Know this before you move to Lancaster PA

Know this before you move to Lancaster PA

Lancaster is a charming city in southeastern Pennsylvania that has a lot to offer potential residents. From its rich history and cultural attractions to affordable cost of living and bustling downtown, there are many reasons why Lancaster has become an increasingly popular place to call home. However, before you pack up and relocate to this quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch community, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws of Lancaster for many is its relatively low cost of living compared to larger metropolitan areas in the Northeast. The median home value in Lancaster is around $200,000, significantly lower than the national average. Rent is also quite affordable, with the average one-bedroom apartment renting for around $1,000 per month. Basic living expenses like groceries, utilities, and healthcare are all below national averages as well. However, it’s worth noting that while Lancaster is affordable overall, the downtown area and trendier neighborhoods can be pricier.

Job Market

While Lancaster’s job market is fairly healthy, it is still quite small compared to job hubs like Philadelphia or New York City. The largest employment sectors are healthcare, tourism, manufacturing, and education. Major employers include Lancaster General Hospital, Masonic Villages, Woodstream Corporation, and Franklin & Marshall College. If your career is outside of those main industries, your job prospects may be more limited unless you’re willing to commute to a larger city nearby.


Like much of Pennsylvania, Lancaster has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures often reaching into the 80s and 90s. Winters can be quite cold and snowy, with average highs in the 30s and lows dipping below freezing. Spring and fall tend to be mild and beautiful seasons perfect for enjoying the area’s farms, parks, and outdoor events. One weather factor to be prepared for is the potential for heavy snow, ice storms, and nor’easters during the winter months.


Getting around Lancaster is fairly easy and straightforward. The downtown area and most neighborhoods are walkable, and cycling is popular in good weather months. For public transit, the Red Rose Transit Authority provides bus service throughout the city and to some surrounding areas. However, most Lancaster residents still rely on personal vehicles for transportation. Traffic can get quite congested during rush hours.

Things to Do

Despite its modest size, Lancaster has a vibrant cultural scene with plenty of things to do. Must-see attractions include the Amish Farm and House, Wheatland (President James Buchanan’s home), the Demuth Museum, and the Fulton Theatre. Downtown Lancaster is filled with unique shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and performance venues. The city also hosts many annual events like the Roots & Blues festival, Celebrate Lancaster, and the YWCA ¡Anda! Latina celebration. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy places like Lancaster County Central Park and the surrounding Dutch Country countryside.

Whether you’re drawn by the low cost of living, historic charm, or slower pace of life, Lancaster is an appealing place to live. However, it’s important to be prepared for the snowy winters, relatively small job market, and some growing pains a booming small city experiences. As long as you know what to expect, Lancaster can be a wonderful place to settle down in Pennsylvania. Learn more about The Best Experiences in Lancaster, PA

The job market in Lancaster is relatively small compared to larger cities, but stable overall. The top industries are healthcare, tourism/hospitality, manufacturing, and education. Major employers include Lancaster General Hospital, Masonic Villages, Woodstream Corporation, and Franklin & Marshall College. Those in other career fields may have a harder time finding roles unless willing to commute.

One of the biggest draws of Lancaster is the affordable housing market compared to national averages. The median home value is around $200,000 and rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages $1,000 per month. However, downtown Lancaster and trendier neighborhoods tend to be on the pricier side.

Downtown Lancaster is very walkable and lively, with a mix of historic buildings, unique shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and cultural attractions like the Fulton Theatre. It hosts many annual festivals and community events as well. Parking can be a challenge, but there are several public garages.

Winters in Lancaster are quite cold and snowy. Average highs are in the 30s and lows dip below freezing. The area gets its fair share of winter storms, including heavy snow, ice storms, and nor'easters. Residents should be prepared for snowy conditions from late fall through early spring.

Popular attractions include the Amish Farm & House, Wheatland (President Buchanan's home), the Demuth Museum, Lancaster Central Market, and many theaters/performance venues. The city has a lively arts/culture scene and hosts events like Roots & Blues. Outdoor spots like Lancaster County Central Park are also highlights.

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