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A Bucket List of Things to Do in Lancaster

A Lancaster Balloon Rides hot air balloon flying over Lancaster County, PA

Looking for some exciting things to do that will give you the experience of a lifetime? Start planning out your adventure in Lancaster, PA today. Whether you’re in Central, PA on vacation, looking for some things to do on a holiday weekend, or a local native hunting for something new, we’re sharing our bucket list of things to do in Lancaster County.

Take a hot air balloon ride

Get an eagle-eye view of Amish Country high up in a hot air balloon with the Lancaster Balloon Rides (operated by The US Hot Air Balloon Team). A hot air balloon ride is the perfect way to enjoy some alone time with your partner or take in majestic views with friends. From tree-covered rolling hills and mighty rivers, you’ll get a thrill seeing Lancaster County from a perspective you never imagined.

Visit Lancaster Central Market

Make your way to the oldest, continuously operated public farmers’ market in the country, Lancaster Central Market. In a building over 120 years old, you can find Pennsylvania Dutch specialties like whoopie pie, scrapple, and whoopie pie, along with dozens of other vendors with foods originating all over the world. Many of the stands are multi-generational, run by families for decades.

Zipline at Refreshing Mountain

Head to Refreshing Mountain for a “5-star” zipline experience. The year-round retreat and adventure center is located on the grounds of an old horse camp and offers a variety of outdoor adventures. Activities include zipline canopy tours, a high ropes course, and a climbing tower. Refreshing Mountain also offers group retreats and cabin rentals for getaways. It makes for the perfect place to get outside and have some fun.

Attend an art crawl

Explore another side of Lancaster and tour its downtown art galleries. The city boasts various museums like Demuth Museum and art galleries, making it an excellent destination for an art crawl. You can participate in a seasonal self-guided tour of the galleries in the spring and fall. Another option is to attend the community-driven First Friday. Held every first Friday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m., you can find unique exhibitions and performances throughout the city.

See a show at Fulton Theatre

Not only is Fulton Theatre a historic landmark, but it produces musicals and other performances on par with Broadway. The theatre prides itself on creating productions that are unlike any other show you have seen before. Check out a show this year and see what everyone is raving over.

Explore Lancaster County’s nature preserves

Lancaster Conservancy protects over 46 nature preserves with excellent hiking trails. Choose a trail and meander through shady woodlands along streams to find inspiration in nature. Nature preserves are different from local parks. You’ll find plenty of outdoor things to do in the Central, PA area. Lancaster Conservancy is a non-profit organization founded to find, fund, preserve, and maintain natural lands, so they are available for enjoyment for years to come.

Eat at Shady Maple Smorgasbord

With a 200-ft buffet, it’s hard not to find something you’ll like to eat at Shady Maple Smorgasbord. This iconic restaurant is the largest of its kind in Lancaster County. It is well known for serving authentic Pennsylvania Dutch foods and other exciting dishes. Be sure to check out its nightly dinner specials and free birthday meals.

Take a beer tour

Lancaster County is home to a variety of local craft breweries. Make a day of it and visit a handful of them to sample their brews. Don’t forget to secure a designated driver. Local favorites include Lancaster Brewing Company, Mad Chef Craft Brewing, Saint Boniface Craft Brewing Company, Black Forest Brewery, Fetish Brewing Company, Columbia Kettle Works, and more.

Hopefully, this bucket list helps you get excited about the future. You’ll find there’s plenty of things to do in Lancaster County. From delicious foods to try and brews to sample to the countless unique locations to explore outdoors, everyone can find something to enjoy.