Known for its picturesque Amish country and rich history, the city and county of Lancaster in Pennsylvania offer a wide variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From visiting historical sites and museums to indulging in delicious local cuisine, there are many interesting things to do in Lancaster.
From discovering the culture and history of the Amish and Mennonites to visiting to going on a hunt for covered bridges and riding the Strasburg Rail Road, Lancaster is an intriguing destination. Here are our top picks for the must-see and must-do experiences in the area. Whether you’re a history buff or looking for a fun day out, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here.
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- 20 Things To Do In Lancaster
- 1- Learn About The Amish Way Of Life
- 2- Stock Up On Amish Goods At Lancaster Central Market
- 3- Visit President James Buchanan’s Wheatland
- 4- Ride The Kingdom Coaster At Dutch Wonderland
- 5- Have Fun At Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
- 6- Learn About The Pennsylvania Dutch At Landis Valley Museum
- 7- Go On A Guided Tour Of The Mennonite Life Visitors Center
- 8- Build Your Own Science Structure At Lancaster Science Factory
- 9- Step Back Into The 18th Century At The Historic Rock Ford
- 10- Go On A Road Trip To View The Covered Bridges
- 11- View The Historic Pipe Organ At St. Mary’s Catholic Church
- 12- Join A Murder Mystery Train Ride On The Strasburg Railroad
- 13- Sample Craft Beer At Lancaster Brewing Company
- 14- Make Your Own Ice Cream At Turkey Hill Experience
- 15- Entertain Your Kids At Hands-On House Children’s Museum
- 16- Learn About Vintage Tractors At The Rough and Tumble
- 17- Take A Buggy Ride On An Authentic Amish Horse-drawn Cart
- 18- View Dinosaur Bones At North Museum of Nature and Science
- 19- Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
- 20- Get Your Heart Rate Up At Field of Screams
20 Things To Do In Lancaster
Visiting an Amish Farm and House is like taking a step back in time.
The Amish Farm House is an authentic working farm in Lancaster that offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Amish community.
The farm has horses, cows, pigs and chickens.
You will have the opportunity to watch the farmers at work, milking cows and tending to the animals.
It’s a great place to visit for anyone interested in learning about the Amish way of life.
The Amish Farm and House is only open during the warmer months (exact dates are weather-pending), usually around March.
The Amish Farm and House is at 2395 Covered Bridge Dr, Lancaster, PA. If you want to join a guided tour to explore Amish culture, here are some to choose from:
2- Stock Up On Amish Goods At Lancaster Central Market
Visiting the Lancaster Central Market is a must-do for anyone visiting the city of Lancaster.
This historic market in the city’s heart has been operating since 1730 and is one of the USA’s oldest continuously operating public markets.
It’s a great place to find fresh produce, meats, baked goods and other locally sourced food items.
You can also find a variety of crafts and other handmade items from local artisans, as well as truly unique gifts and souvenirs.
The market is housed in a beautiful, historic building, and it’s always bustling with activity.
You can hear the vendors calling out their wares, and the smell of fresh baked goods and produce fills the air.
Lancaster Central Market is closed on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 23 N Market St, Lancaster, PA. This tour will take you to the market and other places.
3- Visit President James Buchanan’s Wheatland
Visiting President James Buchanan’s Wheatland is a unique opportunity to step back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the 15th President of the United States.
The house, which was built in 1828, served as Buchanan’s summer White House during his presidency from 1857 to 1861.
You can join a tour of the house led by knowledgeable guides who provide an in-depth look into Buchanan’s life, including his political career and personal life.
The house is filled with period furniture and artifacts, giving visitors a sense of what it would have been like to live in the mid-19th century.
You can find it at 1120 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA.
4- Ride The Kingdom Coaster At Dutch Wonderland
Dutch Wonderland is a family-friendly amusement park located in Lancaster and features over 35 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides and a variety of live shows and entertainment.
One of the highlights of the park is the roller coaster, Kingdom Coaster.
It’s a perfect first roller coaster for kids, it’s not too fast or intense but still provides a thrilling experience.
Another great spot for kids is the Duke’s Lagoon water play area, where kids can cool off and have fun in the sun.
The park also offers a variety of live shows, including the “Dino Dig”, where kids can learn about different types of dinosaurs and even get the chance to excavate fossils.
Dutch Wonderland is at 2249 E Lincoln Hwy, Lancaster, PA.
5- Have Fun At Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is a unique family-friendly destination located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
The farm offers a wide variety of activities and attractions that are perfect for visitors of all ages.
One of the highlights of the farm is the Amazing Maize Maze, the largest maze of its kind in the Eastern United States.
The maze covers over 5 acres (2 hectares) and is made up of over two miles (3.2km) of paths, making it a fun and challenging adventure for visitors.
The farm also offers a variety of other activities, including a petting zoo, hayrides, and a playground.
Visitors can also pick their own fruits and vegetables, depending on the season.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is at 150 Cherry Hill Rd, Ronks, PA.
Landis Valley Museum is a living history museum located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The museum’s aim is to preserve and showcase the history of the Pennsylvania Dutch and their culture.
It has a variety of interactive exhibits, such as a working blacksmith shop and a historic farm.
Visitors can also see demonstrations of traditional crafts, such as quilting and pottery making.
Check the calendar of events when you go, as there are a variety of special events throughout the year, such as Colonial Trade Fairs, a Harvest Festival and Christmas in the village, which adds to the festive atmosphere of the museum.
Landis Valley Museum is located at 2451 Kissel Hill Rd, Lancaster, PA.
7- Go On A Guided Tour Of The Mennonite Life Visitors Center
The Mennonite Life Visitors Center is a cultural and heritage centre located in the heart of Lancaster.
The centre is dedicated to educating visitors about the culture and history of the Mennonite people.
One of the highlights is the museum, which features a variety of exhibits that showcase the history and culture of the Mennonites.
Visitors can learn about the beliefs and practices of the Mennonite people, as well as their contributions to the community.
You can walk around yourself or join a guided tour.
Mennonite Life Visitors Center is at 2215 Millstream Rd, Lancaster, PA. Meet a local Amish/Mennonite family for a meal.
8- Build Your Own Science Structure At Lancaster Science Factory
The Lancaster Science Factory is a great, interactive museum offering a wide range of hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to explore the principles of engineering, science, technology and maths (STEM) in a fun and interactive way.
One of the museum’s highlights is the “Build & Test” exhibit, where visitors can use real tools and materials to build and test different structures and machines.
This exhibit is great for children and adults who enjoy building and experimenting with different designs.
Another popular exhibit is the “Science on a Sphere” display, which is a large globe that projects images of Earth and other planets, as well as animations of weather patterns and ocean currents.
This exhibit provides a unique and engaging way to learn about Earth and space science.
The factory is at 454 New Holland Ave, Lancaster, PA.
9- Step Back Into The 18th Century At The Historic Rock Ford
Visiting Historic Rock Ford is a step back in time to the 18th century and offers a unique glimpse into the history of Lancaster.
The estate belonged to General Edward Hand, a Revolutionary War hero and close friend of George Washington.
The main attraction of the estate is the Georgian-style mansion, built in 1794, which has been beautifully restored to its original condition and furnished with period pieces.
Join a guided tour of the mansion to learn about the history of the Hand family and their role in the Revolutionary War.
Historic Rock Ford is at 881 Rockford Rd, Lancaster, PA.
Going on a road trip to view the covered bridges throughout Lancaster County is a must-do for anyone visiting the area, although it does require a car as there are no official guided tours.
Even if you’re not particularly into bridges, you cannot deny these wooden-covered bridges’ beauty and aesthetic.
The Lancaster area is home to over 25 covered bridges, many of which date back to the 19th century and are still in use, so you can take pictures and drive over them.
One of the most famous covered bridges is the Hunsecker’s Mill Covered Bridge which has been in use since 1848 and is the longest covered bridge in the county.
If you only have time to see one covered bridge, make sure this is the one.
There is a useful self-guided tour that includes the main covered bridges located throughout the county.
The Hunsecker Mill Covered bridge can be found at 1335 Hunsicker Rd, Lancaster, PA.
11- View The Historic Pipe Organ At St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Visiting the Historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church is a unique opportunity to step back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the area’s religious history.
The church was built in 1741 and is the oldest Catholic church continuously operating in the United States.
Visitors can learn about the early Catholic settlers in the area, who built the church to serve as a centre of worship and community.
One highlight is the opportunity to see the church’s original pipe organ, which dates back to 1741 and is one of the oldest in the country.
Visitors can also see the sacristy, where the priests would prepare for mass, and the altar, adorned with intricate carvings and statues.
The church is at 119 S Prince St, Lancaster, PA.
12- Join A Murder Mystery Train Ride On The Strasburg Railroad
Visiting the Strasburg Rail Road just outside of Lancaster is an exciting and nostalgic experience for people of all ages.
The railroad has been operating since 1832 and offers visitors the opportunity to take a trip back in time on a historic steam train.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by the impressive train station, which features a combination of Victorian and Gothic architecture.
Inside the station, you can explore the museum, which features exhibits on the history of the railroad, including vintage photos, artifacts and interactive displays.
The train ride is the highlight of a visit to the Strasburg Rail Road.
Visitors can choose from various trip options, including a round trip to the town of Paradise, a trip to the National Toy Train Museum, or special events such as a wine and cheese train or a murder mystery train performance.
Board the train at 301 Gap Rd, Ronks, PA.
13- Sample Craft Beer At Lancaster Brewing Company
Visiting the Lancaster Brewing Company or joining a craft beer walk is a great way to sample some delicious craft beers and learn about the brewing process.
The brewery has been in operation since 1995 and offers various beers made on site using high-quality ingredients.
Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the industrial yet cozy atmosphere of the brewery.
Inside, the brewery features a large bar area where visitors can sample the beers on tap and purchase growlers and bottles to take home.
The brewery also has a small gift shop where visitors can purchase merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, and glassware.
The Lancaster Brewing Company is a great way to wind down at the end of a busy day sightseeing in Lancaster.
The beers are being poured at 2323 Lincoln Hwy East, Lancaster, PA 17602.
14- Make Your Own Ice Cream At Turkey Hill Experience
Making your own ice cream at the Turkey Hill Experience is a fun and delicious way to spend an afternoon.
This interactive museum and factory allows visitors to create their own custom ice cream flavour using a variety of mix-ins and toppings.
Not only is making your own ice cream at the Turkey Hill Experience a fun and tasty activity, but it’s also educational.
You’ll learn about the history of the company and the science behind ice cream making.
It’s a great activity for families, groups of friends, or even a fun date idea, after all ice cream isn’t only for kids.
Turkey Hill Experience is at 301 Linden St, Columbia, PA.
15- Entertain Your Kids At Hands-On House Children’s Museum
The Hands-On House Children’s Museum is a great choice for a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
This interactive museum is designed for children ages up to age 10 and offers a variety of hands-on exhibits that encourage learning through play.
One of the museum’s highlights is the “Our Town” exhibit, which allows children to explore a mini replica of a real town.
Kids can play in a grocery store, post office, bank, and more, learning about different jobs and community services.
The “Science Works” exhibit is also a hit, with interactive displays that teach kids about physics, chemistry and engineering concepts.
It’s worth a visit if you’re after things to do in Lancaster for kids.
The fun starts at 721 Landis Valley Rd, Lancaster, PA.
Visiting the Rough and Tumble Historical Association is a step back in time to the golden age of steam power.
Located just outside of Lancaster, the association is home to over 50 steam-powered engines, tractors, and various other industrial equipment from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
One of the highlights is the opportunity to see these massive machines in action.
The association hosts several events throughout the year, including threshing and ploughing demonstrations, where visitors can watch as the engines power the machinery and see the process of separating grains from the stalks.
In addition to the steam engines, the association also has a collection of vintage tractors and other farm equipment, a blacksmith shop and a sawmill.
Rough and Tumble Historical Association 4997 Lincoln Hwy, Kinzers, PA.
17- Take A Buggy Ride On An Authentic Amish Horse-drawn Cart
If you’re looking for a unique and authentic experience during your visit to Lancaster, PA, you should consider taking an Amish horse-drawn buggy ride.
This is a great way to learn about the Amish culture and see the beautiful Lancaster countryside up close.
There are several different companies that offer buggy rides in Lancaster, and most of them take you through the heart of Amish country.
You’ll see authentic Amish farms and homes and learn about the Amish way of life from your guide.
The guides are typically Amish or Mennonite and can offer a unique perspective on the culture.
The rides are typically 45 minutes to one hour long and are done in a traditional horse-drawn buggy.
The buggies are comfortable and provide a nice, slow-paced way to take in the scenery.
The horses that pull the buggies are usually well-trained and docile, making the ride a peaceful and enjoyable experience.
Several different tour providers offer buggy rides like this one.
18- View Dinosaur Bones At North Museum of Nature and Science
For a fun and educational experience, check out the North Museum of Nature and Science, which has a wide range of exhibits and activities that will fascinate visitors of all ages.
One of the museum’s highlights is its extensive collection of fossils and minerals.
You can see dinosaur bones, other prehistoric specimens, and beautiful crystals and rocks from all over the world.
The museum also has several interactive exhibits that allow you to learn more about these natural wonders and how they were formed.
The museum offers several hands-on activities and programs that allow visitors to get more involved with the exhibits.
For example, there are science experiments that you can try, as well as special classes and workshops that cover a wide range of topics.
You can find the museum at 400 College Ave, Lancaster, PA.
19- Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
If you’re looking for a beautiful and peaceful place to exercise and enjoy nature, be sure to check out the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.
This trail is a 16. mile (25 km) long paved path along the Susquehanna River, offering stunning views of the river, the surrounding countryside and wildlife.
The trail is perfect for walkers, runners, cyclists and even cross-country skiing in winter (if there is enough snow).
The trail also offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including fishing, bird watching, and picnicking.
With benches and picnic tables along the trail, it’s easy to find a spot to sit and relax while enjoying the scenery.
You can access the river trail by travelling 20 miles (32 km) west of Lancaster.
20- Get Your Heart Rate Up At Field of Screams
If you’re looking for a thrilling and spooky experience, then visit the Field of Screams, located just outside of Lancaster.
This popular Halloween-themed attraction features several haunted houses and hayrides that are sure to scare you.
The Field of Screams is known for its high-quality sets, costumes, and special effects.
The haunted houses are designed to be both terrifying and entertaining, featuring various themes such as supernatural, horror, and post-apocalyptic.
The hayride is also a unique experience, it takes you through the dark and creepy fields and woods, with terrifying creatures and scenes.
Check the website for a calendar of when it’s open.
Not recommended for children under 12 or for people with heart conditions or other health issues. If you’re brave enough, it’s worth a visit.
Open seasonally between February and November during select days, it’s at 191 College Avenue, Mountville, PA.