We love our City! (And Forbes does too)

Forbes named Lancaster City in the Top Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018.

We love our City. We think it’s charming, full of vibrancy, and ever-changing & growing.

That’s why it’s even sweeter when it’s recognized nationally—especially as a top cool city!

Forbes.com named Lancaster City one of the Top Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018—and we couldn’t agree more.

Read their take, and then explore some of our own. Here are a few reasons why you need to add Lancaster to your list of places to visit this year.

Commonwealth on Queen

It’s a foodie destination full of flavor

The food scene in Lancaster continues to grow. Whether you’re looking to enjoy brunch, a quick stop at a cafe, get your coffee fix, a dinner out, or a sweet lunch spot, Lancaster has it all. Discover delicious unique brunch, lunch, and breakfast options at Commonwealth on Queen then make dinner plans at Annie Bailey’s Irish Pub or the Belvedere Inn (the latter has Lancaster City’s “official” cocktail—Red Rose Harvestini). Explore the diverse Vietnamese flavors at Sprout, then stop at Splits & Giggles for a crave-worthy dessert.

New and specialized restaurants continue to flock to the downtown blocks. Callaloo Trinidadian Kitchen opened in 2017 and has quickly gained national attention for it’s special take on cuisine (even being featured as the Pennsylvania selection in Buzzfeed’s One Restaurant to Try in Every State). Aussie & The Fox blends both Lancaster and Australian tastes to create a menu as unique as it’s name—and their brunch is one of the most popular weekend choices.

Don’t miss other delicious options like Souvlaki Boys, serving an array of authentic Greek favorites, or Citronelle, an exquisite French fine dining experience. When it’s warmer outside, the Lancaster food truck scene thrives (discover a feature on 3 here). Cupcakes, tacos, burgers, and more, food trucks can be found in parks all around town.

But Lancaster isn’t just known for food.

Pubs and distilleries have opened all across the City. Thistle Finch distillery crafts their own whiskey and vodka right here in town. Levengoods of Lancaster (which opened in 2017) provides visitors with an assortment of hard ciders. Wacker Brewing crafts deep, and delicious, beer to enjoy. Plus, the restaurants all around town offer cocktails, wine, and more—perfect to make your visit extra special.

Fulton Theatre

It has a thriving arts & culture scene

Interested in music, theatre, and exploring art galleries? Lancaster City is a perfect destination for all things arts & culture.

The Fulton Theatre has been around for hundreds of years—it’s known as the longest-running theatre in the country. It went through many iterations since the first building opened in the late 1770’s, but now it’s a nationally-acclaimed theatre that showcases award-winning musicals and plays. From the popular musical Newsies, to the cult classic Little Shop of Horrors, the Fulton offers a consistent musical lineup sure to please a variety of audiences. Plus with plays like Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrapgracing the main stage, there is always an opportunity to engage with a story at the Fulton.

In addition to the Fulton, there is more that adds to the booming musical scene in Lancaster. Discover the lineup at PRiMA theatre, then see all that Millersville University’s Ware Center has to offer.

Browse all the exclusive art galleries all around the City too. Gallery Row, on Prince Street, features some of the most prominent artists right on the main strip. Susan Gottlieb specializes in multi-media paintings. Christiane David Gallery pops off the wall in vibrant, eclectic colors. Also, make sure to stop by Freiman Stoltzfus Art Gallery to see rich artwork full of intention and meaning.

These are just a few places to experience the inspiring artwork from the Lancaster community—don’t miss all of the other options all throughout the City.

The ExtraGive

There are so many community events

Lancaster has no shortage of incredible events that make the community a vibrant destination.

The monthly First Friday is a staple downtown—shops and galleries stay open late, while restaurants are ready for your weekend celebrations. Specials, music, and more, happen exclusively each First Friday.

One of the most impactful events each year is the Lancaster ExtraGive. Each year, Lancaster holds a massive fundraising event for nonprofit organizations within Lancaster County. This past edition, the Lancaster ExtraGive raised $8.6 million! Read our exclusive feature recap and see how this incredible event impacts Lancaster.

There is never a week without an event at a local shop or organization. Plus, there are festivals like the Annual Lancaster Craft Beerfest, Indian Arts Gala, Lancaster City Restaurant Week, International Short Film Festival, the Long’s Park Summer Music Series, and many more, to participate in all year long.

Harvest Breakfast, an annual celebration with food, music, and community by Central Market is a big seasonal draw. Also Velocity Lancaster celebrates all the City has to offer in one big annual bash.

Check out our full events calendar so you don’t miss a thing.


A true shopping experience

Who is ready to shop?

Shopping downtown is an experience all its own. Unique boutiques line streets, chic styles and designs are just footsteps away, and the nation’s largest farmer’s market is right in the heart of the City. Shopping local helps infuse the economy and offers the opportunity to purchase unique items not found anywhere else. Discover artisan-made goods and locally-sourced gifts in the many shops.

Peruse fine style at Coleson Clothiers, beautiful jewelry at Ream Jewelers, and adorable kids fashion at Bellaboo. Experience the gorgeous home decor and designs at David Lyall Design, then browse specialized gifts at Ellicott & Co. Don’t miss TAUPE for all the chic fashionistas. There is so much more to explore so leave time during your trip to hit all the spots around town.

Plan a return trip for next Spring. Coming in 2019, another big shopping destination will help change the face of the City: 101NQ. Find out more about this incredible living, shopping, and working experience coming soon.

One of the biggest draws in downtown Lancaster is Central Market. It’s the country’s oldest farmers’ market–right here in the middle of the City. Taking up a beautiful, 120-year old red brick building, Central Market features over 60 stands featuring everything from regional favorites like cheeses, meats, produce, and baked goods, to cultural specialties such as Vietnamese, Italian, African, Greek, and Mexican cuisine. There are fresh flowers, pickles, jams & jellies, and much more to explore. Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Central Market is the main event, but don’t miss the other markets popping up all around the City. Lemon Street Market has local foods and fresh handmade goods right downtown as well. Newly-opened Freinschaft Market has freshly-prepared foods, snack mixes, meats & cheeses, and more.

Downtown Lancaster City

It’s full of history

Lancaster has been around for generations—even serving as the country’s capital for a brief time in the late 1770’s. You can see beautiful brick roads in portions of the City, and look for historical plaques around town detailing the storied history of the City.

Visit LancasterHistory.org to learn all the ins and outs of the City. Then stop by the Demuth Museum to learn even more about the unique way Lancaster has been growing and changing. For fun the whole family can enjoy, visit the North Museum of Nature & Science to learn about Lancaster, and the rest of the world, through fun interactive kiosks and stations.

Make sure to walk around the City and take notice of the history of each building—many of the shops, homes, and destinations all around town are in historical buildings with a rich past.

Want to know more about the City of Lancaster? Browse our Fig Magazine—the ultimate guide to everything Lancaster. Each quarter Fig Magazine spotlights the many organizations and businesses cultivating the Lancaster community. Discover the most recent issue online and plan your trip today!

Check out the events calendar to see what’s coming soon, and browse even more exclusive content with our collection of blog stories.

We hope to see you soon!

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