Lancaster, PA: A Foodie's Paradise
Arts & Culture
A quick train ride away from Manhattan, Philadelphia, Baltimore or DC and you'll find yourself in the charming East coast city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania for your perfect weekend getaway. I grew up in this idyllic town featuring history, charm and a food scene that rivals its cosmopolitan neighbors. Whether you have the family in tow or are looking for a romantic getaway for two, Lancaster's old school charm, diverse food scene and true "love your neighbor" culture will entice you to come back again and again.
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Where to stay in Lancaster, PA
Lancaster Arts Hotel
A stylish boutique hotel blending contemporary design with artistic flair, offering a unique experience for art enthusiasts and travelers alike.
Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
A modern and elegant hotel located in the heart of Lancaster, combining luxury accommodations, exceptional service, and convenient access to the city's vibrant attractions and cultural landmarks.
The Wilbur Lititz, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
A charming boutique hotel nestled in Lititz, offering a harmonious blend of historic charm, contemporary comfort, and personalized hospitality for an unforgettable stay.
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Things to do in Lancaster, PA
Lancaster Central Market - Operational since 1730 and the country's oldest market, this place is a hub for connection. There are a few companies that do food tours within the market, though self-guided food tours are also highly encouraged. My favorite stops are Longs Horseradish (make sure to get their legendary 'hair of the dog' Bloody Mary mix), Wicked Pickles, and the soft pretzels at Kim Essa (with a side of their homemade honey mustard sauce).
Antiquing- Lancaster is known for an incredible antiquing scene! Many independent antiques shops are located in the southern end of Downtown Lancaster, Lititz, Strasburg, and Bird-In-Hand. Grab your tote bag and hit the shops!
Art galleries - Gallery Row is walkable from Central Market and boasts an admirable number of independent art galleries featuring local artists. Peruse the art at your leisure; on a typical Saturday you might be able to meet the artists in person! Liz Hess and Freiman Stoltzfus are my two favorite local artists with great galleries you can pop into.
Strasburg Scooters - Care for a scenic tour of the local farmland? Strasburg Scooters is a local company that will take you through the idyllic countryside by electric scooter, crossing over covered bridges, passing active farmland and Amish school houses. You'll make a stop at a local Amish family's home and be able to ask questions and gain insight to their way of life. After finishing your trip, I recommend exploring the small town of Strasburg, where you should definitely stop at the Strasburg Creamery (my recommended order would be the raspberry ice cream in a waffle cone- you won't regret it).
Local hikes - Just outside of the city center you'll find a plethora of hiking options ranging from 1 mile scenic strolls to full day hikes. My favorite half day, low key but high value hikes are Kelly's Run and Tucquan Glen. Tuquan Glen passes through many natural swimming holes, so be sure to pack a picnic and a swimsuit!
Strasburg Railroad - Whether you have little ones in tow or book the wine and cheese tickets, I highly recommend this iconic spot! Historic steam rides will take you through the gorgeous countryside. A perfect half day activity.
Decades - A perfect rainy day spot, Decades is a trendy 6 lane bowling alley downtown with all of your old school favorite arcade games. Retro vibes and true cocktails make this a happy stop on your trip. Come for a drink or stay for the whole day! Note that Decades is adults only from 8:30pm onwards.
Walking tours - The city of Lancaster offers incredible self-guided walking tour materials and free guided tours that delve deeper into the rich history of the area. Stop by the information desk outside of Central Market or head over to their website to find times for daily guided walks through historic downtown!
Places to eat & drink in Lancaster, PA
A true foodie paradise, Lancaster chock-full of amazing bites and bars. It's a town that values where food comes from and this informs each dish you'll try in this amazing city. These are just a few of my many favorites!
Rachel's Creperie - A local favorite, Rachel's Creperie serves both breakfast and lunch options. They do get busy on the weekends and don't take reservations, but service is quick and the food is always top notch! They do not serve alcohol, but you are able to bring champagne for mimosas at a corkage fee.
Shot & Bottle - A stone's throw away from Central Market, this is a perfect spot for a bloody mary and avocado toast before hitting the town. They happily accept reservations!
Southern Market - Great for a big group with diverse food preferences, Southern Market was originally a farmers' market in 1888 and now boasts a multitude of local vendors delivering everything from pizza to sushi. It also has an insane bar where the mixologists are top notch.
401 Prime - A special place, 401 prime is luxury in food and service. The bar area is exquisite, I recommend a stop here before dinner.
The Belvedere - A cozy, late night reservation at The Belvedere will make you believe you're anywhere but Lancaster, Pennsylvania. New York? Paris perhaps? London maybe, but with better food options?
Josephine's - A newer spot in town, Josephine's is located in the basement of C'Est La Vie (another favorite). Highly recommend the crab cakes here!
Log Cabin - A bit of a drive, but the history of this place and the incredible steak options are worth all the hype (and then some). Very old school, dependably excellent.
The Exchange - located on the rooftop of the Marriott Hotel, The Exchange boasts gorgeous views and excellent cocktails. I recommend securing a reservation for outside around sunset time. Cheers!
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to travel to Pennsylvania.