Top 30+ Things to Do this Winter in Lancaster
Winter brings a wonderful mix of holiday cheer, indoor adventures, and wholesome events that are enjoyable for families and couples alike.
If you find yourself in Lancaster this season, you won’t run out of things to do with this list of 30+ things to do this winter.
1] 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] When the temperatures dip below freezing and the snow starts falling, AvalancheXpress opens for snow tubing fun! Kids of all ages will love this snowy adventure, complete with ice skating and hot chocolate afterwards.
3] 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.
4] 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.
6] 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.
7] 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. If you prefer more of a class setting, Painting with a Twist holds canvas painting classes that guide aspiring artists step-by-step through a painting that they can proudly hang in their home afterwards.
8] 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.
9] Winter ales are on tap at local breweries, so stop by to try a few of our favorites. If you’re in the mood for some medieval mead, Meduseld Meadery is making and serving up this unique honey wine. While you’re there, try your hand in axe throwing.
10] If you’re just looking to get away, cozy up by a fire, and read a good book – book your stay at a Lancaster Bed & Breakfast. You’ll be treated to some much needed relaxation, along with amazing amenities and delicious breakfast after a good night’s sleep.
11] Learn some new cooking skills with a Zest Cooking Class or at the Baker’s Table. The Zest Cooking School offers a plethora of classes, ranging from sweet treats to romantic dinners. For those with a sweet tooth, the Baker’s Table holds a Gingerbread Workshop in the winter to get creative with candy.
12] 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.
13] 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.
14] Experience memories of Christmases past at Lancaster’s historical spots as they celebrate the season the old-fashioned way. President Buchanan’s Wheatland is decked out as it would have been in the age of the 15th president, with tours featuring guides in period garb. Going a little farther back in time, Rock Ford Plantation is highlighting yuletide cheer from the 18th century with self-guided tours. For a glimpse into even earlier days, Ephrata Cloister hosts Christmas Lantern Tours, full of stories of the 1700s.
15] 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.
16] 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.
17] 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.
18] Head to Lititz in February for their Fire & Ice event – where the community gathers for ice sculpture displays, a chili cook-off, and a family-friendly festival. It’s also a great time of year to experience the shopping offerings of the charming small town.
19] 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.
20] It may be chilly outside, but the theatres in Lancaster are nice and warm. It’s the perfect time to catch a show – whether it’s one of the many Christmas shows offered around the county or a toe tapper to start the New Year.
22] Even winter is a great time to visit Indian Echo Caverns, as the caverns are always 52 degrees. Explore these geological wonders during their 45-minute tour.
23] Ring in the New Year with a Lancaster County tradition – the Red Rose Drop. You’ll be treated to live music leading up to midnight with fireworks and the dropping of the icon Lancaster rose.
24] Catch the magestic snow geese migration at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, occuring in late February to early March
25] Get active this winter with indoor rock climbing at Spooky Nook Sports and trampoline bouncing at Sky Zone. Both activities are great for kids when cabin fever sets in, or for adults looking to try a new form of exercise.
26] 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.
27] 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.
28] An indoor tour is a great way to spend an afternoon, while learning about element of Lancaster’s community. Learn more about the New Holland Haytools Factory, George’s Furniture and Woodshop, QVC Studio, and Miesse Candies Factory.
29] Prepare for colder days ahead with a handmade Lancaster County quilt. They’re both warm and beautiful, making for a great gift as well.
30] 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.