Greenville may not be as well-known as some of the other cities in South Carolina, but that is even more reason to visit this beautiful, low-key metropolitan area. The outdoor parks and surrounding forests are breathtaking, and residents are known for their love of cycling along timbered trails. The food scene has been touted as a “paradise” by Southern Living and as the South’s “newest food city” by Vogue, and, if you love to shop, there’s no shortage of cute boutiques and stores. Stay for a long weekend, or extend your trip to venture out to nearby Asheville or Charlotte.
Things to Do & See
If you are staying in upstate South Carolina, your trip would be remiss without at trip outdoors. Luckily, the great outdoors is centrally located in the heart of Greenville. The Falls Park on the Reedy is a waterfall park with local fauna, grassy shoals, and trails along the river. Just steps from Main Street, this park is an oasis nestled in the downtown.
From 8 AM to noon every Saturday, you can check out seasonally available produce, shop from 75 local vendors, listen to live music, and watch cooking demos by area chefs. Located on Main Street, Greenville’s Saturday Market is the ultimate showcase of the culture and cuisine of the city and surrounding region.
Escape rooms have been all the rage around the country as of late, but what makes Greenville’s Escape Artist so thrilling is that each room and challenge is specially designed for the group. If you’re traveling with a friend or group of friends, contact them in advance so that their team can customize the ultimate mystery adventure.
While technically not in Greenville, The Biltmore Estate is worth the jaunt to nearby Asheville. Built by the Vanderbilt family in 1895, the estate is the largest private home in America. An astounding 178,926 square feet of opulence surrounded by 125,000 acres of gardens, forests, and vineyards, this Gilded Age home is the essential day trip from Greenville.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay centrally in the only AAA Diamond hotel in Greenville, then a room at The Westin Poinsett is the perfect choice. Start your day with a workout at their world class gym that includes Peleton bikes or even request a room with a Peleton bedside. With an onsite coffee shop, piano bar, and award-winning restaurant, you can spend time relaxing in the hotel before or after your day exploring.
If you’re planning a girls’ getaway, there’s no homier place to stay than this quant cottage located in downtown Greenville. While you can book a single room, if you reserve the entire house you can take advantage of the kitchen, which is restocked daily with breakfast staples. Located along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, you and your friends can bike, hike, or walk along 20+ miles of trails just as easily as you can explore the nearby fine dining and shopping of the city.
Just steps from Falls Park on the Reedy, the Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast is Southern Comfort in the heart of downtown. Enjoy a wine and cheese plate delivered to your room every night, take advantage of the bottomless cookies, and devour a homemade breakfast every morning.
Where to Eat
One of the first New South cuisine restaurants in the city, Soby’s is now the must-eat fine dining destination if you’re visiting Greenville. The menu pays tribute to the roots of Southern cuisine with playful interpretations that incorporate local fare. Try the “Black and Blue” dip as an appetizer before ordering the Potato Crusted Grouper that will have you wishing you could only eat more.
If you want to take a break from heavy Southern fare, then head to The Lazy Goat where the Mediterranean-inspired food rivals the kind you’d find in Spain or Greece. Meant for sharing, the plates are made from scratch items like Tahini Chicken and Gyro Pizza. The restaurant likes for its guests to take their time enjoying a meal, so it’s a great place to savor the company along with the food.
When you think of the South you may not think Italian food, but Jianna will change your mind. This Italian oyster bar boasts fresh catches, house-made pastas and sauces, and handcrafted cocktails. Featured in The New York Times, New York Post, and USA Today for its incredible menu and wine list, Jianna is the ultimate experience in Greenville’s burgeoning food scene.
Where to Shop
In the mood to shop, but not sure where to start? Then head to the Haywood Mall, where there are over 130 shops and 20 restaurants. Grab a bite to eat the Saltwater Kitchen, choose the perfect Southern souvenir at Palmetto Moon, or shop the finest brands of jewelry at Reed’s Jewelers.
Stopping by a local bookstore in any town is always a treat, but M.Judson Bookstore and Bakery is an experience of history and inspiration. Founded by female educator and activist Mary Judson at the end of the 19th century, this literary club turned bookstore profiles local authors, hosts numerous events, and even serves cupcakes. Have a “blind date” with a book or sign up for a “lunch and lit” discussion on a new author.
When you shop at Traveling Chic Boutique, you’re walking into a shop that only carries items once a week. Part trunk show, part boutique, this “airstream” of style is both affordable and chic. The store also gives back 10% of sales to a different charity every month, so you can shop with a purpose.