Article featured in NorthernVirginia.
There is more to Lancaster County than Amish culture. A trip to the downtown area brings you to urban blocks full of local boutiques, restaurants and a market that is a must-see.
When most hear Lancaster County, they think Amish country, but the downtown of this Pennsylvania town is ripe with on-trend dining, shopping and arts. Here are five must-stop spots.
Lancaster Central Market is in the heart of downtown Lancaster and is the oldest farmers market in the country. Residing in a 120-year-old Romanesque building, the market houses vendors that carry regional foods (Pennsylvania Dutch sausage, scrapple, headcheese and preserves) along with daily produce, meats, souvenirs, collectibles, sweets and snacks from more than 60 vendors. The market is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
For 160 years this theater, one of only eight named a National Historic Landmark, has brought entertainment to the masses. Today, performances focus on modern-day classics (Annie Get Your Gun, Billy Elliot) and family-friendly performances (Big The Musical, James and the Giant Peach, Alice in Wonderland). With the mission to “create and produce exceptional theatre that moves the collective soul of our community,” Fulton offers pay-what-you-want performances and Teen Lounge performances that engage all members of the community.
If you’re traveling with wonder-kids age 7-13, this is a must-stop for hands-on learning. The more than 60 exhibits focus on physical sciences, engineering, technology and mathematics. And there are special events throughout the year, such as Star Wars-themed exhibits, make-it-yourself workshops, overnights and trivia nights.
The former home of Charles Demuth, a renowned watercolorist and founder of the Precisionist style, is now a museum that pays homage to the artist whose pieces were called some of the most beautiful watercolors of the day: “Combining exacting botanical observation and loosely Cubist abstraction, his watercolors of flowers, fruit and vegetables have a magical liveliness and an almost shocking sensuousness,” wrote The New York Times‘ Ken Johnson. Today the museum displays the artist’s works in his family home.
Arts throughout the city streets
Like many downtown areas, Lancaster has a thriving cultural and entertainment scene through its First Friday and Music Friday programs. First Fridays put a monthly spotlight on artists throughout the area, while Music Fridays, the third Friday of the month, have restaurants, boutiques and other businesses hosting musicians.