By Chris Bavaria
What do I love about Harrisburg? Good question. I’m not originally from Harrisburg, and I tried to get the hell out as soon as I turned 18, but I am known for repping it really hard. There are definitely a few things to take into consideration we’ll call them the three F’s (friends, family, & food). But I want to start with a realization that I’ve come to. For you to really appreciate Harrisburg, you need to move away. Even if it’s only for a short time, you need to leave and come back to realize how great it is.
Kids will always say they hate growing up there and want to move to Philly or Brooklyn, ugh I hate Brooklyn, but I’d take Harrisburg over those two any day. I currently live in Richmond, VA and upon moving here I instantly felt at home. There are so many similarities to Harrisburg. It is a capital city, on a large river with lots of bridges, and it’s manageable. I love city life, but I also hate it. So being able to get away easily is a big deal to me. Something that isn’t as easy when you live in a bigger city. I also love the attitude of people in smaller cities. People in a lot of the larger cities are always bragging about how their city is the best ever, and no where can ever come close. People in smaller places like Harrisburg or Richmond, seem as if they have nothing to prove. Not that they don’t love their cities, they totally do, but they know it’s not NYC and they are glad!
Some of my friends over the years seem to be trapped in Harrisburg, and that is what gives them a negative impression of the city. This kind of relates to moving away, but also just taking advantage of Harrisburg’s proximity to other places, sometimes you need to leave! Being able to get to Philly, Baltimore, DC all in two hours is pretty awesome. I think this is especially true to people in the music/art scenes.
So I’m going to make a list of all the things I love about Harrisburg. If you live there currently and don’t take advantage of these things you are an idiot.
Neato Burrito - Best burritos I’ve had outside of California. So many options. I love options!
Bangkok Wok – Amazing Thai food in Mechanicsburg
Broad Street Market/West Shore Farmers Market – Farmers markets are awesome and super cheap. Nude foods at Broad Street closed though didn’t they?
Passage To India - Two words, LUNCH BUFFET!
Jayyid Harvest – Really great vegetarian/vegan place in Midtown.
Snack foods – Did you know you can’t get all these goodies everywhere? (Utz, Snyders, Martins, Middleswarth, Herrs, there are so many) Go to Giant now!
Tubing down the Yellow Breeches Creek - Most fun ever. Even a rope swing!
Hiking trails – Appalachian Trail, Pine Grove Furnace, Kings Gap, Colonel Denning, Caledonia, Pinchot, state parks are everywhere!
Chops Barber Shop – Chops rules. Get your hairs did.
Black Thorn Gallery – Best tattoo shop ever, in Mechanicsburg.
Midtown Scholar Bookstore - Awesome place to hang/read books/drink coffee/see art/see bands on occasion
Midtown Cinema - I think people forget that this place is here sometimes. The fact that Harrisburg has an indie theater is incredible.
West Shore Theater - $3 movies! in New Cumberland
Exceptional people you should know and hang out with
Cody Bunce – The man, the legend. Everyone knows him, he always has a smile on his face, and is always willing to hang.
Albert Baldassarre – You probably know him as the best keyboardist in town as seen in likes of In Wilderness, Red Sea Radio, DSBJP, Punch Everything, or Koji On The Roof. Loves Harrisburg and helping people realize they love it too.
Andrew Shiraki – Have known this guy since he was 12. Super proud of everything he does. We both are always out of town, but when we are both home we always try to get together.
Chris is currently touring the world with the band Mindset, working on a new photography project to bring photography to the streets as a public art form and teaching photography at Thomas Nelson Community College.