Have you ever dismissed a city because you thought it really had nothing to offer? I am guilty as charged for dismissing Downtown York, over the years. I live just over the Maryland Line and a short 30 minute commute to Downtown York. I have visited York hundreds of times, but never downtown. I won’t be making that mistake ever again, after a much too short day trip last weekend.
Admittedly I am a city girl, even though I live in the country. I love the feel of city life, the walk-ability the great shops, and of course amazing dining, Downtown York offers all of that. Just 26 square blocks this friendly city in Central PA offers plenty to do. The one thing that stood out the most was a vibrant art scene, all over town were sculptures and wall murals. I love how small pieces of art add personality to a city.
Downtown York, PA: 6 Places Not To Miss
I am pretty sure we only scratched the surface during our visit, but I want to point out six places that really stuck with me, and I will be back to visit again.
1. Sunrise Soap Company
Be sure to allow plenty of time at Sunrise Soap Company! From homemade soaps and lotions to make your own events this is a great family friendly destination. Located on N Beaver St (the epicenter of Downtown York) this fun shop has it all. Every product they create is made in-store at this location. We made our own bath fizzies and glycerin soap during our visit, the staff was super friendly and laid back. While they have expanded and have multiple locations now, the original shop is the one to see.
2. Central Market
Built in 1888, Central Market is very much the hub of Downtown York. Housing over 60 vendors selling everything from fresh produce, to meats, flowers and artisan rum you won’t leave here disappointed. Market Day means a day for socializing and supporting local. It’s a day to be a part of what’s going on downtown. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday take the time to experience a Market Day.
3. Beaver Street Shops
From an upscale consignment store, to chic clothing and home goods boutiques be sure not to miss this shopping area on Downtown York. If you are looking for something nobody else carries, this is where you want to be. And shopping local is the best way to support this vibrant city!
While not on Beaver Street, be sure to visit Redeux Vintage Marketplace on Duke Street! This is a real deal vintage shop, as I walked through I saw my childhood on the shelves.
Budget Travel Tip: Grab a snack from York City Pretzel Company on Market Street. This simple 6 ingredient, hand rolled pretzel may just be the BEST pretzel I have ever tasted.
4. The Handsome Cab
Holy unexpected find! This may be one of my new favorite girls night out places. The Handsome Cab is a laid back wine bar, with an upscale feel. Here you can choose from over 20 wines on tap, or explore the vast bottle options. And the food, well that’s a whole other story. We sampled a variety of options at the Chef and owners recommendations and didn’t turn away a single plate. My favorite dish is the Caprese Avocado topped with lump crab, you can thank me later. After your meal be sure to explore the 3 floors of art in the gallery above.
5. Colonial Complex Tour
Who the heck ever knew there was colonial settlements in Downtown York? Not me I can assure you of that. Here you can learn about York’s History and how it played a huge role during the American Revolution. While this tour only lasted an hour, I could have easily listened to more facts about York playing such an important role in United States History.
On July 28, they will be hosting “Colonial York Day” and admission is free to everyone. Events will include Fife & Drum Performance, 18th Century Tavern Drinks, Colonial Crafts by Stone House History, and Frontier Living History, Gunsmith, Blacksmith and much more.
Budget Travel Tip: Located next to Redeux Vintage is The Cantina, and you may just miss it if you didn’t know it was there. This backyard has been transformed into a kitschy outdoor bar offering cheap margaritas and beer.
6. The Left Bank
If Downtown York has a signature dining establishment, The Left Bank is it. Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion or enjoy a night out with friends you will not be disappointed. Chef Sean Arnold and his wife Mandy took ownership of The Left Bank in 2017, carrying on the 25-year legacy of York’s most reputable restaurant. Offering the freshest ingredients, based upon the season, you can enjoy everything from flash fried calamari, to a chopped salad with snaps peas or a crab cake entrée’ over a carrot risotto. This dining experience is exceptional, and with a brand new dining room renovation having just completed, The Left Bank will be around for many more years in Downtown York.
If you are in the area of Downtown York, PA be sure to stop and experience this amazing city. I am certain I barely scratched the surface of things to see, do and of course eat.
Disclosure: I was hosted by Downtown York, Inc all opinions are my own, however, some consideration was given for experiences and meals.