Posted: 08/16/2022 | by Jessica

Things to do in Lancaster, PA this December

And where to see Santa Claus!

Special Events in Lancaster County

Head out to Dutch Wonderland on select dates November 19th through December 31st for Dutch Winter Wonderland! Themed rides, special entertainment, holiday drinks, and the Royal Lights Show are waiting for you.

All aboard at the Strasburg Rail Road for the Christmas Trains! Meet Santa onboard Santa's Paradise Express, Santa's Christmas Trolley, and the Christmas Caboose Charter. Experience the excitement of Christmas Eve and see the classic story come to life on the Night Before Christmas Train. Pick out your tree, listen to carols, and relax around a roaring fire when you ride the Christmas Tree Train. There's tons of holiday fun at the Rail Road this month!

Have Dinner with Mrs Claus and Yummie at Kitchen Kettle Village on select dates between November 26th and December 17th. Listen to a story, receive a gift from Mrs Claus, enjoy photo opportunities, a delicious dinner, and come early to shop in the village! You can also have Holiday Family Fun with Santa and Friends at the Village which includes a meal voucher at the Harvest Cafe, caroling, gingerbread cookie decorating, making a card for Santa, a gift for the family, and more alongside all the great shopping!

Enjoy Christmas on the Farm with Barnyard Kingdom on select dates from November 26th to December 11th. Christmas on the Farm includes farm fresh breakfast in the barn, meeting Santa, all the farm fun like tractor rides and crafts, and more!

Take a backroads tour of Lancaster County and get into a festive mood when you go Scootin' with Santa! Travel through bridges, Amish farmlands, and more with Strasburg Scooter Tours December 3rd-18th.

Do some holiday shopping at the Village Christmas Market at Garden Spot Village and at the Local Makers Market at the Shops at Rockvale on December 3rd.

Make lasting family memories by cutting your own Christmas tree!

Ever wanted to go ice skating, you can do so now at the Park City Center, for a limited time Flight on Ice will transform the centers outdoor parking lot into and outdoor skating rink. Perfect spot for groups of all ages, a winter destination you don't want to miss. There will be onsite parking, food and beverages and heated tents for private parties.

Tour the Historic Ephrata Cloister this holiday season by attending a Lantern Tour between December 27th and 30t. These tours feature local high schoolers playing roles that bring the Ephrata Cloister's story to life! You can also experience Christmas at the Cloister by listening to seasonal readings and holiday music in their historic Saal on December 12th and 13th.

Hop onboard the train at the Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad between November 26th and December 18th for Santa's Surprise Train where little ones will get a gift from Santa, be sure to bring your camera! You can also ride on the Polar Bear Express where you can hear a special story from the Conductor and receive a gift from Santa in the North Pole.

See thousands of holiday lights from the comfort and warm of your car with Drive-Thru Light Shows in Lancaster!

Enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner buffet, a light show, and a music show at the Star Barn!

Head into Lancaster City every night between December 18th and 26th for the Menorah Lighting! You can also join the City to count down to 2023 and ring in the new year with the Red Rose Drop on December 31st, or check out these other New Year's Eve events!

Catch a Holiday Show

Home for the Holidays | American Music Theatre | November 8 - December 30
Home for the Holidays celebrates the joys and merriment of spending the holidays with the ones we love. The show takes place on Christmas Eve and features many of the beloved traditions we look forward to each year. This live, musical experience will feature some of your favorite sacred and secular holiday songs, superb musical arrangements, outstanding singing and dancing, and the incredible sounds of the AMT Orchestra. Come celebrate the wonder, warmth, and magic of the season as we go “home for the holidays” with a show guaranteed to leave you in the Christmas Spirit!

White Christmas | Fulton Theatre | November 17 - December 31
Dance your way through the holidays, Count your Blessings, and Dream of a White Christmas. Based on the beloved, timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation features 17 Irving Berlin songs and a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. With a dazzling score featuring well-known standards including “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial title song, White Christmas is an uplifting musical celebrating family, holiday traditions, and counting your blessings.

Elf the Musical | Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre | November 18 - January 8, 2023
Based on the 2003 hit movie, Elf introduces us to a young orphan named Buddy, who mistakenly crawled into Santa’s bag of gifts and was transported to the North Pole. Raised by elves his entire life, Buddy doesn’t know he is actually a human. When his enormous size and poor toy making ability cause him to face the truth, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.

A Christmas Carol | Fulton Theatre | November 26 - December 24
Coldhearted Ebenezer Scrooge encounters spirits of Christmases past, present and future to discover loves and lives he has neglected. The Victorian setting is peppered with pop culture references and a holiday sing-a-long that will bring cheer to every age. A perfect way to celebrate the Christmas Season with the entire family.

Illumination | Prima Theatre | December 2 - 17
Usher in the magic of the season in the mesmerizing music and sensory experience. Far from traditional, this novel concert features fresh takes on holiday classics, weaving in powerhouse singers, synchronous instrumental solos, and Pentatonix-style acapella caroling. With a piano centered in the room, Illumination immerses you in a candlelit theatre-in-the-round environment.

The Christmas Tree Ship | Bird-in-Hand Stage | October 28 - December 31
This heart-warming inspirational musical 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.

Believe | Magic & Wonder Theatre | November 2 - December 31
Join Brett and his cast in a heartwarming new show for the holiday season. Family and friends of all ages will enjoy the illusions, comedy, costumes, and music in this spectacular production. You'll journey to the wonder of the "North Pole", see toys come to life in "Santa's Magical Workshop", all while remember the True reason for the season. This one of a kind Christmas show fuses together the fun and wonderment of the Christmas season with comedy, dynamic circus arts, and grand illusions.

David | Sight & Sound Theatres | August 16 - December 31
After unprecedented victories lead to devastating failures, this passionate warrior will face the biggest battle of all: the one within himself. Come alongside this young shepherd on his journey to become a man after God’s own heart.

Free Activities in Lancaster, PA

Head into Lancaster City on the First Friday of every month to explore the arts, dining, live music, and more! You can also take the little ones to the Lancaster Science Factory for free from 5-7pm on First Fridays and explore their over 70 interactive exhibits. While not free, you can enjoy First Fridays on your own while the little ones enjoy Kid's Night Out at Tiny Town!

Lancaster City has also kicked off Second Saturdays where you can peruse galleries and studios, museums, dining and other parts of this vibrant downtown!

Check out the small town of Manheim during the First Thursday of every month with food trucks, street vendors, local shopping and more. Similarly, head into Lititz for Second Fridays for extended shop hours, musicians, galleries and dining!

Ring in the New Year downtown on December 31st with entertainment and the red rose drop at midnight.

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