Founded in 1730, Lancaster, Pennsylvania is one of America’s oldest inland cities. Its quaint, tree-lined streets and numerous historical buildings can keep history buffs entertained for days.
Modern Lancaster features a thriving contemporary arts scene which is centered at Gallery Row. Enjoy shopping for art and unique goods or explore the town center to find numerous other boutique stores.
Be alert for horses and buggies belonging to the local Amish and Mennonite communities who farm the surrounding land as they have done for centuries. From spring to fall, head to Plain and Fancy Farm to tour a typical Amish community and enjoy a farm-to-table meal. Shop for a handmade Amish quilt at small farm stands in the area.
The Amish also sell their wares at Central Market. Built in 1889, this is one of America’s longest continually running markets. Visit any day of the week to find fresh local produce and handmade souvenirs.
Several more attractions in Lancaster are famed for being among America’s oldest. Climb aboard a coal-powered locomotive at Strasburg Rail Road, one of the country’s first short-line railroads, or attend a performance at Fulton Opera House, the oldest continually running opera house in America. Pay a visit to Bird-in-Hand Village, an old-style community which pays testament to Lancaster’s long history. Attend its Broadway-style stage performance with an old-fashioned theme.
The city of Lancaster is relatively small at 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) across, but having a car to get around is advised, especially if you want to visit some of the nearby attractions such as the historic streets of Lititz or the Hershey’s Chocolate Factory.
If you’re not driving, the best way to get to Lancaster is by train from Philadelphia, 80 miles (129 kilometers) east or from other East Coast cities. The mild climate and abundance of Lancaster’s indoor attractions mean that any time of year is good to discover this colorful and unique city.