Lancaster may be America's oldest inland city, but nothing about this meeting destination is outdated. Touting northeast metropolitan convenience (as it's located just 90 minutes outside of Philadelphia and Baltimore and 45 minutes outside of Harrisburg), Lancaster is known for its unique blend of urban sophistication and scenic rural surroundings. Lancaster's historic revival and preservation movement began in the early 1970s and, today, there are not only hundreds of historic landmarks, but also more than 90 galleries, theaters, museums, fine dining restaurants, unique shops and other amazing venues in Lancaster. It's no wonder that more than 11 million people visit Lancaster each year, making travel and tourism one of the city's foremost industries.
Meeting and conference groups flock to the new $170-million, integrated Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. Located in the Lancaster's historic district, these are the first purpose-built convention venues in Lancaster, and they offer a total combined 90,000 square feet of space for conventions and events. Meeting spaces include a 45,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 9,000-square-foot ballroom, while meeting amenities include 300 on-site guest rooms, gourmet banquet facilities, on-site audio-visual and catering services, as well as two business centers. Groups can utilize the facility's restaurant, spa, indoor pool and fitness center, as well as explore historic Lancaster's many fine-dining, shopping, cultural and entertainment venues, most of which in walking distance of the center.
The Lancaster County Convention Center is located approximately 30 miles southeast of the Harrisburg International Airport. Serving 150,000 flight operations every year, Harrisburg International provides daily nonstop service to 14 destinations, including Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston and Chicago. Meeting groups can also fly in via the Lancaster Airport; located just six miles north of downtown Lancaster, the airport services both charter flights and daily commercial flights connecting to Baltimore via Cape Air. Additionally, Amtrak services the area with the Keystone and Regional lines east and west bound routes. New York City is only a 3 hour train ride to downtown Lancaster City.
Lancaster is bursting with meeting-ready unique venues and exciting rural adventures perfect for group outings and events; as well as with group tour opportunities. Many of these are focused on interest in Lancaster's Amish population, as Lancaster is home to the first, oldest and second largest community of Old Order Amish in the U.S. Unique venues include such Lancaster landmarks as the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, home to one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world. The museum welcomes guests to sit in an engineer's seat, explore a caboose and view more than 100 locomotives and cars from the mid 19th and 20th centuries, as well as features private rental spaces throughout the museum. Meeting participants can also gather at private suites within the city's Clipper Magazine Stadium, home to the minor-league Lancaster Barnstormers baseball team. Looking to hold an event in a historical, educational – and exciting – setting? Lancaster's Landis Valley Museum, a living history village and farm that interprets the history and culture of a rural Pennsylvania German community, features private event capabilities in its beautiful Yellow Barn and Courtyard, Firehouse, Visitor Center and Landis Valley House Hotel.
Both a meetings- and family-friendly destination, Lancaster is filled with attractions, entertainment, arts and culture, as well as hundreds of historic landmarks ready for exploration.
Part of an original land grant William Penn received by Royal Charter from King Charles II in 1681, Lancaster became a separate county in 1729 and was then incorporated as a borough in 1742, making Lancaster the country's oldest inland city. Lancaster's East Vine Street, home to the sprawling Lancaster County Convention Centre and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, is considered one of the earliest commercially developed sections of the city; some structures date back nearly 300 years.
Historical attractions in Lancaster include the beautiful Fulton Theatre, considered the country's oldest continuously-operating theater, as well as one of only eight theaters named a National Historic Landmark. Today, the Victorian-decorated theatre combines mid-19th century grandeur with modern amenities to showcase music, dance and theatrical performances. Strasburg Railroad, a Strasburg landmark, welcomes visitors to travel aboard the country's oldest short-line railroad, circa 1832. Passengers climb aboard authentic passenger cars pulled by a massive coal-burning steam locomotive for a 45-minute ride through the beautiful Lancaster countryside. Lancaster is also home to the Amish Farm and House, the country's first Amish attraction. Opened in 1955 as a working farm and museum dedicated to giving visitors an accurate glimpse into Amish life, the Amish Farm and House sits on property given by William Penn to colonial Governor John Evans in 1715. The Amish Farm and House are home to such structures as an authentic Amish one-room schoolhouse, an 1805 farmhouse and an 1855 covered bridge, a unique venue to host a VIP reception or opening icebreaker.
Family-friendly attractions in Lancaster include Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park for children that is home to 30 fun-filled rides, including two kid-friendly roller-coasters and water rides. A celebrated center for "agri-tainment," the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is home to more than 50 farm activities – ranging from a farm-wagon tour and obstacle course to a baby chick hatchery – as well as its famous, five-acre interactive corn maze. For a taste of Lancaster regional fare, families frequent the popular Kitchen Kettle Village. A shopping village complete with restaurants and lodging, Kitchen Kettle Village is centered around a world-famous canning kitchen, where local farmers user a small-batch, hand-stirred cooking process to create delicious jams and jellies.
Delicious Lancaster regional fare can also be found at the city's many restaurants, ranging in specialties from comfort cooking to contemporary cuisine. Serving Lancaster since 1929, Millers Smorgasbord serves an outstanding traditional spread, full of traditional Lancaster County favorites. Smorgasbord selections range from seafood bisque and chicken pot pie to baked ham with cider sauce and Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie. Lancaster residents and visitors frequent FENZ Restaurant and Latenight for comfort food with a contemporary spin, served in a sleek restored late 19th-century factory building. As Lancaster County's only AAA 4 Diamond restaurant, Restaurant Mazzi, at the Inn at Leola Village, serves delicious Italian cuisine using local farm fresh ingredients.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Lancaster features a humid continental climate; summers tend to be warm to hot, particularly during July and August, while fall and spring bring mild temperatures and winters are fairly cold. The coldest month is January, with an average high of 37°F and average low of 21°F, while the warmest month is July, with an average daytime temperature of 85°F.
Winters bring unpredictable amounts of snow, with an average annual snowfall of about 20 inches. Precipitation is generally evenly spread throughout the year, with an annual average of 43 inches. The spring months of April and May, as well as the fall months of September and October, all have average temperatures in the 60s and 70s, ideal weather for visiting.
Lancaster County Convention Center
A new $170-million integrated facility, the sprawling Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square offers a total combined 90,000 square feet of space for conventions, events and tradeshows. Featuring an iconic 19th-century Beaux Arts facade, the center is located in Lancaster's historic district, within walking distance of fine dining, shopping, cultural venues and entertainment. Highlight meeting spaces include a 45,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 9,000-square-foot ballroom, while amenities include 300 guest rooms, gourmet banquet facilities, Wi-Fi-, two onsite business centers, dining, spa, indoor pool and fitness center, as well as on-site audio-visual and catering services. Known for its bright naturally lit spaces and beautiful cherry wood accents, the center can accommodate up to 5,000 guests.
Lancaster Airport (LNS)
Approximate taxi fare: 15 USD
Located just six miles north of downtown Lancaster, the Lancaster Airport services both charter flights and daily commercial flights connecting to Baltimore via Cape Air. Passenger amenities include on-site dining, free parking and on-site car rental services.
Airline carrier serving Lancaster Airport
Harrisburg International Airport (MDT)
Approximate taxi fare: 75 USD
Serving 150,000 operations per year, Harrisburg International Airport is located 32 miles northwest of Lancaster. Harrisburg International provides daily nonstop service to 14 destinations, includingToronto, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston and Chicago. Airport amenities include retail shops, full-service and casual eateries and a Multimodal Transportation Facility, complete with several car rental service counters.
Airline carriers serving Harrisburg International Airport
Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) bus system provides fixed route and trolley services throughout Downtown Lancaster and the surrounding Lancaster County area. Providing daily service on most routes, RRTA's 17 routes cover more than 5,000 miles each weekday and operate on a four-zone system. The Historic Red Rose trolley provides a loop around Downtown Lancaster with direct service to the Lancaster Amtrak station. Fares range from $1.70 per ride within a base zone and up to $2.90 per ride through four zones. Children ages 5 and under ride free.
All Day Passes are available for unlimited rides and can be purchased onboard the bus.
The Lancaster Amtrak station is located at 53 McGovern Avenue, which is less than two miles outside of downtown Lancaster. The station is open Monday through Friday from 5 AM to midnight and Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM. The Lancaster station is serviced by the Pennsylvanian route, which provides daily service from New York City to Pittsburgh, as well as the Keystone route, which provides frequent daily service between New York City and Harrisburg.
Rental car companies represented at the Harrisburg International Airport's Multimodal Transportation Facility include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National, while Avis and Hertz are represented at the Lancaster Airport.
Harrisburg International Airport passengers can hail taxi cabs outside of the baggage claim area and the Multimodal Transportation Facility; taxi fare from Harrisburg International to downtown Lancaster costs about $75. Lancaster Airport passengers can hail taxi cabs outside of the arrivals area; taxi fare from the Lancaster Airport to downtown Lancaster costs about $15. Contact Friendly Transportation for local taxi, van or VIP car service.
Home of the Lancaster Barnstormers - Photo Credit : www.discoverlancasterpa.com
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