13 Best Places to Buy Holiday Gifts in Lancaster City, PA

Local businesses are the backbone of any city’s success. But when holidays start coming up, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to buy gifts via Amazon, Walmart, or other chains.

But Lancaster County has an enormous amount of pride in its small businesses for dozens of reasons. One of them is that even though there’s not an Apple Store within city limits, there are still tons of locally-owned companies that offer great gifts for the holidays.

So if you want to get something that is uniquely Lancaster for anyone in your life, these are the 13 places you can start.

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1. Foxduck

Address: 11 W King St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: foxduck.com

Foxduck is a quaint clothing store in Downtown Lancaster with unique apparel that’s shockingly comfortable.

That’s the gist. It’s a nice little clothing store near Central Market.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Anyone who likes T-shirts that are unique to areas of the world will love something from Foxduck.

It could also be a great way to get someone souvenir if they’ve been to Lancaster but don’t live here.

But let’s be real — who doesn’t love a T-shirt?

2. Ellicott & Co.

Address: 45 N Market St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: ellicott.co

Ellicott & Co. is a men’s fashion store that is packed to the brim with cool stuff.

Leather-bound journals, dress shoes, beard balm — they’re all here, and they’re all perfect for a man in your life with a predilection for the rugged things in life.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Anyone into leather, shoes, beards, knives, soaps, and more.

Ellicott & Co. is also heavy into beard culture, so you could find some things for the guys in your life who take great pride in their facial hair.

3. The Pottery Works

Address: 16 W Orange St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: thepotteryworks.com

The Pottery Works is a nice little shop on Orange Street where you can get a pre-made piece of pottery, paint it, and hand it over to be baked.

Then, you go back in a few days and get your own unique piece of pottery.

The Pottery Works is fun for anyone, though it definitely slants more to toward a child’s activity. Still, it can be a fun outing for couples or people who want to spend an hour talking while they paint a pig like a cow (like my wife and I did).

It also helps that the staff is knowledgeable and kind, so they can make color recommendations for what you want to paint different items.

This is important because, as anyone there will tell you, color changes once a piece of pottery is baked.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Children are definitely the main audience for The Pottery Works, but anyone would enjoy it if they have the patience to sit down and color for a little.

You could also go yourself, paint something for someone else, and pick it up to give as a gift. But the process of creating the piece is really the best part, and it’s when you’ll make memories with someone.

It’s also surprisingly relaxing, so if you know anyone with a high-stress job, this could be a therapeutic outing for them.

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4. The Fulton Opera House

Address: 12 N Prince St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: thefulton.org

The Fulton Opera House is a mainstay of Lancaster City. It’s essentially the crown jewel of the county.

They always have shows going on, and during the holidays their shows are holiday-themed.

In 2020, they had to postpone a lot of shows because of COVID. But Kinky Boots, Titanic, and Jersey Boys are all coming back as things return to normal!

Who Would Like This Gift?

Any history buff, local business enthusiast, theater-lover, music-lover, or maybe even movie-lover (though this one might be a stretch) would love the Fulton Opera House.

It’s hands-down one of the most gorgeous buildings in the county, and the on-stage talent is near-Broadway in quality.

The people behind the scenes are also consummate professionals, including the lighting, stage direction, props, audio work, and more.

5. Lancaster Museum of Art

Address: 135 N lime St Lancaster PA 17602

Website: demuth.org

The Lancaster Museum of Art is a small art locale on the edge of Musser Park.

Inside, it showcases a rotating list of exhibits that come from all across the world, making this one of the lesser-known art installations in the city.

The museum also offers workshops, which is another great way for you to celebrate the art-lover in your life.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Anyone in Lancaster’s well-known arts circles would enjoy time at the Lancaster Museum of Art either looking at the exhibits or taking part in a workshop.

Like many of the other gift ideas on this list, this is one that can have the biggest impact when you go with someone or as a group. It’s a great outing for friends, and you’ll patronize one of the lesser-visited art galleries in the city.

6. Barberet

Address: 26 E King St Lancaster PA 17602

Website: 26eastlancaster.com/barberet

Barberet is a combination bakery and bistro that has a restaurant, bar, and confections counter all in one location.

Barberet is noteworthy because their baked goods are absolutely out-of-this-freaking-world good.

(I’m not a food critic so I don’t know a better way to say that.)

Tarts, breads, macarons, sweets, cakes — they’re all here, and they’re all an incredible experience.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Barberet’s confections are a smart pick for anyone who wants to show up to a holiday dinner and steal the evening with an outstanding series of desserts.

You can also get a gift card for the sweet-tooth in your life so that they can stock up on their favorites.

And, spoiler alert, everything will be their favorite.

Barberet is crazy good, you guys.

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7. Escape on Queen

Address: 43-45 N Queen St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: escapeonqueen.com

Escape on Queen is an escape room that features a variety of different puzzles that you and a group can solve.

Escape rooms are a blast because they let you figure out complex problems with your friends and solve a mystery together. It’s like finding your way out of a haunted house.

The real fun in this comes from interacting with a group of your friends and doing something together. You could go to Escape on Queen alone, but you’ll probably be grouped with other people.

So if you’re going to get someone an outing to Escape on Queen, go with them and bring some more friends!

Who Would Like This Gift?

This is a great gift for an entire group of friends, regardless of age. Escape on Queen has an awesome and friendly staff that knows the perfect balance between giving you hints when you need them and letting you figure out the good stuff on your own.

If you have friends who like mystery novels or any other kinds of whodunnits, they’ll like the escape room.

Plus, you’ll get to make a memory together, and isn’t that what the real gift is?

8. El Jardin Flower & Garden Room

Address: 258 N Queen St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: eljardinflowerandgarden.com

El Jardin is one of the best floral arrangement shops in the city.

They have a huge range of different plants throughout the year — including the middle of winter — that are perfect for dinner centerpieces and indoor gardens.

Typically, the flowers are only meant to be enjoyed while they’re potted.

But if you know someone with a green enough thumb, they may be able to transplant it somewhere to keep it alive indoors or move it again once spring comes.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Gardeners and anyone with a green thumb will love El Jardin’s arrangements.

Whether they enjoy the appearance on a table or want to keep the plant alive as a focal point in their homes, you can’t go wrong.

9. Golden Ages Tattoo

Address: 23 E Walnut St Lancaster PA 17602

Website: facebook.com/goldenagestattoo

Golden Ages Tattoo is a tattoo parlor that’s been around for quite a while between Downtown and Northeast Lancaster City.

They have some of the best tattoo artists in the city, and they’re just generally great at what they do.

Their artists are especially good at crisp linework, and they excel at the Traditional American tattoo style.

There are a lot of tattoo parlors in Lancaster County. But Golden Ages Tattoo stands out as one of the best.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Any stigmatophile (which I just learned is the word for “tattoo addict”) in your life would love a gift card to Golden Ages.

Better yet, you can take someone to get matching tattoos and pay for the whole shebang yourself!

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10. Building Character

Address: 342 N Queen St Lancaster PA 17603

Website: buildingcharacter.biz

Building Character is a “host” company that allows vendors to rent floor space, set up shop, and sell their goods.

A lot of local vendors either sell out of her permanently or got their start here, many of which have moved into their own locations because of the success that they earned largely from working at Building Character.

As a result, Building Character is kind of like a business incubator. It helps artisans and small businesses get on their feet.

It’s also home to what might be the coolest mix of eclectic stuff you can find in Lancaster.

Retro video games, refinished furniture, bygone knick-knacks, repurposed recyclables, old books, and an enormous selection of clothing are all in this old warehouse.

Who Would Like This Gift?

If you have anyone into retro or vintage anything, you can probably find something for them here.

There’s not much else to say on this one — Building Character and their vendors pretty much have this customer demographic on lockdown.

11. Lancaster Brewing Company

Address: 302 N Plum St Lancaster PA 17602

Website: lancasterbrewing.com

Lancaster Brewing Company is a staple of the Lancaster City economy, and it’s played an enormous role in the craft beer explosion that’s taken place in the Lancaster area.

They’re a brewery first and foremost, which means they have a great selection of themed local Lancaster beers. Milk Stout and Strawberry Wheat are two of their more popular options.

But they’re also a really nice casual dining restaurant. You get to sit near the brewing equipment, the tables are topped with copper, and the atmosphere is friendly enough that you can strike up a conversation with the table next to yours.

(They also have really good bartenders.)

Who Would Like This Gift?

Someone who enjoys casual Lancaster dining (think sports bars) would enjoy a gift certificate to Lancaster Brewing Company’s restaurant.

Otherwise, pick up a variety pack of their beer, wrap it up, and place it in the fridge for your favorite craft beer aficionado.

12. Cork & Cap

Address: 480 New Holland Ave #3000 Lancaster PA 17602

Website: corkandcaprestaurant.com

Cork & Cap — part of the Cork Factory — is one of the best restaurants in town.

(I also got married there, but I promise I liked it before then.)

Getting a gift certificate for someone to go to the Cork Factory is giving them a ticket to enjoying an incredible meal.

If you want to give someone a full evening, you can get them a gift certificate for the restaurant and book them a room for a weekend, too.

Who Would Like This Gift?

This gift is great for anyone who enjoys experiences more than material gifts.

The Cork Factory is an incredible hotel, and Cork & Cap has unbelievably good front-house staff, kitchen staff, and bartenders.

You’ll love it — and so will the person who gets this gift!

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13. make717 Innovation Center

Address: 1100 E Orange St Lancaster PA 17602

Website: make717.org

make717 Innovation Center is a workshop that’s owned by Thaddeus Stevens (the school, not the guy) where you can go in and use a huge array of tools to make stuff.

It’s an absolute blast, and you can really focus on building things with your hands in a satisfying way that’s hard to do unless you have a full workshop at your disposal.

Who Would Like This Gift?

Anyone who loves to make things with their hands will love make717. This place is great for a DIY enthusiast or someone who complains that they never have the right tool to do what they want at home.

It could cost a hundred bucks or so, but buying time at make717 is a gift that could truly make someone’s holidays — and maybe change their lives by helping them discover a passion they didn’t know they had.

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