Posted: 12/15/2021 | by Olivia

Things to do in Lancaster, PA this December

And where to see Santa Claus!

Outdoor Festivities

Soar through the trees donned in twinkling lights with Ziplining at Refreshing Mountain. This year, they've added more lights and more activities. Check out the all new observation deck and wildlife center tour, along with a special walk thru experience that we hope will connect you, your family, and the Joy of Christmas.

Clipper Magazine welcomes back Christmas Spirit Light Show and Herr's Snack Factory has their light display shining bright this season. For more holiday light shows, click here.

Grab the kiddos and head over to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane®! Ride coasters and get up-close and personal with Santa’s reindeer! Enjoy the Park lit up with more than five million Christmas lights as holiday tunes fill the park.

Stroll through Bird-in-Hand Village for their two-day Christmas Village celebration, Dec. 10th - 11th. Enjoy a warm seasonal drink as you explore the shops, see live reindeer, and many more family-friendly activities.

Soak in thousands of lights, strap into over 20 rides and attractions, even meet Santa himself. It's time to celebrate the season with the family at Dutch Winter Wonderland!

The Mayor’s Tree Lighting on December 3rd will have you feeling merry and bright. Join Lancaster City for the arrival of Santa, the lighting of the tree, entertainment from Big Boy Brass, and more!

Take a ride through beautiful Lancaster County with Santa! Strasburg Scooters Tours is offering Scootin' with Santa Dec. 4th - 19th. This is the perfect family-fun outdoor activities to partake in this month.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas on the Farm at Barnyard Kingdom! Giant Slides, Fire Pits, Barnyard Animals, Trikes, Straw Pyramid, Elf Scavenger Hunt, Hedge Maze and more await at this special event. Train Rides to the Christmas Tree Fields (on a real train!) for U-Cut Trees are included with admission.

Head to Main Street, Mount Joy through December 22nd for an elf scavenger hunt! Check inside businesses, look in windows, and anywhere an elf might hide on Main Street to find all 38! On December 4th, 4-7pm, Main Street is also hosting Winterfest featuring food, live music, vendors, Santa, and a tree lighting!

Holiday Shows

Believe | November 3, 2021 - January 1, 2022
Take a journey to the winter wonderland of the North Pole and watch toys come to life in Santa’s Workshop in this all-new magical musical variety show from master illusionist Brett A. Myers and his talented cast at Magic & Wonder Theatre. Friends and family of all ages will enjoy the amazing illusions, side-splitting comedy, dazzling costumes and the inspiring message about making holiday wishes magically come true while remembering the true meaning of the season.

The Christmas Tree Ship | October 28, 2021 - January 1, 2022
A ship. A storm. And a Christmas tale of heroic proportions. This heart-warming inspirational new musical showing at the Bird-in-Hand Stage is based on the true story of Herman Schuenemann, known as Captain Santa, who goes down with his ship on a storm in Lake Michigan – leaving his widow to raise their daughters, run the family shipping business and continue her husband’s mission of giving away thousands of Christmas trees to the less fortunate of Chicago. Can she take on the doubters and naysayers, or will she break under the pressures of widowhood, judgmental people and the restrictive customs of the day? What Barbara Schuenemann and her daughter Elsie do to resurrect Captain Santa’s legacy is nothing short of a holiday miracle.

A Christmas Carol | Studio Series | December 2 - 26
“Marley was dead, to begin with…” —and what happens to Ebenezer Scrooge’s mean, sour, pruney old business partner after that? Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned to a hellish eternity. He’s even given his own private tormentor: a malicious little hell-sprite who thoroughly enjoys his work. Desperate, Marley accepts his one chance to free himself: To escape his own chains, he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption and renewal, during which Scrooge’s heart, indeed, is opened; but not before Marley—in this irreverent, funny, and deeply moving story—discovers his own. See this show this month at Fulton Theatre.

Miracle on 34th Street | November 11 - December 23
Six-year-old Susan Walker doesn’t fill her head with romantic notions like believing in Santa Claus. But when she meets the department store Santa who may in fact be the real Kris Kringle, a wave of love spreads across New York City and the little girl’s beliefs make all the difference! See this heart warming show at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.

Queen Esther | February 12 - December 23, 2021
Set in the opulent yet perilous Persian Empire, QUEEN ESTHER is a captivating tale of beauty and bravery. Esther’s ordinary life changed forever when she was taken through the palace doors, entering a new world of royalty and risk. With a crown on her head and a secret in her heart, can she find the courage to trust in God’s plan and believe that she was made for such a time as this? Experience one of the most riveting Bible stories of the Old Testament as it comes to life with magnificent sets, special effects, and live animals in this brand-new, original stage production at Sight & Sound Theatres.

On the Naughty List | December 3 - 18
It’s that special time of year when we gather with the people who annoy us the most, eat food we know will tip the scale, and tell stories of an old guy who breaks into the house, eats your cookies, and kisses your momma. Join Prima for a laugh-out-loud look at the season, with fresh takes on classic songs, and enlightening revelations on the historic holiday stories that just might change everything.

Holidays at the Rail Road

There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned train display, or even riding on an authentic steam train at the Strasburg Rail Road. You and the whole family are sure to get festive with holiday events at the Rail Road. Check out one of this month's special holiday rides: Santa’s Paradise Express, Christmas Tree Train, Santa's Christmas Trolley, and Night Before Christmas Train.

Heritage & Historical Events

LancasterHistory & President James Buchanan’s Wheatland invites you to Yuletide at Wheatland! Discover the holiday traditions—and the histories behind them—during James Buchanan’s lifetime (1791-1868). In a guided tour, a historically costumed guide will take visitors through both floors of the decorated mansion, imparting stories and histories about Buchanan’s public and personal life through the lens of Yuletides past.

Step back in time when you visit the Ephrata Cloister for Christmas at the Cloister. A program of lessons and carols in the historic Meetinghouse welcomes the holiday season Dec. 13th - 14th.

Experience Amish Culture with the Christmas Cookie Tour with Amish Farm & House. Visit three Amish homes to enjoy homemade cookies on this is a once-in-a-lifetime tour. The guide will drive you through the true back roads of Amish Country and introduce you to three Amish families. You’ll leave with an appreciation of another culture along with recipes and cookies to take home and enjoy.

More Family-Fun Activities

Join Santa at Turkey Hill Experience to hear a Christmas Story, create a card and a craft, enjoy Mrs. Claus' cookies, and create your own holiday ice cream creation at Ice Cream with Santa on Dec. 11th & 18th.

Head out to Amish Farm & House to visit with Santa and his goat helpers, and have some delicious food and hot cocoa. Enjoy Santa & Goats on December 11th for this family fun event on the farm.

If cabin-fever starts to set in, get ready for hands-on fun and learning at Hands-on-House and Tiny Town. Both offer children a plethora of ways to learn through playing, and are perfect of children 10 and under.

Roll away the winter blues with a round of bowling. Whether with friends or family, bowling at Leisure Lanes and Rocky Springs Entertainment Center makes for a great winter afternoon out.

Holiday Shopping

Whether you venture out and brave the cold or prefer the warmer climates of the great indoors, Lancaster has wonderful shopping destinations.

Kitchen Kettle Village is home to 42 shops and restaurants that make for a full day of shopping and gift-getting. The Village also hosts the following holiday events this month: Dinner with Mrs. Claus & Yummie, Holiday Flavors Tasting Tour, and Holiday Family Fun with Santa & Friends.

Lancaster has always been known for our great outlet shopping, and this year is even better, with an expanded Tanger Outlets, you’re sure to find the gifts you need.

Stop by The Shops @ Rockvale Merry Makers Market on Dec. 4th for a chance to find out if Santa has you on the Naughty or Nice List. Spend time shopping the brands you love, over 60 local artists, food trucks, photo booths, live music and the first one hundred guests will receive a special treat with chances to win gift cards.

Unable to visit with loved ones this holiday season? Give the Gift of Lancaster with signature, artisanal gift boxes curated by Lancaster Local Provisions. Share the local flavors by sending them a fabulous artisanal gift box. Every item is thoughtfully sourced and every gift box is masterfully crafted. And the best bit... Every gift box supports the local makers, farmers and artisans who make Lancaster County so unique and special.

On December 9th, enjoy late-night shopping during Lancaster Shops Open Late. Of course, bundle up and head downtown to ring in the New Year!

Not sure what to get someone on your list? Check out our helpful Lancaster County Gift Guide and find the perfect gift.


Where to see Santa

Mayor's Tree Lighting - Downtown Lancaster | Dec. 4thHoliday Family Fun – Kitchen Kettle Village | Nov. 27th, Dec. 4th, 11th, & 18thHoliday Excursions – Northern Central Railway | Nov. 20th., 21st, 26th - 29th, Dec. 4th & 5th
Merry Local Makers Markets – Shops @ Rockvale | Dec. 4thChristmas at the Star Barn Village – Stone Gables Estate | Nov. 26th & 27th and Mon. - Thurs Dec. 20th - 23rdChristmas Village - Bird-in-Hand Village | Dec. 10th - 11th
Breakfast with Santa - Spooky Nook Sports | Dec. 11thBreakfast with Santa - Barnyard Kingdom | Dec 4th, 5th, 11th & 12thSanta & Goats - Amish Farm and House | Dec. 11th
Candylane - Hersheypark | Nov. 19th - Dec. 24thSanta's Paradise Express - Strasburg Rail Road | Nov. 20th - Dec. 24thSanta's Christmas Trolley - Strasburg Rail Road | Dec. 2nd - 23rd
Dutch Winter Wonderland - Dutch Wonderland | Nov. 20th - Dec. 31stVisit with Father Christmas - Mount Hope Estate Winery | Dec. 11th - 12thIce Cream with Santa - Turkey Hill Experience | Dec. 11th & 18th

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