Exploring Lancaster: What is There to Do Around Here Anyway?

Lancaster County is known for its beautiful scenery, farmlands, and of course; Amish people. Not too exciting for college students. Downtown Lancaster, however, actually has a lot to offer.

Central Market at Penn Square in Lancaster has a variety of fresh produce and meats, coffee, desserts, cheeses, collectible items, and different varieties of prepared foods for on-the-go lunch. The market was established in the 1730s and is the oldest farmer’s market building in America. It’s a perfect place to go to try out fresh food and chat with local people.

Downtown Lancaster has a variety of restaurants ranging from Greek to American. Spyro’s Gyros is a Greek restaurant located on Queen Street. The menu has Greek delights ranging from falafels to gyros. It is reasonably priced, and a great way to experience ethnic food. La Cocina Restaurant is a Dominican eatery on King Street, specializing in rice and beans, rotisserie chicken, and sandwiches. It is known to have the best Hispanic food in town.

For a taste of France, check out Rachel’s Café and Creperie. It is a cozy café located on Queen Street, serving a variety of crepes, soups, and salads. The crepes can be stuffed with just about anything, from chocolate to tofu. Rachel’s also includes a smoothie and coffee bar. The Prince Street café, on Prince Street, is a perfect place to have coffee and do school work. Bring your laptop because this cafe has free wireless internet. For a complete list of dining in Lancaster, visit www.downtownlancaster.com/dining.

Lancaster is also home to more than 90 art destinations. The Lancaster Museum of Art, located on Lime Street, is a non-profit art center that educates and explores traditional and innovative art. The Echo Valley Art Group will be exhibited from April 2 to May 30. The Echo Valley Art Group is a group of artists from Lancaster. Since 1945, only 100 artists have been a part of this elite group. Lancaster features Gallery Row on Prince Street. The galleries include The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Isadore Gallery, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Mark Finbery Gallery, Red Raven Art Company, Pencilworks Studios and Gallery, and Nick Gould Photography. Each gallery has something unique to offer.

The Fulton Theatre in Lancaster showcases musicals, comedies, and dramas at a historic location with beautiful Victorian architecture. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is scheduled April 22 through May 9.

First Fridays in Lancaster celebrate the arts and community in Lancaster. The photography of Lancaster resident Megan McIntyre will be showcased April 2 at Isaac’s Downtown and the Pickle Bar. There will also be a Jewel EGGstravaganza downtown starting at 5 p.m. at Veleska Jewelry on West Orange Street. Easter eggs containing a piece of jewelry ranging from $15-$100 in value will be sold for $10. Veleska will also be hosting the opening of “A Sense of Wonder,” photography by Jan Portwood.

Lancaster also has venues for local musicians. To enjoy open-mic performances, check out the Mufflin Street Café on Orange Street. Open-mic is featured the first and third Friday of each month at 7 p.m. The Ace of Clubs, the Alley Kat, and Ad-Lib Café are also great open-mic locations. The Chameleon Club, located on Water Street, features local and mainstream musicians. For information about upcoming artists, visit www.chameleonclub.net.

Music Fridays in Lancaster celebrate local musicians and raise awareness of important issues. On March 26, AIDS Community Alliance & Lancaster PA Pride hosted The RED Party featuring local musicians at the Lizard Lounge in The Chameleon Club. For information about the next Music Friday, visit www.downtownlancaster.com.

  • Paul

    Emily,
    Nice article, but Central Market makes no claim to being the oldest market BUILDING- one need only travel a few miles down the road, to the Columbia market, or across the river, to York, to find older buildings.
    The claim is, this is the oldest continously operated site for a farmer’s market, or some such claim.
    “Just sayin” (I loathe this expression, but seems apropos!)