You’ve finally got all the free time in the world, so how do you spend it? With so many obvious choices to choose from, it’s hard to imagine there could be a place that has a little bit of everything. From fun restaurants, countryside day trips, and a historic railroad, to art galleries and plenty of theaters, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania seemingly has it all.
Lancaster County is a historic, inviting area that has so much to offer, day or night; there’s always something to do, some place to visit, or some dining experience you’ve just got to try.
Explore the Amish Countryside
Rolling hills, sweeping farmland, and quaint countryside stands are the perfect way to get a closer look at Lancaster County. Otherwise known as “Amish Country,” the outskirts of Lancaster City definitely evoke images of a simpler, humbler time in Pennsylvania’s past. Horse-drawn buggies are a common sight on the roads, as are all the little markets and roadside stands one can find on any given day while driving around Lancaster. These stores sell everything from antiques to handmade goods, fresh produce and even fresher baked goods. The Amish culture is heavily ingrained in Lancaster and it would be hard for anyone to miss their influence, no matter where they are in the city.
Some examples are the AAA Buggy Rides (conveniently located near the Kitchen Kettle Village, covered below) and the Amish Experience, where you can experience meaningful personal contact with the Amish by being their guests. There are many such experiences and attractions that give you the opportunity to gain a closer look at how the Amish live and work, all across Lancaster County.
Stop by the village
While you’re exploring the countryside, make a point to stop by Kitchen Kettle Village—a one-stop-shop for all things delicious in Lancaster County. The Village has a huge assortment of homemade baked goods, jams and relishes, and more, each crafted with the proprietors’ own unique touch. You’ll find countless food options throughout the village, from Aged and Cured—a cheese and meat shoppe—to Pappy’s Kettle Korn, Lapp Valley Farm Ice Cream, and the list goes on.
The Village also hosts an eclectic mix of events and activities during certain times of the year, including the Rhubarb Festival and Music for Everyone. And if you’re having too much fun and need to spend the night, you can! Kitchen Kettle Village conveniently features an Inn so you can stay over, and keep the Village experience going.
Take the sweetest adventure of your life
Travel to Columbia, PA to experience Turkey Hill like never before! The Turkey Hill Experience takes you down memory lane as you explore how the brand got its start. Once you’ve made your way through the interactive museum, you can also sit in on tea sampling (Tea Discovery) and join in the Taste Lab where you’ll get to create your very own flavor of ice cream—and take a pint of it home with you! For those who love history and ice cream, the Turkey Hill Experience is a deeply interesting yet fun experience for anyone.
Visit the Strasburg Rail Road
The Strasburg Rail Road is only 25 minutes from Lancaster City. There, you’ll find a wide assortment of vintage trains and access to pump car rides, self-propelled motor cars, and the railroad’s line of themed trains including open air, coach, pinball pendolino, first-class lounge, and dining cars. The historic railway features an antique coal-burning steam train to give you a look back into the past of rail cars. If you’re still curious about the past, there’s the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and National Toy Train Museum to visit while you’re there, too!
Go see a show
Lancaster County has a score of theaters to offer those looking for a show or musical performance. The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, Sight and Sound Theater, and Fulton Opera House are all popular destinations for nighttime entertainment, so if it’s been a while, go see a show!
Unwind and experience Historic Downtown Lancaster’s nightlife
From April to October, every second Friday is “Taste the World Friday” in Downtown Lancaster. This walking tour takes visitors around to the many restaurants—as many as seven or eight—to sample various foods, each representing a different part of the world. Each third Friday of the month is “Music Friday.” You’ll find performances and musicians all throughout the Downtown area, at retailers, attractions, and restaurants.
Then of course there’s “First Friday” where the first of every month reveals Downtown’s artistic and culinary side with art galleries opening their doors, the pop-up food trucks on Prince Street, and a host of people walking about, enjoying Lancaster.
Dotted by restaurants, popular bars, and hubs of nighttime activity, Lancaster City has a lot to offer the night owls and evening enthusiasts looking for a drink or bite to eat. For those interested in a drink, you can sample any of the hundred beers on tap at the Federal Taphouse, or try one of the signature cocktails of the Horse Inn, a speak-easy themed bar. Dining locally puts restaurants like Aussie and the Fox, Citronnelle, and the Belvedere Inn on the menu.
Downtown Lancaster has come to embrace the nightlife of the people who call it home, and is a fun, welcoming place to anyone who visits.