Situated in South Central Pennsylvania and one of the oldest inland towns in the United States, Lancaster has a charm that no one can resist. Visiting this town is like a step back in time with amazing museums and outstanding scenery. With a stunning backdrop of picturesque rolling green hills, big blue sky, and red-brick buildings, it offers some of the best campsites in Lancaster County. If you’re looking for more conventional accommodation options, there are plenty of top Airbnbs as well as the best Vrbo vacation rentals to choose from. This town has plenty of hidden gems–spots that should not be missed. Check out our list of the best non-touristy things to do in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
This new experience combines history and craft beer so participants can plunge into a cool learning experience. Revisit Lancaster’s rich history with a great host guiding you through a few blocks’ walk, with local craft beer served at the stops. Sounds fun, right? You’ll start off in the hub of Lancaster, and the tour will take you through colonial churches, Lancaster’s farmers’ market, old houses, and theaters. Down at the city’s esteemed craft beer establishments, you’ll enjoy the finest craft beers Lancaster has to offer. If you’re travelling with your significant other, this is definitely one of the most romantic things you can enjoy as a couple.
Lancaster history and craft beer walk
Duration: 2.5 hours
2. Indulge in some freshly made food at the Kitchen Kettle Village
If you want to taste the goodness which Lancaster offers, then Kitchen Kettle Village is a must-try. From its jams to relishes to homemade baked goods, and great food, let this place surprise you. Not only that, with over 40 distinct merchants that offer everything from jewelry to locally homemade crafts to pottery and popular brands, this place is one you have to visit.
Kitchen Kettle Village
Address: 3529 Old Philadelphia Pike Intercourse, PA 17534
Website: Kitchen Kettle Village
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
Price: from 20 USD
3. Get thrilled at Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Sky Zone Trampoline Park is one of the best Lancaster attractions for kids. How about spending a little time to burn off some energy? There is a small arcade area and rock climbing available, or if you are competitive enough, then a dodgeball tournament is right for you. Don’t worry, adults can have some fun, too. This is a great place to spend some simple quality time together with your family.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Address: 1701 Hempstead Rd #102, Lancaster, PA 17601, USA
Website: Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 4pm; Fri: 4pm - 10pm; Sat: 10am - 11pm; Sun: 10am - 8pm
Price: 25 USD
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4. Explore the National Watch and Clock Museum
One of the most unique things to do in Lancaster is to check out National Watch and Clock Museum. Renowned as the biggest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America, National Watch and Clock Museum will catch your attention, as this is one of the very few museums in the United States which is solely passionate about horology–a field of study for measuring time and the art of making clocks and watches.
National Watch and Clock Museum
Address: 514 Poplar St, Columbia, PA 17512, USA
Website: National Watch and Clock Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm, Sun: 12pm - 4pm
Price: from 5 USD
5. Shop and explore the historic Central Market
Situated in Penn Square, Central Market or Lancaster Central Market has something for everyone, from traditional and unique meats to cheeses to chocolates to fresh produce to flowers–everything you could be looking for is here. The building is gorgeous and all vendors here are friendly. For more retail therapy, you can always check out the top shopping malls in Lancaster.
Address: 23 N Market St, Lancaster, PA 17603, USA
Website: Central Market
Opening hours: Tues & Fri: 6am - 4pm; Sat: 6am - 2pm (closed on Sun & Mon, Wed & Thu)
6. Be amazed at splendid performances at American Music Theatre
With a 1,600-seat theatre and 300 live concerts and performances each year, indeed, American Music Theatre will rock your world. Everything here is world-class and you get to enjoy a variety of performances, from the trendiest country music concerts to rock concerts and even comedy club performances. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! After watching a show, you can treat yourself to some delectable American cuisine in one of these top restaurants in Lancaster.
American Music Theatre
Address: 2425 Lincoln Hwy E, Lancaster, PA 17602, USA
Website: American Music Theatre
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
Price: from 17.50 USD
7. Explore something new at the Ephrata Cloister
Historic Ephrata Cloister, a religious community, has lured many visitors especially families with its incredible architecture, outstanding art, significant publications, and original music. It has plenty of interesting and fascinating facts about early Ephrata, plus you’ll get to know the community’s unique lifestyle as well.
Address: 632 W Main St, Ephrata, PA 17522, USA
Website: Ephrata Cloister
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm
Price: from 6 USD
8. Take your journey to Indian Steps Museum
Situated at Lower Chanceford Township on stunning Susquehanna River, Indian Steps Museum is the place for a journey to the past. It features very detailed and incredible photos and exhibits, a store that sells great stuff with affordable prices, and features exciting activities for all. This is one of the hidden gems in Lancaster.
Indian Steps Museum
Address: 205 Indian Steps Rd, Airville, PA 17302, USA
Website: Indian Steps Museum
Opening hours: Thu & Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat & Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon - Wed)
Price: 5 USD
9. Catch monster truck shows at Buck Motorsports Park
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Lancaster, then make your way to Buck Motorsports Park. Heart-pounding, exciting, and chilling down to your spine–get ready as monster truck shows at Buck Motorsports Park will give you once-in-a-lifetime spectacles. This is the place where cool people who love trucks hang out, where they love to see tractor/truck pulls, demolition derbies, mud bogs, and more.
Buck Motorsports Park
Address: 900 Lancaster Pike, Quarryville, PA 17566, USA
Website: Buck Motorsports Park
Opening hours: Depends on event, gates open at 5pm
Price: 5 USD
10. Family-friendly fun at Dutch Wonderland
For a fun day out with your family in Lancaster, head over to Dutch Wonderland. This massive amusement park is spread over a large area and the beautiful castle-like entrance of the park welcomes visitors of all kinds, especially families with small children. There are plenty of things to do here, including thrilling rides, activities, and more. Check out Merlin’s Mayhem, Duke’s Lagoon, Bumper Cars, Joust Family Coaster, Kite Flight, Gondola Cruise, and more such amazing family-friendly rides at the park.
Address: 2249 Lincoln Hwy E, Lancaster, PA 17602, United States
Website: Dutch Wonderland
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Price: from 42.99 USD
11. Visit President James Buchanan's house 'Wheatland'
Built in 1828, Wheatland is the home of President James Buchanan. With a Federal-style architecture prevalent at that time, this house sits on a vast acreage of land and consists of the main house and outhouses. Visitors can take guided tours of the main house and explore the history of the famous residents of the house, including Presiden Buchanan, understand the political atmosphere of Civil War era and also get a glimpse into the lifestyle of that time. Dressed in period costumes, the guides will take you through various rooms of the house where you can see classic furnishings, fixtures, artifacts, memorabilia, and more.
Address: 1120 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603, United States
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 3pm (closed on Sun)
12. Catch a play at Fulton Theatre
For a bit of culture and entertainment in Lancaster, pay a visit to Fulton Theatre located in the historic downtown area. This beautiful theatre is said to be one of the oldest operational theatres in the country and is a National Historic Landmark too. The stunning performance hall of the theatre has beautiful period architecture and details that will enthral you. You can watch Broadway and Off-Broadway plays here like Jersey Boys, Titanic, Evita, and more for a night of quality theatre and entertainment.
Address: 12 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603, United States
Website: Fulton Theatre
Opening hours: per show timings
Price: ticket rates vary
Enjoy the authentic Lancaster experience by discovering its rich culture and history while strolling through its byways and visiting historic spots. Avoid the usual bustle and nuisance of large tourist crowds and, instead, experience a private and personal exploration with a company of up to 10 people. The guides, who are natives of the area, will share information not known to the general public. Visit the iconic covered bridges and the Amish creamery. Indulge in their homemade ice cream, take photos of their sceneries, visit Amish farms, and more!
Truly Authentic Lancaster Experience
Duration: 2.5 hours
Kickstart your morning and begin your day with a running tour of the city of Lancaster. If you are the active type and would like to avoid tourists on your visit here, then this run is definitely for you. You’ll start early in the morning with your host, an avid runner who has a deep understanding of the city’s history. You’ll run a 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) loop from Penn Square in downtown Lancaster and pass by several historical structures like President James Buchanan’s Wheatland, Gallery Row, Thaddeus Steven’s home and grave, and more. After the run, enjoy a light breakfast and coffee with your guide.
Wake Up & Explore Downtown Lancaster Run
Duration: 1.5 hours
If you’re wondering what to do in Lancaster at night, how about going on a ghost tour? Indeed, Lancaster has a beautiful past, but, did you know that this awesome city has long-forgotten mysteries that will tingle your senses and blow your mind? For one-and-a-half hours, journey through the candlelight tour of downtown and hear haunting and scary stories from the book of Ghost Stories of Lancaster, which has everything from fatal curses to eternal vigils to star-crossed lovers and more.
Ghost Tour of Lancaster
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Lancaster's hidden gems
Lancaster has so much to offer from world-class attractions to plenty of tours; plus, the locals are genuine and friendly. You can just stroll or even just laze around and breathe in some fresh country air at Long’s Park or in one of the parks here. Why not call your buddies and families and together discover the hidden gems of this town? Venture out and try these non-touristy things in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
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