In three days, you will be able to cover the area very well. You can chose to spend as much or as little time as you like at the various sites, you can also skip or add sites to fit your needs. No matter what, make sure you spend ample time at the Gettysburg Battlefield.
Start at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center:
Find out what Ranger Programs are scheduled for that day.
View the film, A New Birth of Freedom, and see the Cyclorama. A ticket for the film includes the Cyclorama, after the film, you will go immediately into the Cyclorama.
Tour the museum, which will give you a history of the war as a whole, not just the Battle of Gettysburg.
Stop by the gift shop and bookstore.
Tour the Battlefield. You have several options:
Follow the NPS Auto Tour Route and get out and explore each stop.
Purchase a touring CD from the bookstore.
Use the Civil War Trust’s free Gettysburg Battle App on your smartphone or iPad.
Hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to accompany you.
Little Round Top – Location of the Union right flank, famously held by the 20th Maine and Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
Devil’s Den – Site of vicious fighting just below Little Round Top.
The High Water Mark – The point of the Cemetery Ridge where the Confederacy reached the Union center after Pickett’s Charge, on the third and final day of the battle.
Soldier’s National Cemetery – The resting place for more than 3,500 Union Troops killed in the battle.
For a longer tour of the battlefield, visit these key sites:
McPherson Ridge – The site of the first fighting at Gettysburg between Union cavalry and Confederate infantry
Eternal Light Peace Memorial – Located in the area of a Confederate attack on the Union flank during the first day of fighting, this memorial was dedicated on July 3, 1938, on the 75th anniversary of the battle.
Spangler’s Spring/Culp Hill – While Little Round Top on the left flank of the Union position is a focal point for visitors, be sure to visit this area that was the right flank of the Union army. Fierce fighting occurred here on the second day of the battle, as Confederates took Culp’s Hill but then were driven off by Union forces.
Virginia Memorial/Pickett’s Charge – This beautiful memorial facing Cemetery Ridge occupies the position of Confederate troops who participated in the fated Pickett’s Charge on July 3.
The Wheatfield and Peach Orchard – Fierce attacks and counterattacks occurred here on July 2 before Union forces retreated to the safety of Little Round Top.
If you have time:
Visit the David Wills House, where Lincoln stayed the night before he gave the Gettysburg Address. The house has been recently renovated into a wonderful museum.
Take a battlefield hike on one of Gettysburg’s trails. See your NPS touring map for locations Hike the Fish Hook (the right flank defensive position of the Union army for a rigorous walk.
Do what strikes your fancy. Gettysburg is a battlefield on which you could spend hundreds of hours and never do the same thing twice. Explore what interests you!
This National Park Service museum is the former home of David Wills, a Gettysburg resident who hosted Abraham Lincoln the night before his Gettysburg Address. It is a great way to get “inside” the Gettysburg Address and learn about the town of Gettysburg following the horrific three-day battle.
What To Do:
Tour the house, stopping in each of the five galleries.
While in Lincoln’s bedroom, take a moment to contemplate what he might have been thinking, in the midst of this terrible war, on the eve of a very important opportunity to address the nation.
The Adams County Historical Society offers a very comprehensive collection of primary and secondary source material including books, manuscript collections, artifacts, and research related to the Battle of Gettysburg.
What To Do:
Explore the museum’s collections of primary and secondary sources, or conduct research if you know you had a relative who fought at Gettysburg.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | HSP is one of the nation's largest nongovernmental repositories of documentary materials, housing more than 600,000 books, 300,000 graphics, and 20 million manuscript items.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | The museum contains an extensive collection of Civil War artifacts, battle relics, personal memorabilia, paintings, documents, and photographs that were initially assembled by the veterans who formed Post 2 of the Grand Army of the Republic.
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