Experience Old Town ... Like a Local
Whether you're planning your trip around one of our many festivals, a sporting event, or just picking a destination for a weekend getaway, a visit to Old Town Rock Hill won't disappoint.
By Amanda Heckroth
April 1, 2022
Picking a destination for a quick daytrip or overnight stay can be overwhelming.
You might wonder: Will there be enough things for me to do? What makes this place unique? What’s the food and drink scene like?
Old Town Rock Hill will check everything off your list and more! Whether you’re planning your trip around one of our many festivals, a sporting event, or just picking a destination for a weekend getaway, you won’t be disappointed.
Where to Eat & Drink?
If you’re like us and need to start your day with COFFEE, these local coffee shops alone will have you planning your next trip to Rock Hill.
Knowledge Perk: This veteran-owned “full coffee immersion” was the original hometown coffee roasting company in Rock Hill and is a local favorite. You may even see their coffee bus, named Khaldi, around town serving up their fresh coffee at various community events. Be sure to grab one of their famous cinnamon rolls while you’re there … they sell out quickly, so you know they must be good.
Amelie’s French Bakery & Café: French pastries and coffee… need we say more?
Two Scoops Rock Hill: the newest of the bunch doubles as an ice-cream and coffee shop. Stop here for your morning caffeine and come back later to take care of that sweet tooth.
With a variety of offerings, there is something to satisfy whatever your taste buds are craving.
In just a couple blocks, you can treat yourself to:
Mexican-fusion paired with tequila at Ay Papi Tacos & Tequila
Interactive inspired cuisine with history integrated into the experience at Kounter
Traditional restaurant featuring your favorite bar food at Tattooed Brews
Upscale southern hospitality dining experience at The Flipside Restaurant
Hand-crafted, wood-fired pizza at Millstone Pizza & Taphouse
Southern Cuisine mixed with a little New York flair at Sweet Tea Café
Nostalgia of arcade games from the 80s with familiar bar food and drafts on tap at Player 1 UP
Also, adjacent to the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center, Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails serves up unique crafted-beverages and eats. Other must-visit restaurants include The Roasting Company Rock Hill, with regular live music, and The Common Market, a restaurant, deli, bar, wine shop, music venue and convenience store.
Breweries (and even a Distillery!)
Local breweries each offer their own flare to make you want to visit them all.
DUST OFF Brewing Co. focuses on making the brewery the center of the neighborhood life, striving to be your “Third Place,” a cornerstone of gatherings and friendships. They offer well-balanced go-to beers available year-round in addition to limited-production and seasonal beers.
Legal Remedy Brewing embodies community and fun for all. This kid-friendly, restaurant/brewery has something for everyone, featuring taps from light seasonal ales to rich and flavorful stouts. Don’t pass up the food—it’s as crafty as their beer.
Rock Hill Brewing Company serves the only tank-to-tap beer in town and rotates their selections regularly to provide new and exciting tastes for every visit.
Slow Play Brewing … life moves fast, play slow. At Slow Play, you are almost always guaranteed an experience that features live music and Cibi-Cibi, a food truck with modern American cuisine where you can pick your level of hot.
Want a bigger beer selection than the grocery store? Stop by Main Street Bottle Shop to make your own 4 or 6-pack with a variety of beers from across the region. They also have cold brews and drafts ready if you want to stay a little while longer.
Rounding this out is Sleeping Giant Distillery, which opened in January 2022 and is the first legal distillery in York County since prohibition. Nothing can go wrong with a little bit of rum.
What to See and Do?
If you love the arts, Old Town is the place for you! Rock Hill was named the first Cultural District in the state of South Carolina in 2015 and continues with that distinction.
With the Mural Mile Initiative, you can stroll the streets of Old Town finding a new mural every couple of blocks, each with its own uniqueness. Don’t forget to look down, as Old Town features two street and several sidewalk murals.
Be sure to stop by the Arts Council of York County and the Dalton Gallery, featuring 7-9 exhibitions each year by local, regional, national, and international artists. Just up the road from Arts Council is the Gettys Art Center, home to the Rock Hill Pottery Center, artist studios and a former courtroom that is currently used for concerts and private functions.
Stop by Fountain Park and listen to the water crash or the birds chirping. Be sure to check out our calendar, as this space transforms into the community hub for special events, like Yoga in the Park, Food Truck Friday and more!
Traveling with little ones? Book a reservation for the Main Street Children’s Museum. This interactive museum allows families to enjoy memory-making experiences as children can engage in developmental and creative play. The museum was inspired by the artwork of Vernon Grant, an American illustrator who lived and worked in Rock Hill, most famous for the creation of Snap™, Crackle™ and Pop™, the cartoon mascots of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies®.
Up for a challenge? Ten frogs have taken up permanent residence in Old Town and have been strategically placed according to clues in their bios here on the website. While out and about, see if you can find all 10 frogs.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely want to check out these places!
Freedom Walkway: home to a colorful mural and bricked path, Freedom Walkway celebrates the efforts of the people of Rock Hill to achieve the promise of Liberty and Justice for All.
African American Business District Monument: located where the historic African-American Business District was formerly located, and pays tribute to the Business District that served the African-American community.
Jail, No Bail Exhibit: through letters, images and newspaper articles, this exhibit tells the story of a group of individuals, later dubbed the Friendship Nine, who together altered the course of civil rights during the 1960s civil rights movement.
Festivals & Events
We love to party in Old Town, and everyone is welcomed!
Almost year-round you can visit Old Town for a special event. Some of our favorites are:
Old Town Saint Patrick’s Day Festival: Celebrate Irish culture with special foods, beer, dancing, live music, and a whole lot of green.
Old Town Farmers Market: Stock up on fresh veggies, fruits, spices and more, at this weekly market!
Every Saturday, 8 AM – Noon, May – September, with special market days, October – December.
Red, White & BOOM!: an Independence Day celebration perfect for the whole family! Held annually on July 3.
Food Truck Friday: Enjoy good eats from food trucks in the area.
Third Friday of the month, May – September.
Oktoberfest: This family-friendly event brings a touch of Bavaria to the streets of Old Town. There’s even a wiener dog race!
ChristmasVille: For the month of December, Old Town transforms into a whimsical Christmas town, like it belongs in a Hallmark movie, and features various Christmas themed events, such as a parade, Story with Santa, contests, vendor markets, carriage rides and more!
Where to Shop?
You can truly “shop ‘til you drop” in Old Town. For women’s fashion, Chic Boutique, The Gypsy Debutante and Le Sorelle Boutique are our go-tos. Looking for formal wear for a fancy date night out or an upcoming dance or special event, check out Song’s.
It’s not always just about the ladies, so we have something for the men too ... McFadden’s Men Shop stays up to date on the latest trends in men’s fashion and features an in-house barber if you need a fresh shave or cut while in town.
Gifts & Souvenirs
Need something to commemorate your trip to Old Town? You must check out The Mercantile HQ (which features a cafe, community table and flower/plant bar) and Overhead Station. We do need to warn you—you can end up spending hours in these two stores. But it’s totally worth it. On the opposite end of White Street, you will find The Mercantile Home (yes, it is related to the HQ store). Here, you’ll end up wanting to give your home a complete makeover, as it’s designed by their owner who also happens to be an interior designer.
Give an old book new life by shopping at Friends Books on Main. You can even enjoy your new read under the sun at Fountain Park. Art on Main and Rock Hill Pottery Studio & Gallery are two of the best places to purchase handmade items by local artists. Our friends at The Hickory Post provide studio space for artists to collaborate and sell their items, along with a curated selection of transitional art and furniture. Who doesn’t love supporting local artists?
Would any visit to “Rock” Hill be complete if you didn’t purchase a “rock” from Hill Rocks? This specialized store scours the globe for the best specimens of rock minerals and gems.
Where to Stay?
If you’re looking to make a weekend out of your trip, Old Town has two very different places to choose from for accommodations, both within walking distance to Main Street. For a welcoming, tranquil type of vibe, the East Main Guest House has everything to make your stay memorable. This bed & breakfast boasts three private bedrooms equipped with private baths, a social room, an English garden, and a full gourmet breakfast, offered daily. For a more traditional stay, you can’t go wrong with the Cambria Hotel Rock Hill. Adjacent to the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center, this stylish hotel offers an on-site restaurant, rooftop bar, health and wellness center and an indoor pool.
WOW! Just writing about all Old Town has to offer makes us want to visit ASAP. Oh wait, we already live here and get to experience it every day. Well, guess what? Now it’s your turn! We can’t wait to see you roaming our streets, supporting our community members, and EXPERIENCING OLD TOWN LIKE A LOCAL.