Wednesday, August 20, 2008

GETTING THERE: Harrisburg is about two hours north of the Beltway. Take Interstate 270 north to Frederick and pick up U.S. 15 north. Take PA-581 east (Harrisburg Expressway) toward Harrisburg. Exit onto I-83 north, then take the capitol exit.

WHAT TO DO: The Sunoco Performance Theater at the Whitaker Center (222 Market St.; call 717-214-2787 to buy theater tickets) offers entertainment throughout the year ( Harrisburg Senators' season runs through Sept. 1. General admission $5, reserved seating $8 ( Saturday night outdoor performances at the Levitt Pavilion in Reservoir Park run through Sept. 20 and include jazz, reggae, gospel and blues (Reservoir Park, 100 Concert Dr., 717-255-3020,

DANCE CLUBS: On North Second Street, Eclipse (236 N. Second St., 717-221-0530,; Club Privado (20 N. Second St.) and Dragonfly (234 N. Second St., 866-468-7619,

WHERE TO EAT:"Restaurant Row" on North Second Street offers lots of options. Stock's on 2nd features American cuisine with Asian and Southwestern influences (211 N. Second St., 717-233-6699). For Italian cooking, try Zia's at Red Door (110 N. Second St., 717-920-0330). Tom Sawyer Diner and Entertainment Complex is a real diner moved from Allentown in 2006. Great for wings, burgers, fajitas and wraps (210 N. Second St., 717-232-4499). Ceoltas Irish Pub offers a full menu for lunch and dinner as well as bar food and Irish favorites (310 N. Second St., 717-233-3202).

Beyond Second Street, try Bricco (31 S. Third St., 717-724-0222) for Italian and Mediterranean cuisine; El Sol Mexican Restaurant (18 S. Third St., 717-901-5050); and my favorite, Passage to India, right on the river (525 S. Front St., 717-233-1202).

WHERE TO STAY: Lodging is limited downtown, although that is changing. At present the best choices are the Hilton Harrisburg ($239-$269; 1 N. Second St., 717-233-6000, and the Crowne Plaza ($249; 23 S. Second St., 888-444-0401, A new hotel is under construction at Second and State streets.

INFORMATION: Harrisburg Visitors Center (22 N. Second St., 717-236-9762,

-- J.F.L.

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