A Guide To Life In Lancaster, PA

lancaster pa

A Guide to Living in Lancaster, PA

With robust farmland to lively downtown scenes, Lancaster, PA offers a little bit of everything. It’s no wonder more than half a million people chose to call this place home. With Lancaster City’s bustling music scene, eclectic restaurant options, and quaint shops, it’s easy to feel like you’ve escaped to an urban paradise. But if the country roads call your name, it only takes a few moments to drive to Amish Country, where fresh produce, hand-crafted furniture, and peaceful fields surround you.

Whether you’ve discovered life in Lancaster for the first time or you’re moving back home, consider the following resources to make your transition a smooth one. This Lancaster relocation guide should help you through deciding where to live and getting to know your neighborhood.

Moving to Lancaster City

lancaster map
If downtown living makes moving to Lancaster seem that much more exciting, there are some great places in which to settle. Downtown Lancaster offers great options if you like walking to restaurants and bars, catching a show on the weekends, or visiting a coffee shop on dreary afternoons. The Lancaster PA cost of living offers plenty of options to fit your budget.

Urban Place

Nestled on New Holland Avenue near the popular Cork Factory Hotel are the luxury apartments at Urban Place. These newly constructed apartments are spread throughout three buildings, each featuring a modern fireplace in the living room, new kitchen appliances, exposed brick walls, stripped wood ceilings, and elevator access.

The historic cork manufacturers of Lancaster previously used these spaces as a business hub in the city. Today, they’re brought back to life with new commercial projects and the addition of the hotel and residential options. It truly is a unique place to live if you like the all-in-one amenities that downtown life can offer.

Cityscape Lofts

One- and two-bedroom apartments are available in these spacious downtown lofts. Take in the exposed steel and wood beams, the dark hardwood floors, granite countertops, soft-close cabinet doors, and spacious storage amenities. When you come home to unwind after a long day in the office, relax on the rooftop patio or walk to a nearby restaurant to meet a friend.

Lancaster Press Building

The custom condos at the Lancaster Press Building offer luxurious amenities with a convenient downtown location. At 401 North Prince Street, the condos offer close proximity to the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball games, a short walk to Gallery Row for First Friday events, and plenty of restaurants offering nearby tasty treats.

Residents can enjoy the rooftop patio, fitness room, and private parking. Open-plan living areas, as well as exposed brick, hardwood floors, walk-in closets, and sky lights make these custom condos feel like an urban oasis.

Moving to Lancaster’s Suburbs and Countryside

If living in downtown Lancaster doesn’t quite appeal to you, there are plenty of rural retreats throughout the spacious county. Life in Lancaster offers options for everyone.

Lititz

Lititz is a small borough that is home to big entertainment. Take a Saturday afternoon to stroll the many shops and restaurants, including tasty treats at the famous Wilbur Chocolate Factory or the Sturgis Pretzel Factory. Order some Irish fare at the Bull’s Head Public House or sneak into Tomato Pie Café for its fresh and piping hot coffee.

The community is also known for many events, such as the annual Halloween Parade, Fourth of July festivities, and lighting the neighborhood Christmas tree at Lititz Run Park.

East Hempfield Township

Home to Park City Mall as well as a hot spot for manufacturing and economic growth, East Hempfield Township is an up-and-coming community in Lancaster County. It’s a great place to live if you want to be close to shopping but far enough away to settle into one of the many housing communities that dot the municipality. Get involved in neighborhood events, such as the Amos Herr Dream Park rebuild project, or volunteer at the historical society.

Strasburg, Blue Ball, Intercourse and Ronks

While some of these names might sound strange, these country towns are a great place to call home. In the middle of Amish Country, don’t be surprised to find yourself behind a buggy every time you leave the house. Nestled in quiet communities, these municipalities offer quiet, country living with the convenience of modern amenities.

You’ll also find the famous Tanger Outlets and Rockvale Outlets just a short drive away. Hop on Route 30 to discover new restaurants and shopping opportunities. When you’ve exhausted yourself, turn down a back road and find yourself at home in the quiet hills of Lancaster’s farmland.

Elizabethtown

The quiet streets of Elizabethtown are the perfect place to settle if you prefer a small-town feel with the convenience of boutique shopping and dining. Head into downtown Elizabethtown for Folklore Coffee & Co.’s cozy treats and warm beverages. Students from nearby Elizabethtown College often mingle with older, lifelong residents in this communal space. Elizabethtown is as quaint as the name sounds, with residents ready to welcome new neighbors.

lancaster schools

Lancaster Schools

There are many learning opportunities to fit the needs of every student in Lancaster, PA. There are 16 school districts, one charter school and a bustling homeschool community ready to offer educational services.

The county average for SAT scores is 1487, above the state average of 1404. Penn Manor High School, which was in academic trouble eight years ago, has now been named one of the best schools in the state. It’s one of six Lancaster County schools that was recognized as a best high school by U.S. News and World Report. The following schools also made the list:

  • Lampeter-Strasburg
  • Manheim Township
  • Ephrata Warwick
  • Conestoga Valley High School

If a private school education is a better fit for your child, Lancaster County Christian School, Lancaster Country Day School and Lancaster Catholic High School offer private programs. A large homeschool population exists in Lancaster County, including more than a dozen homeschool support groups and a large umbrella group called the Coalition of Homeschoolers Across Lancaster County.

lancaster restaurants

Lancaster Restaurants

You can't move to Lancaster without experiencing the wonderful dining options. And there are plenty of possibilities, whether you prefer the comfort foods of the Pennsylvania Dutch or finer dining options.

Smorgasbords

The smorgasbord, a Pennsylvania Dutch-style buffet, is a must-see for anyone who lives in Lancaster, PA. Head to the western end of the county where Hershey Farm Restaurant and Inn serves classic ham balls, tasty pies and an untraditional chicken pot pie that features noodles. Miller's Smorgasbord, Good and Plenty and Shady Maple are just a few other popular locations that serve comfort food the way the Amish make it.

John J. Jefferies

If you dine at John J. Jefferies, pull out your formal attire to dine in style. Located downtown inside the Lancaster Arts Hotel, John J. Jefferies is a restaurant that focuses on using local products to create fine-dining menu options. Try the trio-liver mousse or crispy pork belly as a starter before moving on to the grass-fed beer tartar or braised lamb shank. A dining experience at John J. Jefferies is nourishing for both the mind and spirit.

Lancaster Brewing Company

Some of the area's finest craft brews are made at the Lancaster Brewing Company. While you sample a flight of tasty seasonal and original beers, be sure to order from the extensive menu offering comfort pub food with a twist of sophistication. Try the popular Strawberry Wheat Ale, the Shoo-Fly Pie Porter, or the Hop Buggy Amber Ale for a local twist on some delicious beers.

Himalayan Curry and Grill

Transport yourself to somewhere exotic inside this restaurant inspired by the flavors of Malaysia, Nepal, and India. The affordable lunch buffet allows you to taste a little bit of everything. Or stop in for a cozy dinner and ask the server for recommendations. Be sure to call in advance or make a reservation because the tiny restaurant fills up quickly.

lancaster entertainment

Lancaster Entertainment

Whether you prefer the drama of the theater or the bustle of a farmers market on a Saturday morning, there is a little bit of everything for those browsing our Lancaster relocation guide.

The Fulton Opera House

You can't miss the Fulton Theatre on North Prince Street in downtown Lancaster. The beautiful façade draws the attention of visitors and residents alike. A rotating list of seasonal favorites includes the Addams Family, Legally Blonde, Sister Act and Footloose. There are also plenty of educational opportunities for younger audience members, including children's productions and behind-the-scenes learning experiences.

Sight and Sound Theatres

Head to the theater where “the Bible comes to life” in the rural countryside of Lancaster County. AtSight and Sound Theatres, productions telling the story of Noah, The Christmas Miracle, and Daniel in the Lions' Den use actors of all ages. Even the aisles come to life with animals that are part of each show. The three-sided stage brings the viewer into the action of each story, making these inspirational stories a family-friendly experience.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

A great place for date night or an outing with friends, Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre brings interactive performances to the local stage. Check out musical favorites, such as “A Christmas Story, “Clue,” and “Menopause.” Visitors also have the option to dine from a classic buffet or enjoy an a la carte menu featuring made-to-order dishes.

Lancaster Central Market

Nestled in a 120-year-old brick building, Lancaster Central Market has been a staple to both local farmers and shoppers. Find regional specialties, such as scrapple, whoopie pies, and chowchow. Also keep an eye out for freshly ground spices, specialty baked goods, custom-cut meats, and more. When your shopping basket is full, grab a bite of lunch at any of the surrounding downtown restaurants.

Roots Farmers Market

Open on Tuesdays, Roots Farmers Market is a lively place. You'll find live animal auctions, lunch counter dining options, and stand after stand of local produce, flowers, baked goods, and more. Open year-round, it's an especially popular spot in the early spring and summer months, when vendors expand outdoors and families come looking for the best deals on fresh, local produce.

Lancaster Utilities

No matter where you decide to settle in Lancaster County, you're going to need to set up some basic utilities. Instead of floundering through the phone book or asking your neighbors what to do next, this guide should make moving to Lancaster a bit easier.

water

Water

Many municipalities in Lancaster County have private water systems, so it’s best to check with your municipality about water options. The Lancaster Water Bureau might be a resource for residents within city limits, as well as surrounding areas.

 
 lancaster sewer

Sewer

The Lancaster Area Sewer Authority as well as the Suburban Lancaster Sewer Authority service a large part of the sewer needs in Lancaster County. Water refuse service might also be offered privately through your municipality, so it’s a good idea to check with the local office to discover your options.

 lancaster electric/gas  

Electricity and Natural Gas Utilities

UGI Utilities provides natural gas in Lancaster County. PPL offers electric services for most residents.

To have your energy needs met at once, consider Shipley Energy. We’re the largest, locally owned supplier of oil, natural gas, electric, and propane. Shipley Energy also provides installation and maintenance of home heating and cooling systems. When you move to Lancaster, contact Shipley Energy to set up a free home energy audit or to learn about our flexible pricing plans.

 lancaster trash  

Trash

Penn Waste and Eagle Disposable Service of PA both offer trash services in Lancaster. Check with your local municipality for pick up and scheduling times, as well as recycling options. Lancaster County Solid Waste Management also offers recycling, disposal of trash and the Frey Farm Landfill, which received 372,607 tons of waste in 2014.

 lancaster cable/internet  

Cable, Internet and Phone

Consider pairing services to cut down on the cost of living in Lancaster, PA through bundling phone, internet, and cable services. Comcast, Verizon, DirecTV and Dish are all popular options in the area. Not every service is available in each municipality, so see what best fits your needs and location.

Make Lancaster Your Home

From the country to the city, Lancaster is a great place to call home. When you relocate to Lancaster, PA, be sure to take the time to learn about all it has to offer. The cultural scene, the lively events, and the rural hideaways offer a unique combination that anyone can appreciate.

After you find your new home, let Shipley Energy help make it a comfortable.