Clemson Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in ClemsonWhere to Stay
The Clemson area has recently seen a string of new hotel construction to accommodate increasing demand from football fans/parent visitors. The Clemson stretch of Highway 123 (complete with orange paw prints) will be your best bet for finding lodging close to the school and downtown. The school has one hotel on campus that is pretty nice and near the school's golf course. Nearby Anderson has some cheaper options if you don't mind being 15-20 minutes away from town.
Take It or Leave It: Cab service is scarce in the Clemson area. The closer you can stay to campus, the better.
Hot Tips: Room demand still outpaces supply during football weekends so plan your trip as soon as the schedules come out.
What to Eat
Clemson has a great mix of American, Asian, fusion, bar and upscale food. College Avenue, known as "Downtown Clemson" is where to go for most pre- and post-game meals (wings, sushi, pizza, etc.). Turn onto Highway 123 from College Avenue in either direction and prepare to be inundated with every fast food dining chain known to man.
Take It or Leave It: Getting in the car and driving 10-15 minutes to either Seneca or Anderson will open up further dining options.
Be Sure to Sample: Calhoun Corners and Pixie and Bill's; easily the two best restaurants in all of Clemson.
Things to See
Obviously the main attractions here are Clemson sporting events, highlighted by Clemson Tigers' football games. Tailgating is a full day activity that starts downtown or in an on-campus lot, and finishes long after last whistle in one of the various watering holes. Golfing is also big here. There is an amazing golf course on campus, and another five reasonably priced courses within 15 miles.
Caution: On game days, get where you need to be early. Within 4 hours of game time, traffic does not move.
Hot Tips: If you can't get a tee-time at the Walker Golf Course, Boscobel is a local favorite.
Places to Party
After a sporting event or day hacking up the golf course, the nightlife scene kicks off. It's focused on one of two areas: College Avenue or nearby Old Greenville Highway (93). Both are right across campus. Crowds of all ages would enjoy the many bars of downtown Clemson, featuring live music, DJs, dancing and liquor pitchers. On Old Greenville Highway rests the Esso Club (a Clemson fan mecca), and the Mellow Mushroom.
Caution: Clemson bars close at midnight on Saturdays. Prepare to pay for a private membership somewhere in Downtown Clemson if you plan to burn the oil post-game.
Hot Tips: In nearby Seneca resides the Tiki Hut, a marina bar on the water where you can eat and catch some great live music
Where to Shop
Inside the city limits of Clemson, you can find great Tigers' novelty shops and Southern clothier storefronts littered about. The big time shoppers will probably want to drive into Anderson where there is a mall and literally every big box store imaginable. If you poke around a bit in Easley or Seneca, you can find some great po-dunk antique stores. These neighboring towns are all within a 10-15 minute drive.
Hot Tips: The best place to buy Clemson Tigers' gear is the Tiger Sports Shop on Highway 123.
Best Local Souvenir: A stuffed "tiger tail" to hang off the back of your car.
Ready for Your Dream Vacation?
For a city its size, Clemson carries a lot of weight in the South Carolina Upstate. The university located here is, of course, a big reason for that. And yet, as many visitors quickly realize, there's far more to the tightly-knit Foothills community than orange overalls, Tiger Paws, Saturday tailgates, and late-night cram sessions.
In a poem entitled "Something in These Hills," Clemson Class of '34 graduate Joe Sherman captures the essence of how many students, alumni, and locals feel about this cozy little corner of Pickens County when he writes, "There is something in these hills that you and I can't define and others can't understand." The "something" he refers to is a deep-rooted love for the school, city, area, and people. It's what inspires so many to retire here and so many more to return en mass each year to attend sporting events, catch festivals and concerts, or visit their old stomping grounds.
Looking back, it seems folks have always been drawn to this area. After all, noted statesman John C. Calhoun had his home, Fort Hill, constructed on a hillside high above the Seneca River and held court there until his death in 1850. Years later, Calhoun's son-in-law, Thomas Green Clemson, provided the... Read more »