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 and upscale dining.
As you drive outside the city, 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 learn about 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 the city’s Central Market. Established in 1730, this is one of America’s longest continually running farmers markets. Visit Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays year-round 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 Theatre, the oldest continually running theater in America. Pay a visit to Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, whose living history interpretations help visitors explore the area’s long history.
The city of Lancaster is small and walkable at 2 miles (3.2 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 crossroad villages of Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse.
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 relatively mild climate and abundance of Lancaster’s indoor attractions mean that any time of year is good to discover this colorful and unique city.