If you love saving money, you are gonna want to make a trip to Pennsylvania! Home to some of the best outlet shopping in the United States, what makes Pennsylvania really stand out is that they do not charge tax on most clothing items. During the past 6 months I have made 2 different trips to this wonderful state, so I decided to write a blog post showing why this is one of my favourite states to visit.

Before I get started, here is a bit of my history with Pennsylvania. Growing up, my family made regular trips to the outlet shopping town of Grove City to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s tax-free shopping (which applies to most clothing items as well as a few other things). We would usually spend a few days there (to meet duty-free allowance requirements) then come back with massive amounts of new clothing. Considering the price of many things here in Toronto, we managed to save hundreds (if not thousands) by making these trips. There is no greater feeling then buying a t-shirt for $9.99 and getting a penny back from a $10 bill, a lesson I quickly learned from these trips. Since it had been several years since I had made the excursion, I knew it was time to head back!

Trip 1: Philadelphia

During the summer I made my first trip down to Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia, to see the Budweiser Made in America festival. This was a 2-day outdoor festival that included some of the biggest names in music such as Jay-Z (the event organizer), Skrillex, Calvin Harris, Run DMC and many more! Since Philadelphia is a good 8 hour drive from Toronto, my girlfriend and I decided spend a few extra days to explore the surroundings.

Our route took us into New York then down through the home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport where we stopped to snap some pictures. Our first real stop wasn’t until we hit Limerick, which like Grove City, is another outlet shopping town home to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets. Some of the outlets found here include Coach, Kate Spade, Cole Hahn, Michael Kors, Guess and many more! We spent a few hours shopping and several hundred dollars later we were on our way. To give you an idea of some of the deals we received, here are just a few of the items we purchased:- Kate Spade leather purse marked down to $75 from over $400
– Cole Hahn mens dress shoes for $75 (regular $200)
– Izod Mens Polos for $20 (regular $75)
– Bath & Body Works Soaps – 5 for $15
– Calphalon Pot for $15 (Regular $90)

We weren’t even planning to do much shopping but some of the deals were way too good to pass up!

When we finally arrived in Philadelphia we discovered a beautiful city with a ton of history and charm. The architecture was amazing with massive buildings that reminded me of my trip to Austria. We didn’t have a lot of time to do touristy things so decided to walk around and see as much of the city as possible. We started off with a trip to the Reading Terminal Market where after waiting over 30 minutes feasted on a sandwich from Dinic’s (voted best sandwich in America by the Travel Channel). We also went to LOVE Park to get our picture taken with the famous LOVE sculpture. If we had more time I would love to have visited Franklin Square, the Liberty Bell and of course run up the Rocky Steps (closed due to the festival), but I will have to save these for my next trip. If you are a sports fan, Philadelphia is home to the Eagles (NFL), Flyers (Hockey) and Phillies (MLB) and they are very passionate about their teams.

Overall the food was amazing, the people were super friendly and we really enjoyed our time there and can’t wait to return. Here are some pictures from this trip:

Trip 2: Pittsburgh

As a Steelers fan, my one wish for my 30th birthday was to go see a game live in Pittsburgh. It couldn’t have worked out better as they were playing their bitter rival, the Baltimore Ravens, on my actual birthday! After some planning, we made the drive down for a short trip of football, food, shopping and fun!

Pittsburgh is much closer in proximity to Toronto and is only a 5 hour drive to get to. We left Toronto around 9 in the morning, and with a must-stop at Primanti Bros in Grove City managed to get to Pittsburgh around 2pm. After a quick stop at the hotel (we stayed about 15 minutes out of the city as it was much cheaper) to freshen up, we jumped aboard a bus (organized by the hotel) to take us to the stadium for the pre-game tailgate. The Steelers ended up losing the game, but my girlfriend and I had an incredible time!

The next day we wanted to do a bit more sightseeing, unfortunately the weather was not that great. Instead we grabbed a bite to eat at Fat Heads Saloon (sandwiches the size of your head!) and hit the road on our way to Grove City for some shopping. Similar to the Philadelphia Prime Outlets we managed to score some amazing deals! Here are some of the best ones:
– Nike Running Shoes for $50 (retail in Toronto for around $130)
– Timberland Polo for $5 (Regular $40)
– Champion Sweat Pants for $15
– Coach Wallet for $65 (Regular over $100)
– Bosch Hammer Drill $49 (Regular $150+ in Toronto)

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Pennsylvania Conclusion

While the shopping is one of the best excuses to plan a getaway to Pennsylvania, there is actually a lot more to see and do. If you are a sports fan, Pennsylvania is home to many of the greatest sports franchises! If you are a foodie, there are so many good things to eat all over the state. Lastly, if you want to explore some big cities, you can definitely do that here too with lots of things to see and do. If you live in Toronto, Pennsylvania is a great inexpensive trip where I guarantee you will have lots of fun!