Lancaster Central Market

September 28, 2021

Central Market Lancaster
Source: Discover Lancaster

If you’re touring the most historical sites in Pennsylvania, you can’t miss our lovely town of Lancaster.  Spend time visiting a market that combines two of our favorite activities: shopping and eating! At the Lancaster Central Market, you’ll find plenty of delicious food, fresh produce, scrumptious sweets, and great souvenirs to take back with you handcrafted and sold by local vendors. Visit the oldest farmers market in the country during your next stay in Lancaster County, and plan your stay at the Historic Smithton Inn. If you want to learn about more places like this fabulous historic farmers market, make sure you visit the "Things to do In Lancaster PA" page on our website! It includes great, local recommendations for restaurants, events, shops, museums, outdoor adventures, and more.

This blog is all about Lancaster Central Market

What You Will See and Eat at the Central Market in PA


The History

Lancaster Central Market is not only Pennsylvania's oldest farmers market, but it's one of the oldest farmers markets in the country!! Its creation dates back to 1730 when the town’s founders designated a 120-foot lot in the center of the town. Known as both the state and the country’s oldest market, Central Market Lancaster was created back in 1730, when the town’s founders designated a 120-foot lot in the center of town for the occasion. This market used to welcome local farmers and vendors who wanted to sell their goods. The Lancaster Central Market is truly a part of the town’s history. Today, after over 275 years, the market and its legacy still stand!

Open Days & Hours:  Central Market Lancaster is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Parking:  There's metered street parking around Central Market, but if you prefer to park in a garage near Central Market Lancaster PA, we suggest these lots:

  • Prince Street Garage (111 N. Prince Street)
  • Hager Parking Lots (40 N. Market Street)
  • 27 West Orange Street Garage (27 W. Orange Street)
  • Grant Street Parking Lot (37 N. Christian Street)

The Best Local Vendors

Whether you are looking to have a fresh picnic, purchase sweet gifts to bring back home with you, or take a simple stroll through Lancaster’s history, the market is ideal! Take a look at all the different vendors in the list below and start preparing for your visit. (Note:  Vendors are constantly changing, we keep our recommendation list up to date as best we can, but no matter what, you'll find WONDERFUL stands at Central Market Lancaster PA.  Here's the complete Vendor Directory).

Bread, Cheeses, and Dairy

Delicious soft pretzels

These are three items you need for the perfect picnic. Deli Grassi (stand 60), for example, offers a wide range of Italian specialties, all imported and created from scratch. We highly recommend their meatballs! For some of the best bread you've ever tasted, make sure you stop by Thom's BREAD (stand 46).  Thom's exemplifies the wonderful simplicity of a traditional Italian loaf. Each loaf is created with four simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and yeast – plus simple, fresh flavorings like rosemary, honey, or Kalamata olives, to name a few.!

Tip: You can’t leave this section of the market without tasting the pretzels! Choose between the Philly pretzel (Pretzels on Market - stand 61) or the Lancaster-style soft pretzel (Kom Essa - Stand 66), all offered with a variety of delicious dipping sauces. You can also purchase breakfast pretzel sandwiches and even pretzel mixes to bring home with you!


Farm Produce and Flowers

Curious Cow on the Kreider Farms Tour

Get a taste of the freshest, local products at Barr’s Farm Produce (stand 44)! Discover the regional flavors of their fruits and vegetables but also the sweet smell of their flowers and homemade, fall apple cider! If you want to decorate your bedroom with fresh flowers or buy a potted plant to bring home with you, then visit Central Market Flowers by Perfect Pots (stand 39).  You won't be disappointed by their lovely arrangements!


Meats, Poultry, and Fish

Amish restaurants in Lancaster, PA

Are you a meat lover? Then you must visit a Lancaster tradition since 1920, S. Clyde Weaver (stand 34)!  They started out selling from their home and then at a market.  Their specialty is seasoned boiled ham developed by S. Clyde – one of the first sandwich deli meats of its time. Added varieties of ham, bologna, turkey, sausage, Swiss, Colby, cheddars, and specialty cheeses have made Weaver’s a destination when shopping for any meal or event.

Rooster Street Butcher (stand 59), on the other hand, is a small European-style butcher shop offering handcrafted charcuterie and fresh meats, including bacon, cured meats, fresh sausages, and more.

JB Kelly Seafood Connection (stand 1) offers the freshest products straight from the ocean at their amazing seafood stand. Everything is wild-caught and seasonal, all sourced from the Atlantic coastline in Maine. Their specialties include lobster, salmon, oysters, but also daily soups, salads, and sandwiches!

Last but not least, our favorite poultry stand: Shenk’s (stand 18). For more than thirty years, Shenk’s Poultry has been delighting locals and visitors alike with a mouth-watering selection of chicken, turkey, cornish hens, duck, fresh farm-eggs, but also products like wings, breasts, and other popular cuts.


Soup, Sandwiches, and Salad

Central Market in Lancaster

The best way to explore and enjoy the market is to spend the entire day there. Take your time to wander through the stands, and let yourself be tempted by the various foods available! It’s a great spot for lunch, and luckily for you, the market has a great selection of delectable goodies. If you love Italian food, we recommend you try Buona Tavola (stand 42)! Their fresh pasta and homemade sauces are simply perfect. They even offer vegan and gluten-free options to fit your dietary preferences or needs.

If you wish to load your lunch with veggies, the Lancaster Salad Company (Stand 4) is your friend. Choose among a selection of fresh, made-to-order salads and pair it off with a creamy, locally-made soup! We highly recommend trying their homemade basil balsamic vinaigrette.

Unique Ethnic Options

If you want to taste something more exotic, then Saife’s Middle Eastern Food (Stand 6) is the place you’re looking for. Try their authentic falafels, delicious hummus, and even their famous baklava! We promise you won’t regret it.  Another truly fantastic stand is Isabelle Cuisine (stand 19).  Chef Isabelle Warfel offers a variety of West African dishes and African-inspired dishes including soups, salads, and entrees.

Have a Drink!

After all this walking, shopping and eating you may feel like you need an Adult Beverage or two!  It just so happens that you're in luck.  One of the newest stands and Lancaster's Central Market is Lancaster Distilleries (Stand 28).  The offer craft made spirits including Vodkas, Rums, and Gins, a line of bitters, simple syrups, and fresh juice mixers as well as vegan and vegetarian carry out food items from the Zoetropolis Kitchen using locally sourced ingredients.

Pastries, Ice Cream, and Chocolate


If you’re traveling with little ones or have a sweet tooth yourself, then Miesse Candies (stand 26) is made for you. This Lancaster staple has been producing candy and chocolate since 1875! They only use natural ingredients like vanilla, butter, fresh cream, and never add preservatives. What you get are delicious treats that will take you right back into childhood!

If you want something a little more decadent, maybe a dessert to complement your lunch, head over to Shady Maple (stand 57)!  Their fresh-baked donuts and pies are some of the best you’ll ever have.


Home, Décor, and Gifts
Stall with wax candles at the York Central Market

Food isn’t the only thing you can find at the Central Market. You can browse through a selection of crafts, collectibles, and even home decor! PA Dutch Gifts (stand 43) is a great place to find the perfect souvenirs for your loved ones back home. All the metal items available have been made on the market since 1970! Talk about something unique. Pineapple House Creations (stand 47) also has amazing products, such as blended oils, soy candles, as well as natural body products.  And finally, if you have a "fur-baby" at home, stop by Lancaster Pet Bakery (stand 49) for dog bones and other treats made using fresh, human-grade ingredients, most of their treats are handmade right here in Lancaster County with fresh, local ingredients straight from Lancaster Central Market!


Stay at the Historic Smithton Inn Bed and Breakfast Ephrata PA

header-sage room - wineries in Lancaster, PA Now is the time to flee the city and find peace and serenity in the countryside, and Lancaster is the perfect place for that! Our gorgeous Inn offers all you desire for your rustic getaway. Between a historical building, charming amenities, and a top-notch location at the heart of the Amish country, the Historic Smithton Inn awaits you!

Browse our guest rooms and pick your favorite! The Sage Room, for example, is beautifully decorated with antiques and handcrafted furniture, and even has a private bathroom with a rain shower and a sitting area with a working fireplace! Wake up the next morning feeling as refreshed as ever and follow the smell of coffee downstairs, where a delicious homemade breakfast awaits you.


Book Your Stay Today!


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