Visiting Lancaster Pennsylvania is like a step back in time. Known for being Pennsylvania Dutch Country or Amish Country, Lancaster has much more to offer than just that. With its beautiful backdrop of picturesque rolling green hills, red-brick downtown, and big blue sky it’s easy to understand why Lancaster, PA is one of the oldest inland towns in the USA.
We spent a day exploring the area on a recent trip to the east coast and loved it. We put together our list of top things to do in Lancaster Pennsylvania and depending on how much time you have you’ll want to pick and choose what you’re interested in.
The Amish Village
The Amish Village provides a glimpse into today’s Amish and Mennonite culture in Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country. The house walking tour gives you a great introduction to Amish culture regarding their history, living without electricity, clothing, and lifestyle. The farm comes complete with farm petting area with horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, cows, and chickens. You can feed them but be sure to bring change the gumball style feeders are 25 cents each and there’s no change machine. Around the farm, they have a single room schoolhouse, blacksmith and buggies that you can get in. Although this is not a working Amish Farm it is a great introduction to Amish and Mennonite culture.
- Address: 199 Hartman Bridge Rd, Ronks, PA 17572
- Hours: 10:00AM – 4:00PM
- Cost: $10 house walking tour 25min (recommended tour) $29 house and bus tour
The Amish Farm and House
Don’t let the location next to the Target store turn you away from the Amish Farm and House. The tour guides give an extremely informative Amish and Mennonite cultural tours. The walking tour takes you around an authentic Amish Farm House that was built in the 1805 and was a working farm up until 1955. During the house tour, you learn about the different rooms of the house and how the Amish live without electricity and much more. The house sits on a 15-acre farm which is more of just a farm petting area with goats and horses and a corn maze.
However, if you are looking for a real working Amish farm this is not it.
- Address: 2395 Covered Bridge Dr, Lancaster, PA 17602
- Hours: 10:00AM – 4:00PM
- Cost: $7.95 (farm only)
- $9.95 house walking tour 25min (recommended tour)
- $29.99 house and bus tour
Located in historic downtown Lancaster, PA, the Fulton Opera House Theatre was built in 1852 and is reportedly the oldest working theatre in the United States. This theatre was named after Robert Fulton who developed the first commercially viable steamboat. You can see a statue of him front and center on the facade of the building. I always recommend seeing a show when visiting a theatre but if you don’t have the time they offer tours of the Fulton.
- Address: 12 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603
- Tours ($5 adults, $2 students, minimum total $35)
Lancaster Central Market
The Central Market is a must visit everytime you go to Lancaster! The Lancaster Central Market is the original farmers market and is the oldest continuously operated market (since 1730) in the US. It has a great selection of prepared foods and fresh local ingredients. I recommend you pick up some local meats, baked goods, horseradish, and scrapple for the adventurous.
- Address: 23 N Market St, Lancaster, PA 17603
- Open Tues and Fri (6 am – 4 pm), Sat (6 am – 2 pm)
- Parking can be difficult. Be patient and look at this map.
If you have small children Dutch Wonderland is a great way to spend a day in Lancaster, PA. Dutch Wonderland is a 48-acre amusement park that features 32 rides and a water park called Duke’s Lagoon. The new rollercoaster Merlin’s Mayhem (2018) was a much-needed upgrade to the rides at this park. They have extended hours for Halloween and Christmas.
- Address: 2249 Lincoln Hwy E, Lancaster, PA 1760
- Cost: $34.99
Strasburg Rail Road
The Strasburg Rail Road is great fun for kids of all ages from 2 – 90. Climb aboard and relax on an authentically restored passenger car at the Strasburg Rail Road. Ridding along on a 45-minute, fully-narrated tour, driven by a real steam locomotive on America’s oldest operating railroad. You can ride first class, dine aboard, get off and picnic in the groves or just sit and enjoy the ride around 2,500 acres of untouched Amish farmland.
- Address: 301 Gap Rd, Ronks, PA 17572
- Train Times: 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm
- Coach – $15.50 – Child – $8.50
- First Class – $21, Child – $21
- Dining Car – $17.50 (not including meal) Child – $10.50
American Music Theatre
The American Music Theatre hosts over 300 show’s a year from Grammy winners to hit Broadway Tours. If you’re going to spend a weekend in Lancaster you’ll probably see some great options on the calendar. Also, this is one of the few good options for nightlife in sleepy Lancaster, PA.
Wheatland, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
James Buchanan, 15th president of the United States, purchased this large Federal style house and its 22 acres of land near Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1848. A Unionist and moderate Democrat, Buchanan won the presidential election in 1856, because voters hope that he could calm the bitter disputes between the North and South about slavery. In March 1861, James Buchanan retired to Wheatland with the country on the brink of war. He was the only president who never married.
- Address: 1120 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603-2550
- Hours: 10:00AM – 4:00PM
- Tours: Monday – Saturday at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm