15 Best Things to Do in Lancaster, OH

Lancaster, OH skyline
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Lancaster was founded in the early 1800s and is located in Fairfield County in Central Ohio.

Best known for being the most massive and principal glass industry in the state, Lancaster is also the homeland of the popular Hocking Hills!

This city is packed with iconic landmarks perfect for pictures and a wide variety of things to do, making it the ideal getaway destination, whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or adventure!

Lancaster boasts both indoor and outdoor tourist attractions that are perfect for every season –  outdoor recreational activities during the summer and spring and indoor museums and establishments during the winter!

From indoor historical museums and haunted facilities to city parks and even hiking trails, you won’t run out of things to do in this amazing city.

Check out this curated list of tourist attractions and destinations that you can add to your itinerary while visiting Lancaster, Ohio.

Visit a Historic Landmark at Rock Mill Covered Bridge

Waterfall below Rock Mill Covered Bridge
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Another great way to maximize your trip to Lancaster is by visiting an iconic and historic landmark at Rock Mill Covered Bridge that’ll give you a glimpse into the historical past of this city, found minutes within the city center!

Rock Mill Covered Bridge is also on the list of the National Register of Historic Places, having been built as early as 1901 and rebuilt over the years to what it is today.

The body of Rock Mill Covered Bridge
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

This bridge spans about 30 feet atop the Hocking River and is a favorite by photographers all over the world with its antique elegance and gorgeous structure.

Situated next to a fully restored 1824 Rock Mill, this mill is the last of its kind standing in Lancaster and has become a favorite tourist attraction where you can admire these historical structures.

Get a look into the iconic history of this city by visiting the Rock Mill Covered Bridge and taking some pictures!

Entrance of Rock Mill Covered Bridge
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Take a Hike Up Mount Pleasant at Rising Park

Rising Park is home to Mount Pleasant, one of Lancaster’s most prominent and well-known landmarks, which is a sandstone bluff standing at a magnificent 250 feet that Native Americans called “Standing Stone.”

This large park is found on the northern end of Lancaster, where locals and tourists flock to hike or climb this peak!

In addition to the mountain climbing opportunities, Rising Park’s spacious greens allows for a wide range of outdoor activities and sports that you can do with the whole family.

Though the climb up this mountain is more difficult than most, rock climbers and hikers are welcome to scale this bluff to take in the breathtaking views and sceneries that Mount Pleasant has to offer!

You can take the short marked trail along this mountain that cuts through the woods to get to the top but make sure to wear the right footwear.

On the front side of this mountain sits a cave better known as “Devil’s Kitchen,” which only the brave climbers take on since you need to derail from the main path to reach its entrance, and it requires extreme climbing skills.

If you’re brave enough to climb Mount Pleasant, your breath will be taken away by the mesmerizing scenery of the changing landscape of Lancaster and the state of Ohio!

Admire Interesting Rock Formations at Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve

Located in the Southern portion of Fairfield County, Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve features a trail that winds through a mature forest with enormous rock outcroppings, fern-edged trails, and slopes.

Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve is best known to be where “Jacob’s Ladder” is, a rock formation that towers over 250 feet above the ground that’ll give you a panoramic view of the surrounding hillsides.

The term "Christmas Rocks" was coined by the early settlers, inspired by the shape of the rocks that resemble the ferns as holiday decorations that they had collected.

This nature preserve spans over 554 acres and features several trails you can hike and explore, including the 7.2km trail loop leading to Jacob’s Ladder!

For most of the winter, Christmas ferns are green, but as spring approaches, they brown and wither to make room for the new season's greenery, and you can see the stunning hue of colors change over time.

Though this preserve once required permits to enter, it has now since then been open to the public, allowing both tourists and locals alike to visit any time they wish, so be sure to drop by!

Schedule a Tour at The Sherman House Museum

The Sherman House Museum, located at the heart of the city, is known as the birthplace of General William Tecumseh Sherman and houses the Sherman family's illustrious history.

Since 1951, the Sherman House has served as a memorial to the family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, given its historical and cultural significance.

The original parlor, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom, and children's bedroom make up the original frame of the home initially constructed in 1811.

The home was consequently bricked in 1870, and its Victorian parlor is nearly entirely adorned with furnishings that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Over the years, this structure has been refurbished and restored to make it look as close as possible to its original design when the Sherman family lived here in the 1800s, giving guests a glimpse into the lives of this prominent family.

You can find several preserved artifacts and memorabilia from the Civil War, including guns and field tents, and they even include a lights-and-sound presentation that details the passion that the Sherman family had for serving the Union.

This museum is truly one of its kind, so don’t forget to add this to your list of places to visit while in Lancaster!

Learn about the Art of Glass Blowing at Ohio Glass Museum & Glass Blowing Studio

The Ohio Glass Museum & Glass Blowing Studio is found along the main street, making it easily accessible to visit so you can go on a tour!

This museum features highlights of Libbey, Inc.'s vast collections and remarkable developments throughout the previous two centuries and is rich with a historical and informative past.

Founded in 1818, Ohio Glass Museum & Glass Blowing Studio has been a pioneer of innovation and design in the glass business for more than 130 years.

Beautiful, hand-crafted cut glass from the 1800s, breathtaking designs erected between 1931 and 1935, artfully crafted bottles, trend-setting glass designs, patterns, and more will all be on display!

Providing guests with a unique and thrilling experience, this establishment holds glass blowing demonstrations in the auditorium or the studio as long as a glassblower is present.

The museum has introduced a new self-guided tour program where all information about exhibitions and museum history is encoded into kiosks in case you want to explore the museum yourself.

Ohio Glass Museum & Glass Blowing Studio is the perfect place for visitors with an artistic flair who wants to give the art of glass blowing a shot!

Buy Antique Items at The Olde Shoe Factory Antique Mall

Situated along a major transit route, The Olde Shoe Factory Antique Mall offers 40,000 square feet of showroom space lined with arrays of antique items and products you can purchase.

Though this establishment doesn’t actually sell any shoes or footwear as their name suggests, they do sell other prized possessions, antiques, collectibles, and more!

Lancaster boasts their historical past, and you get the chance to take home a piece of that history by scanning through the booths and stalls at The Olde Shoe Factory Antique Mall.

Revitalized and repurposed items that were preloved, quaint and elegant decor you can add to your home, vintage postcards, and even furniture are all for sale here, which you can get for a great price!

You can scout both floors at this vintage shop and buy yourself a lovely, unique souvenir to remind yourself of this trip to Lancaster!

Grab a Refreshing Beer at Rockmill Brewery

Inspired by Belgian-style ales, Rockmill Brewery serves some of the best crafts, beers, and spirits in the entire state!

Located just 10 minutes from the city center, this brewery offers guests the feel of a private retreat, allowing you to bring your own food and snacks to create a little picnic of your own within their grounds!

Since its establishment in 2010 as a family-run business, this facility was set on creating only the tastiest, most delicious farmhouse ales that’ll serve the community along with the mission to bring people together over drinks.

This brewhouse was once a 23-acre horse farm that operated as a stagecoach stop, bar, and meeting spot in the 19th century, and their taproom even used to be a tavern before being converted into the brewery you know it is today!

This brewery aims to preserve and honor the rich history of the land they stand on, and the gorgeous, rolling 23-acre farmland is a magnificent venue you should definitely visit!

Their tasting room greets visitors with an excellent assortment of fresh, flavor-forward beers and other selections where you’re sure to find a drink that matches your preferences.

Make sure to book a reservation ahead of time to ensure a slot at their tasting room!

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Gypsy Joe’s Ice Cream

After a long day of touring the city, you might be craving something sweet!

Gypsy Joe’s Ice Cream is an ice cream parlor and a donut shop in one that sells a variety of delicacies to satisfy your sweet tooth!

One glimpse at the menu, and it might be difficult for you to choose just one treat!

From all kinds of ice cream flavors, either soft served, or on a cone, matched with a long list of topping options, to your classic donut flavors to bolder recipes, you can’t go wrong here!

You even have the choice to make a personalized ice-cream-and-donut combination if that’s what you want!

This small-town shop is the go-to dessert stop for locals and tourists in Lancaster since they also sell coffees and smoothies to give you that caffeine boost and sugar rush you’re craving!

Gypsy Joe’s Ice Cream is open all year round and ready to serve you the sweetest treats!

Go Wine Tasting at Rockside Winery and Vineyards

If beer isn’t your preferred drink, then try out Rockside Winery and Vineyards, a winery situated just minutes up north from the heart of Lancaster!

This vineyard prides itself on selling only the finest and freshest wines they have to offer, using only the best grapes that grow right on their estate to ensure high quality!

They serve a variety of wines to cater to all palates, ranging from reds to whites, dry to sweet, and even a combination of fruits and flavors.

You can check out their tasting room, where they’ll give you samples of all kinds of wine that have been handcrafted by the winemakers themselves!

Since it was officially founded in 2011, Rockside Winery and Vineyards has been a local staple and favorite as they are committed to serving fine-tasting wines while taking good care of the environment and their soil.

They also host various events from Happy Hours to Live Music nights which you are more than welcome to join!

Taste Some of the Best Donuts in Lancaster at Donut World

Dubbed the “Best Bakery” by Lancaster’s local community, Donut World does not disappoint!

Open for more than 30 years and run by the same family since its establishment, this little bakery found at the heart of Lancaster is best known for its ‘Specialty Donuts’ that are massive in size.

These particular donuts are meant for sharing, but it wouldn’t hurt to have one all to yourself!

You can select from dozens of traditional and unique flavors, and these pastries are always made fresh daily to ensure only the softest, tastiest donuts!

They also sell several drinks, including coffees and juices that’ll go best with your snack.

Donut World is open 24/7, so you can drop by anytime on your visit!

Fly Like a Superhero at Jet Pack Water Adventures

If you’re looking for the ultimate summer adventure that you definitely won’t forget, then you should check out Jet Pack Water Adventures!

Guided by professional and experienced instructors, you’ll be given a chance to fly high on either a water jet pack or a flyboard on the calm waters of Lakeview RV Park.

The jetpack will let you unleash the superhero in you using two low-pressure jet streams that can lift you up to 30 feet in the air!

You can also channel the inner Iron Man in you using the flyboard, where you get to practice your balance as you try hoverflying.

Guests are also given a chance to go camping on these grounds as long as they book ahead of time!

These water sports are sure to give you memorable and thrilling experiences like no other, so try and add this destination to your itinerary while visiting Lancaster!

Go on a Ghost Hunt at Fairfield County Infirmary

Only for the brave of heart, Fairfield County Infirmary lets you break the barriers between the natural and supernatural by getting in touch with ghosts, spirits, and all things paranormal!

A quick drive up north takes you to a ghost hunting establishment where you’ll be given a chance to not only feel but maybe even communicate with spirits that can send shivers down your spine.

A haven for paranormal creatures, this previously running infirmary has a history and reputation of paranormal activity that go back as far as a century ago, haunted by ghosts named Willy, Susie, and more that are unknown.

Legends say you can still feel the residual energy bouncing off the walls of this establishment!

You have the choice to stay overnight, where you get exclusive access to the most haunted rooms and explore its dark secrets, along with the chance to encounter the ghosts that haunt this place.

Your courage will be tested since this property has rattled and spooked even the bravest and most experienced ghost hunters.

Objects moving on their own, unexplained noises, slamming doors, hushed voices, equipment failure, or malfunction are only a few of the reports of guests who have visited this haunted facility.

Do you have what it takes? Drop by Fairfield County Infirmary, and see for yourself!

Zig-Zag through Lancaster with Valley Zipline Tours

Despite being one of the newest facilities in Lancaster, Valley Zipline Tours regularly attracts guests and visitors with all excitement and adventure they have to offer!

With over 11 zip lines, each stretching to at least a mile in length, you get to see the amazing sights that Central Ohio has to show you from up to a thousand feet up in the air!

The scenic route and guided canopy tour that this establishment provides have made them the number one go-to zip line park in all of Ohio!

You may even challenge your friends to a race on the exciting dual racing zip and beat them to the finish line!

Nothing beats the thrill and invigorating experience of zipping through and zigzagging across the lush greenery of this city.

Stimulate All Five of Your Senses at Sensory Trail Park

One of the parks of the Fairfield County Parks District, Sensory Trail Park stimulates and engages all five senses with its amenities!

Found minutes from the heart of Lancaster, this park has nature stations, a treehouse, a swing set, and musical instruments that anyone can use and enjoy.

This park aims for inclusivity, giving everyone, even those with disabilities of any kind,  the chance to experience Lancaster the best they can!

You may also enjoy other outdoor recreational activities with the whole family, such as hiking and walking along the park trails, bird or nature watching, and even photography.

Spend quality time with loved ones by having a nice picnic on a sunny day under the shade provided by the trees.

To this day, this park is the only sensory trail that exists in Ohio, making it the first of its kind!

Bring the Kids to AHA! A Hands-On Adventure A Children's Museum

AHA! A Hands-On Adventure A Children's Museum is known to be a family-friendly museum that is best for children ages eight and below with all the entertaining displays, exhibits, and presentations they have.

This establishment aims to stimulate their brains, giving these young ones the chance to explore their own imagination and creativity and embrace their innovative side!

By piquing their curiosity, this museum engages their minds through the 60 play areas where they get hands-on experiences that will keep them preoccupied for hours.

You may even explore the natural beauty of Ohio with your kids by checking out the Raymond B. Martens Nature playscape.

Most of their activities are STEAM-related, bringing out the inner scientist, explorer, engineer, and artist in them!

AHA! A Hands-On Adventure A Children's Museum provides newfound knowledge and experience to these young minds, so visit this establishment when you get the chance!

Final Thoughts

You can’t run out of things to do in Lancaster, making this city a fantastic place to seek adventure while on vacation!

You can learn all about the rich history and culture by visiting their museums and iconic landmarks that have given this city a spot on the map!

From ghost hunts to zip lines and even water jetpack rides, you’re sure to make fun and lasting memories with your loved ones!

You can even tour the city and try out the most popular bakeries and pastry shops, along with their other restaurants and eateries that will keep you and your stomach happy.

If a more relaxing trip is your preference, you can find serenity and solitude within the forests and greenery you can hike and explore, letting you get back in touch with nature.

Look no further for the ideal destination since Lancaster has it all! Book a trip now!