Things to do in Downtown Smithfield NC

Posted on December 13, 2022 in LIVING IN NC

What are some of the great things to do in Downtown Smithfield NC? It’s a popular place all year ‘round because this Raleigh suburb just has something for everyone. The thriving downtown adds to the quality of living in Smithfield—one of the many reasons New Home Inc. builds homes here.

An award-winning Main Street

Smithfield earned top-tier recognition as a nationally accredited Main Street Community. This designation represents the efforts of the town’s leadership and citizens to revitalize the downtown district. The national historic district includes 24 buildings that date as far back as 1890. The past has been brought into the present through careful preservation efforts.

In recent years, Downtown Smithfield also earned North Carolina Main Street Awards in a variety of categories, including Best Historic Rehabilitation Project, Best Downtown Special Event (two years in a row for the Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival), and Best Outdoor Space Improvement Project…to name just a few!

From year to year, the community’s pride is evident as Downtown Smithfield continues to preserve its history while revitalizing the area.

Designed for walkability

Downtown districts historically were designed for walkability, dating back to the days when transportation was more likely to be on foot or horse-drawn carriage. Today, people enjoy walking through a district where they can explore a variety of shops and services at a leisurely pace.. 

Historic Downtown Smithfield perfectly fits the walkability ideal. Salem Street provides the main path that guides visitors through a cluster of historical buildings that house locally owned shops and restaurants, some that span generations of local families. You can park your car and spend hours walking from place to place. Visit your favorite cafe, check the latest additions to the boutiques, and chat with your friends and neighbors who are doing the same in Downtown Smithfield.

Shopping in Downtown Smithfield, NC

Shopping in Downtown Smithfieldis a fun experience for anyone, whether you have something specific in mind or just feel like window shopping. Locals love the style choices of shops, like The Dragonfly Boutique, Urban Misfits, Boutique 12/20, and Classy C’s. 

The Twisted Willow is the place to go when you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary for your home. Be prepared to spend time browsing the many upcycled items, antiques, furniture, and decor.

Looking for a taste of the local talent? The Oak City Collection is a gift shop that features accents, accessories, specialty foods, and t-shirts from nearby artisans. “Killer Toffee”, nuts, teas, jellies, jams, and even locally roasted coffee can be found here.

Stop in at Evans Jewelers for custom designs, repair, or something completely different. Named one of “America’s Coolest” jewelry stores, this second generation family business also has a walk-in humidor, selection of fine wines, designer accessories, and fine china.   

What’s on the menu in Downtown Smithfield?

What are your tastebuds craving? Whatever it is, one of the best things to do in Downtown Smithfield is to satisfy your appetite at one of the restaurants or pubs in Downtown Smithfield. Like the shops, these eateries are locally owned and one-of-a-kind. 

Start your day with an eye-opening breakfast sandwich from Gotham’s Deli and come back for lunch. The mile-high sandwich menu is inspired by New York delis, including the Grand Central and The Big Apple.

The Diner is another popular place in Downtown Smithfield for breakfast and lunch. The burgers, sandwiches, and breakfasts take you back to the look and flavor of good home-cooking.

If exceptional coffee is required, head for the Gilded Pear Brew House. The baristas are known for their craft, and the food menu includes sandwiches with a twist, crepes, flatbreads, and something called a “bubble waffle”.

Lunch and dinner in Smithfield is a tough choice, because there are so many great restaurants! Cricket’s Grill, The Diner, El Patron, Gotham’s Deli, Sami’s Pizza and Pasta, SoDoSoPa Spirited Cuisine, The Chicken Barn, and Zack’s Char-Grill are known for serving savory specialties. Simple Twist uses locally sourced ingredients for its unique menu items, including Fried Green Tomatoes, Pimento Fritters, and Rasta Pasta.

For a brew that isn’t coffee, the Saddle Up Saloon and Little Brown Jug are local watering holes in Downtown Smithfield. 

Downtown Smithfield’s special events are really special

You probably expect a downtown district with such high praise to have more than shopping and dining. In Downtown Smithfield, your expectations will be exceeded!

Throughout the year, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation works with community members to present special events. Every month, the DSDC sponsors free carriage rides around the downtown area, a fun way to see the area or get to any of the things to do in Downtown Smithfield. And what a great way to arrive for dinner!

Once a month, from April through September, one block of the downtown area is closed for the Third StrEATery. The area becomes one big dining room where people bring meals from the local restaurants and sit outside, enjoying the live music, fresh air, and getting together with friends.

Downtown Smithfield also hosts a slate of annual events that always draw a crowd, starting with the Smithfield Shamrock Shuttle on St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate your Irish and use the shuttle to travel safely between stops.

Halloween brings another reason to explore Downtown Smithfield. The annual Ghost Walk brings you closer to some of the most famous and infamous “passed” residents, including Ava Gardner, CIvil War leader William A. Smith, and John O’Neal, a colonist who led an unsuccessful resurrection.

The DSDC also hosts the Downtown Smithfield Wine Walk in November. Pick up your commemorative wine glass and toast the unofficial start of the holiday season. Participating businesses will be filling your glass during an evening that always brings people together.

Not long after the Wine Walk, be sure to head back downtown for more holiday spirit. The Smithfield Christmas Tree Lighting celebration rings in the season with live music, dance performances, games, activities, and, of course, a visit from Santa himself. And in December, you can once again enjoy free Christmas Carriage Rides. Climb in and  take in the sparkling splendor of Downtown Smithfield’s holiday decorations.

Fun and games in Smithfield

In addition to shopping, dining, and special events in Downtown Smithfield, you can find more ways to have fun.

One of Smithfield’s biggest attractions is the Ava Gardner Museum. The life and work of the legendary movie star, who came from Smithfield, is beautifully displayed. From movie posters and photos to costumes, films, and changing exhibits, the 5,000-square-foot museum is worth a trip.

 The Howell Theatre has been presenting entertainment to visitors since 1935, making it North Carolina’s longest continuously operating movie theatre. This beautifully preserved theatre is such an architectural wonder that it almost doesn’t matter which current movie you’re going to see there. 

For a live performance, the Neuse Little Theatre presents five productions every year, and each one attracts a crowd of appreciative theatergoers. 

The Amaze Room Escapes gives you and your group a way to work together to plan and execute an escape in a carefully planned, live action puzzle. If you prefer your games more virtual, head over to Big Boy Gaming.

Feel like getting some exercise? Walk, run, or bike along the Neuse Riverwalk and Buffalo Creek Greenway. Start in Downtown Smithfield and head out to view the beautiful scenery and historic sites in the area. Or take one of the Downtown Smithfield Walking Toursor follow the two Civil War Trails in Smithfield.

We have new homes for sale in Smithfield

There are so many things to do in Downtown Smithfield that you’ll keep coming back. Why not make your home here?

New Home Inc. is building new homes for sale in Smithfield, And not just single-family homes but townhomes as well. Whatever your lifestyle, we can bring you home to Smithfield. 

Riverwalk is a small cluster of homes across from the Neuse River in Downtown Smithfield. You can enjoy all the things to do in Downtown Smithfield and leave your car at home!

When you choose New Home Inc. as your builder, you get more than a well-built home. We planned our home designs with great care. We researched what people want and need in a new home, including smart home automation, flexible spaces, and indoor air quality. Our homes include innovative features that set a new standard, like an enclosed, climate-controlled and “smart” delivery space—what we call a Smart Door Delivery Center. All these innovations reflect New Home Inc’s Future-Proof approach to building new homes for sale in Smithfield, Raleigh, and the surrounding area. If living in Smithfield appeals to you, take a look at our communities, floor plans, and available homes. Contact New Home Inc. to get moving to a new home and a new life.

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