Day Trip to the Nelsonville Historic Public Square

Nelsonville is basically the definition of small town charm and is filled with shops, cafes and history.

Nelsonville is basically the definition of small town charm and is filled with shops, cafes and history.

Nelsonville is a charming town just 10 minutes down the road from Athens. It’s the perfect day trip or add-on to a visit to Athens. Just miles from busy downtown Court Street, experience a slower pace this fall in Nelsonville, star of the Hocking Hills.

Get Lost in History

Perhaps one of the best ways to experience Nelsonville’s history is to take in a show at Stuart’s Opera House. Although the facility is currently undergoing renovations as the result of a fire in 2015, performers like Rhonda Vincent and the Rage continue to take the stage even during the renovation process.

Look Down (and Up)

Nelsonville enjoyed a boom during the late 19th century because of its thriving brick-making industry. The area is home to the Starbrick and Nelsonville Block, impervious bricks that lines the sidewalks of the Nelsonville square, including the pedestrian areas around the square’s 112-year-old fountain.

Witness Renewal and Reinvention

Nelsonville has transformed itself from coal- and brick-making town to an artist’s haven. The Nelsonville Emporium, Starbrick Gallery and the Paper Circle continue to breathe life into the historic buildings around the square and support local artists by providing retail and gallery space.


FullBrooks Cafe, serves coffee, baked goodies and lunch on Nelsonville’s Historic Public Square.

Enjoy a Square Meal on the Square

Have a locally-sourced breakfast or lunch at FullBrooks Café or the Boot Factory Grill. If your explorations take you into the evening hours, grab dinner at Rhapsody or Mama Renie’s Pizza. Cap the night off at The Mine Tavern, a watering hole that has been in continuous operation since the 1840s (including a brief stint as a soda shop during Prohibition). Make sure to visit Nelsonville’s newest business, Multiple Brewing.

Nelsonville owes half of its charm to its history as a brick-making town. The other half it owes to the people whose shops, galleries, restaurants and events continue to make the public square a place worth visiting.

Check out these other day-trip-worthy destinations in Nelsonville and let us know when you’re ready to plan your trip.