Situated in northern Los Angeles County on the edge of the starkly beautiful Mojave Desert Lancaster was in its earliest days little more than a railroad stop-off point where passengers could grab a drink of water. Today it is a base for several defence and aerospace contractors making it a plane-spotters delightand also where you’ll find an immensely popular go-karting Grand Prix and street festival. Crowds flock here every spring to see the fields of vibrant poppies in bloom and fittingly for a city once home to Frank Zappa a weird yet popular diversion is taking a drive along a musical road.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Lancaster
Antelope Valley - Named for the pronghorns that once made the area their home Antelope Valley comes alive in vibrant colour every spring as fields of poppies and wildflowers bloom. The area is dotted with Joshua Trees and filmmakers including James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino have used it as an enigmatic backdrop.
Mojave Desert - Lancaster sits on the far-western edge of the arid Mojave Desert the driest desert in North America yet one that supports over 1000 breeds of plants and trees. Spring and autumn when the weather is least extreme are considered the best times to explore this vast landscape.
The BLVD - Lancaster Boulevard has undergone an architectural redesign aiming to restore the “downtown” atmosphere and not coincidentally making it the hottest part of town for dining retail and entertainment. There’s a peppy sophisticated vibe here with wide open spaces for community get-togethers.
Things to See in Lancaster
When night falls head out of town into the Mojave Desert and look up to the skies to see countless stars above. On a clear evening the views will take your breath away. At ground-level stay in Lancaster between mid-February and mid-May to see the fields of poppies in full bloom along with many other strains of wildflowers. There are several miles of walkways taking you around. The whole point of a reconnaissance aircraft is that you’re not supposed to see it but at the Blackbird Airpark ten miles out of Lancaster you can see a number of iconic Blackbird spy planes on display.
Things to Do in Lancaster
In the mood for a musical interlude? Take a ride along Lancaster’s Avenue G between 30th Street West and 40th Street West. Coasting along what’s known as the Civic Musical Road at 55mph (it helps if your car has cruise control) the grooves in the asphalt play a recognisable rendition of William Tell’s Overture otherwise known as the theme tune to The Lone Ranger. Lancaster is a noted base for aviation and space research and wandering the Aerospace Walk of Honor you’ll see granite monuments to pioneers such as Neil Armstrong. At the Antelope Valley Indian Museum you’ll learn about pioneers of a different kind browsing hundreds of artefacts from the Native American settlements found in these parts.