Welcome to Lancaster County! We think Lancaster County is one of the most fascinating destinations and it seems that many agree. More than eight million people visit this central Pennsylvania county each year. Many come to learn about the Amish and Pennsylvania German culture but are soon surprised to find much more. In many ways Lancaster County is a paradox, where the old and the new co-exist in harmony. Where a thriving avant-garde art scene lives in close proximity to the traditional arts of fractur and quilting handed down from our German ancestors. Eat breakfast at a hip, European style café. Eat lunch at a Pennsylvania Dutch smorgasbord. Try one of the many locally made craft breweries or wineries. Enjoy an evening at the theatre or take the family to an Amish farm. Do you prefer sophistication or simplicity… perhaps a little bit of both? You’ll find it in Lancaster County.
Destination Lancaster is your in-room concierge, designed to help you make the most of your visit to Lancaster County. You’ll learn about Lancaster’s rich history and where to experience it first-hand. You can tour Lancaster County by car, bus, buggy, scooter or even hot air balloon, and we’ll help you get started. Looking for a romantic getaway or fun for the entire family? Your stay will be a memorable one with Destination Lancaster as your guide.
Much of Lancaster County’s charm is rooted in its proud history. Lancaster is the United States’ oldest inland city and played a crucial role in the growth and prosperity of the young nation. Great leaders rose to national prominence while living here. Walk in the footsteps of revolutionary war hero General Edward Hand at the famous Rockford Plantation. Be inspired by the ingenuity of Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat. Feel the passion of abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. Relive the tribulations of Pennsylvania’s only president, James Buchanan at his beautiful Wheatland Estate. Did you know that the Conestoga Wagon and the Pennsylvania Rifle were invented in Lancaster?
Of course, much of Lancaster’s history lives on today in the everyday lives of our Amish and Mennonite neighbors. Tradition is evident in the hex signs, horse and buggies and certainly the covered bridges that remind us of our past. We remain connected to our heritage through our famous Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Every recipe unlocks a cherished memory. Every morsel translates the care and friendship we feel for our friends and neighbors. Try a bite of shoofly pie and you’ll understand!
Nowhere is the seamless marriage of past and present more evident than the small towns of Lancaster County. These small towns and villages are thriving bastions of commerce while holding dear the past that makes them unique. In Strasburg, you can discover the storied history of the nation’s oldest continuously operated railroad or experience the spectacular awe of Sight and Sound Theatre. Take a walk on main street Lititz and you’ll understand why it was recently named America’s coolest small town. The antiquity of its humble origin is on full display in Moravian Square. The vibrant downtown fuses an eclectic blend of shops, restaurants and cafés that play host to countless festivals and craft shows. Meanwhile, Rock Lititz houses an industry cluster serving as the world’s foremost hub of innovation for the recording industry. From the Victorian architecture of Columbia to the farmers market of Bird-in-Hand, each town projects a unique charisma merging the past with the contemporary.
Looking for urban sophistication? Spend a day or two in Lancaster City. During the 1960s, downtown Lancaster was anchored by grand department stores. Soon, the department stores fled for the suburbs and in the wake of their exodus, a new Lancaster evolved. Today’s Lancaster is a celebration dedicated to fine food, art, music and culture. Begin your day at Lancaster Central Market. The oldest continuously operated farmers’ market in the country is the centerpiece of a “farm to table” movement that is a way of life in Lancaster County. Head north to the 300 block of North Queen Street. Here you’ll find artists and artisans, collections of handmade glass and jewelry and specialty clothing stores. Lancaster’s downtown art scene has grown to more than fifty galleries. The flourishing community supports established and emerging artists with equal enthusiasm. Independent restaurants and cafés of every genre embellish the distinctive character of Lancaster City. The Fulton Opera House is the country’s oldest operating theater presenting dance and theatrical productions while serving as home to the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. Hipsters will find more non-traditional enjoyment at Tellus360, a reclaimed furniture store transformed into the area’s hottest live music venue.
High quality entertainment doesn’t end at the city limits. The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre offers Broadway quality shows at very affordable ticket prices. The American Music theatre features more than 300 live musical performances every year. Learn about agriculture at the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, an actual 300 acre operating farm. Speaking of agriculture, where else but the Birdin-Hand Restaurant and Inn would you be able to have dinner in a corn field? Looking for more adventure? Try creating your own ice cream flavor at the Turkey Hill Experience. Still not tired? Cap your day off with an evening of baseball family fun with the Lancaster Barnstormers!
There’s one more sport that Lancaster County is famous for - bargain hunting! Lancaster is home to more than 150 factory outlet stores! Amish Country is also a mecca for handmade furniture with more than thirty stores that sell locally crafted items. True Lancaster County bargain hunters know that everything is for sale at one of our many local auction houses. The Green Dragon Farmer’s Market and Auction represents 400 growers, merchants and craftsman every Friday. Antique hunters know that Columbia is Lancaster’s best kept secret with close to a dozen antique stores within walking distance.
One thing should be certain by now - one trip will barely scratch the surface of the many treasures Lancaster County has to offer. That’s okay, we invite you to come back as often as you like. Your friends are welcome too. Destination Lancaster will be here to guide you to each new discovery!