Rock Hill is essentially a commuter town and not on many tourists' radar, but does offer numerous outdoor activities and dining options.
Rock Hill is a city of around 75,000 along the Catawba River in the north-central section of the Piedmont of South Carolina about 150 miles (240 km) from the Atlantic Ocean and 75 miles (121 km) from the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the region for thousands of years, including the historic Catawba Indian Nation, whose members live near Rock Hill and form the only tribe in South Carolina that is federally recognized. Rock Hill became a town in the mid-1800s with the arrival of a rail line through the area. According to some accounts, the engineers marked the spot on the map and named it "Rocky Hill". The first passenger train arrived in 1852, and the first Rock Hill Post Office opened a few weeks later. Now that the town had a name, a railroad station, and a post office, it began to draw more settlers to the area. The rail line is still in use for freight transport, but passenger service is not available.
At the beginning of the American Civil War, about half of Rock Hill's inhabitants were slaves, integral to local cotton production. Due to its position on the railroad, Rock Hill became a transfer point for Confederate soldiers and supplies moving to and from the front. When General Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House, it was a future Rock Hill resident who was responsible for waving the white flag: Captain Robert Moorman Sims, sent to inform Union troops that the Confederate troops wanted a truce.
The Civil War changed Rock Hill tremendously, like elsewhere in the South. Rock Hill grew as a town, taking in war refugees, widows and their families, and the return of the men who had left to fight the war. Town life began to become more important than rural life. When the town was incorporated in 1870, most of the merchants in Rock Hill were former Confederate soldiers; many were entrepreneurs who were new to town, trying to start over.
In 1961, Rock Hill was the setting for two significant events in the civil rights movement. In February 1961, the "Friendship Nine", a group of nine African-American men, went to jail at the York County prison farm after staging a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in downtown Rock Hill. To save money for the movement, they refused to pay bail, inspiring other civil rights groups to do the same. Later, Rock Hill was the first stop in the Deep South for a group of 13 Freedom Riders, who boarded buses in Washington, DC, and headed South to test the court ruling outlawing racial segregation in all interstate public facilities. When the civil rights leader John Lewis and another black man stepped off the bus at Rock Hill, they were beaten by a white mob that was uncontrolled by police, drawing national attention.
Rock Hill has experienced steady growth in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with the city boundary expanding far beyond its original limits.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Rock Hill has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by humid summers and cool dry winters. Precipitation does not vary greatly between seasons. July is the hottest month, with an average high temperature of 91 °F (33 °C) and an average low temperature of 71 °F (22 °C). The coldest month of the year is January, when the average high temperature is 51 °F (11 °C) and the average low temperature is 31 °F (−1 °C). The warmest temperature ever recorded in the city was 106 °F (41 °C) in 1983 and tied in 2007. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the city was −4 °F (−20 °C) in 1985. In the summer months, afternoon thunderstorms are typical and are sometimes severe containing strong winds and hail. During the winter months, snowfall is fairly light and rare, only occurring on average one to three times.
- From Charlotte and Columbia: Take I-77 to exit number 79 and follow Dave Lyle Blvd.
- From Greenville and Atlanta: Take I-85 to exit number 109 and follow South Carolina HWY 5.
The 82x bus operated by Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) offers service from Charlotte to Rock Hill. Geared towards commuters, it goes from Rock Hill to Charlotte in the morning and from Charlotte to Rock Hill in the late afternoon. This schedule makes it usable for going to Rock Hill to spend a night or more, but not for a day trip.
Downtown Rock Hill is easily accessible by foot, but the majority of Rock Hill is best accessed by car or bike. Rock Hill is a bicycle-friendly town with numerous bike routes located in the city – maps and other information are available from the city's website.
Rock Hill is a historic city with a rich history of arts and culture. In its downtown, there are a variety of museums and art galleries. There are also thirty-one parks located throughout the city which offer miles of green, shaded trails and athletic fields.
- 1 Downtown Rock Hill, 154 E Main St (I-77, exit 79, take W Dave Lyle Blvd.). Twelve historic contiguous buildings built between 1870 and 1931 with a few shops, museums, restaurants, museums, and a park featuring a large fountain and benches.
- 2 Riverwalk Rock Hill, 1 Herrons Ferry Rd (I-77, exit 79, take W Dave Lyle Blvd). A mixed-use community consisting of specialty shops, restaurants and hiking trails located along the Catawba River.
- 3 York County Museum, 4620 Mt Gallant Rd (I-77, exit 82-C, take Celanese Rd to W Mt Gallant Rd.), ☏ . Natural history museum minutes away from downtown Rock Hill.
- 4 Cherry Park, 1466 Cherry Rd (I-77, exit 82-B, take S Cherry Rd). Vast green spaces with a 1.5-mile trail, picnic areas and numerous athletic fields on 70 acres of land.
- 5 Manchester Meadows, 337 E Mt Gallant Rd (I-77, exit 79 follow John Ross Pkwy.). Soccer complex with large green open space and running trails.
- 6 Ebenezer Park, 4490 Boatshore Rd (I-77, exit 82-C, follow Celanese Rd to W Mount Gallant Rd.). Large lakefront park with boat ramps, picnic areas and a 2-acre beach.
- 7 Glencairn Garden, 725 Crest Street (I-77, exit 79, take Dave Lyle to Charlotte Ave.), ☏ . Famous Rock Hill landmark with numerous fountains, trails and blooming gardens
- 8 Manchester Cinemas, 1935 Cinema Dr (I-77, exit 79, take Dave Lyle to Tinsley Way), ☏ . 14-screen theatre featuring new-release films, plush seating and concessions located in the Manchester Village area.
There are numerous outdoor activities to do in Rock Hill including hiking, biking, kayaking and zip-lining. Aside from outdoor activities, there are also indoor activities including bowling, movies and an indoor trampoline park. The city also hosts the Come See Me Festival, a spring festival which attracts people from across the state.
- 1 Come See Me Festival, 725 Crest Street, toll-free: . Spring every year. Rock Hill's annual spring festival, celebrated for over 50 years, with music, food, and lots of activities and events.
- 2 Pinetuck Public Golf Course, 2578 Tuckaway Rd (I-77, exit 73, travel S Hwy 901), ☏ . Public golf course ten minutes from downtown Rock Hill.
- 3 Revolutions Bowling & Bar, 2300 Dave Lyle Blvd (I-77, exit 79, travel N Galleria Blvd.), ☏ . Entertainment complex with an arcade, bowling alley, laser tag and full-service restaurant and bar.
- 4 Canaan Zip-lining, 3111 Sand Island Road 29732 (I-77, exit 82-C, Celeanese to Mt Gallant to Sand Island Rd.), ☏ . Scenic canopy tours of the Catawba River minutes from downtown Rock Hill.
- 5 Catawba River Expeditions, Quality Circle 29730, ☏ . Locally-owned tour agency providing scenic views of the Catawba River from Wylie dam to River Park in Rock Hill.
- 6 Rock Hill Tennis Center, 897 Maplewood Lane, ☏ . Tennis center with eleven full-size tennis courts along Cherry Road.
- 7 Rock Hill Outdoor Center, Herrons Ferry Road (I-77 exit 82, north on Cherry Road, right in Riverwalk Pkwy.), ☏ . Major outdoor sports complex with hiking and mountain bike trails, soccer fields, open spaces, a world-class velodrome and BMX course, and a planned outdoor rock-climbing course.
Below is a listing of popular shopping areas in Rock Hill. There are also numerous local and chain stores found in Downtown Rock Hill and other locations along popular roads throughout the city.
- 1 Riverwalk Rock Hill, 1 Herrons Ferry Rd.
- 2 Rock Hill Galleria, 2300 Dave Lyle Blvd, ☏ . Small mall with anchors such as Belk, JCPenney and Sears along with small specialty shops.
- 3 Manchester Village, John Ross Pkwy. Shopping area consisting of major anchors such as Target, Dick's, and Best Buy as well as small specialty stores and restaurants.
- 4 Milwood, 305 Herlong Avenue. Shopping area along Herlong Ave on the northwest side of town featuring an LA Fitness, Talbot’s, Jos. A. Bank, and many other smaller shops and restaurants.
- 5 Winthrop Commons, 725 Cherry Road. Shopping center along Cherry Road and across from Winthrop Univeristy with numerous shops, restaurants and an organic grocery store.
Beyond the popular restaurants listed below, dining options include numerous local and national chains along major corridors such as Celanese Road, Dave Lyle Boulevard, Cherry Road and Heckle Boulevard.
- 1 Flipside, 129 Caldwell St (Downtown Rock Hill), ☏ . Relaxed bistro with a cool vibe featuring a Southern-style menu, specialty cocktails and brews on-tap.
- 2 The Pumphouse, 575 Herrons Ferry Rd (Riverwalk Rock Hill), ☏ . Sophisticated, riverfront outpost featuring New American cuisine, craft cocktails and a rooftop bar.
- 3 Five & Dine, 135 E Main Street, ☏ . Colorful café at the location of the famous “Friendship Nine” sit-in offering southern dishes, sandwiches and known for its Chicken-n-Waffles.
- 4 Michael's, 1039 Charlotte Ave, ☏ . Island-themed eatery with Mediterranean and American dishes
- 5 White Horse, 1022 Camden Ave, ☏ . Casual tavern for American grill fare & casseroles with seats inside & out.
- 6 Nishie G's, Dilwoth Ln, ☏ . Classic burger joint featuring American and Greek plates.
- 7 Grumpy Brothers, 295 Herlong Ave (Milwood), ☏ . Unpretentious counter serve restaurant/bakery supplying burgers, sandwiches & bottled beers, plus a patio.
- 8 Dixie Pig BBQ, 2007 Celanese Rd, ☏ . Intimate locale serving familiar barbecue grub such as pulled pork & ribs in low-key surrounds.
- 9 Sonny's Dutch Mill, 550 N Anderson Rd, ☏ . Casual diner serving home-cut fries and juicy burgers that are proclaimed as being, “best burgers in town.”
- 10 The Little Café, 725 Cherry Road #180 (Inside Winthrop Commons), ☏ . Small quaint cafe featuring home-cooked meals, breakfast and known for its down-to-Earth southern hospitality.
- 11 The Yolk, 1912 Mount Gallant Rd, ☏ . Sleek, easygoing diner dishing up omelets, pancakes and other breakfast favorites.
- 12 The Patty Wagon, 135 S Herlong Avenue, ☏ . Upcoming diner featuring quick breakfast bites.
- 13 Famous Toastery, 2215 India Hook Rd, ☏ . Iconic breakfast spot known for French toast and friendly atmosphere.
- 14 Eggs Up Grill, 2732 Celanese Road, ☏ . South Carolina chain offering breakfast, burgers and sandwiches in a colorful beach-setting.
- 15 Empire Pizza & Bar, 4810 Old York Rd, ☏ . Sporty pizza parlor offering hand-tossed New York-style pies in an upbeat setting.
- 16 Luigi & Son's, 2387 Cherry Road, ☏ . Sit-down Italian restaurant offering traditional family dishes.
- 17 Ouzo's, 4124 Celanese Rd, ☏ . Local Italian restaurant offering classic Italian & Greek dishes.
Chinese & JapaneseEdit
- 18 Delicacy Chinese Bistro, 1435 Riverchase Blvd, ☏ . Cozy standby with subtle lighting and traditional Chinese dishes.
- 19 Fuji Japan, 2455 Cherry Road, ☏ . Upcoming Japanese restaurant featuring hibachi and sushi.
- 20 Sakura Japanese Steakhouse, 850 Patriot Pkwy, ☏ . Flashy chefs that grill foods tableside with sushi & other Japanese fares.
- 21 Thi's Place, 210 E Main Street (Downtown Rock Hill), ☏ . Locally-owned Thai restaurant with quick bites and healthy options.
- 22 Sila Thai, 979 N Anderson Rd, ☏ . Fast-service Thai restaurant offering healthy options in a cozy setting.
There are quite a few options for coffee, bars and breweries in Rock Hill. Most of the coffee shops are located in the downtown area of Rock Hill while bars and breweries are located throughout the city. There are also chain coffee retailers and bars located along major corridors including Celeaneae Road, Dave Lyle Boulevard, Cherry Road and Heckle Boulevard.
- 1 Amélie's Bakery & Café, 157 E Main Street (Downtown Rock Hill), ☏ . French cafe offering counter-serve coffee and freshly baked goods.
- 2 Grapevine Café, 829 Terrace Park (Rock Hill Riverwalk), ☏ . Cozy café featuring small plates, coffee as well as beer and wine.
- 3 Nova's Bakery & Coffee Shop, 1108 Cherry Road, ☏ . Hip coffee shop featuring a variety of coffee and baked goods.
- 4 Knowledge Perk Coffee, 130 W White Street (Downtown Rock Hill), ☏ . Cozy, casual, fast-service coffee shop with locally brewed coffee and espresso.
Bars & pubsEdit
- 5 Burgers & Barley, 111 Cherry Rd, ☏ . Trendy brewpub with tasty burgers and Buffalo-style wings.
- 6 McHales Irish Pub, 122 E Main St (Downtown Rock Hill), ☏ . Traditional Irish pub for both Irish and traditional American plates and brews.
- 7 Millstone Pizza & Taphouse, 121 Caldwell Street (Downtown Rock Hill), ☏ . Low-key venue featuring more than 40 craft beers, plus thin-crust Neapolitan style pizza.
- 8 Time Out Sports Bar, 131 S Herlong Avenue, ☏ . Low-key bar featuring burgers, chicken tenders and great for groups.
- 9 The Chicken Shak, 1415 E Main Street, ☏ . American restaurant featuring "best chicken in town" along with happy hour specials.
- 10 Brass Tap, 819 Terrace Park, ☏ . Festive pub with a patio offering myriad beer options and wine with live music.
Below is a listing of popular accommodations in the city. However, there are also many more budget motels located in the Riverwalk/Cherry Road area of Rock Hill.
- 1 Hilton Garden Inn, 650 Tinsley Way (I-77, exit 79, take Tinsley Way), ☏ . Modern hotel with an outdoor pool, hot tub, and business center. $199.
- 2 Hampton Inn, 2111 Tabor Drive (I-77, exit 79, take Galleria Blvd to Tabor Drive.), ☏ . Contemporary lodging with free hot breakfast and wi-fi with an outdoor pool and fitness center. $199.
- 3 Comfort Suites, 1323 Old Springdale Rd (I-77, exit 79, follow W Dave Lyle Blvd to Springdale Rd), ☏ . Traditional all-suite hotel with an indoor pool and gym. $119.
- 4 Holiday Inn, 503 Galleria Blvd (I-77, exit 79, follow Galleria Blvd.), ☏ . Contemporary hotel featuring a casual restaurant, fitness center and indoor pool. $119.
- 5 Hilton Home2 Suites, 1285 Old Springdale Rd (I-77, exit 79, follow Dave Lyle to Springdale Rd, follow traffic circle to Old Springdale Rd.), ☏ . Bright studio & suites with kitchenettes, a gym, indoor pool and outdoor grills. $119.
The City of Rock Hill government offers free public wi-fi at various locations around the city. The network will appear under the name, "Rock Hill Rocks" and anyone with a smartphone or computer can access this network at no charge. There is no password needed, just accept the terms and conditions.
There is also free Wi-Fi available at many local restaurants and coffee shops.
- Charlotte – head over the border to North Carolina's largest city, a dynamic, rapidly growing regional powerhouse.
- Columbia – major city and capital of South Carolina is a straight-shot south along I-77.
- Fort Mill – another Charlotte suburb in South Carolina, just north along I-77.
|Routes through Rock Hill|
|Charlotte ← Fort Mill ←||N S||→ Columbia → Ends at|