Lancaster is home to a very diverse group of people. It is a strong agricultural town with various farmlands all over. It is a scenic place with lush vegetation and great produce. This is because the Amish dwell in and around Lancaster's many townships. The Amish are fairly isolated from the rest of the community, but they are acknowledged, respected, and not bothered. They are masters of farming and simple living, for they don't use electricity. They teach in their own schools, and they have their own churches. They get around by horse and buggy and they are easily seen, wearing black suits, hats, and bonnets. But that is not all Lancaster has to offer. Lancaster has evolved from Pennsylvania's capital back in 1799, before Harrisburg was named the capital in 1813, to a strong and well known city in Pennsylvania. It is actually the oldest inland city in the United States. Lancaster has grown into a modern and attractive city that has something to offer for all people of all ages. From the farms to the downtown offerings of the city, you will enjoy Lancaster.
Amtrak has frequent service to Lancaster train station located at 53 McGovern Avenue, near downtown Lancaster. For more information, see Amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Interstate highways lead most traffic into Lancaster County.
- I-76, also known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
- One of the most pleasant routes from the East Coast Cities is via I-78 through New Jersey to exit 13, Bethel (Pennsylvania), then Route 501 south to Lancaster. It is a beautiful farmland drive, especially at sunset.
- Another good routing from I-78 is exit 54A, US-222 South (Hamilton Boulevard). This is also very scenic, but a faster and more direct routing.
- A very nice, scenic drive that takes you through the heart of the Pennsylvania Amish Country is a connecting road between Route 30 West from Philadelphia and Old Philadelphia Pike, Newport Road. The gentle rolling hills take the road through open Amish farm land and passes by Pequea Valley High School. Not only is Newport Road a nice, refreshing, scenic road, it also bypasses all the traffic of the Lancaster Outlet areas and takes you to Old Philadelphia Pike which puts you right back on the highway portion route 30 towards York County
Lancaster Airport has non-stop service to Washington-Dulles on Sun Air International. There are more airlines and destinations operating from the airports in Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
Although you can pay for buggy rides in the rural areas, plan on having a car to get around. Some places and towns, such as the Rockvale Square retail outlets and the town of Intercourse, are easily navigable on foot. It is possible to tour the county by bicycle, but it shouldn't be attempted unless you're a cyclist who doesn't mind hills!
Public Transportation is provided by Red Rose Transit, however, don't expect it to be anything like metropolitan areas. Buses do not run often and service ends by 6PM!
- Online map and direction providers are usually very accurate in Lancaster County. They may be slightly confusing at times on back roads, but directions and mileage are very precise, especially along main routes.
- Lancastrian drivers are generally very polite, with notable exceptions; they will be courteous as long as you return the favor.
- You may pass the buggies. If you don't, locals will immediately peg you as a tourist. Keep an eye on oncoming traffic, activate your 4-way or hazard flashers for the duration of the manoeuvre, and pass quickly but safely, with sufficient distance from the horses.
- Yes, horses do relieve themselves on the road. If you must dodge "road apples", please be careful!
Travel By Limo
- Londonderry Limo Lancaster Limo Service +1 717 299-1007.
Although the Amish culture dates back hundreds of years, they have not done much to change their lifestyles. They are traditional and they have a strong sense of community. They exist inside a larger community and everyone gets along with out internal problems. They keep to themselves, but they give back to the outside Lancasterian community with their goods.
There are ways to learn about how the amish live. Here are some attractions to get informed about "The Simple People":
- Amish Experience F/X Theater, 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike Bird-in-Hand Pa
- The People's Place Quilt Museum, 3510 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA 17534 +1-800-828-8218
- Amish Country Tours, 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-In-Hand, PA 17505 +1 717 768-3600
- Mennonite Information Center, 2209 Millstream Rd. Lancaster Pa.
- Elizabethtown College. Founded by the Anabaptist Brethren, this college has a center dedicated to the study of Plain communities in America. The center employs several experts on Plain societies like the Amish and contains a one-of-a-kind library of resources on the Mennonite, Brethren, and Amish.
- The Ephrata Cloister. A beautiful historic site with original, 18th century buildings. Tours explain the lives of the German religious refugees that created the community in 1732.
- Franklin and Marshall College. Founded by Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall (separately, as Franklin College and Marshall College, respectively), this college is on the highest hill in the city of Lancaster.
- Millersville University, PO Box 1002 1 South George St. Millersville, PA 17551, ☎ +1 717 872-3011. Founded over 150 years ago today, Millersville University is one of the most highly regarded public universities in its region of the United States.
- Strasburg Rail Road. All aboard America's oldest short-line railroad, where you'll ride authentically restored passenger cars pulled by a huge, coal-burning steam locomotive. See our Amish neighbors up close as they work and play on nearby farms.
- Plain and Fancy Farm. Good all-around tour of the Amish community including a restaurant, bus tours and a movie. Particularly good if you're a foreign visitor without a car.
- Antiques Capital. The Antiques Capital in Adamstown is the premier year-around antiques destination with 5,000 quality dealers, farm markets, golf courses, easy access to Lancaster and Reading outlet centers, auto racing, micro brewery, fine lodging, dining, camping, Amish and Mennonite culture and more.
- Bird-in-Hand Village. A visit to the Village of Bird-in-Hand is like returning to a bygone era. Here you will find friendly shopkeepers, homegrown Lancaster County foods and restful lodging for weary travelers. An old-fashioned Farmer's Market lies in the center of town where you can purchase fresh foods, handmade crafts and homegrown produce. The town's Old Village Store is still open for business, filled with unique and nostalgic inventory.
- Intercourse Merchants Association Group. Intercourse is the hub where the Amish and local folks do their business and host thousands of visitors each year. The beautiful Amish farms surround the Village which is on the Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340), earlier known as King's Highway, in Eastern Lancaster County. Intercourse is in close proximity to all Lancaster County attractions and in particular, the sister villages of Bird-in-Hand and Strasburg.
- Historic Lancaster City. The City of Lancaster was established in 1730 and is now designated as one of the largest historic areas of the country. Begin your tour of the city at the Visitor’s Center near Central Market Center, corner of Queen and King Streets.
- The first successful Woolworth five-and-dime store operated in Lancaster on July 18, 1879. While neither of the original local Woolworth buildings is still standing, the National Christmas Center has a reproduction of the original store with many original Woolworth's Christmas items, the Lancaster Historical Society has a large collection of Woolworths-related material and the various walking tours of downtown Lancaster show the sites and tell the story.
- Lititz. Visit the historic village which of Lititz. Founded in 1756, Lititz is known for its quaint, tree-lined streets and historic district, its many unique shops, museums, businesses, inns, bed and breakfasts, and much more! Don't forget to visit the famous Wilbur Chocolate, Sturgis Pretzel, and explore the many side streets and shopping district treasures!
- Amish Buggy Rides: You may have to travel a little to experience this. In Bird-in-Hand Pa, Abe's Buggy Rides takes you on a scenic tour of Lancaster county
- Amish Village. Enjoy an educational guided tour through this 1840's farm house furnished as a typical Lancaster County Old Order Amish house. Grounds include barn with farm animals, operating water wheel, smoke house with PA Dutch foods, blacksmith shop with tools of the smithy's trade, village gift shop and picnic area after tour.
- Choo Choo Barn - Traintown U.S.A.. See Lancaster County and America captured in miniature in hand-built detail. Featuring more than 140 animated figures and vehicles and 18 operating trains.
- Covered Bridges Lancaster county has many covered bridges. It is a tradition that the passenger pays a toll to the driver when crossing a covered bridge. This generally takes the form of a kiss.
- Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park. It's A KINGDOM FOR KIDS! Especially suited for younger children. Families with pre-teens may prefer nearby Hersheypark.
- First Fridays. Lancaster's First Fridays are an exhilarating celebration of the arts! Every month, without exception, we showcase the arts in downtown Lancaster. Walk around and explore our 70+ arts venues. You'll find new exhibitions, live music, theatrical performances, artist receptions, and fun surprises, too.
- Lancaster Barnstormers Baseball. An independent baseball team that plays in the Atlantic League. Very competitive baseball with very reasonable ticket prices. All home games are played at Clipper Magazine Stadium in the James Street District of downtown Lancaster.
- Landis Valley Museum. Largest Pennsylvania Dutch Living History Farm & Village in the country, interpreting German Heritage from 1740-1940, including tours and traditional craft demonstrations.
- Laserdome. High-tech fun park, with laser tag, virtual reality and laser theater. Even as an adult, you will havea lot of fun. They offer laser shows that play to the music of the Doors, and the Rolling Stones.
- Leisure Lanes Bowling and Golfing Center. Go bowling in the winter, and mini golfing in the summer. If you are adventurous, you could do both in a days time. Bowling lane is open 24 hours a day.
- Anderson Pretzel Bakery, 2060 Old Philadelphia Pike. These pretzels are delicious. They offer free tours to see how they are made and learn a little about the history of the bakery. The tour ends with, of course, a sampling of their great pretzels. You can buy them, and other snack foods to take home to the family and relive the experience later.
- Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, 510 Centerville Road. You may have heard about dinner and a movie, but how about dinner and a broadway show. This is the place to go for quite an experience. This place has a fun atmosphere which is great for groups to come and dine and watch a broadway performance. Friends, food and theater. Nothing can beat that
- Balloon Flights Daily, 2300 Lincoln Highway. Lancaster is a beautiful and scenic place to see when you drive around. It is even more beautiful from the sky. You can ride a hot air balloon and relax in the sky.
- American Music Theater, 2425 Lincoln Highway. Yet another great place to see a performance. Great for a romatic date or just for pleasure.
- Central Market, Downtown. The oldest, continuously operating farmer's market in the country! A must-see! You can find just about anything here. The Amish and local vendors all bring their products to sell here. Everywhere you walk, you will see and smell all kinds of food. The market is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 6AM to 4PM and Saturdays from 6AM to 2PM.
- Hands-On-House, 721 Landis Valley Road. This is a great place to take your kids. This interactive museum allows kids to explore their senses and touch everything.
- Wheatland, 1120 Marrietta Av. This is the home of President James Buchanan. They give costumed tours of his historical mansion. This place has been around for ages and has a lot of history inside the walls.
- Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 N. Prince Street. This new establishment is home to the Lancaster Barnstormers, our newest baseball team. The tickets are cheap and the games are always fun. In the winter time, they turn the stadium into an ice skating rink.
- Lancaster Malt Brewing Company, 302 N. Plum Street. Great food, great micro brews, and you can see how it is all made with the tours they have to offer.
- Chameleon Club, 223 N. Water St. This is the best concert venue in Lancaster city. All kinds of artists come through to play for the locals. They have a constant calendar to remind you months in advance of who is playing and when. They also cater to parties in the Lizard Lounge
- Long's Park, Harrisburg Pike, ☎ +1 717 735-8883. In the summer Long's Park has "Summer Music Series", which is free concerts being held at the park each Sunday. Also, the park has an annual "Art's and Craft" festival which showcases 200 top artists and craftspeople from across the United States, Canada and beyond. Long's Park is also known for their annual Sertoma Chicken Barbecue (known as the World's largest chicken barbecue in the Genius Book of World Records!)
- Amish Farm and House, 2395 Lincoln Hwy. E., ☎ +1 717 394-6185. This 200-year old farmhouse provides great insight into the Amish lifestyle.
- Allimax Farm Trail Rides, 4606 Marietta Avenue Columbia, PA 17512, ☎ +1 717 669-2042. A perfect place to have a family trail ride! Supervised horseback riding on farm trails along the scenic Chiques Creek. Trail rides can be scheduled for a 1 1/2 hour, 1/2 day or a full day of riding pleasure.
Malls & Outlets
- Park City Center. Visit the area’s largest indoor shopping center with over 150 fashion retailers and numerous dining and entertainment options.
Lancastrians are well known for their local food. Although there are many "chain" restaurants around, such as Texas Roadhouse, Fuddruckers, Ruby Tuesdays, Panera Bread, Friendly's, McDonald's, Arby's, and Burger King.
- Pine View Acres Dairy 2225 New Danville Pike. +1 717 872-5486. This is NOT a "sit down" restaurant, but is definitely a must see! This dairy is a small, old fashion convenient store. Pine View is very inexpensive and sells the best homemade ice cream, juice, and milk (the beverages are in bags, just like elementary school days!). There is also an area to pet baby cows. This is a great place to visit with friends and family on a relaxing, sunny day.
- Brickyard. Great bar food and specials, near the Clipper Stadium.
- El Serrano Mexican/Peruvian Restaurant in a very atmospheric castle. Food is high quality. 2151 Columbia Ave +1 717 397-6191
- House of Pizza in Willow Street is a family oriented cash-n-carry restaurant located just minutes south of the city in the small community of Willow Street. Besides pizza, local favorites include stromboli, fresh cut french fries, and many soft serve ice cream choices. Locals enjoy ice cream at the picnic tables on warm summer evenings.
- Lemon Grass Thai Restaurant, 2481 Lincoln Hwy (across from Rockvale Square Outlets), ☎ +1 717 295-1621. Great food and colorful menu names like "Evil Jungle Princess", "Young Girl On Fire".
- Lyndon City Line Diner 1370 Manheim Pike. +1 717 398-4878. Most popular diner in Lancaster with a huge menu of items. This place ALWAYS seems to be crowded. Great location. Be prepared to wait for a table during busier times, especially on Sunday mornings after church.
- Neptune Diner. Classic diner on the north side of the city.
- Olde Hickory Inn, 709 Olde Hickory Rd (north of town, off Oregon Pike), ☎ +1 717 569-3590. Very good breakfasts at good prices. Can get very crowded, especially on Sunday mornings after church lets out.
- Shady Maple Smorgasbord, 1344 E Main St. East Earl (Route 23 at Routes 897 and 625). You have never experienced anything like this. Shady Maple's breakfast, lunch, and dinner smorgasbord of food has everything you could ever want to eat. There is almost too much food here. It is a great place to go with the whole family or a large group of friends.
- Taj Mahal, 2080 Bennett Ave. Indian food. The naan, or flat bread is delicious and they have all kinds of curry dishes.
- Villa Nova West Sport Bar & Restaurant, 2833 Columbia Ave. This bar/restaurant is great for all ages. Very friendly staff with a fun atmosphere! Absolutely must try the steak tip sandwich AND an appetizer of "wing zings".
- Willow Tree Restaurant & Smorgasbord, 2416 Willow Street Pike, ☎ +1 717-464-2716. PA Dutch favorites, Thomas family recipe fried chicken, beef vegetable soup.
- Good 'N Plenty Restaurant, 150 Eastbrook Rd. (Rt. 896) Smoketown, PA, ☎ +1 717 394-7111. PA Dutch favorites served all-you-can-eat family style, from the menu, or to go. Souvenir shop and bakery.
- Belvedere Inn, 402 N Queen St. This is in the city, near lots of bars and restaurants. Two story restaurant with seasonal outdoor for amazing food and drinks in one of the nicest bars in town. No lodging, great piano bar on second floor
Up until Prohibition, Lancaster had several fine breweries which earned it the reputation as Munich on the Conestoga. With the resurgence of microbrewing in the last decade or so, a few new breweries have cropped up. If you want to get your favorite mass-produced, lowest common denominator, lite beer, there are more than enough bars and restaurants to patronize. But these three establishments are worth checking out, particularly if you're a beer connoisseur.
Note regarding alcohol sales: - Under Pennsylvania law, beer purchased at various beverage outlets can only be sold in quantities no less than 1 case. Smaller quantities can be purchased, but only at bars that offer carry-out service.
- Alley Cat, 30 E Lemon St. Delicious pizza (and cheap too). Plus low-to medium price range for drinks ($3-4.50 for a mixed drink) and a good amount of seating for those less interested in sitting at the bar. Young to middle-aged crowd most nights.
- Annie Bailey's Irish Pub, 28 E King St # 30. Your typical Irish Pub. Good atmoshphere for the older folks. Very large deck recently built to handle the smoking crowd and the addition of an "Irish Tiki Bar". Solid middle price range ($3.50-5 for a mixed drink) and good food. Young professional crowd over lunch, college students on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Brendee's Cafe, 449 West Lemon, ☎ +1 727 397-8646. The pit stop for those who live on the West End of Lancaster. Good food, good prices, good staff. Smoking is permitted inside. Low to medium price range ($3.50-5 for a mixed drink). Usually a neighborhood crowd, some young locals mixed in. Limited seating in the back. Excellent jukebox. The Dutchland Rollers (the local roller derby team) sometimes calls this bar home.
- Bube's Brewery. Bube's Brewery is an intact historic 19th century brewery and museum complex located in Mount Joy, PA. Bube's has had a few different restaurants operating for several years:
- Chauncey's Pub, 6049 Main St, East Petersburg.
- Hildys, 448 West Franklin St, ☎ +1 717 397-1384. Local watering hole. Drinks only, no food, therefore: you can smoke inside, it can get thick at times. Older local crowd before 8PM, Franklin and Marshall students and younger crowd after that. Mostly bar seating, some tables. Low to medium in terms of drink prices ($3-5 for a mixed drink).
- Lancaster Brewing Co. This micro brewery crafts a wide variety of brews and also serve food as well. The Amish 4 grain Pale Ale is their specialty. They make seasonal beers as well like their Pumpkin spice ale for the Fall.
- Lizard Lounge, 223 N. Prince St. Best place to go to hang out with the "hip" crowd. Bottom floor of The Chameleon Club. Open Tu-Su. Usually a drink special ($1 beers, $2 wells) on weeknights. DJ's on Tuesdays, sometimes Wednesdays. Karaoke on Thursdays. Biggest party in town on First Friday.
- Lucky Dog Cafe, 1942 Columbia Ave, ☎ +1 717 392-9208. Good for both younger and older crowds. Fun bar atmosphere. Must try the wings and on Thursday's try the $.25 great tasting shrimp.
- Rock Hill Tavern, 1684 Long Lane Millersville, ☎ +1 717 872-7505. Tavern that has a great atmosphere and tasty food.
- Shamrock Cafe, 312 West Walnut, ☎ +1 717 299-2927. The downtown "blue collar" bar. Low prices for drinks. Smoking friendly. Pool table. The bartenders here are the old school sort: if you tip well, and they get to know your name, you will be taken care of. Limited take out options. Has an undeserved reputation for being a "rough" joint, but pay no mind. Give it a shot and make some new friends.
- Stoudt's Brewing Company. Has the distinction of being the first micro brewery in Pennsylvania and has won several awards for its brews.
- Tally-Ho Tavern, 201 W. Orange St, ☎ +1 717 299-0661. A very nice, gay-friendly bar in the downtown area. Medium to upper price range ($5-7 dollars a mixed drink) but well worth it. Bartenders are very friendly and make a stiff cocktail. Smoking friendly. Small dance floor. This place is relatively quiet before 11PM, but packed by 2AM.
- The Artist's Inn, 117 East Main, Terre Hill, toll-free: +1-888-999-4479. Romantic B&B in small town surrounded by Amish farms. Hear the clip-clop of Amish buggies as they pass by. Fireplaces, jacuzzis, gourmet breakfasts await.
- Best Western Eden Resort & Suites, 222 Eden Road, ☎ +1 717 569-6444. Great service, a large banquet area, a pool and weight room. Has two full restaurants.
- Cameron Estate Inn, 1855 Mansion Lane, Mt Joy Pa (Three miles south of Rheems Elizabethtown exit off 283), ☎ +1 717 492-0111. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11:00AM. Historic Country Inn with reasonable prices, many times lower than the Holiday inn. Secluded on 15 Acres surrounded by farmland. There is also a restaurant on site.
- The Fulton Steamboat Inn, 1 Hartman Bridge Rd, Lancaster, PA (Intersection of routes 30 & 896), ☎ +1 717 299-9999, toll-free: +1-800-922-2229. The hotel is shaped like, and decorated like, a paddle-wheel steamboat. $179.
- Holiday Inn Express - Lancaster, 24 S. Willowdale Drive, ☎ +1 717 293-9500. Situated just off of routes 30 & 896, surrounded by the Rockvale Outlets and located in the heart of the "Amish" countryside.
- King's Cottage Bed & Breakfast, 1049 East King Street, ☎ +1 717 397-1017. B&B rooms with cozy fireplaces, spa. $160-295.
- Lancaster Arts Hotel. This hotel is near downtown Lancaster. It has a top-notch restaurant that changes seasonally, and a beautiful interior.
- Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, 25 South Queen Street, ☎ +1 717 239-1600. 300-room hotel near center of downtown. The Penn Square Grille restaurant is located on-site.
- Sunset Valley Motel, 2288 New Holland Pike, +1 717 656-2091. Clean, quiet, and comfortable. Located away from busy Route 30, but only takes a few minutes to drive to all the tourist areas. All rooms have cable TV and microwave oven/refrigerators.
- Willow Valley Inn & Suites, 2416 Willow Street Pike, ☎ +1 717 464-2711. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 12 noon. Scenic family-friendly resort hotel including pool view rooms and suites for up to 10 people. Recreational facilities including water park, golf and tennis. Willow Tree Restaurant and Smorgasbord plus an on-site bakery. Free Wi-Fi, parking and shuttle to the airport, train and bus stations.
- The Red Caboose Motel, 312 Paradise Lane, Ronks, ☎ +1 717 687-5000, toll-free: +1-888-687-5005. All of the rooms are converted railroad cabooses. The restaurant is a real dining car. Located next door to the National Toy Train museum and near the Strasburg railroad and the Choo-Choo barn. Free petting zoo on site. Observation tower on site. Rooms are not fancy and Wi-Fi coverage is spotty. $139.
- Doubletree Resort at Willow Valley, 2400 Willow Street Pike, ☎ +1 717 464-2711. 32" flat panel TVs, complimentary wireless high-speed internet access. 9-hole golf course, lighted tennis courts, indoor pool, fitness center, game room, playground. On-site Victorian Chapel.
- Lancaster Host Resort & Conference Center, 2300 Lincoln Highway East, ☎ +1 717-299-5500. (Route 30). 319 room and suites, an 18 hole championship golf course, indoor/outdoor pools, game rooms, two restaurants and a lounge.
Nearby destinations suitable for day trips include:
- Gettysburg — Explore Civil War country.
- Harrisburg — Explore the Capital of Pennsylvania.
- Hershey — Explore chocolate country.
- Mount Gretna — Explore Central PA country.
- York — Explore Central PA country.
|Routes through Lancaster|
|Harrisburg ← Elizabethtown ←||W E||→ Coatesville → Philadelphia|
|Harrisburg ← Elizabethtown ←||W E||→ Exton → Philadelphia|
|Pittsburgh ← York ←||W E||→ Coatesville → Philadelphia|
|Ends at S N ←||S N||→ Jct → Reading|