If you’re looking for a place in the Northeast to call home for retirement, Johnstown, PA, could be for you. The city lands around 65 miles east of Pittsburgh and is known for its historical attractions, live sports and music events, vibrant dining scene and fun activities and festivals.
In 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Johnstown had a little more than 18,000 residents, 20% of whom were senior citizens ages 65 years and older. For seniors looking to start a new life, the following are a few reasons to consider retirement communities in Johnstown, PA.
1. Renowned Region
Johnstown is part of Cambria County in central Pennsylvania, with four distinct seasons and low crime statistics. According to the Cambria Regional Chamber, the area has been nationally ranked the top most livable region in Pennsylvania and number four in the Northeast.
Johnstown offers proximity to bigger cities like Pittsburgh, while residents can enjoy a smaller community feel in town. The city provides frequent big-crowd live entertainment in the form of concerts and sporting events, and offers an abundance of free activities in nature and around town.
2. Live Music
Every year, there are more than 65 music festivals within 45 miles of Johnstown. The area also has nearly 30 music venues that offer shows ranging from jazz, to country, to rock.
Some popular music options include:
- Festivals and concerts at the Peoples Natural Gas Park: Some of the biggest events in the warmer months in Johnstown include the Flood City Music Festival, the Johnstown PolkaFest and the Sip, Rock & Duck Drop.
- 1st Summit Arena shows: The 1st Summit Arena holds around 4,000 fans for big-name concerts and shows.
- Intimate concerts at The Boulevard Grill: The Boulevard Grill is a full restaurant and bar that also features smaller shows by singer-songwriters. Grab a bite to eat and something to drink while you enjoy a performance.
- Johnstown Symphony Orchestra performances: The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra performs several shows a year at the group’s concert hall, the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. The group frequently brings in guest musicians and solo singers.
There are various other music events in Johnstown throughout the year, at both indoor and outdoor performance spaces. Whatever your musical tastes, there’s something on the city’s music calendar to check out.
3. Diverse Restaurants, Breweries & Wineries
Wine and beer lovers have a lot to choose from in the Johnstown area. Residents can check out:
- B&L Wine Cellars: Since 2012, the family-owned winery B&L Wine Cellars has offered a variety of Pennsylvania and California grape varietals on its menu, with 20 distinct choices, including sweet wines, dry red wines and fruit wines.
- Coal Country Brewing: Coal Country Brewing is a microbrewery that uses locally farmed ingredients to create more than a dozen beers on draft, as well as a variety of cocktails and non-alcoholic sodas on tap.
- Germantown Winery: Germantown Winery in nearby Portage produces dozens of white wines, red wines, blush wines and fruit wines using local produce.
- Stone Bridge Brewing Co.: This brewery produces diverse beers and cocktails in its tap room, such as a tart guava IPA, imperial stout and a variety of craft hard seltzers. The Johnstown location also has a wine loft and serves Asian fusion food, with noodle dishes, ramens, tacos and more.
Johnstown also has a strong foodie scene, with some restaurants and drinking spaces dating back 100+ years in the city. From upscale to casual, coffeehouses to sports bars, there’s something for every taste in Johnstown.
4. Beautiful Scenery
Johnstown has a ton of nature to explore and many relaxing walking trails throughout the city. There’s even a “Walk Works Johnstown” route that takes residents on around a two-mile walking tour, with stops at the Stone Bridge, Johnstown Train Station, Johnstown Flood Museum, Iron to Arts Corridor, Central Park and Alma Hall.
In the Johnstown area, residents have access to:
- 14 state parks
- 1,431 campsites
- 43 trails for mountain biking
- 4 ski resorts and 118 downhill slopes
- 104 miles of Nordic trails
- 242 miles of Class A trout water
- 73 miles of whitewater, for activities like canoeing
There’s also Roxbury Park, on nearly 30 acres of land, with a walking path, picnic pavilions, lighted tennis courts and more. The nearby Prince Gallitzin State Park in Patton takes up more than 7,300 acres and offers views of the 1,635-acre Glendale Lake. However active you are, there are lots of ways to enjoy life outdoors in the Johnstown area.
5. Rich Heritage
If you’re looking for a place to live with a rich history and people who care about preserving it, Johnstown has proud roots as one of America’s earliest cities. The Johnstown Area Heritage Association preserves historical artifacts and information regarding Johnstown development. Residents can learn more about the city’s history at places like:
- Johnstown Flood Museum: The Johnstown Flood Museum pays tribute to the 2,209 victims of the historic 1889 flood catastrophe, when a storm caused a neglected dam to burst.
- Heritage Discovery Center: The Johnstown Heritage Discovery Center recounts Johnstown history in exhibits on immigration, an iron and steel gallery, and the Johnstown Children’s Museum.
- Wagner-Ritter House: The Wagner-Ritter House museum re-creates the lives of the Wagner and Ritter family, using tax documents, public records and historical artifacts to show what life was like in the 19th century in the area. In addition to the home, there’s also a re-created barn, privy, bake oven shelter and working garden.
Residents can also see daily lighting of the historic Stone Bridge, built in the late 1880s. The National Historic District of Downtown Johnstown also gives residents glimpses of historic buildings, which can be seen on a self-guided walking tour.
Johnstown Is Also Home to McCullough Place
Another reason to consider Johnstown for yourself or a loved one for retirement is that it’s home to McCullough Place, a senior lifestyle community offering personal care and short-term care services. Residents have everything they need right at home, from chef-prepared meals with restaurant-style service, to a hair salon and housekeeping and transportation services. Residents can live independent lifestyles while getting the exact level of care they need. There’s also a programming calendar with daily activities, like exercise classes, bingo, trivia and cooking groups.