Resting at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina sits the city of Greenville. With its picturesque scenery and charming city attractions, Greenville has emerged as a hidden gem. It balances upstate beauty with a gorgeous urban environment. Greenville features many activities and events throughout the year that bring the already flourishing city to life. This makes it an excellent place for new visitors and permanent residents to explore and find something enticing. It’s also a destination for foodies, with its diverse array of culinary offerings and thriving local farming scene.
Come along as we delve into some ways to experience the most of Greenville.
The Outdoors Near Greenville
Greenville brings the lush countryside right into the city with its many outdoor activities and locations. Visit the award-winning Falls Park, which has trails and gardens throughout to explore. Also, explore the mesmerizing Liberty Bridge situated in the center of Falls Park over the Reedy River. It’s a nationally acclaimed green space with a spectacular bridge that allows unobstructed views of the Reedy River Falls. The Liberty Bridge – a 345-foot, curved bridge held in the air by a single suspension cable – is the only one of its kind in the United States.
Magnolia Park is another great location for any outing. The 800,000 sq. ft. park is one of Greenville’s largest commerce and entertainment destinations.
Unity Park, Greenville’s newest 60-acre park, is located on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile multi-use trail beloved for its biking offerings. More than 750,000 locals and visitors ride the trail each year. The park was created to pay homage to the area’s past “while planning for a more inclusive future.” The urban green space includes playgrounds, pedestrian bridges, splash pads, walking trails, a visitor center, a baseball field, basketball courts and ample green space.
The Cleveland Park in Greenville is another great location for outdoor activities, including biking, picnics, or even sporting events. The 122-acre park also features the Rock Quarry Garden and the Greenville Zoo. Unsurprisingly, there is a wide range of activities for any age.
The City of Greenville
The West End Historic District of Greenville also has a lot to offer. Less than two miles from Main Street, The Village of West Greenville has been deemed the arts and entertainment center of the upstate. There are a seemingly infinite number of ventures to participate in. Greenville sports four entertainment plazas, some used for professional sporting events like the Fluor Field or Bon Secours Wellness Center. In contrast, others, like the Greenville Convention Center, are used for special entertainment events.
Within downtown Greenville, you will find a multitude of museums ranging in categories of content, from historic museums like the Military History Center of the Carolinas, to art museums like the Center for Creative Arts. Downtown Greenville is easily one of the most diverse areas for activities and attractions for any interest.
Currently, more than 100 works of art are featured as part of Greenville, South Carolina’s Arts in Public Places initiative. An “Orbital Trio” serves as the anchor of North Main Street downtown at NOMA Square, while “Nexus of Light” anchors the corner of South Main Street and Augusta St. The red steel “Untitled 2002-2003” sculpture (referred to by many residents as Gumby) winds up in the background of almost every iconic photo taken in Greenville and Dale Chihuly’s “Rose Crystal Tower” sits at the other end of Falls Park.
Festivals & Markets
There are also a lot of shops and markets throughout the city and surrounding area. From May to October, the TD Saturday Market on Main Street houses over 75 vendors, from farmers to crafters, providing fresh local goods and unique, high-quality crafts.
From March to August, Piedmont Natural Gas Downtown Alive kicks off the weekend every Thursday night with free live music at NOMA Square on Main Street for a literal party in the streets, with food trucks, local brews and tunes. The city also hosts First Fridays Gallery Crawl, the Upstate Shakespeare Festival, and two particularly sought after events: Euphoria, a highly-anticipated food, wine and music festival held every September and Fall for Greenville festival weekend. Fall for Greenville takes place on Main Street with local chefs and James Beard nominated chefs alike serving up their signature dishes. Plus there are free performances from more than 70 bands.
Eat & Stay
Our favorite hotels are easy choices. If you’re looking to stay downtown, The AC Hotel and newcomer Grand Bohemian Greenville are unbeatable. For a more secluded experience, stay roughly 15 minutes from downtown at the newly opened Hotel Hartness.
For a nice dinner, try Rick Erwin’s West End Grill. It’s downtown Greenville’s original upscale steakhouse. With scenic views of the falls, Grand Bohemian’s Between the Trees serves modern lodge cuisine, seasonally influenced and classically prepared.
We also recommend French Laundry alum Drew Erickson’s modern American eatery Camp, Husk BBQ, Six & Twenty Distillery, and Southern Side Brewing Co.