Best Things to Do in Downtown Lancaster in 2023: The Downtown Guide

Lancaster's Fulton Theatre
Image via iStock.
The Fulton Opera House on North Prince Street in Lancaster, PA is a historic 18th century theatre.

When thinking of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, your mind may immediately think of wide open spaces, beautiful farmland, and a rich history to go along with it. But there are plenty of things to do in downtown Lancaster City as well.

As one of the oldest inland cities in the United States, Lancaster has a rich history and a vibrant personality. With a perfect blend of culture, nightlife, and walkability, you’ll always find yourself with things to do in downtown Lancaster.

Want to learn more about how to spend your days and nights in Lancaster city? Keep reading to find out some of our favorite activities located right in the heart of south central Pennsylvania.

The Fulton Theatre

Do you catch yourself singing show tunes in the car? If so, we’ve got one of the perfect things to do in downtown Lancaster.

The Fulton Opera House, also known simply as The Fulton, is the oldest continuously-operating theater in the United States. For lovers of history, architecture, and professional theater, The Fulton is the perfect place to spend an evening.

With live productions being conducted nearly year round, The Fulton is sure to offer shows perfect for your whole family, or for a special date night out on the town.

Whether you prefer large scale musicals, or independent theater productions, there are plenty of options to choose from. The Fulton offers two main theater series, the Mainstage Series and the Studio Series.

The Mainstage series offers typical Broadway productions of well known shows, while the Studio series features more “cutting-edge” productions of independent shows.

Step inside this National Historic Landmark, built in 1842, to enjoy the beautiful Victorian architecture and the shows to go along with it. All of these reasons and more make a show at The Fulton one of our favorite things to do in downtown Lancaster.

Lancaster Central Market

What better way to get a taste of Lancaster than to actually taste food that was actually made locally? The perfect opportunity for this lies within the Lancaster Central Market, making it one of our favorite things to do in downtown Lancaster.

Founded in 1730, the Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously-operating farmers market in the United States.

Enjoy a taste of history, and some delicious fresh baked goods, at Lancaster Central Market. With well over 50 stands featuring locally grown and made goods, you can completely immerse yourself in the vibrant culture that Lancaster has to offer. With products such as:

  • Breads
  • Specialty Cheeses
  • Candy & Snacks
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Crafts, Collectibles, & Home Decor
  • Ethnic Food
  • Farm Produce & Flowers
  • Meats, Poultry, & Fish
  • Pastries, Ice Cream, & Chocolate
  • Soups, Sandwiches, & Salads
  • Specialty Groceries

There are sure to be products for your entire family to fall in love with. Located in the heart of Lancaster city, there is ample parking and lodging available so that your quick trip to the market can turn into a beautiful day with so many things to do in downtown Lancaster.

Looking for a classy night out on the town? If so, check out this next one of our favorite things to do in downtown Lancaster!

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra

A night out at the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra is truly a special event for music lovers of all ages. With fall through spring performances, these proud Lancaster musicians will stimulate your senses and pluck at your heartstrings.

For over 75 years, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra has been serenading Lancaster city with beautiful classical music. From solo instrumental acts, to full orchestral and choral arrangements, catching the LSO is one of our favorite things to do in downtown Lancaster.

With multiple performances of each show, seeing the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra is a must-do for your trip to Lancaster.

In the first half of 2023, the LSO is featuring three solo instrumental shows, including a solo guitar, solo violin, and solo bass!

No matter what your taste in music, you’re sure to enjoy a magical night with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, making it one of our favorite things to do in downtown Lancaster.

Thistle Finch Distillery

A trip to Lancaster would not be complete without trying some of the local food and drink, so it’s a no-brainer to assume this next destination includes one of our favorite things to do in downtown Lancaster.

Thistle Finch is Lancaster’s own rye, whiskey, gin, and vodka distillery. If you’re a fan of spirits and libations, then this is the place for you.

Thistle Finch sources all of their ingredients locally from Lancaster and Lebanon counties, right here in Pennsylvania. Once their ingredients reach the distillery, they don’t leave until the product is finished. That means these delicious drinks are hand-crafted and distilled directly in the heart of downtown Lancaster.

If these lovely libations weren’t enough to grab your attention, Thistle Finch has more to offer. On top of highly informative tours of their unique and rustic distillery, Thistle Finch also offers a tasting room and full restaurant, where you can experience these spirits in their full glory.

The Burley Bar Restaurant is located inside the Thistle Finch distillery and is open from Thursday to Sunday. This delicious restaurant includes a full menu, unique cocktails, draft-beer, and of course, Thistle Finch spirits.

Pair your favorite meal with your favorite libation and see how the two complement each other. You’ll love it so much that you’ll want to take a bottle home with you.

Visit Lancaster PA Today!

With so many options, everyone will be able to find things to do in downtown Lancaster. In a city with such a rich history, diverse culture, and flourishing arts scene, the hard part is choosing what you’ll spend your time on!

Are you ready to find things to do in downtown Lancaster? Next time you plan your visit, keep these options in mind! If you’re planning your first visit, visit for more information.

Editor’s Note: This MONTCO Today post ran originally on Jan. 15, 2023; it has been checked for accuracy.


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