So you’re planning your first trip to Lancaster! Where do you start? With the variety of experiences available in the Lancaster area – from historical attractions markets and camping – it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. The area is overflowing with attractions, markets, restaurants and a glimpse at a simpler life. Attend a music festival in Long’s Park, visit Dutch Wonderland with your kids, sample local food at the Central Market,and tour the Amish countryside. Bring home priceless memories of the expected – farmlands, family-style feasts and the Amish; but also the unexpected & dash; city life, exquisite cuisine and contemporary art.
We’ve got you covered - here’s a list of eight things every first-timer should experience in the Lancaster area.
1. Long’s Park is an 80-acre area situated in the northwest corner of Lancaster. The park has been in
existence since 1900 when it was gifted to the town by Judge Henry Grimly Long and his daughter
Catherine Long. Every year the park hosts numerous events and it is one of the top Lancaster
attractions. Most notably are a season-long music festival and a barbecue competition, as well as a fine arts exhibit. Families can enjoy the playground, petting zoo and picnic areas.
2. Dutch Wonderland is a great place for kids! The amusement park is designed to be a family-friendly
destination. There are over 30 rides that will entertain all ages. Another highlight is Dukes Lagoon, which is a tropically themed water park that is open during the summer and includes tipping buckets and bubblers.
3. The Central Market in Lancaster is the oldest farmers’ market in the United States. It takes place in a
120-year-old brick building that is loaded with local charm. At the market there is a host of local food
that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country. The market runs all year on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.
4. Holtwood Dam - For those who want to get out and about in Lancaster, come to the Holtwood Dam area to enjoy the outdoors. Depending on your enthusiasm and level of ability, you can choose from over 30 miles of hiking trails and undertake anything from a gentle ramble in the rustic and rocky terrain, to a more challenging and strenuous day hike past craggy scenery and stunning vistas.
5. Historical Lancaster Walking tour - Discover the history and beauty of Lancaster guided by a costumed interpreter. Visit over fifty locations that span over 250 years of Lancaster history. You will become familiar with the rich history of this central Pennsylvania town. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and carry water!
6. Enjoy a great meal. Many restaurants are located in Lancaster featuring home cooked PA style meals. One great choice is Miller’s Smorgasbord operating since 1929. Today their tried & true recipes may not be as simple as they were in 1929, but they are still prepared with the freshest ingredients … and they are still served up with a smile. If you miss Miller’s, you miss Lancaster County.
7. The American Music Theatre is the only theatre of its kind in the country that features both touring
concerts and original shows. This 1,600-seat theatre hosts more than 300 live performances a year – from Broadway tours to rock legends to famous comedians to today’s hottest acts. Take the opportunity to catch a show while you are visiting Lancaster.
8. In the heart of Lancaster County is the Lancaster Brewing Company. From their house-made sausage and cured meats, to locally made cheeses, fresh dough, on-site garden, hand-cut fries and signature burger grind, there's no substitute for fresh, natural ingredients. Their menu changes often to take advantage of the seasons, and to utilize the fresh produce, dairy, poultry, cheeses and meats produced on the 5,300+ independent, family farms in Lancaster County.
Click here to find a campground to stay at while you explore Lancaster
Click here to find local attractions in the Lancaster