The demographics of Kutztown, PA are pretty straightforward: 91.6% are of German descent. There are so many people with Germany ancestry in Pennsylvania, that they have their own term: Pennsylvania Dutch. Kutztown is also home to the Old Order Mennonite community. Between these two groups of people, there is a rich culture around the area, and this can be seen in local museums and restaurants. Among natural wonders, Kutztown is home to a deep industrial history, housing both auto and railroad museums.
© Crystal Cave
Limestone miners discovered Crystal Cave in November of 1871. Today’s guests can descend the 125 feet into the cave to discover some of nature’s wonders. Because of the enclosed conditions and flowing waters, this cave remains 54 degrees, but walking shoes and a jacket are suggested. The tour begins with a movie that about the cave’s history. Those who complete the tour can then enter the gift store to purchase apparel and bags of dirt. These bags are taken outside and used in the running sluice to pan for gemstones. Afterward, guests can get a treat at the ice cream parlor or restaurant, and do some golfing at the miniature golf course.
963 Crystal Cave Rad, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-6765
2.Rodale Institute Farm
© Rodale Institute Farm
Originally named the Soil and Health Foundation, the Rodale Institute is the birthplace of the organic food movement. Back in the 1930s, J.I. Rodale and his wife purchased a rundown farm in Kutztown with the hope of growing farm without pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Since its conception, the Rodale Institute has published several works advocating the organic agricultural movement. Now made up of several campuses and farms, visitors to the Rodale Institute Founders Farm can stay overnight on the farm and visit the apiary and original farm grounds. Those who visit the institute can take part in one of the many classes and workshops to learn more about organic farming.
611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-1400
3.Setter Ridge Vineyards
© Setter Ridge Vineyards
Family owned by the Blair family, Setter Ridge Vineyards has been making wine since 2004. The Blairs believe the cool mountains of Pennsylvania are the most similar to Northern European wine country, so Setter wines are closest to French wines. The tasting room in the vineyard is open every day, and guests can purchase a flight of wine (five wines) or a tasting to try the various wines available on site. Guests can visit the winery to see operations. Today’s gravity flow winery is three stories, the basement being built into the hillside to keep temperatures at a constant 58 degrees.
99 Dietrich Valley Road, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-8463
4.Allentown and Auburn Railroad
© Petr Bonek/stock.adobe.com
Pennsylvania has a proud railroad heritage. The Allentown and Auburn Railroad wants to showcase some of the deep history found in areas like Kutztown. The living museum has roots way back in 1853, when it was an active railroad line. Today’s guests can ride the 4 ½-mile track on one of the old train cars. Though they only have one passenger car, they have several caboose cars and an open-air car for those interested in seeing what riding the rails is like outside the passenger car. Special events are held often, such as a night time ride or a Father’s Day ride and lunch. Seats are not assigned, so tickets and seating are on a first-come-first-serve basis.
232 Railroad Street, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 570-778-7531
© Kutztown Fairgrounds
No visit to a city would be complete without a trek to the fairgrounds, which showcases the best the city has to offer. The Kutztown Fairgrounds has undergone many changes and owners since its original founding in 1831 as a military fair. Since then, there are a number of additions added, including a folk festival that celebrates the German heritage in the area. Along with a grandstand, stages, a beer garden, and a restaurant, the Kutztown Fairgrounds is home to Action Track USA. This dirt track is home to many motorsports and even tractor pulls.
450 Wentz Street, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-7696
6.Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center
© Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center
Visitors to Kutztown will find many German influences in the food, activities, and traditions of the locals. One place you may want to visit is the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This open-air, living museum is a place where guests can learn about the Pennsylvania Dutch folklore and culture. Guests can tour the restored barn, house, schoolhouse, and other small buildings. Those interested, can look in the library for genealogical information. Many of the people who take part in this living museum go to events, like the Folk Festival, to spread the history of the area.
22 Luckenbill Road, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-1589
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7.Kutztown Area Historical Society
© Kutztown Area Historical Society
A trip to Kutztown should include a look at some of the area’s history. Held in an 1892 school building, the Kutztown Area Historical Society is a museum and library in one. Not only does this old building hold some fantastic artifacts, but the building itself was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1980 as a prime example of Victorian architecture. Visitors can check out one of the many non-circulated books on the premises or look at some of the exquisite objects, like original Keith Haring drawings, old farm and textile equipment, and 19th century toys and clothing. Those interested can also trace their genealogy with the help of historians.
Normal Avenue, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-7697
8.Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub
© Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub
Founded by former professional X Games snowboarder, Matt Lindenmuth, Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub utilizes German and Belgium beer traditions. Today, visitors to Saucony Creek Brewing can purchase any of the outrageous flavor profile beers offered, such as the xReserve Imperial Coffee Stout, Maple Mistress Ale, or Pa Preferred: Pepper Porter. The flavors aren’t the only wild thing, with names like Dad Jokes Brut IPA, Unicorns Driving Army Tanks, and Schnickelfritz Chocolate Stout, patrons can have as much fun picking out their beers as tasting them. Of course, the beer is just one edge to this sword, the gastropub features delicious pub-style food to accompany the beers, like pierogi fries and pork tots.
15032 Kutztown Road, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-3128
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9.Basin Street Hotel, Restaurant, & Pub
© Basin Street Hotel, Restaurant, & Pub
What would eventually become the foundation of the Basin Street Hotel began in 1876. After fires, rebuilds, renovation, and owner changes, what now stands as the Basin Street Hotel, Restaurant, & Pub is a great place to stop for an entertaining story and some great food. Regulars and employees say that the building is haunted, but its up to visitors to decide if these are just stories are something more. Visitors can rent rooms upstairs for nightly or monthly stays, and then head downstairs to the pub and restaurant for some specialty cocktails, local beer, and pub-style food.
42 East Main Street, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-7900
10.Bagel Bar Cafe
© Bagel Bar Café
Bagel Bar Café got its start as Bagel Bar in the Bicycle Den. Yes, it began as a counter in a local bike shop. After some growing, the restaurant moved locations and expanded its menu significantly. Today’s patrons can order wraps, breakfast sandwiches, bagelwiches (sandwiches on bagels), and of course bagels with 16 different cream cheeses. Over 24 flavors of New York-style bagels are available, including some gluten free options. Bagel Bar Café also brews coffee, as the name suggests, creating specialty coffee drinks, cold brew coffees, and frozen coffee delights. Of course, patrons can buy bagels, tubs of cream cheese, and pounds of coffee to take home.
214 W. Main Street, Kutztown, PA 19530, Phone: 610-683-5440
11.Folino Estate Vineyard
© Folino Estate Vineyard
Established by the Folino family, Marco and Andrea Folino, opened the estate on some family owned property. Today, the winery is host to the tasting room, where guests can browse through inventory, select some wines to sample, or purchase unique accessories and gourmet meats and cheeses. Unless you are a group of six or more, reservations are not necessary. For the last three years, Folino wines have earned awards for several of their wines, including double gold in the International Eastern Wine Competition and the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Of course, guests should be sure to stop into the on-site restaurant that features many Italian classics using their home-grown wines.
340 Old Route 22, Kutztown, PA, 19530, Phone: 484-452-3633
11 Best Things to Do in Kutztown, PA
- Crystal Cave, Photo: Crystal Cave
- Rodale Institute Farm, Photo: Rodale Institute Farm
- Setter Ridge Vineyards, Photo: Setter Ridge Vineyards
- Allentown and Auburn Railroad, Photo: Petr Bonek/stock.adobe.com
- Kutztown Fairgrounds, Photo: Kutztown Fairgrounds
- Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Photo: Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center
- Kutztown Area Historical Society, Photo: Kutztown Area Historical Society
- Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub, Photo: Saucony Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub
- Basin Street Hotel, Restaurant, & Pub, Photo: Basin Street Hotel, Restaurant, & Pub
- Bagel Bar Cafe, Photo: Bagel Bar Café
- Folino Estate Vineyard, Photo: Folino Estate Vineyard
- Cover Photo: cfarmer/stock.adobe.com