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Experience arts and entertainment in Lancaster | Travel Smart

The arts scene in downtown Lancaster has a something for just about everyone, from stunning galleries to jam-packed entertainment.

LANCASTER, Pa. — From groceries to gas, inflation has been driving up the price of nearly everything in recent weeks and months, travel included. That's why we've been taking you to destinations right in your own backyard, perfect for day trips or weekend getaways. 

This week we’re showing you that you don't have to travel far to experience the arts.

Whether you're an admirer of creativity, a gallery enthusiast, or an acting aficionado, the arts scene in downtown Lancaster has something for just about everyone with everything from stunning galleries to top of the line performances at the historic Fulton Theatre.

“Lancaster City really packs a punch when it comes to arts and entertainment,” said Joel Cliff, the Director of Communications for Discover Lancaster. 

“It probably has the most thriving arts scene in the state outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.”    

Taking a walk down gallery row on Prince Street gives you the opportunity to peek into a variety of shops set up by local artists. While taking time to admire the masterful pieces that fill the walls, you may even get to chat with their creator.

“The gallery scene in Lancaster County, and Lancaster City especially, is very vibrant and for the most part very local,” described Cliff. “The neat thing about it is that many of these artists - while they are local and providing local art work, they are quite renowned in the region, nationally, and even some internationally.”

In addition to the variety of galleries, you can also check out student made art exhibits at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design or walk around the city to soak in some of the beautiful murals and sculptures out in the public.

“This is not Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York and yet you really can find world class art that's being produced and is drawing people here, not only locally and regionally but also throughout the country and around the world," said Cliff.

If the stage is more your speed, though, the Fulton Theatre brings stories to life. 

Built more than a century and a half ago, the Fulton is considered by many to be the oldest continually operating theater in the country and has been entertaining audiences of all ages ever since.

“The Fulton is definitely a hub for downtown,” said Nicole Hackmann, the Director of Communications and Advancement at the Fulton. “We have 131,000 square feet in our performing arts center, three performing centers in our square block, our main stage and our fourth floor studio theater, and we usually serve anywhere between 160,000 and 180,000 visitors a year.”

Step in to the historic theater and marvel at the ornate fixtures and detailed craftsmanship that make the Fulton so unique. You don't have to travel all the way to New York City to experience world class acting. The Fulton produces Broadway caliber musicals, comedies, and dramas right here in Central Pennsylvania.

“We have a lot of folks that come here from Broadway shows,” said Hackmann. “They'll take a break from a Broadway show to come spend eight weeks in Lancaster. They love living downtown, they love access to market, and they love the Lancaster community.”

Art is all around Lancaster, just waiting to inspire beauty and spark your own creativity. 

“Art is a great way to get you around the city, to learn about who we are today to explore some of the other things we offer," said Cliff.

And a special treat for theater goers this summer. The Fulton doesn't normally do summer shows, but to celebrate a return to the theater after two and a half years of the pandemic  they’re bringing Jersey Boys to the stage. 

You can find more information on how to get tickets here

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