downtown, with the business district featuring upscale accommodation which is suited to corporate guests.
Families who would prefer to stay outside of town will find some real gems in Huntingdon. Here, accommodation is of the quaintest variety, with many colonial style bed-and-breakfasts. The weekly markets are worth a daytrip, if not an overnight stay.
How to get to Altoona
Altoona’s Blair County Airport is the main gateway into the city. Although the airport is equipped to handle international flights, it mainly receives domestic traffic. International travelers will most likely land at Pittsburgh Airport, which is the closest international gateway to the city.
Visitors coming from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh can hitch a ride with the Amtrak train service which makes a convenient stop in Altoona.
Those more accustomed to independent travel can always take to the great open road. The 1-70 connects with Washington, while the 1-76 links with Philadelphia.