Pennsylvania offers historic cities and charming towns; today we share the best things to do in Lancaster PA; a charming city surrounded by gorgeous landscapes.
Why Lancaster PA?
Lancaster, PA, renowned for its captivating landscapes and cultural depth, beckons travelers from all corners to immerse themselves in its charm; this should be on your USA bucket list.
Yes, travel to Philadelphia is the most popular vacation option in Pennsylvania, but Lancaster is a great, overlooked option for travelers too.
As one stroll through its cobbled streets, there’s a palpable blend of the old and new, making the list of things to do in Lancaster, PA quite expansive.
From exploring the heritage of the Amish community to indulging in the contemporary art scene, every corner has a story waiting to be discovered.
Another facet of this rich experience is the local markets, where visitors often find themselves purchasing handcrafted goods, antiques, or large pieces of art.
Whether you are visiting or moving to Lancaster, you will find charming spots, boutique stores, and fantastic markets standing alongside historic landmarks and buildings.
Best things to do in Lancaster
The Amish Village
If you’re keen on diving deep into the traditions and lifestyle of the Amish community, the Amish Village is your go-to destination. This preserved area offers visitors an authentic glimpse into the day-to-day life of the Amish people.
With its rustic houses, one-room schoolhouses, and vibrant gardens, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time.
Guided tours take you through the various sections of the village, explaining the significance and history of each spot. As you wander through, it’s not uncommon to find artisans at work, crafting exquisite items that mirror their simple yet rich culture.
Purchasing a keepsake here is among the cherished things to do in Lancaster, PA for many visitors. It’s not just about observing, though.
Engage with the community, understand their ethos, and if you’re fortunate, you might even get invited for a traditional Amish meal. It’s a cultural immersion like no other.
Wheatland – The Home of James Buchanan
History and politics intertwined at Wheatland, the residence of James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States.
The estate is impeccably preserved, showcasing the architecture, furniture, and artifacts from Buchanan’s era.
As you walk through its elegant rooms, the place reverberates with tales of political discussions, personal anecdotes, and significant decisions that shaped the nation’s history.
Expert-guided tours provide deep insights into Buchanan’s life, his tenure as president, and the tumultuous times he witnessed.
What’s more, the sprawling gardens surrounding the mansion offer a tranquil space for reflection. Sitting on a bench, under the shade of ancient trees, and pondering the past is a favorite thing to do in Lancaster, PA, for many history aficionados.
Lancaster’s Central Park is an oasis of greenery, offering residents and visitors a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle.
Sprawling over several acres, it’s a haven for nature lovers, joggers, and families looking for a day of relaxation.
The park is designed with various sections catering to different activities. From well-marked jogging trails to serene ponds for quiet contemplation, there’s something for everyone. If you’re an avid bird-watcher, the park’s diverse ecosystem promises a fulfilling day.
Often, local events and farmers’ markets are hosted within the park, transforming it into a hub of activity. Participating in these events is a fun thing to do in Lancaster, PA.
It provides an opportunity to mingle with the locals, enjoy some regional delicacies, and immerse oneself in the community spirit. Plus, there are some unique US camping sites nearby too.
A prominent landmark, the Susquehanna River is more than just a water body – it’s a hub of activities. Stretching majestically across Lancaster, it offers various recreational options for visitors. For the adventurous, the river is perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and even fishing.
The calm sections are ideal for a leisurely boat ride, while the river’s rapids promise an adrenaline rush. Numerous operators offer guided tours and equipment rentals, making it easy for tourists to indulge in these activities.
For those looking to enjoy the river’s scenic beauty, various viewpoints and resting areas are peppered along its course.
Watching the sunset over the river, as the water reflects the hues of the evening sky, is undeniably a mesmerizing thing to do in Lancaster, PA.
At the heart of Lancaster’s buzzing shopping scene is the Central Market. Established in the 1730s, it’s America’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market and visiting it is akin to stepping into a lively part of the city’s history.
Rows upon rows of stalls present a myriad of options – from fresh farm produce, artisanal cheeses, and baked goods to handcrafted jewelry and Amish quilts.
The market isn’t just a shopping destination; it’s an experience.
Interacting with local vendors, tasting regional delicacies, and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere are all integral aspects of the market. For tourists, it’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs.
Traditional Amish crafts or homemade preserves, every item has a story, making shopping here a memorable thing to do in Lancaster, PA.
Green Dragon Market
Imagine a marketplace where every stall offers something unique, a place that embodies the spirit of Lancaster’s diverse community. That’s the Green Dragon Market for you. Operating exclusively on Fridays, it’s a treasure trove of antiques, crafts, foods, and much more.
The market is expansive, and you can easily spend hours exploring its various sections. From fresh produce to rare antiques and handcrafted jewelry, there’s a surprise waiting at every corner.
Engaging with the stall owners, many of whom are artisans themselves, adds a personal touch to your shopping experience. Gastronomes will particularly enjoy the food stalls.
Sampling the varied offerings, from traditional Pennsylvania Dutch sausages to international delicacies, is a delectable thing to do in Lancaster, PA.
If you are planning a USA family road trip, Lancaster is a great place to stop by.
When it comes to family entertainment in Lancaster, Dutch Wonderland is unrivaled. Known as the “Kingdom for Kids,” this theme park brims with attractions tailored for children and those young at heart.
From roller coasters to water rides and live entertainment, there’s no shortage of excitement.
The park’s design, with its fairy-tale castles, enchanted forests, and playful characters, ensures that children are immersed in a world of imagination and fun.
Given its popularity, it’s advisable to plan your visit in advance. Whether you spend a few hours or the entire day, making memories with your family at Dutch Wonderland is a quintessential thing to do in Lancaster, PA.
The Lancaster Science Factory
Where can kids learn while having an absolute blast? The answer lies in the Lancaster Science Factory. An interactive science and technology center, it’s designed to make learning fun and engaging for children.
Exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from physics and engineering to mathematics and natural sciences.
Children can engage in hands-on experiments, challenging puzzles, and innovative games. The staff, passionate about science education, are always on hand to explain concepts, ensuring a meaningful learning experience.
For parents, it’s a joy to see their children’s faces light up with curiosity and wonder. Spending a day here, nurturing your child’s scientific temperament, is an enriching thing to do in Lancaster, PA.
From its rich history and cultural hubs to scenic spots and family-friendly attractions, Lancaster, PA, promises a diverse range of experiences. It’s a city that welcomes visitors with open arms, offering them a slice of its heritage, arts, and community spirit.
As you plan your trip, remember the keyword “things to do in Lancaster, PA,” and let this guide lead you to unforgettable moments.