Spring on the York College campus

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Getting to Know Yo(u)rk: How can students take advantage of what York City has to offer?

August 03, 2023
Taryn Cook in Central Market
Taryn Cook '24 shopping at Central Market in Downtown York.

The City of York has a lot to offer students—more opportunities than most know about. We asked YCP alumna Hannah Beard ’16, who is Downtown Inc’s Marketing & Merchant Engagement Manager, and Resident Assistant Taryn Cook ’24 for their suggestions.

Hannah Beard ’16

Hannah is an avid supporter of Downtown York and particularly enjoys supporting the community in the best ways she knows how by shopping at the secondhand and vintage stores, eating all of the delicious food, attending live shows, and perusing the eclectic art galleries York City has to offer.

As Downtown Inc’s Marketing & Merchant Engagement Manager, her energy and enthusiasm around the success and growth of Downtown York’s business community is evident. She is a proud Yorker through and through. Her favorite quote is by Van Gogh: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” as she feels that perfectly describes the movers and shakers of Downtown York.

In addition to earning a degree in Recreation and Leisure Administration from York College, she earned a Master of Science degree in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University. She is a member of the board of directors of the Parliament Arts Organization, the Project Committee for the City of York’s Redevelopment Authority, the Sales and Marketing Committee for the Byrnes Health Education Center, and the 2023 cohort for Leadership York’s Mentorship York program. 

Q: Where can I find info about York City?

A: For information about Downtown York’s events, shopping, dining, attractions, hotels and lodging, etc., check out Downtown Inc’s website, https://www.downtownyorkpa.com/

Q: How do I get downtown and back from the College if I don't have a car? Where can I park if I have transportation?

A: Students may utilize the newly completed Heritage Rail Trail to travel from the College to Downtown York. Did you know Downtown York is considered a Trail Town? This means that Downtown York is a community adjacent to a public trail and has embraced the trail as an opportunity for economic growth and improved quality of life for all. Check out the list of ‘Trail Friendly’ Businesses in Downtown York here. If you don’t have your own transportation at YCP, check out public transportation methods here. Of course, there are also ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft.

Q: What activities are free?

A: The Downtown Calendar, powered by York365.com, is a great resource to see all that is happening in the area. You can even filter the events by dates, category, and of course, what is free. Don’t sleep on First Fridays! First Fridays take place the first Friday of each month of the year, typically from 5 to 9 p.m., though many establishments will offer activities earlier or later. Another event to keep on your radar this year is York Arts Week happening throughout Downtown York from August 19 through 26.

Q: What are some cost-effective food options?

A: Possibly my favorite subject, the food! Every college student should take the opportunity to eat their way through both markets in Downtown York, especially if you consider yourself a foodie like me. Take a trip to York County’s oldest farmer’s market, Penn Market, for authentic soul food, Puerto Rican cuisine, smoothie bowls, and gourmet brownies, just to name a few. Central Market is a great breakfast and lunch spot as well, offering vegan options, sushi, crepes, funky mac n cheese, and more!  

Q: Where can I hear the best music?

A: There is no shortage of live entertainment options in Downtown York. Check out Kable House Presents, an independent concert series hosted at York’s historic Central Market featuring up-and-coming national touring artists; the plethora of amazing shows at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts; and Cherry Lane Box Lunch Revue, hosted by York City Special Events, happening every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer months.

Q: Best and low-cost buys for clothes?

A: Now, this actually might be my favorite subject! Keep up with the trends while staying on budget at Rainbow (6 W. Market St.), visit Artemis Vintage (113 S. Duke St.) in the Royal Square District for the vintage vendor experience of your life, and check out LifePath Thrift Store (283 W. Market St.) for three stories of second-hand clothing heaven. Check out all the shopping options in Downtown York–from florists to furniture, to books and boutiques.

Taryn Cook ‘24

Taryn is a Hospitality and Tourism Management major and Public Relations minor from Baltimore, MD. She is a third-year Resident Assistant and has been working with first-year students since she arrived at York College. She has been a Spartan Ambassador since her sophomore year, giving tours, helping with Open Houses, Accepted Student Days, and representing the College at any other number of events throughout the year. Lastly, she continues to work with first-year students during New Spartan Days as a Spartan Staff member, helping them make their schedules for the fall semester. Taryn is part of several clubs on campus, including being a general member of the Campus Activities Board and Secretary for the Hospitality Society.

Q: How do you keep up with what is happening in the City of York?

A: I look at the Instagram pages for Downtown York itself and for other big places like the Appell Center for the Performing Arts and Central Market. The College also sends out emails to students with details of other activities going on Downtown, like a York Revs game or a new exhibit in Marketview Arts. I use all those sources to see what’s going on when, and to see if any of my friends want to join me.

Q: How do you usually get from the College to Downtown and back?

A: I can take the shuttle the school offers during First Fridays, or I can ask my friends who have cars to drive. I do know that the Rail Trail will take me Downtown, but I haven’t used that way yet. During Orientation weekend, students go to Central Market via the Rail Trail, so maybe this year I’ll join them!

Q: Any favorite free activities to recommend?

A: Wandering around and window shopping is a lot of fun. There are always new sights to see, and you can honestly go on a walking tour of the area. York is very historical, and a lot of the buildings have plaques about their history outside. Sometimes there is even a person from the organization who can tell you more about it. During First Fridays a lot of the establishments have free activities to do, like coloring origami butterflies!

Q: Can you give some cost-effective food suggestions?

A: As a college student, I love finding deals for food. I love trying new places and new food, so I always go for a combo when I get food. Something that can give me an entrée with a drink on the side. I love drinking different types of lemonade, and I try a new place each time I go to Central Market. I always get a cake slice from Pop’s Pastries and More, and just recently I tried the Beef Udon bowl from Nama Sushi.

Q: Best and low-cost buys for clothes?

A: Going thrift shopping is an experience nowadays, and I have discovered some good finds. The Salvation Army and Community Aid nearby have great finds for clothes, knickknacks, furniture, books, and more.

Q: Safety tips when you’re downtown?

A: The biggest tip I can offer is staying in a group or around people. If my friends and I go together, then we are a larger group and wander around. When I am by myself or with only one friend, then I try to stay around other people. Not close enough to be creepy but enough to be seen. It is best to go with the flow; if people seem to be leaving or a shop is closing, then I take a hint and move to another place.

Q: Favorite place downtown?

A: It is really hard to choose a favorite place Downtown. Since I enjoy being anywhere, especially with friends, I would have to say that I don’t have a favorite place, there are too many to choose from. Timeline Arcade is an amazing place full of retro games, and I love playing the games my parents have always told me about. Restaurants like Prince Street Cafe, and The Green Bean Roasting Co. are the perfect places for a little pick-me-up with coffee and food.

Q: What is your favorite time of day downtown?

A: The best time of day to experience all that Downtown York has to offer is during brunch time. Everything is open and everybody is awake, so downtown feels alive. It’s great to start off with a meal, then explore and go shopping. If you go too early some places may not be open, which dampens the fun mood you have; going too late means they might be closed or getting ready to close and you can’t fully enjoy it. All in all, it is the perfect place to spend a day!