Stroll the streets of downtown Mansfield to experience it all in the beating heart of Richland County. Be inspired by expressive works of art, savor expertly crafted dishes and drinks, and get to know the vibrant personality of the city. You’ll find all of that, and so much more, in downtown Mansfield — no matter where your adventure takes you.
The Historic Carrousel District
Mansfield’s axis spins on history, art and music — literally! All three components come together in the Richland Carrousel Park. When it opened in 1991, the structure was the first new hand-carved, wooden carrousel built in the U.S. since the 1930s, featuring 52 unique animals designed, carved and painted in Mansfield. Take a spin on the legendary Hippocampus (part horse, part fish) or in the wheelchair-accessible horse-drawn chariots. Or just enjoy the lively music that fills the district as you explore the streets of downtown.
Hungry? Wings, burgers and other pub eats are on the menu at City Grille. Just around the corner, Hudson & Essex is the place to head if you’re looking for a more elevated evening out. Sip Cypress Hill wine and order from the small plates menu in the rustic, warmly lit winery downstairs. Make a reservation and head underground for the Prohibition in the Caverns experience, a curated eight-course meal served in the stone-lined caverns where distillers kept tradition alive. The dining room and patio, which overlook the city, don’t disappoint either, and the menu is packed with delicious chef specials and local ingredients regardless of where you dine.
Cap the night off across the street at the Warehouse Tavern with a drink and a friendly game of pool. On nice nights, you’ll enjoy the warm breeze drifting in from the open garage door windows. Every Wednesday in the summer, you’ll find motorcycles lining the street during the tavern’s Bike Night.
As you amble down Fourth Street, keep an eye out for a pop of color. The Brickyard Alley features four vibrant murals painted by a local artist. Twinkling string lights crisscross overhead, making for the perfect photo op with these iconic backdrops. Once you’ve got your shot, follow the path into The Brickyard itself, the epicenter of arts and culture in downtown. The aptly named brick courtyard is surrounded by towering historic buildings, making it an intimate (yet spacious) hangout to gather with friends and enjoy live entertainment in the heart of the city. Stop by at the end of each month June through September for the Final Friday concert series featuring live music and food trucks.
To the right of the stage, you’ll find patio seating and great beer at The Phoenix Brewing Company, a local brewery housed in a … wait for it … former mortuary. In typical Mansfield fashion, there’s more here than meets the eye. If you’re looking for something more intimate and reserved, head upstairs to The Spirit Room for a tasting of bourbon, whiskey and scotch. For a fun group activity, stop in Axe Social Lounge. Like a more extreme version of darts, axe throwing is the perfect blend of skill, luck and fun.
The Square is the front row seat to downtown and a hub for community events. Restaurants, storefronts and an art gallery line Mansfield’s Central Park, earning this greenspace its nickname at the city’s center. Take a walk down the tree-studded street and admire the intricate architecture of Central Park Gazebo, built at the turn of the 21st century.
Every other Friday in the summer, try tasty bites from a local food truck and listen to live music in the intimate, quaint courtyard tucked away in Mechanic’s Bank. Their Live@Lunch series is the perfect start to a weekend getaway. In the winter, an abundance of holiday lights and giant wreaths give the historic area a Hallmark-movie atmosphere, while local entrepreneurs host their very own ball drop from atop the Park National Bank Building every New Year’s Eve.
Ingenuity meets fresh, vibrant flavors at Mansfield’s beloved restaurants. Ask any local where to find the best burger and they’ll send you to Uncle John’s Place, with its art-lined walls, dark wood paneled bar, comfortable booths and reliably delicious food, this spot feels like home to natives and visitors alike. On the menu at Dan Lew Exchange, you’ll find sushi, noodles, rice dishes and cocktails, while Reindeer Grill serves up everything from pasta to pizza to seafood. If the weather’s nice, grab an order of gyros and fries from Athena Greek Restaurant and picnic under Central Park’s gazebo or near the whimsical, music-making playground stations. Then, stroll the rest of the park to see the Martin Luther King Jr. monument and displays of local art.
By Alexia Kemerling