Posted: 11/15/2023

Top 30 Things to Do this Winter in Lancaster

A wonderful mix of holiday cheer and indoor fun for your winter trip to Lancaster.

Winter brings a wonderful mix of holiday cheer, indoor adventures, and wholesome events that are enjoyable for families and couples alike. From excursions in the countryside and hands-on adventures, to exploring local shops and tasting locally grown foods, there's an adventure to be had in Lancaster, PA this winter! Keep up to date with Lancaster County by signing up for our e-newsletter and start planning your trip by requesting your free copy of the getaway guide.

an illuminated patio with outdoor heaters and enclosed dining spaces in Lancaster

1. Strasburg Rail Road

All aboard for a beautiful ride through the countryside. Strasburg Rail Road takes families and train-lovers alike on a 45-minute ride on their steam locomotive, and it’s just as beautiful in the winter. If you’re in town for the holidays, their holiday-themed trains add an extra dose of holiday cheer to your visit.

2. Holiday Shopping

Whether you’re shopping for the perfect holiday gift or treating yourself post-holiday, small businesses and boutiques are plentiful in towns like Lititz, Strasburg, Intercourse, Adamstown and Downtown Lancaster. Make your list, check it twice, and enjoy a day of supporting small businesses.

3. Hands-On Learning

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.

4. Visit the Outlets

Update your wardrobe for the season at Lancaster’s outlets, the Shops @ Rockvale and Tanger Outlets, where you’ll find brands you like for prices you’ll LOVE.

5. Mayor's Tree Lighting

Head into the heart of Downtown Lancaster to see Santa make his arrival to the city, countdown to the Christmas Tree being lit, enjoy live music, and more festivities!

6. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Nothing beats a chilly day like a warm cup of coffee and a cozy café. Lancaster is home to over 70 coffee shops to choose from, including one that’s serving up the best coffee in Pennsylvania (according to Food & Wine Magazine), Passenger Coffee. Many are also serving up tasty café bites to pair with your latte of choice. Join our coffee trail and visit coffee shops all winter long.

7. Get Crafty

Get in touch with your artistic side with pottery painting or a canvas painting class. The PotteryWorks offers pottery pieces that can be painted any way you please. Order your pottery and paint online to create a masterpiece from the comfort of your home. If you prefer more of a class setting, sign up for a session at Horst Arts or Painting with a Twist! If you're looking to learn how to throw clay to make beautiful pottery or wanting to learn how to blow glass, try taking a 6 week class at Lancaster Creative Factory. You'll be able to get an in-person experience and learning session on how to create various works of art you'll be proud to display.

8. Science Fun

For kids that are into science, hop on over to Lancaster Science Factory and North Museum of Nature & Science. Lancaster Science Factory focuses on physical science and chemistry, while North Museum is all about nature, space, and animals. Spend some time outdoors at the Lancaster County Park for one of their nature activities!

9. Go Ice Skating!

Hit the slopes and indulge in winter fun at AvalancheXpress!

10. Catch a Show

See holiday shows like A Christmas Carol: The Musical, Miracle of Christmas, The 2023 Christmas Show: The First Noel, Christmas in Perfect Harmony and more. You can also see The Lion, The With & The Wardrobe and more upcoming shows after the holidays.

11. Mud Sale

Mud Sale season begins at the end of February – perfect for your end-of-winter getaway to Lancaster. Grab your boots and head to one of these annual auctions, where you’ll find everything from quilts and antiques, to shrubbery and lawn equipment. If you’re just there to spectate, there’s plenty of tasty PA Dutch cuisine to enjoy as well.

12. Cozy Dining

Warm up by the fire as you indulge in a tasty dinner. For those chilly nights, make a reservation at one of Lancaster’s restaurants with fireplaces for a memorable, cozy dinner.

13. Museums

Make your way to a museum when it’s too cold to be outside. Lancaster is home to museums for every interest – from trains and cars to art, clocks & watches and industry.

14. Farmers Markets & Greenhouses

Wander the aisles of our great farmers markets for fresh produce and delicious handmade delicacies. Even in the winter, there are vegetables and fruits being harvested, especially hearty root vegetables.

Warm up your winter blues at one of our four seasons greenhouses. Visiting a Greenhouse in the winter is like walking onto a tropical island on a cold day.

15. Local Distilleries

Get in the holiday “spirit” with locally made whiskey. Stoll & Wolfe in Lititz and Thistle Finch Distillery in Downtown Lancaster are concocting craft cocktails made with their locally made whiskey, gin and vodka. Swing by for taste after a day of holiday shopping or while catching up with friends post-holiday. If you prefer crafted brews, we have them too. Lots of local breweries have winter ales on tap stop by to try a few of our favorites.

16. Lititz Fire & Ice

The 2024 Lititz Fire & Ice will take place towards the end of February. Instead of one weekend, the event will be spread out over a week and a half, with rotating sculptures placed throughout the town! Stop by the event and order at one of the local restaurants, peruse the quaint shops and boutiques and enjoy the masterfully crafted ice sculptures!

17. Spa Day

The cold, dry air can do a number on your skin, so it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a spa day. Your skin and nails with thank you as you pamper yourself this season.

18. Bowling

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.

19. Take a Tour

Enjoy shopping and, festivities, and samples of delicious food at Kitchen Kettle Village's Holiday Flavors Tasting Tour. You can also explore more tours offered by LoKal Experiences.

20. Christmas Fun

Enjoy the holiday season at Dutch Winter Wonderland with themed rides, special entertainment, light shows and more festivities.

21. Ice Cream in Winter

Fun can be tasty, especially in Lancaster. Get the scoop on ice cream making at Turkey Hill Experience, and even get the chance to create your own ice cream flavor. If salty snacks are more your style, head to Julius Sturgis for a pretzel twisting tutorial and to learn more about the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in America.

22. Arcades, Laser Tag, & More

Ready for a round of laser tag or to tear around a go-kart track? Gather the family and head to Carlisle Sports Emporium (great for older kids) or Go ‘N Bananas (perfect for the little ones). Both spots features arcade games galore, along with activities like laser tag, bumper cars, ropes courses, and go-karts. Check out Urban Air Adventure Park for an array of thrilling activities like go-kart racing, trapeze, a trampoline park, and more!

23. Quilts

Prepare for colder days ahead with a handmade Lancaster County quilt. They’re both warm and beautiful, making for a great gift as well.

24. Live Music

Catch some live music with friends while toasting to another great holiday season. You’ll find fantastic craft cocktails, live bands, jazz music, and good vibes at the bars in Lancaster.

25. PA Farm Show

Take just a short drive to Harrisburg for the 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show! Delicious foods, agricultural events, contests, and vendors await! This event goes from January 6 through January 13.

26. Outdoor Dining

Grab a bite to eat with outdoor dining on a heated patio or in an igloo this winter.

27. Small Town Events

Head into Downtown Lancaster on the first Friday of every month for First Friday. Peruse art galleries, see live music, and enjoy the culinary scene of the city! You can also head to Manheim for First Thursdays, and to Lititz for Second Fridays.

28. Ring in the New Year

Ring in the new year with friends and family by celebrating with fireworks!

29. Farm Fun

You can enjoy fun on the farm year-round with Barnyard Kingdom, and you can even enjoy Breakfast with Santa on select dates.

30. Special Events

Don't miss out on special events in Lancaster! Check them out here.

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