Lancaster Keeps Families Moving, Indoors or Out
Arts and culture? Check. Youth sports? Check. Outdoor recreation? Check. Antelope Valley has it all.
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
Arts and culture? Check. Youth sports? Check. Outdoor recreation? Check. Antelope Valley has all that – and a whole lot more. “In terms of entertainment‚ there’s a lot going on here‚” says Lyle Norton‚ Lancaster Parks‚ Recreation and Arts director. “The Lancaster Museum & Art Gallery features eight rotating exhibits throughout the year‚ and there’s a permanent dinosaur exhibit there for children. And our Lancaster Performing Arts Center brings in top-name entertainers.” With 758 seats‚ the Lancaster Performing Arts Center is the largest indoor entertainment venue in Antelope Valley. Throughout the year‚ LPAC hosts musical genres such as pop/rock‚ R&B‚ country‚ jazz and big band‚ classical and world music as well as comedy‚ family and children’s shows‚ drama‚ musical theater and holiday shows. LPAC also offers a kids’ show company twice a year and a theater camp for teens during the summer. For those who prefer to spend time outdoors‚ there are 10 city parks in the Lancaster area‚ ranging in size from 6.5 acres to 60 acres. “A fairly new park is Hull Park on the west side of town. People use it extensively for exercise and walking‚ and there’s an off-leash dog area that’s fenced in so dogs can just run around‚” Norton says. “Lancaster City Park is very active‚ with softball fields‚ tennis courts and a batting cage. It’s usually crowded in the evenings.” Eastside Park features a large indoor swimming pool‚ and 18-hole golf courses are available at Rancho Vista in Palmdale and Lake Elizabeth Golf & Ranch Club. Soccer generates a good amount of tourism in Antelope Valley when the Lancaster National Soccer Center hosts regional and national tournaments between February and June. “We have a large soccer community here‚” Norton says. “Lancaster National Soccer Center has 34 fields on 160 acres.” There’s also quite a bit of baseball fever in the area‚ thanks to the Minor League Lancaster JetHawks. The JetHawks play 70 home games each season at the 4‚600-seat Clear Channel Stadium in Lancaster. “The JetHawks are a great family atmosphere that’s cost effective‚” Norton says. “When my boys were younger‚ we always had season tickets.” The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a huge draw for hiking and picnicking‚ with eight miles of trails and shaded picnic tables that look out over fields of poppies‚ owl’s clover‚ lupine‚ cream cups and other brilliant wildflowers. Dining in Antelope Valley is also a form of entertainment in itself. “There are several great locally-owned restaurants‚ like Tina’s Italian‚ The Thai‚ Bistro Argentine and The Lemon Leaf‚” Norton says. Cardona recommends Katz N Jammers‚ a 50s style café in downtown Lancaster‚ and Perk Place‚ a cozy coffeehouse that serves salads‚ sandwiches and baked goods. “And my husband loves the gyros at Mythos‚ a Greek restaurant‚” she says. Several annual community events also enrich the culture of Antelope Valley‚ from the Antelope Valley Fair & Alfalfa Festival in late August to the California Poppy Festival in April.