Renter's Guide to Lancaster
Call Lancaster your home! Part historic, part modern, Lancaster is where the past and present literally meet. From Amish folks who shun electricity to the trendy restaurants downtown, living here will truly open your eyes to an amazing new world as you discover this central Pennsylvania city.
Lancaster, PA is 7.4 square-miles in size, which is 20 times smaller than Philadelphia and 2/3 the size of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital. And Lancaster's just 80 miles from Philadelphia and Baltimore.
GoodCall ranked Lancaster the best city in the country to be a teacher. WalletHub called it one of the top 5 places for families in Pennsylvania. And it was even ranked #20 on NerdWallet’s list of Most Generous Cities in the US.
The weather here can get very warm during the summer, with temperatures reaching the low to mid 80s, along with high humidity – especially in August. Average winter temperatures are in upper 30s to low 40s during the day and dip into the 20s at night.
The city receives around 42 inches of precipitation annually, including 18 inches of snow.
Lancaster, PA Demographics
- Total Population59,344
Female 29,653Male 29,691
- Median Age30.8
Cost of Living in Lancaster, PA
The cost of living here is a little higher than in York but considerably lower than in Philadelphia. A three-course dinner for two costs around $50 at a mid-range restaurant, and a domestic beer to go with your meal will be about $3.25.
Bus service in Lancaster is provided by the Red Rose Transit Authority, with monthly passes starting at $35. Ride sharing and 24-hour taxi service is available as well.
Basic utilities for a 915 square-foot apartment in Lancaster cost an average of $162/month, which is comparable to York.
Living in Lancaster, PA
There's plenty to love about Lancaster. It's the type of place that boasts historic charm, combined with an artistic style. Safe and welcoming, the city has a lot to offer those looking for rural beauty, urban escapes, or both.
Lancaster County is famous for its Amish presence. Enjoy their buggy rides, tours, or shop for high-quality arts and crafts. Then head downtown for a bite to eat, catch a show at the theater, and explore the rich cultural history of the community. There's so much to do here, whether you have kids or just need a night out with friends. From horse and buggies to modern art and theater, Lancaster has it all.
But living here does have its drawbacks. The closest major city with a professional sports teams is 80 miles away. And while there's a lot to do, the city starts slowing down between 10 and 11pm, which may bother some night owls.
Things to do in Lancaster
The Lancaster County Central Park is considered the best of the city's ten parks. The 544-acre expanse is filled with trails to soak in the incredible scenery, as well as a swimming pool, skate park, and a garden of five senses, which boasts amazing foliage, water fountains, and an all-around serene environment. Whether disc golfing with friends or taking the kids to the playground or beach, you’ll always have plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy.
The Lancaster Science Factory is another fun activity for the kids, between hands-on exhibits and interactive technology. And a popular tourist destination is the Hershey Museum, about a half-hour away. For your shopping needs, the Lancaster Tanger Outlet Mall features 60 name brand stores at discount prices.
If you want incredible live entertainment, you’ll find it at the Trust Performing Arts Center, American Music Theatre, and the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, among others. The city's various theaters host everything from Broadway productions to original comedies by local companies.
After a show, head out to eat in a treehouse – the most impressive you’ll ever find. Loxley’s, attached to the Heritage Hotel, is named after Robin Hood's surname and donates 5% to of their proceeds to charitable organizations. Both the food and atmosphere is sure to please.
Downtown Lancaster is filled with boutique stores, restaurants, art galleries, and more. And events like the Lancaster Craft Beerfest are very popular, along with Celebrate Lancaster, an annual affair in June featuring arts and crafts vendors, live music, and fireworks.
Baseball fans are in luck. Lancaster is home of the Lancaster Barnstormers, a local minor league team playing at 6,000-seat Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Philadelphia and Baltimore are close enough to catch some pro sports, like the Philadelphia Flyers, Baltimore Orioles, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Call Lancaster, PA your home and explore its unique restaurants, amazing shows, history and culture, and gorgeous scenery.
Employment and Economy
NerdWallet ranked Lancaster #10 out of 289 cities where businesses owned by women have the greatest chance for success! The main industries in Lancaster County are food processing, pharmaceutical packing and distribution, and light manufacturing.
The major employers here are Lancaster General Hospital, RR Donnely (a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Chicago), and Armstrong World Industries, whose history dates back to 1891. And while there are no Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city, you’ll find a dozen within 100 miles, including Hershey’s.
Lancaster, PA Households
- Total Number of Households21,356
Family 11,980Non-family 9,376
Children 6,982No Children 14,374
- Average People Per Household2.59
- Median Household Income$35,313
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$826
Education in Lancaster
Lancaster is considered the best place to be a teacher. Along with a thriving K-12 program, the area is home to many colleges, like Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, and the Harrisburg Area Community College. For your higher education needs, Lancaster residents have plenty of opportunities.
Lancaster, PA Education Statistics
- No High School7%
- Some High School52%
- Some College19%
- Associate Degree4%
- Bachelor Degree11%
- Graduate Degree6%
Tips for Renting in Lancaster
Ready to call Lancaster home? Pennsylvania has some lax laws when it comes renting and leaves a lot at the discretion of the landlords and tenants – make sure to read the lease agreement in its entirety prior to signing.
One law they do have allows a tenant to withhold rent and exercise their right to ‘repair and deduct’ if important repairs are necessary and the landlord is failing to make them. Lancaster doesn't have rent control laws, so a landlord can raise rent however much they choose at the end of the lease period.
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