Retiring in Lancaster, PA: Your Definitive Guide


Finding the perfect place to retire can be a daunting task. You could venture to Florida, but you risk facing hurricanes. California is beautiful, but no one wants to face the cost of California living! What if we told you there is a place that is beautiful, boasts great weather, is affordable, and offers plenty of activities for retirees?


If you're looking for a retirement destination that offers financial benefits, a rich culture, and the best of both city and rural living, look no further than Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With its low cost of living, ample amenities, and proximity to other major cities, Lancaster County has everything you need to make the most of your retirement years. 


Keep reading to find out more about what this charming city has to offer—why retiring in Lancaster, PA just might be the right choice for you.


Financial Benefits of Retiring in Lancaster, PA

As a retiree, one of the biggest concerns you might have is how far your fixed income will stretch. We know that as your retire, you want to ensure you move to a place with good housing affordability. 

In Lancaster, the cost of living is relatively low, which can help your retirement budget reach even further than in those destinations that are lodged into our cultural imagination.

Mortgages and Rent Within Reach

At the beginning of 2024, the average median price of a home in Lancaster, PA, is right around $325K—far less than the national median, which is over $60K higher. If you’re looking to rent, you can probably find a suitable place with 1,000 square feet or more for around $1,500. The rest of the country, however, faces a median of over $2,000.

Of course, your actual costs will depend on your lifestyle and housing preferences. But overall, Lancaster is quite an affordable place to retire.


55+ Communities for Everyone

Perhaps you might benefit from considering a community for those 55 and older. After all, there comes a point when managing the house for two or for one is just a little bit too much. Thankfully, Lancaster County is home to a plethora of 55+ communities that fit any lifestyle and budget. 

*Click here to visit our For Seniors page to view more 55+ community options in neighboring counties

These communities offer great amenities, perks, and benefits—plus you still get to invest in real estate. Retirement communities have long waitlists, exceptionally high fees to get in the door, and you’re left without an investment property in the end.

No matter what sort of environment you're looking for, you can be sure you’ll find just the right place to take care of all your needs when you choose a 55+ community in Lancaster, PA. If you want someone to help guide you through the process of finding the most suitable 55+ community for all your needs, please get in touch with the David Wissler Real Estate Team. We’re always more than happy to guide you through life’s big transitions.

Lancaster, PA Cost of Living

Lancaster isn't the lowest-cost place to retire in Pennsylvania, but there is a high quality of life for relative affordability and a cornucopia of amenities. The cost of living in the state of Pennsylvania is about 3% below the national average. And while property tax rates are higher than average in Pennsylvania, they are still lower than many other states. In addition, Pennsylvania does not tax Social Security benefits or pension income for residents over the age of 60. So if you're looking for an affordable place to retire with a high quality of life, Lancaster should definitely be on your list.

In addition to the reasonable cost of living, another financial benefit of retiring in Lancaster is the state's tax policies. The state of Pennsylvania offers several tax benefits for retirees. Social Security benefits are not included in taxable income. IRA withdrawals and 401(k) distributions taken after age 59-1/2 are also generally exempt from state income tax. That means more money in your pocket to cover other costs or enjoy your retirement lifestyle—especially when you have such rich options for arts, culture, and amenities in your backyard!


City + Rural Living

Lancaster offers the best of both worlds. The city itself is home to all the amenities you need, including shopping, restaurants, attractions, and transportation. But if you're looking for a more rural setting, you're only a short drive away from picturesque farmland and small towns. 

Basically, no matter where you end up in the Lancaster area, you’re bound to be only minutes from urban, suburban, and rural—all at once! Everyone has their own preferences, of course, for where to dwell, but it’s nice to know you have easy access to cows, streetcorners, and cul-de-sacs no matter where you settle in Lancaster County.

If you're looking for convenience, you'll find it in spades when you live in the metropolitan area. Everything you need—small businesses, restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment venues—will be within easy reach. And if you don't feel like driving, public transportation options are available with Red Rose Transit. Many neighborhoods are walkable, too, so if you want to stay active, you have plenty of pedestrian routes to choose from. 

If peace and quiet are what you're after, then rural living is definitely the way to go. You'll enjoy wide open spaces, fresh air, and a sense of community that can be hard to find in a big city. Enjoy living near rolling fields of corn, hiking trails, and friendly Amish neighbors! Housing costs are typically lower in rural areas than in cities, and there's less traffic and fewer people—which means less stress! 

Whatever your preference, if you’re considering retiring in Lancaster, PA, you’re sure to find a living arrangement that’s just right for you.



Amenities and Attractions in and around Lancaster, PA

Not only is there a great mix of rural, suburban, and urban in Lancaster, but there are plenty of things to do too. If you choose to retire in Lancaster, you’ll never run out of things to do—or places to take family, like the grandkids!

Arts + Culture

Lancaster is rich in history and culture. The city is home to a number of museums and historical sites, as well as a thriving arts community. There's always something new to see and do in Lancaster, whether you're attending a musical at the historic Fulton Theatre or exploring the Amish Countryside. 

Take a look at just a few of the cultural options around Lancaster!

  1. Fulton Theatre
  2. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
  3. Lancaster Museum of Art
  4. Gallery Row
  5. Demuth Museum
  6. Ephrata Cloister

Amish Tourism

The Amish first settled in Lancaster County in the early eighteenth century. They originally came from Switzerland and Germany in search of religious freedom, and they found it in Pennsylvania. The Amish way of life is based on simplicity, hard work, and a close-knit community. They live without many modern conveniences like electricity and cars, and they focus on family and faith. 

The Amish community in Lancaster County has grown over the years, and today there are thousands in the Amish faith living in the area. While they may seem like they're living in the past, the Amish are actually quite entrepreneurial. There are many businesses in Lancaster County that are owned and operated by the Amish, including furniture stores, bakeries, quilt shops, and more. 

If you want to immerse yourself in Amish tourism, which Lancaster is widely known for, there are many different fun activities and businesses to visit!