Just like the Bruce Springsteen song that references it, Johnstown is a city that’s endured. Springsteen conjured the Pennsylvania town in his 1980 classic “The River,” capturing middle-America perseverance in the face of economic hardship. In that same way, Johnstown has overcome tragic floods and industry decline while preserving a rich culture of history and arts. Take that all in during a day trip filled with these must-visit spots:
What to Do
Prince Gallitzin State Park
The state park on Allegheny Plateau, which is open year-round with cabins available for rent, gives visitors the opportunity to explore 12 miles of trails while hiking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing during the winter. The park is also home to the 1,600-acre Glendale Lake, where guests can spend the warmer months swimming, boating and fishing. // 966 Marina Road, Patton
Sunken Gardens of Mount Assisi
Stroll through the gardens of the Renaissance Mansion, decorated with fountains and statues throughout, which once belonged to Charles Schwab of Bethlehem Steel. // St. Francis Drive, Loretto
Johnstown Symphony Orchestra
Founded at the very beginning of the Great Depression, the Johnstown orchestra has been devoted to bringing a diverse set of orchestral performances to its community for more than 80 years. Its upcoming concerts include the holiday performance of Handel’s Messiah and the music of movie composer John Williams. // Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center: 450 Schoolhouse Road
Ice hockey has been a major part of the local culture since the first game played by the Johnstown Bluebirds in 1941. That team was followed by the Johnstown Jets, which inspired the 1977 movie Slap Shot. The newest era of Johnstown hockey commenced with the arrival of the Tomahawks, the city’s first Tier 2 team. The team’s current schedule runs through April. // Cambria County War Memorial Arena: 326 Napoleon St.
Heritage Discovery Center and Johnstown Flood Museum
Discover what life was like for the first immigrant settlers of Johnstown at the museum’s America: Through Immigrant Eyes exhibit before heading to the Iron & Steel Gallery, which documents how the steel industry shaped and thrived in Johnstown. Then head to the Johnstown Flood Museum and learn about the 1989 storm and deteriorating dam that led to a flood that devastated the town. // Heritage Discovery Center: 201 Sixth Ave.; Johnstown Flood Museum: 733 Lake Road, South Fork
Where to Eat
For Breakfast: Corner Coffee Shoppe
The 50-year-old coffee shop, with its small-town diner atmosphere and warm hospitality, is home to all-day breakfast classics like steak and eggs, omelets and more. // 810 Scalp Ave.
For Lunch: Em’s Subs
The Johnstown favorite, which opened in 1952, still uses the same recipes from its original owners. With four locations throughout town, visitors can choose from subs, wraps and panini. // Multiple locations throughout Johnstown
For Dinner: The Orchard
After more than 100 years serving diners, the local tavern is still going strong and has developed a reputation for its wings in more than 40 flavors. // 2434 Bedford St.