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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Franklin and Marshall College and its students make their home here. Lancaster, population 55,000, is the capital of Lancaster County in south-central Pennsylvania.  Located in Pennsylvania Dutch country, it has pretty scenery. The town has a long and important history - Conestoga wagons and the Pennsylvania long rifle were both made here. President James Buchanan hailed from Lancaster, as did Thaddeus Stevens. Woolworth's, the first successful five and dime store, opened in Lancaster. Lancaster General Hospital and Franklin & Marshall are engaged in the Northwest Gateway Project, a $73 million conversion of a former Armstrong  industrial plant into an exciting and major expansion of their campuses.

Photo of Duke Street courtesy of and per license of Wikipedia and Scanlan.

Where to Retire in Lancaster and Home Prices

You can live in town or in one of the many active adult or CCRCs in the area (see link to Active Communities at left).
Zillow pegged the median value of a home to be $302,241 in early 2022.

What Is Special about Lancaster

Lancaster has a rich history. It is also a college town in a pretty part of Pennsylvania Dutch country.  The Central Market is the oldest farmers market in the country and a big tourist attraction because of the Amish goods offered for sale; many cultural institutions; renovating the downtown area.

What Is Not Special about Lancaster

High crime rate.

Climate and Physical Environment

Lancaster is in the rolling terrain of south central Pennsylvania. The average July high is 85. The average Jan low is 21. The wettest month is September (4.5").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Fulton Opera House is the oldest continuously operated theatre in the country, one of only three theatres designated as National Historic Landmarks. There are several art museums including the Demuth Museum and two others on the campus of Franklin & Marshall. There is an arboretum, James Buchanan's home, and a proposed museum for Thaddeus Stevens.


The crime rate is well above average.

Medical Facilities

Lancaster has several hospitals including Lancaster General and Community Hospital.


Red Rose Transit Authority provides local bus service. Amtrak has a station in Lancaster, and there is also the Lancaster Airport.

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