Uncovering the Charm of Greenville, South Carolina

Written and Photographed by: Abby Price

Greenville, a small city in the northwestern part of South Carolina, has been rising in popularity over the last few years. Its adorable downtown area is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries. Greenville’s abundant charm and nature-filled downtown is only enriched by its outstanding performing arts center, beautiful parks, and proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

After hearing so much about Greenville and seeing amazing photos, I decided to visit the city myself. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Greenville not only met but exceeded my expectations. The city is overflowing with southern hospitality, scenic views, and plenty of activities to enjoy, making it the perfect getaway not too far from the state of Virginia.

Traveling To Greenville, South Carolina

You have a few options for reaching Greenville, South Carolina. The city has a decently sized airport, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, which makes flying in and out convenient. The airport is just a 15-minute drive from downtown, which is very convenient for those wanting to avoid being in a car for long stints of time.

If you prefer a road trip, like I did, the drive is very pleasant. From Lynchburg, you can take I-29 towards Greensboro, then switch to I-85 past Charlotte and head towards Spartanburg, which leads to Greenville. The drive takes about 5 hours exactly and is well worth it for the charming city and all it offers.

Where To Stay

I chose a hotel in downtown Greenville because the area is so walkable! Staying downtown means you can easily explore the vibrant dining and shopping scene without driving. Plus, you avoid the hassle of finding parking, which can be tricky near popular restaurants, stores, and venues.

I recommend staying at the Hyatt Place Greenville Downtown. The rooms are spacious, and it’s conveniently located near many restaurants. Plus, it’s close to Falls Park on the Reedy, a 32-acre park in Greenville’s Historic West End, where the Reedy River flows through. It’s perfect for strolling, admiring the waterfall, and enjoying nature in a downtown setting.

Experiences Worth Having

A visit to Greenville isn’t complete without stopping by Falls Park on the Reedy. This massive park is perfect for walking around, appreciating the water features, and enjoying its lovely suspension bridge. It’s an excellent spot for outdoor activities and taking memorable photos of your time in the city.

I loved that the park has plenty of seating, including picnic tables, porch swings, and chairs for visitors to enjoy. My husband and I spent a few hours strolling around the park, and it was nice to sit in different areas and take in the soothing sound of the cascading waterfall.

For live entertainment, I recommend heading to Bon Secours Wellness Arena. They host concerts, wrestling matches, and Greenville Swamp Rabbits hockey games. My husband and I attended a wrestling event there and enjoyed the lively atmosphere, excellent facilities, and convenient location. Since we stayed downtown, we could walk to the arena, which made the experience even better!

Another worthwhile experience, especially for animal enthusiasts or those traveling with children or grandchildren, is visiting the Greenville Zoo. It has a variety of animals, such as giraffes, red pandas, alligators, and more, making it an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone. I appreciated its downtown location, making it another fantastic place to walk to if you stay downtown.

Outdoor Activities You Shouldn’t Miss

Greenville boasts 39 parks spread across 500 acres of its land, offering plenty of green spaces to explore. Each park has its unique charm, making choosing just one to visit hard. Although Falls Park on the Reedy stands out as my favorite due to its proximity to downtown and our hotel, the city’s array of parks makes it effortless to step outside and spend time in nature. 

Fluor Field offers another fantastic outdoor experience with minor league baseball games featuring the Greenville Drive team. It’s a perfect spot to spend a summer day soaking up the sun while enjoying the game.

If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, consider venturing just outside of Greenville to Chimney Rock State Park, located approximately 55 miles north. It’s an ideal spot for hiking, offering many different trails suitable for all skill levels. Try the nearly 2-mile Hickory Nut Falls Trail for an easy yet stunning hike leading to a majestic 400-foot waterfall. This trail is perfect for beginners or those searching for a leisurely stroll with beautiful scenery.

Check out the Exclamation Point and Skyline Trail to Hickory Nut Falls for a more challenging workout. Although this route is less than 3 miles, it includes numerous steep stairs. However, the breathtaking views from the summit, overlooking the mountains, water, and towns below, make the effort well worth it.

Expert Recommendations

My favorite thing to do in Greenville is stroll through downtown and explore the diverse range of restaurants, breweries, cafes, and shops. For a unique place to dine, I highly recommend Trappe Door, a Belgian restaurant known for its delicious Belgian beer, short ribs, steak frites, and other tasty specialties that are sure to impress.

Another great tip I have for you is to explore the city’s coffee scene. Greenville is packed with coffee shops offering amazing variations, and if you enjoy specialty coffees, it’s a must-try. I recommend visiting Coffee Underground. They have a quirky atmosphere and serve scrumptious coffee and food. And don’t miss trying a slice of their strawberry cake with your coffee. It’s an unexpected but delightful combo that you’ll love.

My last tip is to consider scheduling your trip for spring, summer, or fall. I recommend avoiding winter since Greenville’s charm lies in its scenic beauty, views, and outdoor parks. Opt for a time when the weather is warm and ideal for outdoor activities. This way, you can fully appreciate Greenville’s unique appeal, including its mountains and abundant green spaces.  

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