I was there last year. I had a hard time finding an area that was not so shabby looking that I could get a hotel room. I went with the Sheraton closer to Hershey. It was still a dump. What is the deal with Harrisburg?
Harrisburg is in a nice location to get to other places. It is a reasonable trip to MD & DE & DC via 83S, North NJ 78N, South NJ 76E, NY 78N, Pitsburg 76W, Lancaster 286E. This is in fact why Hburg is a major trucking and shipping hub. This heavy traffic probably leads to crapness.
Harrisburg is really not that bad... for as small of a city as it is, it has a nice suburban feel to the area around it, it's like a mini-Philadelphia. I can work in the city, but only sit in traffic for 10 minutes on the way home instead of an hour.
I agree that Harrisburg isn't that bad. I relocated down to Maryland about a year ago, and miss Harrisburg and the surrounding areas. Spend some time in and around Baltimore and I think view Harrisburg differently.