Listed as number 12 on the New York Times’ 52 Places to Visit in 2017, Greenville, South Carolina is one of the top destinations to visit this year. Here are five reasons to visit Greenville, SC ASAP.
1. Downtown Greenville
Downtown Greenville has a quaint, small town feel with it’s tree lined streets, carriage rides and twinkle lights all year round. However, don’t let the “small town” feel fool you. Greenville has A LOT to offer. At the heart of downtown is the beautiful Falls Park which boasts both a suspension bridge and a waterfall. Falls Park is a great place to take a stroll or have a picnic.
Downtown Greenville is also home to the minor league baseball team, the Greenville Drive. The Drive are affiliated with the Boston Red Sox and thus Flour Field has been modeled after the famous Fenway Park. During the winter months, an ice skating rink is set up in a little court yard off main street.
Greenville has attracted many unique bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Some of my personal favorites are:
- Coffee Underground: Located in a cellar off Coffee Street, this quirky coffee shop has been open for over 20 years.
- Jack n’ Diane’s Dueling Piano Bar is the place to go for a lively time. The show features live music (songs by request), pianos lit on fire and garbage can drumming. Everyone sings along!
- Sip Whiskey & Wine is a rooftop wine bar, perfect for a relaxing summer evening.
- Soby’s has the BEST Sunday brunch in town. The brunch is buffet style. Make sure to try the grits!
2. Proximity to Outdoor Activities
Greenville is known for being an outdoor lover’s city. One of the main outdoor activities in Greenville is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 19.9 mile walk/bike path, which connects downtown Greenville with Traveler’s Rest, SC. Visitors can rent bikes for the trail from Sunrift Adventures (Traveler’s Rest start point) or Reedy Rides (downtown Greenville start point).
Another popular attraction located in Greenville is Paris Mountain State Park. The state park offers camping, bike trails and several hiking trails. The park also has a swimming area that is open during the summer season. Lake Conestee Nature Park and Furman University are two other great locations for biking or walking in the Greenville area.
If you feel like getting out of the city, I would suggest visiting Caesar’s Head State Park, Jones Gap State Park, or Table Rock State Park which are all between 40 & 50 minutes outside of Greenville. If you decide to visit Jones Gap State Park, I would highly recommend hiking the Rainbow Falls Trail, then hiking up to Pretty Place. When visiting Table Rock State Park, one must summit the mountain via Table Rock Trail (3,124 feet).
3. Downtown Travelers Rest
Downtown Traveler’s Rest has become quite the hot spot for visitors and locals over the past few years. Traveler’s Rest, better known as TR to the locals, is a true southern small town located 15 minutes from downtown Greenville. Much of TR’s popularity has come from the establishment of the Swamp Rabbit Trail which runs straight through TR’s downtown.
Local boutiques and restaurants are another main attraction of Travler’s Rest. I would recommend Tandem Creperie and Coffehouse for brunch (they have the most amazing Crepes!) or Sidewall Pizza Company for lunch/dinner.
4. Historic Sites
Greenville has numerous historic sites worth exploring. Greenville County is home to two of the the most important historical bridges in South Carolina. Campbell’s Covered Bridge is the last standing covered bridge in all of South Carolina. The Poinsett Bridge, built in 1820, is the oldest bridge in South Carolina. Both bridges are surrounded by small parks that visitors can explore.
South Carolina was also an important part of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. If you are a history buff, then you may be interested in visiting Cowpens National Battlefield, the site of a Revolutionary war battle, or the Museum and Library of Confederate History, home to many Confederate artifacts.
5. Festivals and Food
Greenville has so many great annual festivals! The most popular (and my personal favorites) are Fall for Greenville, Artisphere and Euphoria. Fall for Greenville is a festival for the whole family located downtown Greenville on Main Street. Over 40 local restaurants are present with their most popular menu items. Both a craft beer and wine garden are open throughout the festival. Live music is played at the seven stages staggered along Main Street.
Artisphere is a three day event with 135 visual art exhibits, live music, art demonstrations, food, and a wine/craft beer experience. Most of the art is for sale so visitors can bring a bit of the art home with them. Euphoria, named ‘Best Little Food Festival in the South’ by Southern Living in 2012, is a four day festival all about food. Euphoria offers tasting events, live music, cooking demonstrations and more. Tickets are required!
- Greenville Saturday Market is a local farmers market located on Main Street in downtown Greenville. The market is open on Saturdays (May-October) from 8 am-12 pm. Vendors offer everything from fresh fruits and veggies to coffee and breakfast.
- Main Street Fridays is a weekly series that offers live music and dancing every Friday evening (March 17-September 29) from 5:30- 9:30 pm. The event is held downtown Greenville on Main Street at NOMA Square. Beer and wine beverages are available for purchase.
- Downtown Alive is a weekly series that offers live music every Thursday evening (March- August) on Main Street at NOMA Square in downtown Greenville. Beer and wine beverages are available for purchase.