If you’re touring the most historical sites in Pennsylvania, you can’t miss our lovely town of Lancaster. Spend time visiting a market that combines two of our favorite activities: shopping and eating! At the Lancaster Central Market, you’ll find plenty of delicious food, fresh produce, scrumptious sweets, and great souvenirs to take back with you handcrafted and sold by local vendors. Visit the nation’s oldest farmers market during your next stay in Lancaster County and plan your stay at the Historic Smithton Inn. If you want to learn about more places like this fabulous market, make sure you download our free Vacation Guide! It includes great, local recommendations for restaurants, events, shops, museums, outdoor adventures, and more.
What You Will See and Eat at the Central Market in PA
Lancaster Central Market is not only Pennsylvania’s but the country’s oldest market! Its creation dates back to 1730 when the town’s founders designated a 120-foot lot in the center of the town. Known as both the state and the country’s oldest market, the Lancaster Central Market was created back in 1730, when the town’s founders designated a 120-foot lot in the center of town for the occasion. This market used to welcome local farmers and vendors who wanted to sell their goods. The Lancaster Central Market is truly a part of the town’s history. Today, after over 275 years, the market and its legacy still stand!
Lancaster Central Market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you park at a nearby garage you can receive a coupon for $1 off with a purchase!
The Best Local Vendors
Whether you are looking to have a fresh picnic, purchase sweet gifts to bring back home with you, or take a simple stroll through Lancaster’s history, the market is ideal! Take a look at all the different vendors in the list below and start preparing for your visit.
Bread, Cheeses, and Dairy
These are three items you need for the perfect picnic. Deli Grassi, for example, offers a wide range of Italian specialties, all imported and created from scratch. We highly recommend their meatballs! The German Deli, on the other hand, has products like Weber and Schaller meats, smoked hams, sauerkraut, spaetzle, and more. If you’d rather settle for a local source, make sure you stop by Lancaster Farmhouse featuring heagyfoods. You’ll fall in love with their impressive selection of artisanal cheeses, fresh charcuterie, and bacon styles!
Tip: You can’t leave this section of the market without tasting the pretzels! Choose between the Philly pretzel or the Lancaster-style soft pretzel, all offered with a variety of delicious dipping sauces. You can also purchase breakfast pretzel sandwiches and even pretzel mixes to bring home with you!
Farm Produce and Flowers
Get a taste of the freshest, local products at Barr’s Farm Produce! Discover the regional flavors of their fruits and vegetables but also the sweet smell of their flowers and homemade, fall apple cider! If you make your way to stand nine, you’ll discover the amazing pasteurized eggs of Horseshoe Ranch. Owners Bryan and Brittany are there every Saturday and can tell you all about their chemical-free methods and gorgeous farm right outside of Wrightsville.
Meats, Poultry, and Fish
Are you a meat lover? Then you must take a look at Carr’s stand at the market. They offer cuts of fresh, quality meat as well as a wide range of delicacies such as homemade salad dressings, foie gras, and numerous ready-to-eat meals that are to die for!
JB Kelly Seafood Connection offers the freshest products straight from the ocean at their amazing seafood stand. Everything is wild-caught and seasonal, all sourced from the Atlantic coastline in Maine. Their specialties include lobster, salmon, oysters, but also daily soups, salads, and sandwiches!
Last but not least, our favorite poultry stand: Shenk’s. For more than thirty years, Shenk’s Poultry has been delighting locals and visitors alike with a mouth-watering selection of chicken, turkey, cornish hens, duck, fresh farm-eggs, but also products like wings, breasts, and other popular cuts.
Soup, Sandwiches, and Salad
The best way to explore and enjoy the market is to spend the entire day there. Take your time to wander through the stands, and let yourself be tempted by the various foods available! It’s a great spot for lunch, and luckily for you, the market has a great selection of delectable goodies. If you love Italian food, we recommend you try Buona Tavola! Their fresh pasta and homemade sauces are simply perfect. They even offer vegan and gluten-free options to fit your dietary preferences or needs.
If you want to taste something more exotic, then Saife’s Middle Eastern Food is the place you’re looking for. Try their authentic falafels, delicious hummus, and even their famous baklava! We promise you won’t regret it.
If you wish to load your lunch with veggies, the Lancaster Salad Company is your friend. Choose among a selection of fresh, made-to-order salads and pair it off with a creamy, locally-made soup! We highly recommend trying their homemade basil balsamic vinaigrette.
Pastries, Ice Cream, and Chocolate
If you’re traveling with little ones or have a sweet tooth yourself, then Miesse Candies is made for you. This Lancaster staple has been producing candy and chocolate since 1875! They only use natural ingredients like vanilla,
butter, fresh cream, and never add preservatives. What you get are delicious treats that will take you right back into childhood!
If you want something a little more decadent, maybe a dessert to complement your lunch, head over to Shady Maple! Their fresh-baked donuts and pies are some of the best you’ll ever have.
Home and Decor
Food isn’t the only thing you can find at the Central Market. You can browse through a selection of crafts, collectibles, and even home decor! PA Dutch Gifts is a great place to find the perfect souvenirs for your loved ones back home. All the metal items available have been made on the market since 1970! Talk about something unique. Pineapple House Creations also has amazing products, such as blended oils, soy candles, as well as natural body products.
Treat Yourself to a Wonderful Stay at the Historic Smithton Inn
Now is the time to flee the city and find peace and serenity in the countryside, and Lancaster is the perfect place for that! Our gorgeous Inn offers all you desire for your rustic getaway. Between a historical building, charming amenities, and a top-notch location at the heart of the Amish country, the Historic Smithton Inn awaits you!
Browse our guest rooms and pick your favorite! The Sage Room, for example, is beautifully decorated with antiques and handcrafted furniture, and even has a private bathroom with a rain shower and a sitting area with a working fireplace! Wake up the next morning feeling as refreshed as ever and follow the smell of coffee downstairs, where a delicious homemade breakfast awaits you.