Last Updated on April 9, 2023

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an hour from Asheville and two hours from Atlanta, this cosmopolitan-meets-southern-charm town finds itself on many best-of lists, including “Top 10 cool towns in America.” And for good reason. Whether a fan of adventure, history, food, or the arts, the open welcoming vibe of Greenville makes it a destination worth a visit.

Over four million people visit Greenville each year. It’s easily accessible, affordable, loaded with charm and usually has great weather too. Plus, if you stay downtown, you don’t need a car. 

With a complimentary free trolley taking you from North Main to the West End, and into adjoining neighborhoods, you can experience it all: live music and jazz clubs, comedy spots, farmers markets, street festivals, outdoor summer movies, horse and buggy, an eclectic arts district, and a suspended bridge overlooking a waterfall and river running right through the heart of downtown.

All this in the best destination you probably never thought to visit.

Take a Foodie Tour

Taste delicious food and discover fun history and hidden gems as you eat like a local with this walking tour through downtown Greenville. There are a variety of tours to choose from, including cocktail, breakfast, and dessert.

Here’s a secret, you can have cocktails, moonshine, and dessert if you take the Vine, Stein, and Shine Tour with Foothill Foodies.

Visit Art in Public Places

You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the over 70 public art installations scattered throughout town.  From sculptures to murals, art is everywhere in Greenville. Get out your cameras and keep your eyes open.

As you walk through downtown, you’ll find huge colorful murals on sides of buildings, sculptures – some spinning – bronze statues, and a Dale Chihuly piece in the parking lot behind Smoke on the Water.

See a Baseball Game at Fluor Field

Created as a mini replica of Fenway Park, Fluor Field is home to the Greenville Drive. Keeping with the family friendly reputation Greenville has, this gorgeous stadium located in the West End is super affordable by comparison to major leagues.

Buy hotdogs and win t-shirts during half time as the team mascot Reedy Rip’it interacts with fans.

Ride on a Horse and Carriage

Imagine strolling down Main Street at night underneath a canopy of trees that twinkle against a crisp dark sky. This is oh so Central Park – but in Greenville! Pick up is in front of the historic Poinsett Hotel, or arrange for pickup at your hotel.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

So much fun! And free too.

Inspired by the book Goodnight Moon and created as part of a high school senior project, bronze mice are scattered up and down Main Street. Look high and look low. They are in places you’d least expect.

Stop by the Visitor Center for clues to find the Mice on Main, and to buy your own mouse, visit Mast General.

Taste Moonshine

Once upon a time, men with beards and tattered overalls hid in the Dark Corner of South Carolina, determined to make their whiskey regardless of what the law said. To keep hidden, they did so at night, by the light of the moon, which is how moonshine got its name.

But you don’t have to go to the Dark Corner of South Carolina to get moonshine. Dark Corner is now on Main Street, offering tastings of moonshine as well as moonshine for purchase.

When’s the last time you tried moonshine? A must do when visiting Greenville.

Picnic by the Waterfall

No trip is to Greenville is complete without a picnic by the famed 90’ waterfall that flows off the Reedy River. Enjoy breathtaking views from Liberty Bridge and take it all in. You’ll be standing in the heart of Greenville, at the very spot which every publication about Greenville features.

Inside tip: If you don’t want to picnic, try to get a table at Passerelle Bistro overlooking the waterfall.  It’s the perfect ending to your time in Greenville.

Take a Selfie Lying Down, Really!

Take the free trolley to the North Main neighborhood. Get off at Earl Street and walk a block down this gorgeous historic street to Wade Hampton. Turn left and you’ll see a few small retail spots. At the end of one of the buildings is a hair salon. 

This oh-so-fun mural with bench in front of it is there. Grab a friend, you’ll need them to take your picture while you are posing on the bench.

Coffee shop and pizza basically next door – so come for the selfie and stay for some treats.

See a Broadway Show at the Peace Center

You don’t need to go to NY to see a Broadway play or musical – the Peace Center has them all. This 2,000 seat concert hall, located in the heart of downtown on Main Street, and next to the Reedy River, is the cultural center of the upstate of South Carolina. For a pre-theater dinner, try Genevieve’s inside.

Like all Broadway shows, the tickets sell out in advance.

If you’re planning a trip to Greenville and want to include a night of theater, get your tickets early.

Visit the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum

Famed baseball player Joe Jackson was raised in the Brandon Textile Mill village where he played for the village’s baseball team. With all his notoriety, his home was eventually turned into a museum and moved closer to town, across the street from Fluor Field, making it easier for people to visit.

Note: The museum has been moved a few times and is in the process of being moved again, just down the street.

Go to the Museum of Modern Art – FREE!

Located just outside of downtown, but very walkable, is the Heritage Green district. Home of the main library as well as Upcountry History Museum and Children’s Museum, the Museum of Modern Art is FREE!

And it houses the world’s largest collection of watercolors by American artist Andrew Wyeth.

Art Crossing

Walk along the Reedy River at Art Crossing where you can meet the artists and see the projects they’re working on. Coffee shops and restaurants scattered along the pathway with a fun water feature for cooling off on hot summer days.

Visit the Village of Greenville in the West End

From thriving mill village to boarded up and vacant part of town to successful redevelopment where beer, bikes, and yoga are commonplace, and where young professionals are starting to call home.

Tour the Textile Mills

Join Greenville History Tours for a tour of Greenville including the textile mills. These huge brick buildings that served as the economy for the mill villages that surrounded them are now being converted into loft apartments with dog parks and communal areas.

Eat at Husk

Think cool hotspot in historic building where executive chef out of Charleston creates elevated Southern dishes. Bon Appetit magazine says, “Husk epitomizes Southern Hospitality”.

If service and vibe are as important to you as the food, eat at Husk.

Author

  • Susan Dejanovic

    Susan Dejanovic is a freelance travel and food writer based in Greenville, SC. She enjoys traveling to new places, meeting new people, having authentic cultural experiences, and writing about them. When she’s not writing you can find her eating yellow curry, singing car karaoke – hello 1970s and 80s – and dreaming about her next trip abroad. For more of Susan’s stories follow her on Instagram @baggageandbubbly. MEMBER: ITWPA.