Lancaster is only about 30 or so miles southeast of Columbus, but it’s still an ideal destination for a day trip, because of all the amenities. With the Hocking Hills so close by, it might even be worthy of an entire weekend! Lancaster is also home to one of history’s coolest named figures, William Tecumseh Sherman. I mean, what else could you be but a Union war general, with a name like that? I’m crossing my fingers Lin Manuel Miranda pens a musical about The Civil War next. Maybe he’d include a song about Lancaster, which would definitely include the correct pronunciation: LANK-aster.
601 N Broad St
Don’t let the size or the lack of curb appeal fool you, this is the best place for donuts probably anywhere in Ohio. It’s small, but they do have a drive-thru which is convenient. And it’s family owned. It’s also consistently been chosen by the community as the “Best Bakery” in all of Fairfield County. The specialty donuts are massive, they say you can share them, but c’mon…just eat the whole thing. I recommend the cinnamon roll. If you’re looking for a more traditionally sized pastry, you can’t go wrong with the maple iced cake. Also? The prices are amazing. Less than a dollar for a regular donut. And yes, I prefer donut to doughnut, despite what my spellcheck is telling me.
203 E Fair Ave
Rising Park is super beautiful, and there’s a gorgeous climb up to the cliffs, which provide you with a great view of Lancaster. The hike is also sorta challenging, so be prepared for that. It’s fun to explore the area, and there’s a lot of greenspace as well. It’s also home to the far superior Pokemon Go predecessor, Geocaching ?. Download a free geocaching app on your smartphone, and this place is golden!
203 S Broad St
Not to be dramatic, but this is one of the best restaurants ever. For those of you without kids, I’d say it’s still top 5. But, if you do have small people, you will want to move in here. The food is healthy, ethically sourced, and delicious. They also have an entire kids play area. It’s like the McDonald’s of the 80’s, but healthy. And less germy. And better tasting. Okay, not really like McDonald’s. Just go here and get a smoothie and the Buffalo Bowl, it’s fantastic.
Valley Zipline Tours
3465 Duffy Rd SE
I mean, definitely don’t go here if you’re scared of heights. For those of you that can stomach the view and the thrill, Valley Zipline is where you want to be. The instructors are exactly what you’d expect, you leave feeling like you’ve just made a friend, that’s cooler than all your other friends (no offense, friends). There are 3 different course options, including one geared toward children under 10, so it’s great for the whole family. On the main course, you can reach speeds of 25 mph, while 40 feet in the air.
Ohio Glass Museum & Glassblowing Studio
124 W Main St
More than just a museum, they offer classes as well as a gift shop. You can also watch demonstrations by glass blowers (typically just on the weekends) which is super interesting. I recommend taking a guided tour, which provides far more background than you’d think to ask on your own. The building was formerly a bank, so you can even step inside the old vault. They feature a rotating selection of new exhibits, plus several permanent exhibits, including a glass sculpture of the human body which is as creepy as it is amazing.
Olde Shoe Factory Antique Mall
301 Forest Rose Ave
Have no fear, as far as I know, there are not actually any old[e] shoes here. Just an array of repurposed and revitalized antiques. Furniture, decor, and vintage postcards, and never the same thing each visit. Like most antique malls, it’s serviced by several different vendors, so there’s truly something for everyone. It’s gigantic inside, but the staff is accommodating and knowledgeable, so if you’re looking for something specific(ish) they can point you in the right direction.
5705 Lithopolis Rd NW
You may have visited their Tavern here in town, but the brewery is a totally different experience. They also don’t serve food, but you’re welcome to bring your own. The grounds are beautiful and there’s ample parking. All of their brews are tasty, but the saison noir is delicious. Bring a blanket and spread out, it’s definitely away from the main drag by far, so you can truly feel like you’re on a private retreat. Also, they have cats. Friendly, adorable cats you can snuggle while enjoying your beer, what more could you ask for?
Cherry Street Pub
202 N Cherry St
Kitschy decor and a wide ranging menu, Cherry Street Pub has an inviting atmosphere and casual vibe. But with awesome food and a good selection of local beer on tap. They have unique spins on traditional foods as well, and I recommend the grilled cheese with banana peppers. If you’re in the mood for a sweet and savory combo, order the pecan chicken and waffles with spicy syrup. Don’t be deterred by the crowded parking lot, the service is great and they’re able to turnover the tables quickly, while somehow still not making you feel rushed.
Skyview Cruise-In Theatre
2420 E Main St
While I know we still have one drive-in left here in town, Skyview just seems to harken back to a simpler time, and gives off just the right amount of nostalgia. Super strict “security” on golf carts included. While you’ll have to deal with some grouchy staff members enforcing the rules, for someone like me who is a stickler, that’s a plus. It’s clean, they have some great selections at the concession stand, and they do themed weekends throughout the warmer months. Catch a movie before you hit the road back to the ‘bus.
If you’re looking for more activities in the Lancaster area, including the downtown CHOCOLATE walk (!!), check out Lancaster’s visitors site HERE.
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