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Planning Your Trip to Ohio’s Best Hometown: Lancaster, Ohio

September 22, 2023

Planning Your Trip to Ohio’s Best Hometown: Lancaster, Ohio

Recently, Ohio Magazine announced Lancaster, Ohio as one of the state’s best hometowns alongside Celina, Cuyahoga Falls, Grove City, and Sharonville!  To determine honorees, Ohio Magazine conducted site visits earlier this year and based their decision on six categories – Community Spirit, Education, Entertainment, Health and Safety, Business Environment, and Culture and Heritage.  

Lancaster boasts small-town charm as the heart of Fairfield County.  Widely known as the “Gateway to the Hocking Hills,”  Lancaster holds natural beauty, a vibrant downtown, historical significance, and so much more.  If you’re considering visiting Lancaster, we’ve gathered a few standout attributes of this charming city to make your trip to one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns memorable! 

Food & Brews

Whether you love classic American grub, sweets and treats, craft brews, delectable wines, or savory coffee flights, there’s something for everyone in Lancaster!  Locally-owned eateries, breweries, wineries, and sweet shops create a foodie experience like no other. Check out the Lancaster Food Guide to find your next favorite spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Don’t forget to take advantage of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) – purchase your favorite beverage from a downtown bar, restaurant, or brewery, ask for it in the approved DORA cup, and enjoy it within the designated area. To learn more about the DORA, visit Destination Downtown Lancaster’s website.

Art & Culture 

Lancaster is a hub for artistic opportunity in central Ohio!  Let your imagination shine with creative classes and workshops like those offered at Young at Art!  This locally-owned business is also home to the region’s only Splatter Studio – where you can splatter your canvas (and friends) in paint!  On Main Street, grab a coffee at Art & Clay on Main and delight in pottery painting, wet clay instruction, canvas painting, and more.  Visit, shop, or sign up for one of the many classes offered and take home a new piece of primitive pottery from Mud Gallery. The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio also offers free exhibits, public programs, and workshops for those seeking an educational, artistic experience. Visit the Ohio Glass Museum and Gay Fad Studios, which highlight Lancaster’s glass history, and showcase beautiful glass artwork.  

Lancaster is filled with an amazing variety of public artworks too! Stroll the streets with the Open Air Art Trail, where around almost every corner, you can find eclectic murals and imaginative sculptures. You will be amazed at the artistry that surrounds you!

History & Heritage

For history buffs, Lancaster offers several experiences for you to uncover its rich heritage.  You’ll discover the beauty and brawn as the Georgian Museum showcases early 1800s architecture, furnishings, and decor.   At the Sherman House Museum, take a look into the life and legacy of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman as you tour his restored family home built in 1811. These museums are both within the Square 13 Historic District, which is known for its historic homes, beautiful architecture, and proximity to the restaurants and shops of downtown.  Of course, a trip to Lancaster isn’t complete without viewing some of our historic covered bridges, including the George Hutchins Bridge, John Bright #2 Bridge, McCleery Bridge, and Rock Mill, all part of our county-wide Covered Bridge Trail

Built in 1901, Rock Mill Covered Bridge has a 30-foot span over the Hocking River and rests on its original abutments 35 feet above the gorge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge is next to the fully restored 1824 grist mill, Rock Mill. This is one of the last remaining mill and covered bridge combinations in the nation.

Outdoor Recreation

With over 1,000 acres of green space, Lancaster, Ohio lets you take your adventures to new heights!  Start with a steep, 20-minute hike up to Mount Pleasant.  The 250-foot summit offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the city.  On a clear day, you can even the Columbus skyline!   Other exhilarating activities include Jet Pack Water Adventures and Valley Zipline Tours where you’ll jet pack and zipline above beautiful water and scenic landscapes. For those looking to try their hand at rock climbing and rappelling, check out Flat Rocks at Keller-Kirn Park.  The (outdoor) fun doesn’t stop there, view our Fairfield County Outdoor Fun Guide for more inspiration on the best spots around the county, including hiking trails, golf, biking, and more.

Local Shopping 

In Lancaster, there are shopping options for every type of style!  With a variety of clothing boutiques, hobby shops, and one-of-a-kind gift stores, you’ll find yourself shopping ‘til you drop in our myriad of locally-owned businesses.  Find yourself lost in the 90+ vendors of the two-story Olde Shoe Factory Antique Mall, your next plant pal at the Lancaster Greenhouse & Nursery, or a new addition to your wardrobe at Rosechic Boutique.  For fresh and local food, baked goods, health drinks, wine, candies, and artisan goods, make a stop at Keller Market House in downtown Lancaster!

Events

There’s always something fun to do in Lancaster, Ohio!  Find Lancaster-based markets, festivals, live music, and more on the Visit Fairfield County event calendar, or check out what’s new and upcoming on Destination Downtown Lancaster’s website

MARCH

  • Maple Tapping Festival – Visit log cabin stations to learn about the history of maple tapping in America, then stop by the sugar shack and see the evaporator in action as it cooks down the sap to make maple syrup. 

MAY-AUGUST

  • Friday Night Bandstand – Bring a lawn chair and your favorite dance partner to downtown Lancaster every Friday evening for great music, food trucks, and family fun at these free concerts! 

JULY

  • Lancaster Festival – Explore a wide variety of art and artists, concerts, and entertaining public programs in venues throughout the community during this 10-day celebration. 

AUGUST

  • Lancaster BrewFest – Sample an assortment of Ohio’s best fresh craft beer, and enjoy live music, trivia, and other fun activities.
  • Wands & Wizards Weekend – Celebrate all things wicked during this annual, free event that happens in Lancaster, Ohio and throughout Fairfield County!  During this magical weekend, businesses and organizations across the county celebrate all things enchanting and mystical with specials and events.

SEPTEMBER

  • Corvette Gathering – Admire beautiful Corvettes from across the region on the streets of downtown Lancaster during the largest Corvette show in Ohio, with music, food, a silent auction, door prizes, and more. 
  • Fall at the Round Barn – A family-friendly market filled with 125+ talented modern makers, purveyors of authentic vintage finds, mobile clothing boutiques, designers, growers & bakers, gathered from all across the Midwest. 
  • Frontier Spirit 1799 – Experience the trials and tribulations that the first settlers in the Ohio Territory endured as they fought for and carved out a home. Frontier Spirit 1799 showcases the events and lives of the settlers featuring characters from early Fairfield County.

OCTOBER

  • Fairfield County Fair – Ohio’s “last and best” county fair is your final chance to enjoy tasty fair food, jump on some rides, and be thoroughly entertained.
  • Trail of Scarecrows – Admire scarecrows in all shapes, sizes and themes during this annual month-long event throughout Lancaster, Ohio and Fairfield County. Search for the hundreds of scarecrows and vote for your favorite in each community!

NOVEMBER

  • Freedom’s Never Free – This celebration of our veterans, military, and first responders with a traveling memorial wall, USO dance, inspirational speeches, and more. 

DECEMBER

  • Advent Window Walk Enjoy this self-guided advent calendar in residential downtown Lancaster.  For each night in December, a historic home will reveal a festive design in a newly decorated window. 
  • Glass Town Countdown NYE Party – Join us in downtown Lancaster for food & drinks, fun activities, and a street party before the giant glass globe is lit and lifted high above Zane Square to ring in the New Year! 

Find all of this and more on The Lancaster Experience trail on the Visit Fairfield County app!  This trail is an easy way for you to immerse yourself in a variety of fun activities and highlights events taking place throughout downtown Lancaster and in the surrounding areas around the city. 

Book Your Trip

We invite you to visit one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns and stay at one of our many comfortable rentals or hotels in Lancaster!  Whether it be a nationally recognized hotel chain, a delightful bed and breakfast, or a luxury cabin, you’ll find just what you need. 

Sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date with new business, events, and more happening in Lancaster, Ohio and Fairfield County, download our app, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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