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Have you visited Greenville, South Carolina lately? This city adopted a great slogan to attract visitors — “Yeah, that Greenville” and it is working. The city has really changed, becoming a haven for both young people and retirees. There are many things to do in Greenville, SC, and it is especially charming since it is easily walkable.
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With a walkable downtown area and even waterfalls downtown, Greenville is picturesque as well as a great city to explore. It is easy to see why Forbes named it one of America’s Best Downtowns. Within a few blocks, visitors will find hotels, restaurants, shops, and parks. Park your vehicle at your hotel and forget about it for the remainder of your weekend.
10 Best Things to do in Greenville, SC
If you’re visiting during a weekend, or for just a few days, here are 10 things not to miss during your Greenville, South Carolina, visit:
1. Take a walking tour of downtown
One of the best ways to explore a city is with a walking tour and Greenville offers plenty of them. Whether you like historical, culinary, Segway, or ghost tours, Greenville has them all. Want to do it at your own pace? Download one to your phone or tablet from GPSMyCity. The advantage of having a guide with you is that you can ask questions and find out about places to go to from a local. If mobility is not an issue, I highly encourage you to take a walking tour — Greenville’s hot spots are easily reachable with your own two feet.
2. Foodies rejoice!
Touted as a foodie city by the likes of Southern Living and USA Today, foodies will certainly enjoy their time in Greenville. So don’t forget to pack your stretchy pants! Don’t want to try to figure it out on your own? The city’s visitors’ bureau offers breakfast tours, a chef’s table tour, cocktail tours, and even a dessert tour. One of the most well-known restaurants is Soby’s New South Cuisine, which led downtown’s revitalization. Just make sure you make reservations ahead of time!
The Food Network has come to town several times, so visitors should certainly check out where they’ve been but don’t miss out on other chefs too!
PRO TIP: Stop by Maple Street Biscuit Company (18 East North Street). With communal seating that encourages getting to know your neighbor or locals, eating here is a fun experience. Try the Squawking Goat featured on the Food Network.
3. Stroll and shop along Main Street
After eating all that food, you’ll want to walk it off. Covering approximately ten blocks, Main Street in Greenville is pedestrian-friendly. The sidewalks are wide and accommodating. There is plenty of parking on the street, with additional parking decks nearby.
Housing about 120 shops and restaurants, it is a fun area to just walk around and window shop.
Don’t miss Mast General Store. You’ll find a little bit of everything — from your favorite Clemson gear to Columbia apparel to Yeti products. Shoppers will also find everything they need for their next outdoor adventure — from camping to fishing gear. Travelers will find a nice assortment of Badger and Burt Bees products too.
We bought some chocolate at Kilwins Chocolate, Fudge and Ice Cream Shop at NoMa Square. You can never go wrong with bringing back chocolate souvenirs from your trip!
PRO TIP: A free trolley service transports visitors along the most popular areas for those who wish to cover greater distances or who are just a bit tired. You can check their schedules.
4. Find the Mice on Main Street
No, not the bad kind of mice but nine unique bronze statues interspersed between the Hyatt Regency and the Westin Poinsett. If, like me, you read Goodnight Moon a million times, then you’ll be glad to know that this childhood book inspired this high school senior project. The statues are now a Greenville institution and the clues to each mouse’s location can be found here.
It is a fun family activity and certainly makes you more observant of your surroundings. Sadly, I couldn’t find all of them myself but I was short on time. Some of these mice are either really small or very good at hiding!
5. Admire the views from the Liberty Bridge
206 S. Main Street – Website
Completed in 2004, the Liberty Bridge passes over the Reedy River, providing pedestrians with unique views of waterfalls inside the city. Yes, you read that right — the city of Greenville has waterfalls inside the city.
The sweeping curve of the design makes it an ideal photo spot – the perfect Instagram spot! It is a great place to meet friends and start your walk around town. This pedestrian-only suspension bridge spans 345 feet over the Reedy River.
Access (and parking) is available in the hip West End neighborhood.
6. Relax at Falls Park on the Reedy
601 S. Main Street – Website
Surrounding the area around the Liberty Bridge is Falls Park on the Reedy. The park features walking trails, sitting areas, and even performance areas. The entrance to the park in the West End neighborhood is surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, and a mix of residential and commercial buildings.
7. Ride a bicycle along the Swamp Rabbit Trail
If you’re already at Falls Park, you can access this approximately 20-mile long trail from here. Multiple access points can be found throughout the city otherwise. Rent one of the ride-share bikes available and explore the trail. You can find your way to restaurants and breweries from here. Enjoy lots of relaxing spots along the trail and enjoy nature. It leads downtown visitors to the zoo if that is a place of interest.
8. Tour the campus of Furman University
The oldest private university in South Carolina, founded in 1826, Furman University opened in its current Greenville location in 1958. Located next to Falls Park, the campus is picturesque and worth visiting. Frequently hailed as one of the most beautiful universities in the United States, visitors shouldn’t miss seeing the bell tower next to the lake. The Asia-inspired gardens and elegant Georgian-inspired buildings are worth a walk-through for admirers of architecture.
9. Enjoy a cold frosty beverage at one of the city’s 15+ breweries
Frequent readers know that I am a firm believer that local craft breweries are one of my favorite things to do in cities — and Greenville is no exception. Several breweries are located within blocks from Main Street and not far from the several spots on this list. You’re sure to find the perfectly brewed beer to cool you down from all your hard work in exploring the city. Two breweries, Yee Haw Brewery and Fireforge Crafted Beer are just the perfect stops if you want to stay within walking distance of Main Street.
PRO TIP: Enjoy the views from UP on the Roof. If you’re looking for a great place for lunch, dinner, or even drinks with fabulous views of downtown Greenville, you won’t regret a visit to UP on the Roof. This is rooftop dining at its best, featuring locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
10. Attend a show
My last-minute trip to Greenville, South Carolina was inspired by an invite to watch the Trans Siberian Orchestra at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Located in downtown Greenville, traffic patterns and parking can be difficult, so give yourself extra time to arrive on time. Greenville, South Carolina is fortunate to enjoy several large venues, but the two listed below are the ones that attract the most visitors:
300 South Main Street – Website
Near Falls Park and on the Reedy River is this unique facility hosting various art performances. At the corner of Main and Broad. A large six-acre campus.
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
650 North Academy Street – Website
PRO TIP: If you’re spending the night, consider staying at a hotel within walking distance. We stayed at the Home2Suites by Hilton. While the facility charges $15 per night and is valet parking only, that was cheaper than the $20 fees we saw for other nearby lots. Plus, you can refresh yourself after a drive and explore downtown without worrying about drinking and driving.
And a wintertime bonus thing to do in Greenville, SC:
11. Ice skate downtown
Main and Broad Street – Website
Open from November to January, the annual Ice on Main event is a not-to-be-missed best thing to do in Greenville, SC. Located next to City Hall and in front of the Courtyard Marriott, this event introduces young and old to a magnificent experience. Ice on Main is one of the best things to do in Greenville SC in winter!
Has Greenville, South Carolina been on your radar for a weekend getaway? Any other recommendations of things to see in downtown Greenville?
Looking for more nearby things to do, the following articles will have information of interest for you:
- Reasons to visit Charlotte, NC
- Things to do in Bryson City, NC
- Weekend Getaway to Shelby, NC
- Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail
- North Carolina’s Lavender Farms
- North Carolina’s Drive Ins
Annick, The Common Traveler