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Planning a Trip to Lancaster? Here Are 8 Fun Things to Do in Just One Weekend

A look down a picturesque alleyway in Lancaster, PA.

Lancaster, PA, is full of hidden gems—several of which you can unearth in just one visit!  If you are planning a getaway from your every day and want to explore a city with rich history and lots of entertainment options to fill your time, Lancaster is the place to be. There’s art, activities galore, and plenty of different food options, so you will never be bored.

Our beautiful city is full of exciting places to be, and the Lancaster Arts Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Lancaster, PA. Our hotel is located within walking distance of several things to do, so book a room with us today to start planning your incredible weekend! With easy access to downtown Lancaster, our conveniently located hotel is the perfect place to stay!

1. Shopping

A great way to kick off your weekend away is with a bit of a shopping spree on Friday night. After you’ve checked into your hotel room and settled your baggage, get ready to explore the city. There are plenty of small, family-owned businesses for you to support, or you can take a short car ride to the Lancaster shopping outlets—like Tanger Outlets or Rockvale Outlets—where you can find deals on some of the most popular brands.

2. Eat Incredible Food

After you’ve finished shopping, it’s time to eat! The Friday night food scenes are full of life in Lancaster County, PA, as we are home to some of the most unique food in the state. Pennsylvania Dutch food traditions are found at popular local restaurants like Shady Maple Smorgasbord. If you want to try something a little less local, we have a wide array of international cuisine available in every flavor imaginable. Step into restaurants all over the city serving different cuisines like Ethiopian, Thai, Indian, French, Mediterranean, Trinidadian, Japanese, Nepalese, or even Vietnamese.

Once you’ve eaten, come back to the Lancaster Arts Hotel and enjoy a restful night’s sleep before you begin your Saturday.

Guided Food Tours

Because we know some adventurous eaters want a guided experience, the city has food tours available for the 21+ crowd on Saturday afternoons. If you can commit three hours of your day to try new culinary delights, you can take a food tour and learn about the history of Lancaster while you enjoy its vibrant food scene for yourself. It’s a great way to spend a day with friends or impress a date.

3. Visit the Antiques Capital

Antiques with neon green price tags sit in a vendor’s stall, waiting to be purchased by an antique lover.

Before your guided food tour in the afternoon, you can start your Saturday morning off by taking a step into the past. Adamstown, PA, is only about 30 minutes from Lancaster and has unofficially become the antique capital of the United States over the years, thanks to the thousands of vendors across dozens of antique stores in the area.

Enormous antique “malls” house dealers of all types of vintage goodies who gather under one roof to sell their wares. Visit any of the vendors and take a moment to appreciate how the things we loved then are very similar to the things we love today. Some of our favorite stops include the Mad Hatter Antique Mall, located in an old hat factory, and the Adamstown Antique Mall.

4. Historical Tours

Did you know that Lancaster was a crucial part of the underground railroad? There are plenty of historical tours in Lancaster to give you a more thorough understanding of the area’s history. Explore former President James Buchanan’s home Wheatland, or visit the country’s first commercial pretzel factory in Lititz, PA at Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.

If you’re interested in guided tours, there are also walking tours available, so you can just listen and enjoy some informational tidbits about this beautiful city. While you’re walking around Lancaster learning about the history, remember to look at all the murals on our buildings, all done by highly talented artists!

5. Buggy Rides

After your guided historical tour, take a relaxing buggy ride in an authentic Amish buggy with Abe’s Buggy Rides. There are two-mile, four-mile, and five-mile ride options for your convenience. This affordable activity is enjoyable for all age groups, and it’s a great way to relax after a wonderful morning exploring the history of the city. Abe’s customers often return, with some of them returning every year for a ride, so you know it’s a good time!

6. Microbreweries

If you haven’t decided to go for a food tour of the city, you can enjoy one of Lancaster’s many microbreweries. One of America’s favorite pastimes is sitting around with friends, laughing and enjoying a good drink. The microbreweries across Lancaster County offer various kinds of beer for every palate, so you are sure to find something you enjoy.

Or, if you want to try something out of your comfort zone, ask about flights and try a sample size of several different beers! Best of all, most microbreweries offer incredible food selection as well, so you can have dinner, too! Some of the most popular stops for people in this area include Lancaster Brewing Co and Wacker Brewing. The popular Bube’s Brewery is only 20 minutes from the Lancaster Arts Hotel and is not only a brewery, but a point of interest for ghost hunters, as it is said to be haunted!

7. The American Music Theater

Ballerinas perform on stage.

After your day packed full of delicious food, historical facts, and eating delicious food until you can’t any longer, unwind with a show at the beautiful American Music Theater. Depending on the time of year, you can find entertainment here for all ages! There are over 300 performances every year at this theater that has hosted everything from concerts and plays to Christmas spectaculars.

As the show dies down, and you think you’ve experienced enough for one day but don’t think you can make it home—don’t worry! You chose one of the best places to stay right in the heart of Lancaster, PA—the Lancaster Arts Hotel! End your Saturday back in one of our luxurious rooms and rest up for Sunday.

7. Museums

Everyone has unique interests, and the museums across the Lancaster area have something for everyone. The perfect Sunday morning activity—exploring a museum—is another great experience that will expand your mind and create beautiful memories in Lancaster, PA. You will find everything from natural history at the North Museum of Nature and Science to art at the Gallery of Modern Masters in and around the city so that you can choose from plenty of subjects. Hands-on activities are encouraged in some museums like the Lancaster Science Factory, so you don’t have to worry about your little ones getting their hands on everything!

8. Farmers’ Markets

Not only is Lancaster home to an enormous collection of antiques, but it is also home to the oldest continuously operated farmers’ market in the United States! Both a historical and practical destination, the Lancaster Central Market has been open since 1731.

Finish off your trip to Lancaster by picking up some local fare to bring home with you. Buy fresh produce or get a few souvenirs handmade by local Amish crafters. Visit our oldest farmers’ markets or stop in at one of the others along the way.

Ready to Plan Your Weekend Trip to Lancaster?

If you’re excited about the prospect of an incredible weekend, let us take care of getting your room ready for you! Book a room at one of the most beautiful places to stay in Lancaster, PA, and enjoy your time with us as you get acquainted with one of Pennsylvania’s historically and culturally significant areas. And if you’ve reached the end of this guide as your weekend comes to a close—well, it’s never too early to reserve your next stay with us! Book a room today!