By Jesika Islam || Arts and Leisure Editor
Once referred to as the “New Brooklyn” by the New York Post, Lancaster is the new up and comer in the gentrified, hipster cities that are popping up around the world. Those that live in Lancaster may not find this to be true because despite the small downtown, much of the city is still residential and farm land, as evident in the spring when the air is permeated with manure. However, Lancaster only seems like an Amish farm from the outside. Home to many colleges and large populations of millenials and retirees, the downtown area has changed to meet their needs. Downtown Lancaster is bustling at point in the day, especially on the weekends. There are art galleries, restaurants, theaters, bars, and even the Central Market to keep residents on their toes. Every month the city also hosts a First Friday, where the businesses downtown have open doors and specials to get advertising and show the people of Lancaster what the downtown area has to offer.
Lancaster has a thriving art scene. Gallery way, is a street downtown, that is home to any galleries, showcasing local art, that are really remarkable. They have a wide range of art from photographs, to paintings, to sculptures. In addition, to the typical art scene, Lancaster participates in installation art. Simply walking through Lancaster shows a vibrant art community, whether it is the galleries themselves or the art installation. The art installations currently include the “Make Lancaster Weird” exhibits were aimed at shocking people out of mundanity.
Aside from the thriving art scene, Lancaster is a foodie city. While many of them are hidden away, once they are discovered the rewards are endless. Downtown has a melting pot of cuisines from nepalese-indian fusion at Himalayan Grill to japanese ramen at Issei Noodles to the Arabian Knights, the hookah lounge that serves food too. There also is a variety of dessert options like Lancaster Cupcakes, famous for their appearance on Cupcake Wars as a contestant, and Penny’s, a spin off of Carmen and David’s Creamery serving the community creative flavors of the creamiest ice cream.
Downtown Lancaster offers a very diverse selection of bars. For a pub feel with a romantic, intimate outdoor setting and pub style food, Annie Bailey’s sits down the street from the Marriot. Next door is Altana and Telus 360, both having roof tops, Altana has more of a club vibe while Telus has multiple floors, each one catering to a different need. Telus 360 has two stages on the bottom floor, one that feels like a club and the other like music venue. The second floor feels like a dive bar, projections of sports games everywhere and darts in the corners. The back has extra seating that sometimes doubles as a dance floor. Finally the rooftop is this romantic, wooden outdoor setting with twinkling string lights everywhere and intimate booths and patio seating. There are also the Federal Taphouse and the Taproom, which have large collections of beers on draught and delicious food. The Fridge is also a staple in the Lancaster community for artisanal flatbread pizza and a wide selection of local, seasonal and interesting beers. Many of the bars also offer food and cheap drinks with a great selection and friendly staff.
The newest additions to the downtown area include Chop Sushi, and Rolled Cold Creamery. Chop Sushi is a poke place, where they serve basically deconstructed sushi with the Chipotle- style business. They offer filling meals at very reasonable prices. Rolled Cold Creamery is the new ice cream place that opened down the street from Himalayan Grill. They are a rolled ice cream restaurant. They create basically cream rolls that are custom made with flavors. The process consists of pouring cream on a cold stone or table top then adding flavoring and toppings. As the ice cream maker incorporates the flavor evenly, the cream freezes into a thin layer on top of the surface and then is sectioned and rolled into the ice cream rolls and served.
While Lancaster may not have the population or size of bigger hipster cities, it definitely is stepping up in the hipster world. Lancaster has authentic farmers and people that use mason jars, the coffee is fresh and the food delicious. Lancaster may not be the next Brooklyn, but it definitely puts itself on the map as a city with its own character and charm.
Senior Jesika Islam is the Arts and Leisure Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.