Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville has it all: traditional Southern charm, stunning natural beauty and contemporary cool. From our one of a kind shops to unique dining options, quaint galleries to outdoor adventures galore and even live music, Greenville has something for everyone.
Greenville’s downtown has been ranked as one of “America’s Ten Best” by Forbes Magazine. The scenic beauty and availability of parks and outdoor adventures has led Greenville to win
the popular vote for Outside Magazine’s America’s Best Towns. The up-and-coming restaurant scene was featured as one of Southern Living’s Tastiest Towns and Esquire Magazine asked, “Is Greenville the Next Big Food City of the South?”
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, scenic views are easy to find, while access to this great city by car, train, or plane is easy to come by. The more than one hundred incredible restaurants within Greenville’s downtown, incredible shopping featuring internationally-renowned brands to locally produced works of art, and friendly atmosphere that can only be described as southern hospitality make Greenville a unique, one-of-a-kind destination for a day, weekend, or (as many of us have chosen) life.
A Vibrant Downtown
A good place to begin your visit is Greenville’s tree-shaded downtown, where streets are crowded with an exciting mix of restaurants, shops, offices and entertainment. Within walking distance of Main Street are more than a 100 restaurants offering delicious choices for any appetite or pocketbook, from pizza to haute cuisine.
Greenville is a place that takes its food seriously and the city is rapidly becoming known as a ‘Foodie Paradise’. An enticing collection of dining experiences can be found throughout the city, where more than 600 restaurants offer everything from traditional favorites to the downright eclectic. Many of Greenville’s great restaurants are featured in this
Shopping is always a pleasure with dozens of unusual shops, galleries and boutiques filled with designer jewelry, home accents, fine art, one-of-a-kind crafts, and fashionable or funky clothing. In the downtown area, you’ll discover quaint stores filled with kitchen gadgets or fresh-baked goodies, wine stores, even an old-timey general store offering camping gear and casual clothing. Many of the shops are staffed by those who own them, and you’ll love the friendly, smiling service. Don’t miss Art Crossing at RiverPlace where you can purchase paintings and sculpture from the artists themselves.
If you enjoy shopping, can find bargains galore at the nearby outlet centers, or search for the unique at the specialty stores tucked away along the quiet back roads in the country.
As you stroll along shady, tree-lined Main Street, look for a diverse collection of public art, part of Greenville’s celebrated Art in Public Places program. Among others, the collection includes a towering contemporary sculpture at the entrance to Falls Park; a bronze statue honoring Vardry McBee, the father of Greenville; even a memorial to Greenville’s own star-crossed baseball legend, Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Kids, as well as adults, enjoy searching for the ‘Mice on Main’, a series of nine small bronze mice hidden away in hard-to-find locations along five-blocks of Main Street between the Hyatt Regency and Westin Poinsett hotels. The tiny sculptures were inspired by the Margaret Wise Brown children’s book, Goodnight Moon.
Greenville’s downtown area contains seven historic districts, including the Hampton-Pinckney district and its delightful mix of Victorian and early 20th-century bungalows. The Earl and James Street historic districts provide perfect walking tours, along with the Pettigru historic district where the ‘cotton barons’ of the early 1900’s built their impressive mansions.
Downtown Greenville serves as the region’s cultural center with the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, the Greenville County Art Museum, the Main Public Library, the Upcountry History Museum and dozens of private galleries and theaters.
From Vince Gill to The Boston Pops, there’s always something exciting and entertaining at the Peace Center, noted for both its architecture and acoustics. The Peace Center is also home to five resident companies: Carolina Ballet Theatre, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Symphony, International Ballet and South Carolina Children’s Theatre.
You’ll want to spend some time at the Greenville County Museum of Art, considered one of America’s premier art museums. The museum is home to the world’s largest public collection of watercolors by Andrew Wyeth, as well as a significant collection of works by contemporary artist Jasper Johns.
Also downtown is the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, a 15,000-seat arena that attracts such major performers as Prince, along with the circus and colorful ice shows. Bon Secours Wellness Arena is also home ice to the Greenville Road Warriors ECHL hockey team.
No trip to Greenville is complete without a visit to Falls Park, a 40-acre, beautifully landscaped park on the Reedy River overlooking the rushing Reedy River Falls in the center of town. Spanning the falls is a 355-foot pedestrian suspension bridge, an engineering marvel that is the only one of its kind in the nation. It’s a perfect place to rest and relax, or walk
off your delicious meal in one of Greenville’s many
Baseball fans will want to check out Fluor Field on Main Street, a mini-replica of Boston’s Fenway Park. The baseball park includes many Fenway-like features, including a 30-ft.-high ‘Green Monster’ and a hand-operated scoreboard. The stadium seats more than 5,000 fans and is home to the Greenville Drive, a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
Nearby is the restored home of the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson, who compiled the third highest batting average in baseball history. Exhibits, photos and personal memorabilia tell the story of Shoeless Joe’s ill-fated career.
Like the central business districts of most American cities, downtown Greenville deteriorated after World War II as residents moved to the suburbs and regional shopping centers flourished. A downtown revitalization project launched in the 1970’s attracted support from the entire community, and the 40-year effort resulted in Greenville receiving the Great American Main Street Award.
Stretching from the north end of town to the historic West End Market, Greenville’s downtown, with its beautiful parks, unique shopping and fabulous dining, is now the envy of cities and towns across the nation. Adding to the vitality of downtown is a growing number of residents who are choosing to make their homes downtown. No wonder Forbes Magazine listed Greenville’s downtown among ‘America’s Ten Best’.
Parking is free – and abundant – throughout the downtown area, and 35-passenger trolleys provide free transportation along Main Street from West Earle Street to Fluor Field in the West End.
There’s fun for the entire family in Greenville, beginning at the Greenville Zoo, a 14-acre facility on Cleveland Park Drive. The Zoo is home to hundreds of exotic animals from throughout the world, including giraffes, monkeys, giant tortoises and elephants. The beautifully landscaped grounds provide up-close and personal views of all the animals.
The kids will also enjoy the Children’s Museum of the Upstate on Hermitage Green, one of the largest of its kind in the nation. The Children’s Museum offers hands-on exhibits that include a television studio where children can direct and star in their own shows.There’s also an open-air ice-skating rink on Main Street, the ‘Starry Nights’ programs at the Roper Mountain Science Center observatory, and dozens of other attractions sure to appeal to the entire family.
It’s about being outside
If you love the outdoors, you can enjoy the serenity of three state parks and more than 60 city and county parks, all within easy driving distance. Together, the parks offer more than 7,000 acres of recreational opportunities. There’s also a 17-mile countywide greenway network.
Photographers and outdoor enthusiasts alike are enchanted by the dozens of waterfalls found in the Upcountry. More than 30 accessible waterfalls may be found within a three-county region, from spectacular ‘Bridal Veil’ falls to more gentle falls along peaceful streams. Greenville County alone boasts such well-known falls as Wildcat Branch, Rainbow, Jones Gap and Raven Cliff. Many of these may be found in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness and Recreation Area, which connect the
Table Rock and Poinsett watersheds.
A popular place to walk, jog or bike is the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail, an abandoned rail line that has been transformed into walking/biking paths. The 17-mile path follows the Reedy River between Travelers Rest and downtown. The trail takes its name from the Swamp Rabbit Railroad, a freight carrier established in 1888 as the Carolina, Knoxville and Western Railroad. Greenville residents who rode the train on picnic excursions to the mountains gave it the nickname, ‘Swamp Rabbit’.
With live theater, outdoor concerts, and colorful street festivals, you’ll never be bored in Greenville. And, don’t forget the fresh vegetables and flowers available each Saturday at the TD Saturday Market. Greenville is the ideal location to spend a day, a week, or a lifetime.