Catawba/Pee Dee

Lake City: Make Your Art

Written by Stay In SC

When you VISIT LAKE CITY, you do more than visit a historic community with deep roots in the agricultural traditions of our past – you experience the best of what a southern small town can be. While walking through our downtown historic district, you’ll see eye-catching oral scapes made of native plants grown locally by professional horticulturists at Moore Farms Botanical Garden, as well as beautiful, colorful murals that express our artistic heart and soul. More information on all that Lake City has to offer can be found at

The Bean Market

Built in 1936 by the Public Works Administration as part of Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” The Bean Market has been renovated to serve as a unique and flexible space for conferences and meetings, weddings and receptions, parties, and even concerts! Featuring 10,000 square feet of space with various options to set up your event including a 5800 square foot open floor, a 750 square foot stage with a 14-foot-high projection screen, catering kitchen, and banquet tables and chairs. The Bean Market rose to acclaim as the world’s largest truck auction of green beans in Lake City’s agricultural prime. Farmers drove to centrally located Lake City from all over the South to bring their bean crops to market; traders would then ship the beans north on one of the many freight trains that rolled through Lake City each day. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and now serves as one of the busiest event venues in modern day Lake City.


Award Winning Festival – Artfields

ArtFields® is our town’s signature arts festival: a 9-day art competition where artists vie for over $120,000 in cash prizes. Winners are determined by a combination of votes from a juried panel and ArtFields® attendees. Each spring, ArtFields® transforms historic downtown Lake City businesses and event venues into art galleries for the display of all competition artwork, which also allows for wonderful connection amongst artists, visitors, and the local community. This transformation also includes festival activities as varied as a kick-off evening art walk, a 5K run, Maker’s Market, Portrait Contest, artist talks, street musicians, musical concerts on the stage at The Village Green, not to mention the excitement of the finale weekend, including the Dandelion Gala. ArtFields Jr.® runs in tandem with the festival, allowing students from kindergarten through twelfth grade to submit artwork for the competition in their own junior division.

Don’t miss the arts festival that inspired CNN to select Lake City as the destination of choice in S.C. for its “50 states, 50 spots for 2014” travel recommendation. ArtFields® continues to collect accolades with its most recent recognition: the Charles A. Bundy Award. Governor Henry McMaster presented the award to ArtFields® during the annual South Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel this past February in Spartanburg. The Southeast Tourism Society has just named ArtFields one of the STS Top 20 Event in the Southeast for April 2017. ArtFields® was given the award for outstanding efforts to boost tourism in a rural community, according to an announcement from the conference. In its fifth year, ArtFields® has claimed a definitive role as an integral part of Lake City’s cultural identity.

Ronald E. McNair Life Center 

Opened in 2011, the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center is a museum that pays tribute to the life of Dr. McNair, a Lake City-born astronaut and physicist who died in the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle explosion. Through moving photography and artifacts, the museum tells the story of Dr. McNair from his childhood to his death. Housed in Lake City’s old public library, the museum sits next to Dr. McNair’s gravesite along with a statue and square erected in his honor. Plans are in the works to expand this life history center into a science and technology museum, dedicated to helping South Carolina students learn about space, physics, computers and other science-related topics.


 Jones Carter Gallery

Housed in a former feed & seed store, The Jones-Carter Gallery is a state- of-the-art, Smithsonian-certified art exhibition gallery located in the heart of the downtown historic district of Lake City. The gallery is convenient to contemporary gift shops, clothiers, antique stores, and several restaurants. The gallery hosts several exhibitions throughout the year featuring exhibits from local to major national artists, such as Francisco de Goya. The Jones- Carter Gallery opened in April of 2013, just in time to accept incoming artwork for the largest arts competition in the Southeast, ArtFields®. The gallery offers group tours, lectures, visiting artist presentations, workshops, activities for families, and community events based on current exhibitions. For a most unique event venue, plan your smaller-scale corporate or civic meeting, or an enchanting catered dinner surrounded by the artwork from the most current exhibit at The Jones-Carter Gallery.

The Inn at the Crossroads 

The Inn at the Crossroads is a 57-room boutique hotel featuring traditional guest rooms as well as 5 luxury suites. Beautifully decorated with an eclectic air, including works from various ArtFields® festivals, the Inn features fine dining at its in-house restaurant, Crossroads on Main. Over 10,000 square feet of meeting space is available, including the renovated McClam Livery Stable (affectionately known by locals as “The Stables”), which is perfectly suited for wedding receptions, parties, meetings or catered dinners. Weather permitting, lounging with a cocktail in the beautifully landscaped outdoor courtyard is a relaxing treat and feast for the senses. Conveniently located in the heart of historic downtown Lake City, step out the front door onto Main Street for shopping, dining, and sightseeing.

Moore Farms Botanical Gardens

Moore Farms Botanical Garden is wildly beautiful, creative and soulful; a place of both inspiration and comfort, where plants rule and there is a feeling of discovery, a sense of hitting upon something that others haven’t. Nestled among fields of corn and soybeans, this dynamic 50-acre garden is set in the rural Pee Dee region in Lake City, S.C. Embracing its southern pastoral setting through an informal, expressive design scheme, the garden is a careful blend of exuberant plant displays, bounding meadows and enduring vistas of grey- green pines. Woven throughout this aesthetic tapestry is innovative research, educational programs and community outreach. The resulting union of art and scholarship is a dazzling example of the modern botanical garden.


Lake City had the honor of becoming South Carolina’s first “Bee City USA” community in November of 2015 and local bee enthusiasts are ensuring the city keeps this important recognition for generations to come! City Administrator Shawn Bell, city horticulturist and beekeeper Katie Dickson, and Moore Farms Botanical Garden’s Education and Events Department staff Rebecca Turk and Kelli Meeker support this mission. In the past year, efforts have been made to bolster the pollinator-friendly plantings at the Community Museum Society office with perennials, wild flowers, and flowering shrubs, and trees. Moore Farms hosted an engaging summer camp last June to educate local children on the benefits of honeybees and other native pollinators, and similar presentations are given to local garden clubs throughout the year. Efforts are underway to present various bee and honey-related products in the local marketplace!

Lake City has also been awarded a Tree City USA designation for the sixth consecutive year! We are particularly proud of this recognition as our region has been pummeled with severe weather events for several years in a row, but we bounce back and continue to prioritize our trees and city beautification in spite of the destructive forces. The horticulture staff from Moore Farms Botanical Garden spearheads these efforts to keep our historic downtown public spaces looking vibrantly beautiful.

About the author

Stay In SC