Grassroots /ˈɡras ˈˌro͞ots/
In Mercer County, ‘grassroots’ is synonymous with The Mercer Street Grassroots District which means date nights, weekend fun, local art, craft beer, street fairs, classic car cruise-ins, and concerts – just to name a few. If you are driving through I-77 or staying at a hotel in Princeton, the Mercer Street Grassroots District is the place to experience local Appalachian culture.
Exploring the Grassroots District
Ready to start exploring? Here are the must-sees when you visit Mercer Street.
The arts are at the center of the Grassroots District. A trip here wouldn’t be complete without stopping in The RiffRaff Arts Collective. This quirky co-op for artists, musicians and more is the heart of the Grassroots District. Stop in to browse local art, or visit The Room Upstairs (a renovated ballroom) for a show. There’s also Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Art Gallery, featuring the work of local artists and artisans.
And how could you miss the murals that mark the sides of the buildings? Overall, the Grassroots District is home to over 34 professional murals. Vibrant and large, these unique outdoor paintings take up entire blocks. Stroll down Artist’s Alley to see 22 murals, all painted by artists. Make sure to stop and take a photo and tag #visitmercerwv and #explore304 to possibly be featured on the Visit Mercer WV Instagram page!
Unique shops and restaurants have also made Mercer Street their home. Browse bestsellers and children’s books at the quaint used bookstore The Hatter’s Bookshop, grab a cup of joe at Appalachian Coffee House or try locally made kombucha at Bucha Brewhouse & Bistro.
For locally brewed beer, check out Sophisticated Hound Brewing Company on Fridays and Saturdays. This local brewery has live music on the weekends and is thoughtfully decorated with West Virginia decor. Visit the taproom for a pint of West Virginia craft beer (local tip: try the Racer 8 and 1863 Pale Ale) or grab your favorite in a custom growler. Try pairing your craft beer with some pub nachos or a delicious handcrafted sandwich.
And every first Friday of the month, the Mercer Street Grassroots District comes alive with specials – explore all these locations and more (including other historic stops like the Princeton Railroad Museum a few doors down in the Historic District) during First Fridays.
For more ideas on what to visit in the Mercer Street Grassroots District, visit the Museums and Murals itinerary!
Classic Cars and Street Festivals
The Mercer Street Grassroots District is home to more than just awesome small businesses. Every year, the downtown area becomes a hub for community gatherings like Cool Cruisin’ Nights, Autumnfest and Downtown Countdown. Cool Cruisin’ Nights are scheduled for every third Saturday, May-September. Classic cars cruise down and park along Mercer Street, creating a nostalgic environment. Autumnfest is the fall festival, and the streets are packed with vendors and fun for the whole family – make sure you leave with locally made apple butter! Downtown Countdown is the perfect way to ring in the New Year. This New Year’s Eve event features indoor and outdoor vendors and of course, a ball drop at midnight. And this is just a taste of some of the festivals held each year in the Grassroots District – check the calendar of events to stay up to date on others!
Have you visited the Mercer Street Grassroots District? What was your favorite part of your visit?
This post was last updated on November 25, 2019