What Is Lancaster, Pa Famous For?

Posted on by in Experiences, Lancaster County Fun

Best known for its prominent Amish community (one of the largest in the U.S.), Lancaster, Pa., is also praised for its beautiful farmlands, rich history, and rich art scene. The New York Post called it the new Brooklyn highlighting Lancaster County’s art galleries, boutique shops, and restaurants. Read on to learn about the things Lancaster is most famous for.

Pennsylvania History and Museums

Did you know Lancaster city, America’s oldest inland city, was the national capital for one day in 1777? Initially called Hickory Town, the town was renamed Lancaster for the English city that John Wright called home. Much of the rich history throughout Pennsylvania Dutch Country is now preserved in various Native American and Pennsylvania German historical sites and museums. 

On the National Register of Historic Places, Lancaster city is home to Historic Rock Ford, the notable 33-acre estate of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand. Hand served as adjutant to George Washington. History lovers will enjoy learning more about the 1794 mansion and the property’s history during guided tours.

Strasburg Rail Road is America’s oldest operating railroad, a remarkable attraction for the entire family. Hop aboard the steam locomotive for a 45-minute narrated ride and travel through the rolling hills and 2,500 acres of surrounding farmland. You can learn even more about trains during a behind-the-scenes mechanical shop tour.

Art and Culture

Lancaster Arts Hotel - Lancaster Pa

Lancaster Arts Hotel – Lancaster PA

People often flock to downtown Lancaster to tour its many art galleries, particularly in spring and fall, for a self-guided tour called Lancaster ArtWalk or First Fridays. Highlights include special events, art exhibitions, activities for children, and other live art demonstrations. Don’t miss out on a unique opportunity to paint your own masterpiece with your family and friends at Painting With a Twist.

While you’re downtown, don’t miss Fulton Theatre, the oldest continuously operating theater in America. Named for steamboat pioneer Robert Fulton, Fulton Theater is full of character and history. The building was built on the foundation of Lancaster’s pre-Revolutionary jail. Host to some of the most fantastic, Broadway-caliber theater productions, the nearly 170-year-old theater has drawn famous audiences like the Barrymore family, W.C. Fields, and Mark Twain. 

For a truly immersive experience of Lancaster, Pa., we recommend staying overnight at Lancaster Arts Hotel or one of the many unique, historic hotels. The Lancaster Arts Hotel is housed in a landmark tobacco warehouse. It embraces both contemporary and traditional design in its style, featuring the artwork of established artists. On the first floor, you’ll find an art gallery that serves as a space for board meetings and cocktail parties.

Amish and Lancaster, Pa. Countryside

Lancaster County Covered Bridge

Lancaster County Covered Bridge

Lancaster County’s Amish community has called the area home since the 18th century, with its numbers growing in recent years. If you’re interested in learning more about the Amish, including their schools, farms, and culture, take a 90-minute bus tour with Countryside Bus Tours at the Amish Farm and House. While touring the scenic beauty of Lancaster, your tour will likely make a stop at one of the Mennonite community’s roadside stands full of berries, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, eggs, whoopie pies, and other Pennsylvania Dutch foods.



You can’t visit Lancaster without an authentic horse and buggy ride with Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides. At this Amish attraction, Amish drivers will guide you through working Amish farms, where you’ll learn about the history of the Amish, as well as their lifestyle and customs. During your tour, you can check out a few of the area’s famous, historic covered bridges. These bridges are sometimes referred to as kissing bridges, referencing the many couples who walked across them over the years.

Given the area’s rich history, you’ll find many more things Lancaster County, Pa., is famous for if you look hard enough. Still, if you’re looking for more things to keep you busy and engaged during your time in this beautiful city, check out our complete list of things to do.