Free Things to Do in Lancaster PA

September 22, 2017


Are you looking to enjoy your vacation in Lancaster County without having to break the bank? We’ve got the scoop on some great free things to do in Lancaster, PA! You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a fantastic trip. From parks to museums to tours of the county, there’s plenty to do in the area that’s totally free!

Are you looking for more inexpensive or free things to do in Lancaster, PA? Check out our complete list of Things to Do in Lancaster! We’ve listed plenty of great state parks, museums, art galleries, and more that are a great bargain! Plus, you’ll find great recommendations for restaurants, golf courses, and theaters in the area. Planning your trip is easy and fun when you use our Guide of things to do!

Our Favorite Free Things to do in Lancaster, PA

Tour a Market

One of our favorite free things to do is browse local markets and stores. It’s a great way to become more familiar with any region! When you see our art, our food, and our crafts, you’ll get an authentic feel of what it’s like to live here. There are three great places to do this:

Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction

Located just seven minutes away from Historic Smithton Inn, the Green Dragon Farmers Market feature over 400 local merchants, growers, craftsmen, and vendors each week. You’ll see everything from fresh produce to art to handmade crafts. You can easily spend hours wandering the market, taking in all the amazing goods available. When you get hungry, grab a snack from one of the sellers here. If you’ve never had a pretzel sandwich, you must try it!

Central Market in Lancaster

The Central Market in Lancaster is one of the country’s oldest farmers markets, dating all the way back to 1730. Aside from the standard produce, art, and goods sold at these markets, you’ll also find some incredible Amish specialties. If you’ve yet to experience Amish culture during your visit, this is a great place to start! Sample some classic Amish dishes or purchase some preserves to take back with you.

Roots Market

Roots Market is similar to the Green Dragon Market, but it's located in Manheim and is held every Tuesday.  There are multiple buildings with indoor stands, plus a large collection of outdoor stalls too.  Outdoors is the best place to shop for fresh produce.

Visit a Park or Trail

Lancaster County the home to a wonderful collection of parks, hiking trails, and rail trails and all of them are free to visit and enjoy!

In Ephrata you can take a stroll along the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail or check out two lovely parks, Tom Grater Park nestled along the Cocalico Creek or Ephrata Township Park where you can walk along a rustic trail to a quarry lake.

Other great Lancaster County parks & walking trails include:


Tour Some Covered Bridges

covered bridge interior
Photo by Don Reese

You can't go wrong when taking a backroads drive through Lancaster County.  Give your drive some purpose by going on a quest for covered bridges.  We've got a TON around here.  No matter where you are, type "Covered Bridge Near Me" into your phone and you will be directed to the nearest one.  Or if you'd like to plan your quest, here's a link to all the covered bridges in the County.

Browse Through Art Galleries

Downtown Lancaster has some fantastic art galleries and many of them are within walking distance of one another.  They call this area "Gallery Row".  Park your car and browse the shops where you can often meet the artists in person.  If you're lucky enough to visit on the same date they've planned an "Art Walk", you'll be treated to live entertainment and hors d'oeuvres spreads too!  Here's a link where you can learn more about the Galleries and special event schedules.

Attend a Free Community Event

Is there anything better than a festival or craft fair? And with so many options from which to choose in Lancaster County, you’ll never lack in something to do! From the many summer art festivals in Lancaster or a fall festival to the beer and wine events, you’ll find plenty to celebrate around town. Many of these events are free or cheap to attend! Check our which Lancaster events you should visit during your stay with us.

Stay at Historic Smithton Inn

When you’re planning your vacation, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Stay at the Historic Smithton Inn for a luxurious experience at a great rate. You won’t be able to find a better room for a better price in the area. Plus, when you stay at Historic Smithton Inn, you’ll enjoy all our amazing amenities. These include a bountiful breakfast each morning, freshly baked cookies upon arrival, movies, books, and games all available to check-out at the front desk as well as easily forgotten toiletry items. So don’t wait! Check our availability and book your stay today! We look forward to having you.

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