Local Atmosphere

Mechanicsburg, PA
Admission Difficulty
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2 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: I dislike the Messiah Bubble. Central PA is so boring, I would never live here, but I also want to work abroad, so this wouldn't suit my vocational goals anyways..Thankfully, we are only 25 minutes outside the capital (which is not to say that we aren't suburban/ rural) and can pop into Harrisburg for some more action. College life at messiah is really focused on-campus.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: It is close to Harrisburg so there is a lot to do if you have a car. Otherwise sometimes weekends are super boring, but Messiah tries to do plenty of fun things to keep life interesting.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Nothing in walking distance, but there are enough things to keep you occupied if you have a car.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Campus atmosphere is pretty chill and relaxed with places to go off campus.

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Messiah is located in a beautiful area. It's very close to Harrisburg and Carlisle, where there are more food and activity options. Ski Roundtop is also close by and is a popular place for students in the winter.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Ashley Offenback
Yardley, Pa.
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Messiah College is in Grantham, a very small town with a population of around 600, not counting Messiah students. There is not much to entertain students in Grantham and absolutely nothing in walking distance from the campus. As a result, those wishing to find off-campus fun need to have a car. Mechanicsburg is about a 5- to 10-minute drive and offers an array of bars, restaurants, and stores, including a Wal-Mart and Capital City Mall. Carlisle is about 10 to 15 minutes away and offers similar bars, restaurants, and shopping centers. Harrisburg, the state capital, offers a wealth of activities and is only 10 to 15 minutes from campus. Students can head to City Island, Harrisburg’s major city park, go mini-golfing, or watch a Senator’s minor league baseball game. Harrisburg also has a plethora of clubs, bars, restaurants, museums, and shopping markets. About 30 minutes from campus is Hershey and the famous Hershey Park. Also in the area is The Outlets at Hershey, Hershey Bears hockey team, and the Hershey Lodge, where Messiah’s annual Christmas Tradition formal is held.

Unfortunately, though, even with all these opportunities for fun close by, freshmen rarely get the chance to take advantage of them because very few are allowed to have cars on campus. However, upperclassmen with cars frequent these locations on weekends and at night when good ol’ Grantham gets just a little too boring.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Messiah College students make up the majority of the population, and the remaining people are mostly college employees, alumni, and parents.
  2. In Grantham's history, it has had a macaroni factory, aircraft part factory, and a greeting card business.
  3. The original Grantham National Bank once printed its own currency, and the building still stands today.
  4. An annual yard sale weekend is held to bring traffic through the town.
  5. People frequent the town on foot and on bike because dealing with vehicle traffic is a non-issue.
Points of Interest
  • Hershey Park
  • National Civil War Museum
  • State Capital Buidling
  • State Museum of Pennsylvania
Shopping Centers
  • Camp Hill Shopping Center
  • Capital City Mall
  • Colonial Park Mall
  • Gateway Square
  • Harrisburg Mall
  • The Outlets at Hershey
  • The Point at Carlisle Plaza
Movie Theaters
AMC Hampden Center 8
4902 Carlisle Pike
(717) 731-0734
Movie Theaters
Cinema Center
3431 Simpson Ferry Rd.
Camp Hill
(717) 920-9350
Movie Theaters
Regal Cinema Carlisle Commons Stadium 8
250 Noble Blvd.
(717) 243-2600
Major Sports Teams
  • Harrisburg Senators: Minor league baseball
  • Hershey Bears: American Hockey League
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Harrisburg: PA: 15 minutes
  • Philadelphia: PA: 2 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 71 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 57 responses

  • 18% Painfully remote.
  • 25% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 51% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 7% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 55 responses

  • 27% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 55% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 18% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 55 responses

  • 24% No way.
  • 55% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 22% Totally.



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