Ligonier is a quaint town nestled in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania. Although it’s a small town, it’s packed full of history, outdoors and family fun. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway from Pittsburgh or elsewhere, there are so many fun and unique things to do in Ligonier, PA all year round.
Note: In Pennsylvania, masks are required indoors and anywhere outdoors where social distancing cannot be achieved. Be sure to check individual websites for up to date information on attractions.
Disclaimer: Our visit to Ligonier was sponsored by Laurel Highlands Visitor’s Bureau. As always, all opinions are our own. Toddling Traveler also participates in Amazon Affiliates and other affiliate programs. That means we could earn a commission for qualifying purchases at no extra charge to you.
Table of Contents: Things to Do in Ligonier, PA
You can’t drive into the town of Ligonier without spotting Fort Ligonier on the hill. Ligonier was a strategic fort of the Seven Years’ War, which is also referred to as the French & Indian War. Fort Ligonier is made up of the museum inside and the fort and artillery outside.
Fort Ligonier Museum
Whether you’re a war history buff or not, the museum includes intricate details that will captivate visitors of all ages. The story boards and artifacts each tell the history of the local and global landscape during “The Seven Years’ War.”
Some of the highlights of the Fort Ligonier museum include:
- A portion of General Saint Clair’s home, which has been restored and moved to the inside of the museum.
- The forts that made up Forbes Road and eventually paved the way for towns and cities from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.
- Real weapons and artillery from the fort and Seven Years’ War, including guns, ammunition and a restored cannon.
- A replica tent for children to play in, plus clothing and accessories for them to try on.
- Clothing and uniforms from the time period.
- Interactive displays that help reenact various battles.
- History and timeline of the process to restore/ rebuild the fort.
- An art gallery with original works of art from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Note: Some of the interactive displays within the museum are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Outside of the museum itself is the fortification. The fort is well restored, and walking through it makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Throughout the grounds, you’ll find recreated cannons and other artillery used to protect the fort. You can also peek into several buildings, including General Forbes’ “hut,” a hospital area and more.
Note: Visitors currently are not allowed inside the buildings, but they can look inside them.
Throughout the year, there are several events that typically take place at Fort Ligonier. They include Friendly Fire Fridays, reenactments and Fort Ligonier Days. (One of the most popular Laurel Highlands events.)
Be sure to check out the Fort Ligonier website for up to date hours and information on visiting.
- Address: 200 South Market Street, Ligonier, PA 15658
- Website: https://www.fortligonier.org/
Idlewild & Soak Zone
Idlewild is one of the most popular things to do in Ligonier with kids. It’s one of the oldest theme parks in the world and has a great mix of old and new attractions. If you’re visiting Idlewild with toddlers, Storybook Forest at Idlewild is one of the highlights. It tells dozens of nursery rhymes as you weave through the interactive forest filled with characters, live animals and more.
Idlewild also boasts several kiddie rides as well as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. If you’re visiting with older kids, there are several fast-paced rides as well as a giant ferris wheel.
During the summer, SoakZone at Idlewild is also open and included with admission. The waterpark includes several water slides for all ages and a huge wave pool.
Be sure to check Idlewild’s website for details on the 2021 Idlewild park opening.
- Address: 2574 U.S. 30, Ligonier, PA
- Website: https://www.idlewild.com
Compass Inn Museum
The Compass Inn Museum is an old stagecoach inn from 1799. It was restored by the Ligonier Valley Historical Society and reopened as a museum in 1972. The museum tells the story of both the time period and the inn’s position as a key stop along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The main building includes several artifacts from the 1800s and 1900s, and it aims to reflect life during those times.
In addition to the inn itself, the Compass Inn property includes:
- A blacksmith barn, where a trained blacksmith makes tools from the time period.
- A barn with a restored stagecoach, Conestoga wagon and horse stables.
- A cookhouse that reflects how food was made for the Inn’s visitors in its prime.
- A carpenters’ house with authentic tools, saws, a workbench and more.
Admission to the Compass Inn Museum includes either a self-guided audio tour. Throughout the year, they also hold specific events and guided tours conducted by docents dressed in attire from the time. Events include haunted storytelling around Halloween and candlelight tours around Christmas.
- Address: 1386 Route 30 East, Laughlintown, PA
- Website: https://www.compassinn.org/
Ligonier Valley Rail Museum
The Ligonier Valley Rail Museum is another one of the interesting things to do in Ligonier, PA. This museum in Ligonier captures an important part of the town’s history: the railroad. It’s located in Ligonier’s original rail station from the late 1800s. The museum includes several different artifacts from various trains. It’s also a wealth of information about the town and the impact that the railroads had on Pennsylvania and beyond. In addition to the main room of the museum, there’s an area with a model train and several railroad videos.
In addition to the main museum, there’s a restored red Bobber Caboose. This caboose from the early 1900s is included with admission, and you can walk through it at your leisure.
The docents at the museum are extremely knowledgeable and great at tailoring your museum experience to your interests. While you’re there, be sure to check out the gift shop at the Ligonier Valley Railroad Museum as well. It includes several unique train themed gifts for both kids and adults.
- Address: 3032 Idlewild Hill Ln, Ligonier, PA (right next to Idlewild)
- Website: http://www.lvrra.org
Lincoln Highway Experience
Did you know that Route 30 in Ligonier is one of the first highways that ran across the US? Known as the Lincoln Highway, this infrastructure is another integral part of Ligonier’s history. The Lincoln Highway Experience museum is located in Latrobe, just minutes from the town of Ligonier. It’s an interactive museum that includes several artifacts, images and displays from the early 1900s. If you’re looking for fun things to do around Ligonier, PA it’s a great stop on the way to town.
In addition to the main carriage house, there’s a newer section of the museum. It includes several artifacts from along the original Lincoln Highway route, including a cottage, antique car, fuel pumps and even an operating antique diner. (Pie and coffee at the diner are also included with admission!)
If you’re visiting the Lincoln Highway experience with kids, there’s a fun area for them as well. It includes several hands on activities, toy cars to ride in and fun facts for kids.
Note: Some interactive features of the museum are currently closed. Be sure to check the website below before visiting.
- Website: http://www.lhhc.org
- Address: 3435 State Route 30 East, Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Playgrounds & State Parks Near Ligonier, PA
In addition to the number of museums, shops and restaurants, there are a number of green spaces in Ligonier. Below are a few recommendations if you’re looking to spend time outdoors in Ligonier, PA.
- Friendship Park– A huge playground for all ages, located at 203 Bouquet Street in Ligonier, PA
- Linn Run State Park– This Pennsylvania State Park in Ligonier offers a variety of trails, Adam Falls waterfall and picnic areas.
- Laurel Mountain State Park– Home to Laurel Mountain Ski Resort, one of several Laurel Highlands ski resorts in the area.
- Laurel Hill State Park– This PA State Park in Somerset is about 30 minutes from Ligonier. It includes several trails for all levels, a lake and kayak rentals.
Ligonier Country Market
If you’re visiting Ligonier during the summer, the Ligonier Country Market should also be on your list of places to stop. This farmer’s market in Ligonier has a wide variety of vendors, from produce and specialty foods to unique gifts and more.
Visiting the Ligonier farmer’s market with kids? There’s also a fun area with crafts and a garden space to keep them entertained.
- Location: 110 Andi Lane, Ligonier, PA
- Ligonier Country Market Website: http://ligoniercountrymarket.com
Dining & Shopping in Ligonier’s Diamond
While visiting Ligonier, you can’t miss the Ligonier Diamond. It’s the center of this amazing small town in Pennsylvania. The focal point is the gazebo, which many compare to “Stars Hollow” from the Gilmore Girls television series. (And I completely agree!) The town is filled with locally owned and operated restaurants and shops, which adds to the charming small town vibe. From small diners and farm-to-table restaurants to trendy boutiques and unique gift shops, there’s something for everyone.
Some of our favorite shops in Ligonier include:
- Black Bunny Boutique for trendy women’s clothing.
- Post & Rail Men’s Shop for men’s clothing and accessories.
- Second Chapter Books for new and gently used books and gifts.
- Celtic Culture for unique gifts from England, Ireland, Scotland and more.
Some of the best restaurants in Ligonier, PA include:
- The Kitchen on Main for a flavorful breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Carol and Dave’s Roadhouse for traditional American food and nightly specials.
- Miriam’s Table for a farm to table restaurant with a daily changing menu.
- Abigail’s Coffeehouse for fresh baked goods and breakfast, lunch and the best coffee in Ligonier.
- Ligonier Creamery for yummy baked goods and hand dipped ice cream in Ligonier.
- The Road Toad for a casual family friendly restaurant with great outdoor seating. (Located just outside of town off Route 30.)
- The Original Pie Shoppe for grab and go breakfast, lunch and baked goods. (This is great for a quick breakfast in Ligonier and is located just down the road in Laughlingtown.)
Places to Stay in Ligonier, PA
Ligonier is full of great cabins, cottages and AirBnBs to help you get a local feel of the town. We recommend these two properties if you’re looking for cottages or cabins in Ligonier, PA:
- The Cottages at Millbank offer country decor on a beautiful farm setting just minutes from town.
- The 1 bedroom Springhouse has a master bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom.
- The bunkhouse is a 1 room cottage with a bathroom, bedroom and kitchenette.
- You can find the Millbank Cottages website here or call (724) 689-3397 to book.
- Sunset Cottages are located right off of Route 30 between Ligonier and Laughlinton, PA.
For more house rentals and hotels in Ligonier, PA, on Booking.com, search here.
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