Category Archives: Kids & Family

Five Farmers Markets in Lancaster, PA

As the sun rises, market stand holders are hard at work, preparing their offerings for an exciting day at the farmers market in Lancaster, PA. From local produce picked just days before to baked goods and ready-to-eat foods cooked with passion and care, you’re sure to be pleased by the Lancaster County offerings. Wander the aisles, ask questions and enjoy the community vibes that fill the atmosphere.

Grab a basket or a reusable tote bag to carry your market finds in, and head off to one of Lancaster, PA’s fantastic farmers markets. Be sure to keep the day of the week and time in mind, as markets are open select hours on select days.

Lancaster Central Market
Open Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays

In the heart of Downtown Lancaster, Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the United States, and was honored by CNN on their “10 of the world’s best fresh markets” list. With a spectacular array of fresh local produce, specialty foods, beautiful flowers, and responsibly sourced meats and seafood, Lancaster Central Market is a “must-visit” while in the area. Experience the culture and community vibes while you grab lunch and coffee – a great way to enjoy the market.

Don’t forget to look up! The market building, built in 1889, features beautiful wooden beams that are a reminder of architecture of the past.

Root’s Country Market & Auction
Open Tuesdays

If you find yourself in Lancaster on a Tuesday, make Root’s Country Market & Auction your first spot. Root’s (pronounced with an “o” sound like “look”) has over 200 stand holders with goods ranging from antiques, collectables and sports memorabilia, to local produce, meats and cheeses, and ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore – Root’s is made up of nine buildings, plus some outdoor stands, when weather permits.

Craving pizza? Believe it or not – Root’s is home to the 2016 USA Caputo Cup New York Style Pizza Champion, Norma Knepp, who is serving up tasty pizza pies in building number four.

Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market
Open Wednesdays (April-November), Thursdays (July-October), Fridays & Saturdays

A popular stop in Bird-in-Hand, PA is the farmers market, which has been family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Wander the aisles in this indoor, air-conditioned market to find local produce, fresh meats, cheeses, tasty baked goods, plenty of locally made items, and ready-to-eat delights. If you’re browsing for something to remember your trip by, handmade crafts and quilts, quality leather goods and Lancaster-centric souvenirs are plentiful.

Green Dragon
Open Fridays

On Fridays, find your way to Green Dragon – a robust farmers market in Ephrata. Browse the offerings of over 400 local growers, merchants, and craftsmen while enjoying tasty food offerings, including some classic PA Dutch cuisine. Located on 30 acres, Green Dragon is one of the largest farmers markets in the area, so much like Root’s, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. Locals know this market to sell everything – from “soup to nuts.”

Roadside Stands
Various operating schedules, many are not open on Sundays

As you drive around the county, you’re bound to stumble upon some fantastic roadside stands, offering a bounty of local produce, canned goods, bouquets of fresh-picked flowers, and baked treats. As the weather gets warmer, stands begin to open with offerings that change with the harvest. Be sure to keep cash handy if you plan to stop. Many stands only accept cash, or even work on the honor system, where exact change should be placed in a box on the stand.

Ten Must-Take Tours in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

While visiting Lancaster, whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, tours are an excellent way to experience the culture, history, sights and food while learning from passionate local experts. Some involve walking around Downtown Lancaster or a small town like Lititz, while others take you around the county by bus, bike, scooter, or even helicopter.

We’ve gathered ten must-take tours that will leave you with a wealth of Lancaster knowledge, and in some cases, a full stomach. Pick a tour (or two) to add to your trip, and get some insider information with tips from the tour guides to make the most of your experience.

Intercourse Bikeworks Tours
Experience Lancaster’s countryside by bike with the many tours offered by Intercourse Bikeworks. Fresh air will fill your lungs as you peddle along, listening to the wealth of knowledge the guides are waiting to share. For an extra taste of Lancaster culture, book one of their tours that include an Amish dinner, dairy farm tour, or even a beer tasting.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Leave your worries at home! No need to worry about the hills and speed of the ride. The tour is designed to be an experience, not exercise. The pace is slow to allow people to look around and take pictures. They also offer electric-assist bikes if the hills are intimidating.

Photo (above) credit: Intercourse Bikeworks

Photo credit: Amish Farm & House

Amish Farm and House Countryside Tours
Take the backroads to get a glimpse into Lancaster County life with the Amish Farm and House Countryside Bus Tours. This 90-minute bus tour weaves through the farmland, takes riders to a tucked-away covered bridge, and passes Amish schoolhouses, buggies, barns, homes, and farmland vistas, all while sharing stories and facts about the Amish way of life.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Have your camera at the ready, but keep in mind that it’s considered impolite to take photos of the Amish where their faces are recognizable. Refraining from taking up close photos is more than just a courtesy; it’s a respect for our Amish neighbors and their beliefs.

Historic Lancaster Walking Tours
This tour takes you for a stroll back in time around Downtown Lancaster. As you walk, the knowledgeable tour guides tell stories about Lancaster’s rich history as one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. You’ll get a taste of the diverse architecture and cultures that helped build Lancaster to what it is today.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be sure to stop, listen to the stories, and look up at the examples of American architecture from the 1700s to today that Lancaster, PA has to offer.

 

Lancaster County Food Tours
Foodies visiting Lancaster will love the tours offered by Lancaster County Food Tours. Eat your way around Downtown Lancaster or the small town of Lititz with a variety of tours featuring the Lancaster County classic (i.e. pretzels, whoopie pies, and Wilbur chocolate) and some unexpected treats (locally made wine & beer and fine dining delights). Great food is just the tip of the iceberg – the guides also share stories and history as the tour moves from stop to stop.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be prepared to chat, make friends, and ask questions. Tours are more fun when the entire group gets involved. And of course – arrive hungry!

Ghost Tours of Lancaster
If you’re looking for a tour of a spookier sort, discover mysteries and tales from the past on a candlelight walking tour of the city with Ghost Tours of Lancaster. You won’t have to wait until Halloween to discover the city’s haunted history – tours are held year-round.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Don’t forget your camera – you never know when the spirits will be restless!

Photo credit: Smoketown Helicopters

Smoketown Helicopters Tour
See Lancaster from new heights by helicopter! Smoketown Helicopters offers tours from an 8-minute tour flying over the Strasburg Rail Road to a 50-minute tour that flies to neighboring Hershey and Harrisburg, with a variety of times and sights in between. These high-flying flights showcase the beautiful farmland and popular attractions you’ll want to visit after you land.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Consider taking this tour at the beginning of your trip. Flying over the local area can give you ideas of other things to do while in Lancaster County. Also, make sure to have your camera or phone charged and ready to go. Taking photos is highly encouraged.

Kreider Farm Tour
What would a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania be without a farm tour? Kreider Farms offer tours of the working dairy farm on their classic trolley bus. After getting a look into their “Cow Palace” and “Milking Merry-Go-Round,” tour takers can climb the silo observation tower for priceless, birds-eye views of the countryside.

Tip from the Tour Guide: This tour is extremely kid-friendly, with a new playground area and cow milking simulator – so bring the family!

Strasburg Scooter Tours
Scoot along the backroads for a one-of-a-kind experience in Lancaster’s countryside. Strasburg Scooters takes riders over the creeks and through the woods and fields to discover covered bridges and farms. Not only will you learn to drive a scooter or scoot coupe (no special license required), but you’ll also learn lots about Amish life, farming and the history behind the covered bridges you’ll visit.

Tip from a Tour Guide: Dress for the weather at 25+ mph! While driving, there will be a constant breeze, in addition to the weather conditions. Hot summer days have a nice breeze to them, and cool fall days will feel a bit crisper. Dress in layers on cool days. Under Armour makes a great base layer to protect against the cold.

Origins of the Underground Railroad
Discover the sites and stories of Lancaster County’s role in the Underground Railroad and African-American Heritage as you journey back to the Civil War. In addition to their Downtown walking tour, guides are available to venture outside Lancaster City on board a motorcoach or person vehicle.

Tips from the Tour Guide: Be ready to learn! Past tour-takers have been surprised by the events and people they knew nothing about prior to taking this tour.

Photo credit: Himalayan Curry & Grill

Taste the World
International cuisine is plentiful in Lancaster City, and what better way to experience it than with a food tour. Taste the World is held on the second Friday of each month, May through October, with a new theme each month. During this self-guided dining experience, restaurants provide a bite for participating foodies to try, from signature dishes (May tour) to dishes that highlight meat (September tour).

Tip from a Tour Guide: Since this is a self-guided tour, it’s best to map out your route before you start. Some suggest going to the furthest restaurant first, then working your way back. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the experience and sights around the city.

 

Top Five Things to do in Lancaster, PA for First Time Visitors

If this is your first visit to Lancaster, PA – we welcome you with open arms and warm Pennsylvania-Dutch hospitality. If you are eager to learn what all the fuss is about, we have compiled a list of five great things to do while you are in town. These activities are “classic” Lancaster at their core. They help to make up what Lancaster is all about and have led to the development of so many of the wonderful experiences and traditions around the County.

  1. Visit Amish Country

When we say “Lancaster” you say “Amish.” These two often go hand in hand, being that Lancaster, PA is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the United States. Our county is known for its rolling hills, beautiful farmland, and relaxing way of life. Try taking a buggy ride with Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides or Ed’s Buggy Rides to have a truly authentic experience on the back roads. If you prefer to move at a faster pace, opt for a scooter ride through the countryside with Strasburg Scooters. Attractions like the Amish Farm & House, the Amish Village, and The Amish Experience are also great places to learn about the plain lifestyle. You can see first-hand what an Amish home or one-room schoolhouse looks like plus learn traditions and customs of this unique culture.

  1. Stop by Lancaster’s Central Market

Located in our beautiful and bustling downtown, Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest continually operating farmers’ market. Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this market is the perfect place to see the combination of diverse cultures and cuisines that make up Lancaster County. Be sure to pick up some locally-grown produce, freshly-baked goods, meats, or cheeses to take home with you. If visit doesn’t coincide with Market days, don’t worry, there are plenty of other farmers’ markets around the County which you can visit.

  1. Try some traditional PA Dutch food

Traditional PA Dutch food is truly a treat. Prepared from scratch with simple, hearty, ingredients, you can taste the love in every bite. From chicken pot pie, to pork and sauerkraut, or shoofly pie to whoopie pies you are sure to find something to indulge in while you are here. Our many PA Dutch restaurants like Miller’s, Good ‘N Plenty, or Shady Maple, offer all the traditional dishes for you to sample and enjoy. Not sure what you will like? Check out some of our recommendations and explanations here.

  1. Shop for antiques and hand-crafted goods

Here in Lancaster we like to make things by hand, the old fashioned way. We value quality, crafted goods that are passed on to generations and hidden gems scoured from our many antique stores. Each item has a story, and more than likely someone around to tell you about it. If you are looking for the perfect piece to add to your home be sure to head out to Adamstown to check out the many antique malls, markets, and auctions.  Downtown Lancaster also offers a number of artisans and galleries for you to explore on Gallery Row.

  1. See a show

Lancaster is home to a number of theatres with performances ranging from musical, to dramatic, to comedy, or even spiritual. While in town you can visit the largest faith-based theatre in the United States, Sight & Sound Theatres®or catch a broadway caliber musical at the oldest working theatre in the United States, The Fulton Theatre.

If this isn’t enough to keep you busy while you are in town, there is plenty more to do! Stop by our Visitors Center for more ideas and recommendations. We are positive that you will want to come back again to do some more exploring, when you do we will be ready with more suggestions. If you want to learn more of what all there is to do in Lancaster, check out our Getaway Guide (order here) or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know.

Guide to Hotel Pools in Lancaster

Where to splash and swim indoors and out, and then spend the night.

Many of our hotels in Lancaster, PA offer visitors (and staycationers!) a chance to hang out poolside, and the opportunity for your little ones to play in a zero depth a splash zone. After a long day exploring Lancaster, hotel guests can lounge outside (or indoors), or take a lap or two in the pool.

Below is a look at some of Lancaster’s best hotel pools for beating the summer heat or to get your energy out during the winter blues.

Note: The below list is in alphabetical order.

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[1]  AmishView Inn & Suites
Enjoy your stay in an upscale hotel where you can draw back your curtains and see the lush Amish farmland, and to top it off, you’ll love their indoor pool, fitness center and whirlpools

[2]  Best Western Plus Intercourse Village Inn
With some much to do in Lancaster, save some time to take a dip in the indoor pool and hot tub. Located in the heart of Intercourse, you can conveniently stay within walking distance of many of the local attractions and shops.

[3]  Bird-in-Hand Family Inn
With both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the Family Inn is the perfect place for an active family, no matter the season of travel. In addition, your family will love the tennis and basketball courts, and more.

[4]  Circle M RV and Camping Resort
If you’re truly up for an adventure, enjoy 104 acres of land surrounded by the Conestoga River, mini-golf, pitch and putt golf, and an indoor water park.

[5]  Clarion Inn at Historic Strasburg
Take a dip in the outdoor heated pool at the Clarion Inn, right in the heart of Lancaster County. If you are looking to visit Sight & Sound Theatres, the Strasburg Rail Road, or Lancaster’s Outlets, this is an ideal location.

[6]  Comfort Suites Manheim/Lancaster
Centrally located between Hershey & Lancaster’s attractions, and right up the road from the largest indoor sports complex in the U.S., the indoor salt-water pool will be the perfect addition to your stay.

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[7]  DoubleTree Resort by Hilton – Lancaster
Your kids will love the indoor water playground – complete with slides, dump buckets, and water sprayers – also featuring a shallow wading area with a frog slide and rainbow sprinkler. And don’t forget to grab a warm and gooey DoubleTree Cookie when you check in!


[8]  Eden Resort & Suites
If you’re looking for a little luxury with your family fun, the Eden Resort is the hotel for you. Enjoy both a heated indoor and outdoor pool and Kidz Water Zone spray park. In addition, the lighted outdoor ping pong, billiard, and shuffle board tables, basketball court, Boccee, and putting green will add even more chances for fun.

[9]  Fulton Steamboat Inn
Savor the full service accommodations in addition to a heated indoor pool & whirlpool. And if it’s nice outside, head out to feed the ducks and koi in the pond, or spend the evening by the fire-pit on the patio, overlooking beautiful Lancaster County farmland.

[10]  Greystone Manor Victorian Inn
Enjoy a stay in a beautiful Victorian Mansion, built in 1883 on 2 park-like acres including beautiful gardens and a pool and hot tub. Greystone Manor truly offers a unique stay in a serene setting in Lancaster County.

[11]  Hampton Inn Lancaster
You’re sure to enjoy the seasonal heated outdoor pool and patio area, and less than a block away, you can relax on a paved walking trail with ponds, water fixtures, a playground, unique sculptures, and more.


[12]  The Hotel Hershey
For year-round fun, relax by the indoor pool, and don’t miss the spa, located in the hotel. Whether you want a couples retreat or a family fun vacation with Hersheypark as part of your trip, this is the hotel for you.

[13]  Lake-in-Wood Camping Resort
From an indoor heated pool and spa to a larger outdoor pool complex, your family is sure to remember your stay at Lake-in-Wood – featuring two fun playgrounds, a total fitness hiking trail, rec room, and paddle boats.

[14]  Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
Located in the center of Downtown Lancaster, the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is perfectly situated for a night on the town. After exploring the city that was recently named one of Forbes Top Ten Cities to Visit in 2018, relax in their indoor pool.

[15]  Tru by Hilton Lancaster East
Featuring an indoor heated pool, the new Tru by Hilton Lancaster East is perfect for the traveler who’s looking for affordable travel with upscale amenities. This hotel features a lobby with areas to let you work, play, lounge and eat, and a fully equipped fitness center.

Fun Family Weekend in Lancaster

A Fun Family Weekend in Lancaster, PA

Do you feel the need to escape the cabin fever of late winter and create memories with the ones you love? Looking for something close by? Easy to plan? We have just the thing for you! Conveniently located within a couple of hours from most cities in the Mid-Atlantic region, Lancaster, PA offers a combination of small-town charm, historical appeal, and vibrant city amenities that your whole family will enjoy.

We rounded up a list of recommendations for a 3-day weekend trip, removing the stress of planning from the equation. With a focus on quality family time together, hands-on learning, and partaking in the unique foods Lancaster offers, we hope that you find this weekend one to remember. If you’re more of a planner, and want to add your own twist on what’s recommended below, we’ve got the perfect Lancaster County Destination Guide for you – and it’s free!

Day 1: Friday Night in Lancaster

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We know you’ll appreciate staying in Marriott in Downtown Lancaster, as its location provides the perfect backdrop for the start of your weekend. There are over 60 delicious dining options and 80 shops all within walking distance. If you don’t want to spend too much time on your phone, scrolling through the whole list of restaurant options, we recommend Isaac’s Downtown Bar and Grill. It’s an award-winning, bird-themed restaurant featuring grilled sandwiches, homemade soups, fresh salads, and a fun, interactive Kid’s Menu. After dinner, take some time to unwind. There’s nothing quite like sinking into a comfy hotel bed at the end of a long week. Plus, you’re going to want to be well rested for your Saturday adventures.

Day 2: Saturday in Lancaster

Morning: For a great start to your day, grab a hearty breakfast at the Baker’s Table, which offers coffee, tea, pastries, and their spin on old-fashioned treats like whoopie pies. They also offer a crowd-pleasing breakfast buffet featuring homemade waffles, made-to-order omelets, and all-you-can-eat bacon. After breakfast, head to the Lancaster Science Factory, which is located in the same historic complex as the Baker’s Table cafe. The Science Factory features 65 interactive exhibits, workstations, and mini-labs, offering engaging, open-ended learning experiences for kids ages Pre-K through 8th grade.

Afternoon: The best part about the Science Factory is that your pass is good all day, so you can come and go as needed. When everyone is tired and hungry, you can fuel up at Cork and Cap, also located in the same complex as the Science Factory. They’re known for their Pennsylvania Dutch fare, which they offer up with a contemporary, cosmopolitan twist. There’s no need to pack up the car and drive to multiple locations!

Night: After a long day of discovery, you can always head back to your hotel for a break and take a dip in the pool. If you ended up craving a late night snack, the Lancaster Sweet Shop has a selection of Stroopies and a large variety of ice cream flavors. Take our word for it: mixing ice cream with a local favorite like Stroopies, is a perfectly delicious way to cap off your busy day.

Day 3: Sunday in Lancaster

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Morning: Why not start off your morning at the Prince Street Cafe? Just a block and a half walk from your hotel, they serve a satisfying selection of egg sandwiches, breakfast wraps, smoothie bowls, coffees, and teas. After breakfast, we recommend taking a trip back in time to experience the historic Strasburg Rail Road. Only a 20-minute car ride away from Downtown Lancaster, you won’t regret climbing aboard an antique train car from the 1800’s as you witness the beautiful countryside pass outside your window. Be sure to get your tickets in advance to guarantee you get the seats that work best for you!

Afternoon: If you’re hungry before you hit the road toward home, The Fireside Tavern is a cozy spot located in Strasburg just minutes away from the railroad. The restaurant offers a great selection of casual dining fare for both kids and adults, and in the winter, you can enjoy the warmth of three working fireplaces.

We hope our ideas provide you with some inspiration for creating new memories with the ones you love, all while helping you beat those winter blues.

Things to do for Easter in Lancaster, PA

Easter Bunny Train
Strasburg Rail Road™ | March 30, 31 and April 1
Hop aboard the Easter Bunny Train at the Strasburg Rail Road. Welcome spring with a ride through beautiful farmland with Peter Cottontail as your Conductor. Peter will delight boys and girls with an Easter surprise as he greets them on board this special train. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Easter Dinner Train
Strasburg Rail Road™ | Easter Sunday, April 1
This event, only offered on Easter Sunday, is a one-of-a-kind way to dine with your family. Traditional Lancaster County fare is served in the fully restored Victorian dining car on Strasburg Rail Road’s Easter Dinner Train. Guests should purchase tickets in advance.

Easter Bunny Breakfast
Kitchen Kettle Village | March 24, 30, 31
Visit Kitchen Kettle Village with your family and enjoy breakfast with the Easter Bunny and the Kitchen Kettle mascot, Yummie! The breakfast offers a delicious buffet featuring Lancaster County favorites. This special event fills up quickly so be sure to reserve your spot. Children who attend can partake in a VIP egg hunt.

Easter Bunny Toddler Time HOP
SkyZone – Lancaster | March 23
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the trampoline trail at SkyZone. This event is great for little ones to expend some Easter excitement. They can jump, hop, wiggle and flop while wearing bunny ears. Storytime, snack, an Easter craft, and a meet-and-greet with the Easter Bunny are also included.

Bunny Village at Country Barn
Country Barn Market & Barnyard Kingdom | March 24, 25, 30, 31
There are so many different activities to do at the Barnyard Kingdom to celebrate Easter. From riding through Bunny Village to see the Easter Bunny’s home, to egg hunts, or even breakfast with the Easter Bunny himself. Little ones will be bouncing with joy once the day is through. Be sure to visit the baby animals, bunnies, and chicks while you are there.

Jesus – Live on Stage
Sight & Sound Theatres® | Check website for performance schedule
Jesus is the musical stage adventure about the most famous person to ever walk the earth, and the everyday people whose lives changed forever. This new performance, opening in March, is the perfect show to see with your family to celebrate Easter.

AACA Easter Egg Hunt
AACA Museum | March 24, 31
Children can partake in a special Easter egg hunt through the AACA Museum. All kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Guests can hunt in a variety of “egg spots” and visit the Easter Bunny. All egg treats are provided by the Hershey Company. Be sure to bring your own basket.

Easter Brunch
If your family is past the age of eating with the Bunny, there are plenty of restaurants around the county to visit for brunch. Review our list of the Best Weekend Brunch spots and be sure to look for special schedules, menus and deals on each restaurant’s website. The Revere Tavern and The Cameron Estate Inn both offer special Easter Sunday meals.

Egg Hunts:

There are dozens of egg hunts around Lancaster County. Here is a list of a few which you can participate in:

Community Egg Hunt at Zion Lutheran Church, Leola – Saturday March 24, 2018
Registration Required *

Grace Church Egg Hunt & Party – Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ephrata Lion’s Club Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lititz Lions Club 72 Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

18th Annual Columbia Community Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

Adamstown Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, March 31, 2018

Elizabethtown Lion’s Club Eggstravaganza – Saturday, April 8, 2018

Lancaster Easter Traditions:

Did you know that the symbols of the egg and the rabbit at Easter can be traced back to Germany and that the Pennsylvania Dutch are responsible for bringing the traditions to America?

Easter traditions in Germany date back to the 1500s and the Pennsylvania Dutch who immigrated to the United States continued the tradition of the Oschter Haws, or Easter Hare. If the children were good, the Easter Hare would lay colored eggs in the grass for them to discover. However, instead of baskets, the children would prepare special nests using their own bonnets or hats.

The custom did not catch on nationally until the early 1900s, for the idea of an egg laying rabbit was a rather hard sell to non-Germanics.

Source: Lancaster Newspaper, “Easter Bunny, like the Belsnickle, owes American roots to the Pa. Dutch”

Things to Do in March in Lancaster, PA

March is in like a lion, out like a lamb, and filled with great events in Lancaster, PA! With indoor events and shows for those blustery days and outdoor Easter events for when the sun comes out, this month has things to do for all weather conditions and occasions.

Start the month with a tasty meal. Lancaster City Restaurant Week kicks off the month, running through March 4, with delicious meals at various restaurants throughout Downtown Lancaster. For every time of day and budget, you’re in for a memorable meal.

In the mood for tons of great live music? Mosey down to Lancaster for the weekend (March 9-11) for Lancaster Roots & Blues. This festival is back for its fifth year, returning with a line-up packed with stellar soul, blues, funk, roots, and folk performances at nine different venues in Downtown Lancaster. While you’re venue-hopping, pick your poison – caffeine or cocktails – at one of our coffee shops or fine dining restaurants to keep you going through the late night hours.

For the history and museum buffs, March 11 marks Charter Day – the day that William Penn received the royal charter for what we now call Pennsylvania. To commemorate the occasion, three of Lancaster County’s museums and historical attractions are open, free of charge.

– Dive into the past at Ephrata Cloister, for a look at life in a religious community from the 1700s.

– Landis Valley Village Farm & Museum brings the 1800s PA German world to life.

– The Railroad Museum of PA offers locomotive fanatics the chance to explore the history of the railroad, trains and more.

Break out your boots – its Mud Sale season! These annual auctions are one of the best ways to experience Lancaster County life, as many auction-goers and auctioneers are Amish. Wander the aisles of goods up for grabs, including lawn equipment, shrubbery, housewares, hand-stitched quilts, crafts, and even the kitchen sink. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or maybe just good PA Dutch eats and to experience a slice of Amish culture, you’ll find it on Saturday at a Mud Sale.

March is the perfect time for quilters and quilt admirers to visit Lancaster, PA. This month brings AQS QuiltWeek to Downtown Lancaster for four days (March 21-24) of workshops, exhibits, vendors and contests, all focused around the art of quilting. In need of sewing supplies, inspiration or instruction? This event has everything a quilter could ask for! Plus, many of the fabric stores around the area have sales and extended hours for even more shopping.

Speaking of shopping, Tanger Outlet’s Mommy and Me event, to be held on March 28 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, offers up an afternoon of kid-friendly fun. Kids will love the games, craft activity, and guest appearances from Cylo from the Lancaster Barnstormers, Duke from Dutch Wonderland and Nano from Go ‘N Bananas. Moms will love the tasty bites from Saladworks and Chick-fil-a, and the chance to win a $100 Tanger Gift Card (especially if she wins!).

Hop on over to Lancaster for family-friendly Easter events. The Easter Bunny is in town for breakfast at Kitchen Kettle Village and a train ride on the Strasburg Rail Road – two wonderful ways to celebrate Easter as a family. Kick off the weekend with a local egg hunt, then relax with the family over brunch or Easter dinner.

For even more events throughout the year, let our Events Calendars be your guide!

What’s New for 2018 in Lancaster?

With a new year comes new things to explore, experience, and eat in Lancaster – whether you’re visiting for the first time or fiftieth time, or even if you’re a local. We’ve got new exhibits, activities, and shops along with vibrant shows and new ways to experience the tastes of Lancaster.

Dive deeper into the new and upcoming offerings for an exciting year in Lancaster.

Explore

It’s tea time at Turkey Hill Experience! With their new Tea Discovery, you can see, smell and taste delicious Turkey Hill iced tea, all while learning where the flavors come from. A Tea Expert will walk you through the experience as you sip black tea, green tea, hibiscus tea – and more!


Slated for spring 2018, Refreshing Mountain Retreat is offering new challenges with a 2-tier Aerial Obstacle Course. With 20+ new elements that range from 10-25 feet off the ground, those up for the challenge can experience the excitement of maneuvering through the course while floating above the ground. Package this activity with even more outdoor adventure, including ziplining, horseback riding, and more.

Explore great deals on popular brands at Tanger Outlets, who recently expanded and added 23 new stores. Browse old favorites like Gap, Yankee Candle and J. Crew, and check out the new offerings including Francesca’s, The North Face, Under Armour, Columbia Factory Store, H&M, and Express.

For the train enthusiasts, the Railroad Museum of PA will be overhauling their exhibits to present new improvements, exhibits, and innovations to museum-goers, young and old. If you love trains, mark your calendars for June 2018 when renovations are slated to be finished.

Experience

New thrills, twists and turns are awaiting at Dutch Wonderland this summer as they unveil their new family-friendly suspended roller coaster, Merlin’s Mayhem. Guests will soar to up 60 feet above the ground, twist through two helix turns, and twist and dip as they zoom along. Dutch Wonderland is also home to more mild rides for younger children, making it fun for the whole family.

Sight & Sound Theatres is bringing the powerful story, Jesus, to life this spring. Known for their epic productions filled with beautiful costumes & sets, talented performers (and even live animals), and fantastic effects, Sight & Sound presents this story that focuses on a love that rescues.

Bird-in-Hand Stage’s newest musical, The Home Game, hits it out of the park. Debuting March 27, you won’t want to miss this new show, paired with a tasty PA Dutch meal.

2018 brings exciting changes for Zoetropolis Art House. This year, they will be moving to Water Street (just blocks away from Lancaster Central Market), expanding to include a restaurant and distillery, and changing their name to Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse. Their lineup includes independent, documentary and foreign films, art shows, and community events. They’ve even secured a famous investor – Lancaster native, Taylor Kinney of “Chicago Fire” fame.

Movie buffs will love American Music Theatre’s new original show – Songs of the Silver Screen. Experience the talented AMT cast and live band as they perform cinematic songs, made famous by icons like Elvis Presley, Julie Andrews, Bette Midler, Rosemary Clooney, Barbra Streisand, John Williams and more.

Eat

Believe it or not, Lancaster has distilling traditions that date back to 1753. Stoll & Wolfe is reigniting these traditions at their distillery and tasting room in Lititz. Stop by for a taste of their Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey or the Blend of Straight American Whiskeys (or both), and try a hand-crafted cocktail that is sure to put some pep in your step.

After eight months of renovations, the Downtown Lancaster corner bar, Yorgos is open for the new year. This multi-level bar/restaurant features a sports bar (first floor), upscale steak and seafood restaurant named Kefi at Yorgos (second floor), and a cocktail lounge and roof deck (third floor). They’ve expanded their menu and beer offerings to match their renovated interior and exterior, adding to Lancaster’s night-life offerings.

After all this…

Once you’ve experienced all the new thing to do and see, why not rest up for another day of fun at the new Hotel at Rock Lititz (slated to open in fall 2018). While the hotel’s primary purpose is to serve the rock and pop bands and production crews that practice at neighboring Rock Lititz, the everyday traveler can kick their feet up there too. To add an extra splash of uniqueness and a “backstage” vibe, many of the decorations and furniture will be crafted out of repurposed gear cases, tech items and the like.

Want to experience life in a tiny house, without abandoning your not-so-tiny house lifestyle? Tiny Estates, opening this spring, could give you that experience! The former Ridge Run Campground in Elizabethtown will soon be outfitted with half a dozen tiny houses for visitors to stay in, giving them a taste of minimalist living.

Indoor Adventures in Lancaster

The holidays have passed, and the weather is frigid- what’s there to do to burn off some pent-up energy? Plenty! Not only does Lancaster have beautiful outdoor resources for hiking, biking, and exploring, we also have loads of indoor adventures as well. Come check out some of the locations below to start off the new year with active, healthy activities that will keep you busy all day long.

Escape. On Queen
escapeonqueen.com
Not all adventures are physical, some challenge your mind as well. See if you and your crew can solve all the clues and get out before your hour is up!

Go ‘N Bananas
gonbananas.com
You name it, and you can probably find it at Go ‘n Bananas. With their Ball-o-city, laser maze, mini-bowling, and indoor ropes course, spin zone, and laser tag, you can spend all day here with the kids.

Indian Echo Caverns & Echo Dell
indianechocaverns.com
So, this isn’t technically indoors, but at least it’s warmer. Down in the cave the temperature remains at 52 degrees Fahrenheit allowing you to engage your inner explorer. Check out what’s under the earth for a change of scenery- tours generally last 45 minutes.

Lancaster Ice Rink
lancastericerink.org
What better winter activity is there than ice skating? Head over to Lancaster Ice Rink for public skating sessions, or sign up for one of their learn-to-skate or learn-to-play hockey clinics. Even though its chilly in there, we will bet you will still work up a sweat.

LANCO Fieldhouse
lancofieldhouse.com
If you thought LANCO Fieldhouse was just for indoor soccer practice, you stand corrected. LANCO Fieldhouse also offers bubble-ball, and if that is not challenging enough you can also try zombie ball, kickball, dodgeball, or king/queen of the ring. So, gather your group and head over.

Laserdome
laserdome.com
Laser tag at the Laserdome is like an adventure in another galaxy. You and your crew can battle it out in the giant alien space ship arena all afternoon. Each game session is 40-minutes long.

Rocky Springs Entertainment Center
rockysprings.net
Rocky Springs Entertainment Center has a number of indoor activity options including bowling and laser tag. Plus, there is no need to worry about lunch, stop in their Red Pin Bar & Grill for a delicious meal.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park
skyzone.com/lancaster
Ever wish you could dunk like Mike Jordan or flip like Simone Biles, you can at Sky Zone (or you can at least try)! This indoor trampoline park is fun for little ones and adults alike, you can literally bounce off the walls. Sky Zone offers a number of activity options such as open jump, dodgeball, or fitness classes.

Spooky Nook Sports
spookynooksports.com
You don’t need to be a gym member to check out all the awesome indoor adventures at Spooky Nook. Being the largest indoor sports in America, there is plenty to do. We suggest you take on their 15-foot rock-wall, or try the obstacle-loaded Clip ‘N Climb course.

Tiny Town
tinytownpa.com
Do you have little ones in tow? They need to burn-off energy too! Head over to Tiny Town for an adventure that they can create with their own imaginations. This indoor play-place for children is all hands-on created to inspire curiosity and creativity.

#DiscoverTheHolidays Scavenger Hunt

The holiday season is a joyous time of the year, but we all know it can be stressful. Every year December flies by – we blink and suddenly it’s Christmas. But it’s never too late to delight in the season! Take some time away from the madness to reconnect with your favorite people. Grab your friends or family, hop in the car, and take a break from the stress with this very merry scavenger hunt.

Here are a couple of quick rules before you get started:

1. We need evidence! You must take a photo or video at each stop as proof.
2. Everyone in the car must participate.
3. You don’t have to complete the scavenger hunt in order, but for each item you complete and share with us on Instagram, you will be entered to win.

Five merry winners, chosen at random, will receive a $50 gift card to one of the following:

–  Federal Taphouse
–  Bistro Barbaret
–  Annie Bailey’s
–  Carr’s Restaurant
–  Lancaster Brewing Company

Ready. Set. Go!

1. Go to Penn Square and get a photo with the Christmas Lights while jumping in the air

2. Find a house completely decked out with Christmas lights

3. Find a gallery or shop that has a window decorated for the Holidays

4. Snap a photo with a local gift you bought for someone

5. Catch a picture with Santa in Lancaster County (some places you might find him are Dutch Wonderland, Strasburg Rail Road, and Park City)

6. Hold up your holiday show ticket stubs and snap a shot

Use #discovertheholidays when you post your videos or photos on Instagram and be entered to win a sweet gift card to a local restaurant. Contest runs through December 31, 2017. Winners will be chosen and contacted on or around January 2, 2018.

Happy hunting!

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