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.
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
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
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
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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The BLVD is downtown Lancaster's newly-revamped arts and entertainment district, redeveloped in 2010 with a completely new streetscape design. Today, it is home to a wide variety of visitor attractions, including arts and nightlife attractions such as the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, BLVD Cinemas, and the Underground Bowl bowling and gaming center. Trendy boutiques and designer furniture stores line the BLVD, along with dining options such as Olive's Mediterranean Cafe, Giannini's Bistro and Grill, and the Brooklyn Deli. A year-round farmer's market is offered at the BLVD on Thursday mornings, presented in partnership with nonprofit organization Raw Inspiration. Other special events include a summer concert series, a Halloween and harvest festival, and an annual Christmas celebration.
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.Kinetic Brewing Company
© Kinetic Brewing Company
Kinetic Brewing Company was founded by homebrewer and nationally-recognized beer judge Steven "Sven" Kinsey, who had previously worked as an audio engineer for noted film company Lucasfilm. The brewery offers a public tap room and restaurant in Lancaster, serving drafts and to-go sales of its year-round beers, including its Fusion Porter, Propulsion IPA, Ignition West Coast-style Pale Ale, Potential Blonde German-style Kolsch, and Rusted Gear Amber Ale. A wide variety of seasonal and specialty brews are also offered, from regular rotating favorites such as the company's Redline Irish Red Ale and Kränken Festbier to its high-ABV Over Wound Series and its annual anniversary ales. Many of the brewery's ales have won national and international awards at competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival and the San Diego International Beer Competition. Pub fare is also served at the brewery's restaurant daily, including sandwiches, poutine, and vegetarian options.
735 W Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-942-2337
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.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
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
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.
653 W. Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534, Phone: 661-942-6500
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
14.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.
15.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
15 Best Things to Do in Lancaster, California
- Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Photo: Courtesy of kcapaldo - Fotolia.com
- Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park, Photo: Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
- Museum of Art and History, Photo: Museum of Art and History
- Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Photo: Courtesy of S.CREZE - Fotolia.com
- Saddleback Butte State Park, Photo: Courtesy of angeldibilio - Fotolia.com
- The BLVD, Photo: Courtesy of posh - Fotolia.com
- Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, Photo: Courtesy of Ana - Fotolia.com
- Kinetic Brewing Company, Photo: Kinetic Brewing Company
- Liquid Bean Coffee House, Photo: Liquid Bean Coffee House
- Antelope Valley Winery, Photo: Antelope Valley Winery
- Crazy Otto's Diner, Photo: Crazy Otto's Diner
- The Lemon Leaf Cafe, Photo: The Lemon Leaf Cafe
- The Modern Tea Room, Photo: The Modern Tea Room
- The Musical Road, Photo: Courtesy of candy1812 - Fotolia.com
- The Western Hotel Museum, Photo: The Western Hotel Museum
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of htrnr - Fotolia.com