"Let the pine be sacred," reads the Summerville archway, which stands in the historic downtown district just past the railroad tracks along South Main Street.
The neighborhood full of shops, restaurants, bars and artistic ventures is home to the annual Flowertown Festival in April, an event that draws tourists from near and far to celebrate spring with the area's plentiful colorful pink azaleas, purple wisteria and white dogwood blossoms. Arts and crafts, along with nature, are the focus, with more than 200 artists' works on display, food trucks and activities for children.
But even during the rest of the year, the downtown area is blooming with a unique charm that is highlighted by historic architectural storefront facades. Note the old brick Post Office building, with its original "O.C. Sires & Bro." signage still visible.
And wander through the renovated Hutchinson Square, featuring a fountain, benches, greenery and even a covered amphitheater space for outdoor live music and events.
The Blossom Shop and Coastal Coffee Roasters hover just outside of our designated "neighborhood guide" roundup range, which consists of the main few blocks surrounding the square and Town Hall. This is the second installment in our series, which first featured a comprehensive guide to Avondale in West Ashley.
In Summerville, there is plenty to do within walking distance of the main square, and plenty of additional events throughout the year beyond Flowertown to bring Lowcountry locals and others out to visit.
There's also the Saturday farmer's market behind Town Hall, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April through December and the Italian Feast in September featuring authentic cuisine.
Here are a few mainstays that line the historic streets and offer arts and entertainment, recreation and leisure, food and drinks.
Beauty + Health
This classic barber shop can be spotted just around the corner from the gas station on the main strip by its classic red and blue rotating barber pole. Head inside for a haircut.
Need a massage? Try a Himalayan salt stone massage at The Winchester. You can also get a manicure, pedicure, facial or spray tan here, among other treatments.
For community recreation, the Y is conveniently located a block from Hutchinson Square. Programs include aquatics, gymnastics and summer camps.
This dance studio offers children's classes in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and other dance varieties.
Looking for a new look? Try a cut, color, Brazilian blowout or beard trim at Pazza Bella.
The menu at MOD includes hair, nails, waxing and a side of makeup. Get your polish on or your shine on with a manicure or keratin treatment.
Chop chop! Head over to Shear Excellence for a cut, color or other hair services.
This full-service hair salon is another option for a day of pampering, featuring hair styling and snipping, waxing services and smoothing treatments.
There are a lot of hair salons within the few blocks that historic downtown Summerville is contained within. Salon 120 & Day Spa is another one.
Adding to the number of hair salons within a 1-mile radius is Hair Jazz, a salon off Central Avenue. Be sure to make an appointment here before dropping by.
History + Art
South Carolina's oldest pharmacy is in historic downtown Summerville. Guerin's Pharmacy has been around since 1871 and still fills prescriptions, along with hosting a soda fountain that features floats, milkshakes, lemonade and their acclaimed "$1.75 hot dogs."
With the slogan "We don't frame, we create," this art gallery and custom framing studio offers hand-painted oils, local artwork and framing services.
A fixture in Summerville for more than 20 years, the Art Central Gallery features fine art by locals. There is a selection of paintings, photography, designer jewelry, pottery and prints.
The Flowertown Players bring community theater to Summerville. The 43rd main stage season includes upcoming renditions of "Seussical the Musical (Jr.)," in April and "Hands on a Hardy Body" in May and June.
Music lessons, anyone? The family-owned-and-operated music academy offers instruction for all ages, levels and styles, from guitar and piano to flute and violin.
Nothing goes together better than some painting and a nice glass of wine. Combine the two while learning a little something along the way. Embrace your inner Bob Ross.
The Summerville-Dorchester Museum offers tours and educational events with the intent of preserving and appreciating the unique history of this town.
The public sculpture collection showcases works from a variety of artists at different locations throughout town.
This new indie bookstore not only sells novels but also hosts events, like March's Third Thursday, when local authors will be signing books and a local guitarist will play.
Deemed a "gourmet grocery store," Lowcountry Olive Oil features its namesake, along with balsamic vinegars, spices and specialty foods.
Summerville's only local video game store is Starlite Gaming, which is located inside Homegrown Brewhouse.
This gift shop includes clothes, candles, accessories and trinkets.
"Arts, gifts and gourmet" are for sale at Four Green Fields, which includes holiday gift baskets filled with local treats.
Tying the knot? Get your engagement ring at this family-owned local jeweler.
Hand-crafted jewelry, apparel and gifts are for sale at East Winds. Special signature scents for perfumes, candles and hand creams are coconut milk mango, grapefruit oleander and sugared blossom.
This antique-chic shop has some unique vintage finds, from home decor to handmade soap to old signs.
This baby boutique has "fun styles inspired by tradition" for infants and toddlers.
You can purchase bath and body products, apparel, gifts and home decor at Simple to Sublime. Among selections are locally made Brackish Bow Ties, inspirational pallet signs and artistic journals.
Trendy women's apparel is for sale at FLY, which is attached to the MOD Beaute Studio.
Discover Southern styles in elegant yet simple women's clothing at this boutique.
This fabric store has sewing machines, clothing and books in the window and colorful orange and green chairs out front.
Get your bags, clothes, towels or gifts embroidered here.
With a location on Old Trolley Road and also on West Richardson Avenue, Antiques & Artisans carries antiques, vintage, retro, repurposed and salvaged decor and crafts by artisans.
If you're searching for a unique antique piece for your home this might be a good shop to peruse.
All aboard to this store full of model trains. Steam and diesel engines, along with a library of books and videos, are inside.
This e-cig and vapor lounge also sells Coastal CBD products.
This shoe apparel chain will fill your sole while on a Summerville trek.
This locally owned and operated lunch spot includes an "eclectic" assortment of sandwiches, paninis, wraps and quesadillas. Plus seasonal ingredients and alternating soups and salads.
Montreux's brunch menu features pork and pancakes, classic eggs Benedict and French toast. But there's also a general menu with a wide variety of burgers, wings, nachos, tacos, sandwiches and specialties.
Biscuits and breakfast sandwiches are available at Eva's, along with a lunch menu that highlights spring salads, savory sandwiches and Southern comfort. There's also "tea & such" at this spot that's been open for more than 75 years.
Come for the oysters, stay for the crab cake sliders. Oyster options include on the half shell, steamed and char-grilled. There are also lobster rolls, fish 'n' chips, seafood tacos and surf 'n' turf. For the non-seafood lovers, there's also wings, chicken tenders, corn dogs and macaroni.
Start with the soup of the day and then dive into a country fried steak, veggie linguine or shrimp 'po boy. There are daily specials in addition to weeknight offers, like Wednesday's $5 burger night from 4-6 p.m. Head there on the weekend for Sunday's Food Truck Rodeo from noon to 4 p.m.
For an authentic traditional and southern Italian dining experience, try this family eatery. There's a lunch special that includes pasta, pizza or a calzone with a salad and a drink for just $10. Bon appetit!
Looking for a quick stop to satisfy your cravings? Order online and then pick up curries and noodles at Pad Thai 1.
The bacon chili cheeseburger comes highly recommended here.
Looking for a casual lunch while you shop? Try this sandwich emporium that also includes burgers, wraps, soups and salads.
This hibachi grill and sushi restaurant is another meal option if you're feeling some Asian cuisine.
Coffee + Sweets
For coffee, espresso and bubble tea, this corner cafe just past the railroad tracks is an ideal stop. There's also space inside to sit and mingle while enjoying your beverage.
Cupcakes, cakes, pies, cheesecakes, cookies and other baked delicacies are available at this neighborhood bakery.
Candies and ice cream galore abound in this sweets store. We're talking crab leg-flavored popcorn, an ice cream counter and a wall of colorful concoctions.
This former lunch locale and cafe is no longer open daily but serves as a venue for private parties, special events, catering and other community programs.
Drinks + Nightlife
Drink locally at this industrial taproom with samples, pints and growlers available from South Carolina breweries.
The black-and-white-striped awning is the exterior landmark. Inside, you can enjoy small plates like beer cheese fondue, mixed olives, spiced beef empanadas and marinated mushrooms, along with wines by the glass and beer flights.
Both a bar and a shop, Accent on Wine has savory and sweet bites in addition to drinks. The bar features over 50 craft and microbrew beers and a selection of fine wines. Snack on an array of charcuterie — cheeses, meats, fig jam and house-made mustard — while you drink.
A covered deck and live music are two draws at this classic pub, which features a full bar and food, along with weekly karaoke and live music.