We had the best time spending a weekend in Lancaster, PA exploring this quaint town. When people think of Lancaster, they often think of Amish land and farms - but downtown Lancaster is such a quaint town with amazing restaurants, cute shops and fun holiday sights. I put together this itinerary for how to spend a weekend in Lancaster, especially around the holidays. It's such a nice place for a little getaway with friends or family. I hope you get the chance to visit!
Where to Stay in Lancaster, PA
We stayed in a cute, centrally-located dog-friendly Airbnb during our weekend in Lancaster. That said, there are many places to stay. If you are looking to stay in a hotel for the weekend, I recommend checking out the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. This is a historic hotel right in downtown and a perfect place to stay for a weekend in Lancaster. It's just steps away from the Lancaster Central Market (which is one of my favorite things we did!) and tons of other restaurants and shops. If you are interested in a dog-friendly Airbnb, I highly recommend checking out this one!
A Weekend in Lancaster: Day 1
Breakfast at Rachel's Cafe & Creperie
On our first day in Lancaster, we woke up early and got to Rachel's Cafe & Creperie right when it opened for breakfast. This place was highly recommended to us and wow, it didn't disappoint! It was such a cute spot inside and had tons of amazing sweet and savory crepes. I got the "Rodeo" crepe which was to die for. It had eggs, cheddar, sausage, red onions, scallions and bell peppers. Charlie got the "Oyler" which was much richer, but still delicious. Definitely check this spot out if you're spending a weekend in Lancaster!
Lancaster Central Market
OMG, I cannot say enough good things about Lancaster Central Market. This is a historic public market located right in downtown Lancaster and is the oldest continuously operated public farmer's market in the United States - since 1730! I was SO looking forward to visiting this market and highly recommend it if you spend a weekend in Lancaster. It has more than 60 local vendors and has things like local meats, cheeses, artisan crafts, candies, spices, breads, sweets, candles, fresh flowers and more. You could spend hours in there walking around! It's open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and I highly recommend planning your trip around making sure you can go here.
Boutique Shops & Lunch in Lititz
Lancaster County is made up of tons of quaint small towns, one of which is called Lititz. Lititz is so charming and known for its many cute small shops that line the main streets of the downtown area. If you're spending a weekend in Lancaster, I recommend making the short drive to Lititz to check out some of the boutique shops. Some of our favorite shops to explore were Wilbur Chocolates, Cherry Acres, Heavenly Soaps & Scents (the cutest little baby section if you're looking for baby clothes!), Atlas General Store and Zest.
After doing some shopping, I recommend grabbing a bite to eat in Lititz. There are so many cute restaurants, but we LOVED Tomato Pie Cafe. If you've never had tomato pie before, it's my favorite! My mom makes it at the beach every summer and it's the best.
Dinner & Beers at Lancaster Brewing
After lunch and shopping in Lititz, we came back to our Airbnb and relaxed while our daughter napped. A few hours later before heading out to a Christmas village, we walked from our Airbnb to Lancaster Brewing for some beers and dinner. They had the BEST raspberry shandy - if they have the Raspberry Blue Trail Shandy on the menu when you go, definitely order this!
Koziar's Christmas Village
Since our weekend in Lancaster fell around the holidays, so many of you recommended checking out Koziar's Christmas Village. Koziar's Christmas Village is an amazing holiday light display less than an hour outside of Lancaster. On its website, this is how it describes the village: "Driving through the darkened countryside and coming over that last hill on the unlit country road is like driving into a fairyland. Suddenly you find yourself in a dazzling valley set aglow with more than one million Christmas lights adorning buildings, gift barns, and landscape." Wow - this is perfectly accurate. You can walk around the village at your own pace and take a self-guided tour of the breathtaking grounds and beautiful lights. There are also 11 indoor buildings of different sizes you can go into with displays, shopping, food, and a huge indoor train display! This is such a fun thing to do with your family or friends and it's worth the drive over there!
A Weekend in Lancaster: Day 2
Breakfast at Cafe One Eight
On our second day in Lancaster, we woke up and walked to Cafe One Eight to meet a friend for breakfast. I had the best oat milk latte and build-your-own breakfast sandwich. I know they're also known for their amazing avocado toast. This place was SO cute and cozy and a perfect breakfast spot right in the middle of downtown Lancaster.
Strasburg Rail Road: Santa's Paradise Express
After breakfast, we made the drive over the Strasburg Rail Road for a 45-minute Santa's Paradise Christmas train ride. This is an authentic steam train ride through Lancaster county's famous Amish Countryside. During the holidays, they deck the train cars out in Christmas decorations and have Santa and Christmas carolers join the train. There were so many families with little kids and this was such a fun family-friendly activity to do. I highly recommend spending a weekend in Lancaster and making the 20-minute drive to this railroad!
Lunch & Beers at Our Town Brewery
One thing that totally surprised me about Lancaster was all the fun breweries they had in their downtown area. We went to two while on our trip there and loved them both. After our Santa's Paradise Express train ride, we went to Our Town Brewery to grab a beer and a quick lunch. It was a gorgeous modern space and they had an amazing sour on tap. Charlie got their BBQ smash burger which was to die for!
Shopping at Cocalico Creek Home Store
After lunch before heading home from our weekend in Lancaster, we made a trip to Cocalico Creek Home Store. People messaged me on Instagram about needing to go here, and I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH how obsessed I am. It was the cutest home store I'd ever been to. Picture Home Goods but every single thing looked like it was from Pinterest. I wanted to buy everrrrything. If you make a trip to Lancaster, you absolutely NEED to come here. Apologies in advance to your bank account.
Well, that's a wrap on our weekend in Lancaster! We had the absolute BEST time and already talked about how we want to make this an annual tradition. I felt like we could have spent several more days there, as there were things we really wanted to do but didn't get a chance to. Below, I'm going to include a list of "Honorable Mentions" - things we wanted to do but either couldn't get reservations or didn't have time to go. Next time we go back, we'll be sure to fit these things in.
- Luca. Everyone recommended getting dinner at this place but we couldn't get reservations! Next time we make a trip to Lancaster, we'll definitely be making a reservation for this spot in advance.
- Dutch Wonderland. When Eleanor is a little older, we'll definitely take her to this amusement park! If you have young kids, definitely check this place out.
- Cherry Crest Farm. When we made our trip this was already closed for the season, but if you go in the fall, you NEED to go here for pumpkin picking, etc.!
- Kitchen Kettle Village. This is a historic Dutch village with lots of shopping and restaurants - will definitely be checking this out next time.
- Spring House Brewing. Lots of people recommended this brewery and we didn't have time to fit it in, unfortunately.
- Speckled Hen. This is a brunch spot a lot of people recommended. It's right near the Strasburg Railroad so next time, we'll do the train ride then grab brunch here!