Lancaster, California is located approximately an hour north of downtown Los Angeles within the Mojave Desert's Antelope Valley region. The community is known for its arts scene and cultural events, including the annual California Poppy Festival, which brings more than 60,000 visitors to the region to see widespread blooms of the state's official flower.
1. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
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Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a protected California state reserve that is home to the most consistently-blooming population of the state's official flower, the California poppy. The reserve is managed by the state's Parks and Recreation department and is open to the public during the spring wildflower bloom season, which typically lasts between mid-February and mid-May. Significant populations of goldfields, lupine, owl's clover, coreopsis, and cream cups are also visible throughout the blooming area, which is located within the Antelope Valley at an elevation of nearly 3,000 feet. Seven miles of wheelchair-accessible visitor trails are offered, along with a seasonal interpretive center offering wildflower-related museum exhibits and an art gallery. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.
15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA 93536, Phone: 661-724-1180
2. Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
© Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park is a California state museum that showcases the culture and history of Great Basin indigenous cultures. The museum was originally opened to the public in 1932 within a building constructed in 1928 by artist H. Arden Edwards, though the focus of its collections and public attractions changed several times throughout the 20th century. Today, the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and showcases a collection of more than 3,000 indigenous artifacts preserved from areas throughout the American Southwest and Pacific Coast, with a focus on artifacts and exhibits related to the region's historic indigenous trade routes. A variety of public special events throughout the year highlight regional indigenous cultures, including an American Indian Celebration in October.
15701 East Ave M, Lancaster, CA 93535, Phone: 661-946-3055
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3. Museum of Art and History
© Museum of Art and History
Museum of Art and History, commonly referred to as MOAH, is Lancaster's premiere art and history museum, showcasing a large collection of works focusing on post-war American and Californian culture. The museum was originally constructed in 1986 to showcase the art of local Antelope Valley residents, known as the Lancaster Museum and Art Gallery. Since 2012, it has served as an anchor of the city's revitalized downtown area, located within its BLVD district. Large collections of art and artifacts related to the region's culture and history are displayed, from indigenous artifact collections to works by contemporary artists such as Lisa Bartleson, Brad Howe, Gisela Colon, and Ann Marie Rousseau. A second outpost facility at the Cedar Center for the Arts, known as MOAH:CEDAR offers open art studio space for community members and artists in residence.
665 W Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-723-6250
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4. Prime Desert Woodland Preserve
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Prime Desert Woodland Preserve is a scenic woodland preserve that was originally proposed by the Lancaster City Council in 1985. The 160-acre urban nature reserve offers more than three miles of visitor trails exploring protected areas of natural flora and fauna, including populations of Joshua trees and California junipers. Trails are open to the public during daylight hours seven days a week, with the exception of times of heavy rain or snowfall. The preserve's Elyze Clifford Interpretive Center offers a variety of exhibits designed by the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, exploring the region's geologic and cultural history. Exhibits include a petroglyph wall encouraging visitors to create their own pictographs and an excavation station showcasing replica fossils and geodes from the region. A variety of ranger-led programming is offered throughout the year, including inclusive yoga sessions, children's outreach programming, and guided astronomy walks.
43201 35th St W, Lancaster, CA 93536, Phone: 661-723-5928, (website link)
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5. Saddleback Butte State Park
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Saddleback Butte State Park is an Antelope Valley state park that is centered around its namesake mountain, which reaches elevations of 3,651 feet above sea level. The 2,955-acres park was originally developed in 1960 to protect the region's significant habitats of Joshua trees. The park is also home to a wide variety of native animal species that were once more abundant in the region, including coyotes, jackrabbits, kit foxes, and desert tortoises. Several visitor trails are offered throughout the park, including the 2.5-mile Little Butte Trail and the two-miles Saddleback Butte Peak Trail. Day-use activities within the park include a picnic site with grills and shade ramadas, along with a visitor center that offers a self-guided interpretive trail about the park's history. 37 campsites are offered, along with a 4.5-mile equestrian trail and staging area.
Lancaster, CA 93535, Phone: 661-946-6092
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6. Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
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Once upon a time, much of the Antelope Valley was dotted with native Joshuas and Junipers. These days they are much scarcer, having been removed to facilitate farming and housing, but you can still enjoy admiring large stands of these unusual trees in the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park. Most visitors to the park come to enjoy exploring the two trails on foot – the Ripley Nature Trail is just a ¼ mile long and is suitable for just about all ages. The Red Juniper Trail is about a mile long and is also considered to be easy. The best time of year to visit is spring and summer, when the Joshua trees are covered in white showy blooms and are surrounded by wildflowers.
Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park, 205th Street W, Lancaster, CA 93534, 661-946-6092, (website link)
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7. Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
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Joe Davies Heritage Airpark is named in honor of Palmdale City Councilman and Aviation and Aerospace Commissioner Joe Davies, the former commander of Air Force Plant 42. The airpark is located on the plant's grounds and currently displays 17 retired and restored military aircrafting, along with exhibits such as an AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile and an eighth-scale model of the famed B-2 Spirit aircraft. When the park is completed, it will display more than 40 retired military aircraft from conflicts throughout the 20th century. For visitors looking to make a day of aviation history activities, the park is conveniently located next to the Blackbird Airpark, which also displays historic aircraft and aviation memorabilia.
2001 E Ave P, Palmdale, CA 93550, Phone: 661-267-5300
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8. Lancaster Performing Arts Center (LPAC)
© Lancaster Performing Arts Center
For 30 years the Lancaster Performing Arts Center has been enriching the lives of everyone in the Antelope Valley by presenting a wide range of live theatre productions. In addition to offering first-class entertainment, the LPAC also strives to involve as many of the community as possible in their Arts for Youth programs. Each year LPAC hosts a scintillating calendar of live entertainment which includes musical artists and revues, ballet, stand-up comedy, dance shows and all-time favorite family shows like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. You can check their website for details of “what’s on” and to buy your tickets online.
Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster, CA 93534, 661-723-5950, (website link)
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9. Liquid Bean Coffee House
© Liquid Bean Coffee House
Liquid Bean Coffee House has been voted as Antelope Valley's best coffee house, opened in 2001 as a family-owned venture. The restaurant is open to the public seven days a week and offers fast and convenient service from its double drive-through lane. A wide variety of coffee shop beverages are available, including gourmet espresso drinks, frappes, and coffee-infused ice cream floats. Non-coffee beverages are also served, including chai tea and a variety of smoothies and fruit juice options. Breakfast options include sausage or bacon breakfast sandwiches on bagels or croissants, along with a variety of breakfast pastries baked fresh daily, including muffins and scones.
1711 W Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-942-7591
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10. Things to Do in Lancaster: Antelope Valley Winery
© Antelope Valley Winery
Antelope Valley Winery is a family-owned winery and vineyard operated by the Donato family for more than two decades. The winery produces a variety of private-label red, white, and sparkling wines, which are available for sale by the bottle in its tasting room. Personalized wine gifts are also available for sale, including wine gift baskets and personalized private-label wines that may be branded with special occasion messages or corporate logos. Tours of the company's facility are offered Wednesdays through Sundays, with tasting flights and charcuterie boards available for purchase in the tasting room. The company also sells a wide variety of exotic and game meats, including wild boar, pheasant, venison, alligator, and grass-fed buffalo. A seasonal farmer's market produced by the vineyard is presented every Saturday morning between May and November, with a variety of food, produce, and arts and crafts vendors available on site.
42041 20th St West, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-722-0145
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11. Crazy Otto's Diner
© Crazy Otto's Diner
Crazy Otto's Diner was originally opened in Antelope Valley in the 1970s by former lumberjack Otto Lindsel. Throughout the 1990s, the restaurant gained national attention for its world record-breaking 1,850-square-foot omelette, the Guinness World Records holder for the largest omelette in the world. Today, the chain operates four restaurants throughout the Antelope Valley region, including two locations in Lancaster, and has been voted as the region's best breakfast spot for more than 15 years running. Breakfast and lunch are offered daily, highlighting American diner classics. Dinner is also served at select locations, including the restaurant's signature prime rib entree.
43528 20th Street West, Phone: 661-948-6502
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12. The Lemon Leaf Cafe
© The Lemon Leaf Cafe
The Lemon Leaf Cafe was opened in 2006 as an upscale casual dining spot offering Southern Californian fare infused with Greek and Italian inspiration. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner service Mondays through Saturdays, offering a wide variety of fresh entrees with locally-sourced ingredients. Meal options include wrap and baguette-pressed sandwiches, shareable Mediterranean-style appetizers, and specialty thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas. Larger entrees are also available, including traditional pasta dishes and a variety of land and sea entrees. The restaurant's pastry case offers a wide variety of signature homestyle desserts and pastries available for dine-in or take-out purchase. Catering is available for private special events, and a number of the restaurant's pastries are available for purchase online for national shipping.
39800 Country Club Dr., Palmdale, CA 93551, Phone: 661-942-6500
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13. The Modern Tea Room
© The Modern Tea Room
The Modern Tea Room offers a traditional tea room experience within downtown Lancaster's hip BLVD district, offering a wide variety of high-quality teas from around the world. Premium loose leaf and organic teas are available for purchase by the glass or for take-home sale, including black, green, oolong, and rooibos teas. Herbal tea flavors are also served, produced with a variety of innovative infusions, along with coffee-infused teas, matcha beverages, and wine and champagne teas. The tea room strives to educate all guests on the health and well-being benefits of tea drinking, creating an inviting and relaxing atmosphere for novice drinkers and tea connoisseurs alike. A limited food menu is served to complement beverages, including sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
705 W Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-941-4616
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14. Things to Do in Lancaster: The Musical Road
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The Musical Road is a stretch of Lancaster's Avenue G that was originally constructed in 2008 by car company Honda for use in commercials and advertisements. The stretch of road is located between 30th and 40th Streets West, located approximately two miles from residential neighborhoods to prevent noise disturbance complaints. It is notched with grooves that produce musical vibrations when driven over, replicating the highly-recognizable finale of the William Tell Overture. Though the stretch of road is the United States' only musical road, similar road stretches are known to exist throughout the world in countries such as Japan, China, Denmark, Taiwan, and the Ukraine.
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15. Things to Do near me: The Western Hotel Museum
© The Western Hotel Museum
The Western Hotel Museum is downtown Lancaster's oldest extant structure, originally constructed as a hotel in 1888. The building was known by a number of names during its business tenure, including the Antelope Valley Hotel, the Gillwyn Hotel, and the Western Hotel. Following its last owner's death in 1978, the Western Hotel Historical Society was formed to restore the hotel to its Victorian-era splendor. Today, it is operated as a living history museum that showcases a permanent collection of historical artifacts owned by the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. Displays include indigenous artifacts, mining equipment, California missions artifacts, and historic photographs related to Lancaster's civic history.
557 W Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-723-6250, (website link)
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16. Lancaster National Soccer Center
© Lancaster National Soccer Center
If you happen to be looking for a great venue for a sporting tournament you will find that the Lancaster National Soccer Center is hard to beat. The center has no fewer than 35 fields where teams can practice, just have a friendly match or play a serious tournament. Although all the fields are proper soccer fields, they can be adjusted to suit a variety of other sports including lacrosse, cross-country athletics and other sports which require a large area. The facility offers restrooms and two buildings suitable for concessions. There is ample paved parking and spot-lights make it possible for continued practice after dark. There are a few nearby hotels which can accommodate your team.
Lancaster National Soccer Center, 43000 30th Street E, Lancaster, CA 93535, 661-723-6192
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17. Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
Formerly known as the Lancaster City Park, the Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park is a centrally situated tree-lined park which covers 63 acres. The park is primarily used for a wide variety of community activities which vary from company picnics to children’s birthday parties and national softball competitions. Sporting facilities include 8 tennis courts, volleyball and basketball courts and a Big 8 Softball Complex. The park is home to a fully-equipped kitchen, game room and more. Younger visitors will love the Tot Lot, where they can have hours of fun on the colorful equipment. You can bring along a picnic for barbecue to enjoy in the large shaded picnic area.
Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park, 43063 10th Street W, Lancaster, CA 93534,
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18. What is there to do in Lancaster: AV Fair and Event Center
© AV Fair and Event Center
Lancaster annually pulls out all the stops to present 8 days of fun and entertainment during the Barntober Fest which is held at the AV Fair and Event Center. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and come and join all the Antelope Valley locals as they gather at the fairground to enjoy a range of family-friendly activities. Exciting spectator sports include rodeo, bull-riding, Monster truck competitions, Figure races and the famous, final day, Demo Derby. In addition to watching the dare-devils at work, visitor can enjoy fun-fair rides, delicious festival food and great music. The center also operates a serviced RV park for anyone wanting to camp in Lancaster – please note the RV Park is closed during the Barntober Fest.
Av Fair and Event Center, 2551 West Avenue H, Lancaster, CA 93536, 661-948-6060
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19. Greatest Escape
© Greatest Escape
An Escape Room experience is a great way to have some fun on a rainy day, and the Greatest Escape in Lancaster is an excellent choice for visitors to the Antelope Valley. Greatest Escape offers 3 themed rooms for you to explore. Each of your daring escapes has to occur in less than 60 minutes, which means that you and your team will have to work closely together to solve the clues. The most exciting (and scary) room is The Apartment, followed by The Jail Break and Beyond the Wardrobe. Visiting the Greatest Escape is great for birthday parties, team-building events, family fun and even for date night entertainment.
Greatest Escape, 44820 10th Street W, Suite 3, Lancaster, CA 93536, 661-484-1198
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