Things to do in Greenville, SC

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    Greenville: One of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

    Photo courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto/iStock

Get Your Bearings in Greenville

By Libby McMillan
Greenville Expert

See & Do
Stay
Eat
Party
Shop

Things to See

While it’s got a healthy arts presence, Greenville is all about the outdoors.  Explore downtown attractions like Falls Park or Cleveland Park, or the Swamp Rabbit Trail, by foot or with a bike rental. Within 30 minutes are Caesar’s Head and Jones Gap for hikes, photos and picnics, but Greenville also has its own mountain park right in town.   Minor league baseball and hockey happen downtown, or choose from great museums, carriage and trolley rides, even Shakespeare in the Park.  Kids are enthralled by a special scavenger hunt on Main Street.  

Hot Tips:

Pack for the outdoors, and check the Peace Center calendar.

Where to Stay

Greenville’s best lodging choices are found in its vibrant downtown area, near Falls Park.  From any of the downtown hotels, you can walk to tons of restaurants, nightlife and unique shopping options.  There’s also a free trolley and parking garages.  The airport has other brand-name hotels clustered near it and BMW/Michelin/GE, but you’ll definitely need a car, as you will if you choose golf-friendly Embassy Suites on Verdae.  All are no more than 15 minutes apart.

Caution:

Book downtown hotels ASAP.

What to Eat

Greenville restaurant districts are downtown, Augusta Road (adjacent to downtown), Haywood Road (5-10 minutes from downtown or airport), and busy Woodruff Road (5 min from airport, 10-15 min from downtown).  Downtown is where you’ll find the most one-of-a-kind choices and many of the best

Caution:

Woodruff Road and downtown restaurants are challenging at 7pm, when most of Greenville prefers to dine.

Be Sure to Sample:

pimento cheese, deviled eggs, BBQ, moonshine . . . or all four.

Places to Party

National touring shows, regional bands, comedy, theater and improv are all options for a night out in downtown Greenville.  During spring and fall, Greenville offers free outdoor concerts downtown and there’s no more appealing setting than the Peace Center amphitheater in nice weather.  You may want to take in a baseball or hockey game, then hit a downtown sports bar.  A few late-night dance venues can also be found downtown.  Woodruff Road, on the city’s east side, offers movies, bars and tons of late-night restaurants.

Take It or Leave It:

Residents lean toward dresses and collared shirts in the evenings.

Where to Shop

Bustling Woodruff Road (accessible from I-385, I-85, or Laurens Road) is Greenville’s shopping mecca. You’ll find every big box store you love, plus Whole Foods, REI, Trader Joe’s and unique stores.  Haywood Road is home to a popular indoor mall, and several well-known chains.   Downtown’s Main Street and nearby Augusta Road offer more unique shops and easy in-and-out.  Greenville has an abundance of outfitters, bike shops, galleries and food-related shops.

Avoid:

Woodruff Road on a Saturday if you're in a hurry . . . traffic is bad.

Greenville Neighborhoods

Things to do in Greenville


Greenville is known for...

Five of Greenville's most unique features and characteristics.

1. A Vibrant Downtown:

Visitors are amazed to see Greenville's beautiful tree-lined Main Street, tons of exciting restaurants and bars, great shopping, performance venues, nice hotels, and a river with its own waterfalls . . . right in the heart of downtown.  City leaders from across America flock to see a downtown that's won countless national awards and press for its spectacular revitalization success.

2. Liberty Bridge at Falls Park:

What was once an ugly overpass and a forgotten waterway is now an award-winning park with a landmark footbridge, spanning the now-beautiful Reedy River and surrounding Falls Park.  Greenville's iconic destination ("Meet me on the Bridge") is a beloved, much-photographed magnet for visitors and locals.  Any beautiful day draws legions of happy pedestrians to the lushly landscaped greenbelt beneath Liberty Bridge, for dog-walking, picnicking, Shakespeare in the park, jogging, or a romantic moment on a swing with a view of it all.

3. Outdoor Recreation:

Greenville is world-renowned as a destination for cyclists.  Favorite local son Geroge Hincapie - training partner of Lance Armstrong - has been instrumental in bringing the USA Pro Cycling championships to town each year.  Paris Mountain, just minutes north of downtown, makes an ideal training ground.  Runners and walkers take advantage of beautiful Falls Park, Cleveland Park and the city's lovely neighborhoods, while hikers head north to the Blue Ridge foothills to explore and enjoy countless trails and waterfalls.  Tennis and golf are  year-round past-times.

4. Arts & Culture:

Performing and visual arts are so abundant in Greenville that any weekend forces hard choices:  symphony or blues?  art opening or live theater?  ballet or touring Broadway show?   Downtown is filled with galleries and performance arts venues, most notably the Peace Center, which has two indoor theaters and outdoor amphitheater.  bob Jones University has a world-class art collection and several lovely museums are scattered across the city.   Choose your pleasures, and good luck trying to "do it all." 

5. Cutting-Edge Automotive Research & Production:

BMW's massive autmotive production facility is located on the edge of Greenville, as is Michelin's US Headquarters.  Clemson University's CU-ICAR Campus (Intl Center for Automotive Research) attracts the best and brightest engineers and think-tank alliances (BMW, Timken among them).  In 2010, Proterra announced plans to build a manufacturing facility at ICAR for its alternative fuel buses.  Greenville Tech's engineering department cranks out local talent, and countless affiliated businesses and manufacturers call Greenville home.   Our baseball team is the Drive; our hockey team is the Road Warriors.