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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.