Surrounded by lush green hills, Greenville, SC, is easy to love at first sight, but there’s so much more than meets the eye. The cultural and entertainment center of Eastern South Carolina, this captivating city is brimming with activities and attractions, most of which are in bustling Downtown Greenville, SC.
History resonates through the streets of Downtown Greenville, with historic buildings and modern developments standing side-by-side. Falls Park on the Reedy River stands as a crowning jewel, offering a picturesque oasis within the city. Cleveland Park is a local favorite for recreational activities, from walking the park’s trails to playing basketball and tennis.
Art enthusiasts will delight in the Greenville County Museum of Art, showcasing an impressive collection of Southern masterpieces. The Peace Center for the Performing Arts is a testament to the city’s commitment to the arts, hosting an array of world-class performances, from Broadway shows to classical concerts.
If you’re looking for a taste of the local scene, the bustling Main Street has charming boutiques, eclectic shops, and a mouthwatering selection of eateries. From farm-to-table bistros to international cuisines, you can embark on a delightful journey of flavors.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities either. Biking and walking trails wind through the city, allowing you to explore its nooks and crannies while enjoying the pleasant climate. The Swamp Rabbit Trail, a multi-use greenway, stretches for miles, providing a scenic route for cyclists and pedestrians.
Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, a food lover, or simply searching for a memorable getaway, Downtown Greenville offers a tapestry of experiences. Not sure where to begin? This comprehensive guide will give you some great ideas on what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in Downtown Greenville, SC!
What to see & do in Downtown Greenville, SC
Falls Park on the Reedy
Take some time out to wander through the beautiful green oasis of Falls Park on the Reedy. Nestled along the banks of the Reedy River in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End, this scenic enclave seamlessly blends natural beauty with urban charm, offering a perfect escape from the bustling streets.
Far more than a nature lover’s paradise, Falls Park on the Reedy is one of the city’s greatest treasures and one of the coolest places to visit in Greenville, SC. Boasting beautiful gardens and waterfalls, appealing stonework, and striking public art pieces, the park is a favorite spot for photos and leisurely strolls.
Marvel at the beauty of the Reedy River Falls, which cascade gracefully through a series of rocky ledges, creating a picturesque backdrop perfect for relaxation and contemplation. The iconic Liberty Bridge, a striking pedestrian suspension bridge, offers breathtaking views of the falls and natural beauty.
Explore beautifully landscaped gardens, meandering walking paths, and charming footbridges that connect various parts of the park. Enjoy picnics, yoga, or simply unwinding.
Falls Park is adorned with various sculptures and installations that add an artistic touch to the natural landscape, creating a harmonious blend of aesthetics and nature. Don’t forget your camera to catch architectural marvels and interesting artworks against a backdrop of vibrant greenery.
Soak up Greenville’s rich culture and charm with an amble along Main Street, the vibrant heart of the city. Penned as a ‘Great American Main Street,’ this 10-block stretch is lined with boutiques, cafés, shops, and restaurants shaded by towering maples and oaks. Day or night, tree-lined Main Street makes a delightful place to eat, shop and explore.
Embark on a shopping adventure along Main Street’s boutique-lined sidewalks. You’ll find unique treasures and souvenirs from local art galleries to fashion boutiques. Discover local art and culture at galleries, theaters, and live music venues dotted along Main Street.
Refuel over a quick bite or a long, lazy lunch at one of the many eateries along the street, from farm-to-table cafés to fine dining restaurants. Walk off your lunch with a stroll to the nearby Falls Park on the Reedy, admiring public art installations, sculptures, and murals dotted about Main Street along the way.
If you’re visiting on a Saturday morning, check out the TD Saturday Market on Main, where you can find local produce, artisanal goods, and live music.
As the sun sets, Main Street transforms into a lively scene with bars, lounges, and live music venues that keep going well into the night.
If you’re a nature lover or need something to do with the kids, pop into the Greenville Zoo to meet some of the world’s most wondrous creatures. Situated on Cleveland Park Drive, the zoo inspires visitors to foster a connection with wildlife, learn more about conservation efforts, and appreciate the planet’s biodiversity.
Delve into the world of wildlife and encounter diverse animals, from majestic lions and playful primates to colorful birds and elusive reptiles. Feed and interact with giraffes at the elevated Giraffe Overlook, a unique experience that lets you get close to these towering creatures.
Learn about the zoo’s commitment to conservation and its vital role in protecting endangered species and their habitats. Head to the vibrant Children’s Garden, where young visitors can engage in hands-on activities, educational exhibits, and interactive play zones.
The Greenville Zoo is situated within Cleveland Park, which boasts lush green spaces, walking trails, and picnic areas. Relax with a picnic in the park after exploring the zoo.
Insider tip: Plan your visit during the morning hours or weekdays for a quieter and more relaxed experience. Animals tend to be more active during these times.
Peace Center Concert Hall
Enjoy a world-class musical, opera, or orchestral symphony at the Peace Center Concert Hall. Nestled on the bustling Main Street, this cultural gem is at the core of the city’s artistic landscape and is a haven for the performing arts.
Whether you’re a fan of Broadway musicals, opera, or orchestral performances, the Peace Center Concert Hall promises an enchanting journey through the arts. You can enjoy a range of performances by renowned solo artists to cutting-edge theater productions.
The Peace Center features several venues, including the Peace Concert Hall, the Gunter Theatre, and the TD Stage. Each space offers a unique ambiance for performances, from intimate plays to grand symphony orchestras.
Enjoy pre-show gatherings, receptions, and breathtaking views of the Reedy River from the Wyche Pavilion and Reedy River Plaza in front of the concert hall. You’ll also find plenty of fantastic restaurants and bars within a short walk from the hall, ideal for pre- or post- drinks or dinner.
Linky Stone Park: The Children’s Garden
For a family-friendly place with whimsical charm, Linky Stone Park: The Children’s Garden will delight! Situated within the South Carolina Botanical Garden on Discovery Lane, this enchanting space is a haven for children and families wanting some outdoor fun.
Explore an array of themed gardens designed to engage young minds. From a sensory garden that awakens the senses to a butterfly garden that invites exploration, each area offers unique experiences. Embark on the Storybook Trail, where classic children’s stories come to life along a winding path. Follow the trail to encounter interactive displays that bring beloved tales to the garden.
Engage in unstructured play as you discover natural elements like sandboxes, water features, and climbing structures that encourage kids to interact with the environment. Participate in hands-on educational activities and programs that introduce children to the wonders of gardening, ecology, and the natural world.
Pack a picnic and enjoy outdoor dining and quality time with your family in the garden’s designated areas. If you visit during the warmer months, you’ll witness the butterfly garden’s fluttering wonders and see butterflies up close.
Greenville County Museum of Art
Celebrate the beauty of Southern art and the region’s creative heritage at the Greenville County Museum of Art. Make your way to College Street to find this cultural oasis home to a rich collection of artworks that reflect the essence of Greenville and the South.
Established in 1935, the Greenville County Museum of Art is a significant cultural institution that houses a diverse collection of American art, focusing on works by artists from the South. Explore the impressive collection that spans centuries, encompassing paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from Southern artists and American masters.
One of the most interesting places to visit in Greenville, SC, the museum proudly hosts a renowned collection of works by Andrew Wyeth, one of America’s most celebrated realist painters. Explore his masterful depictions of landscapes and the human form. Discover rotating exhibitions that delve into various aspects of American art, offering fresh perspectives and insights into different artistic genres and movements.
Don’t forget to visit the museum’s gift shop, where you can find unique art-related gifts, books, and souvenirs to remember your visit.
Upcountry History Museum
Another fascinating cultural institution not to be missed if you love journeying back in time is the Upcountry History Museum. This captivating time capsule delves into the stories, people, and events that have shaped the vibrant history of the Upcountry region and Greenville.
Explore various exhibits that highlight aspects of the Upcountry’s history, such as Native American heritage, colonial history, industrial development, and contributions to the arts and culture. From the textile industry that played a significant role in the region’s growth to exhibits exploring civil rights, innovation, and cultural heritage, each display offers a deep dive into the stories that have shaped the Upcountry.
The permanent collections at the Upcountry History Museum include artifacts, documents, photographs, and objects that highlight the Upcountry’s history and its impact on the broader context of American history. Engage in hands-on activities that delve into history and provide a better understanding of historical processes and innovations.
One of Downtown Greenville’s spectacular outdoor attractions is the beautiful Cleveland Park. Nestled a half-mile downriver of Falls Park, this incredible 122-acre park offers a tranquil escape into nature and a wealth of recreational fun.
Fondly known as ‘the City Park’ by locals, Cleveland Park is packed with activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Reedy River runs the park’s length and creates a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures.
Explore the park’s walking trails that wind through shaded woodlands and open fields and are ideal for strolls, jogging, or nature-watching. The kids can swing, slide, and climb to their heart’s content in the playgrounds, and there are plenty of picnic areas for relaxed lunches.
You’ll find tennis courts and sports fields where you can engage in friendly matches and a picturesque pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Reedy River. Cross the bridge for a scenic view and photo-worthy moments.
Also nestled within Cleveland Park is the Greenville Zoo, where you can meet and greet various animal species from around the world.
Where to eat & drink
When the sun sets, the atmosphere in Downtown Greenville transforms into a captivating tapestry of sights, sounds, and aromas with a wealth of fantastic places to eat and drink. From farm-to-table establishments celebrating local produce to international eateries offering exotic flavors, there’s something for everyone.
Smoke On the Water is your go-to for a genuine Southern BBQ experience with a laid-back, rustic vibe. Nestled on South Main Street, this relaxed, family-friendly eatery serves mouthwatering smoked meats and classic sides. The outdoor patio is perfect for warm evenings. Try their sampler platter to taste their best offerings, and don’t miss their homemade sauces.
A culinary icon on South Main Street, Soby’s offers modern Southern cuisine with a touch of elegance. The ambiance blends history with contemporary flair, making it ideal for special occasions. Order their famous Crab Cakes, a local favorite that won’t disappoint!
Tucked beneath Poinsett Hotel, Trappe Door is a cozy Belgian pub on South Main Street that’s all about beer and classic Belgian eats. Think mussels, fries, and brews. The low-key vibe is perfect for beer lovers. Go with the staff’s beer recommendations: They’re knowledgeable and can help you find your ideal brew.
If you’re into fancy dinners and top-notch steak, Halls Chophouse Greenville on Main Street is a must! Stylish and elegant, the steakhouse offers prime cuts, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list. The atmosphere exudes sophistication, making it a go-to for special celebrations. If you’re a steak lover, try their dry-aged options for an exceptional culinary experience.
Roll down South Main Street to Reys if you’re up for Latin flavors with a twist. This lively cocktail joint serves delicious Latin dishes like fresh ceviche, and the outdoor patio is the place to be. Explore their creative cocktail menu and order something unusual.
Looking for a classic British pub with a cozy feel and traditional pub grub? Head down to the Velo Fellow on West Washington Street for an authentic local hangout. Tuck into fish-and-chips or shepherd’s pie and sip British ales and lagers. Grab a table in the outdoor seating area on a warm night and listen to live music.
A hidden gem on Coffee Street, Vault & Vator is a speakeasy-style bar and craft cocktail haven. An intimate, low-lit setting is perfect for escaping Greenville’s bustling nightlife. Chat up the bartenders; they’re mixology wizards and can whip up something custom for you.
Head to Jack n’ Diane’s Dueling Pianos on East North Street for a lively night out. The interactive piano bar offers live music with musicians taking song requests. It promises a great night out with friends. Arrive early to snag a good seat close to the action for an unforgettable musical experience.
Where to stay
Experience downtown Greenville at its best at Hyatt Place Greenville Downtown. Choose from spacious rooms offering modern comforts and scenic views. Enjoy 24/7 dining options, a fitness center to stay active, and a rooftop pool for relaxation. The hotel’s prime location ensures easy access to attractions like the Peace Center, just a short walk away.
Stay in the heart of Greenville at Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown. Enjoy cozy and well-appointed suites kitted out with modern comforts. Indulge in a complimentary breakfast and unwind at the rooftop lounge overlooking the cityscape. Work up a sweat at the fitness center and use meeting facilities.
Discover the perfect blend of comfort and style at SpringHill Suites by Marriott Greenville Downtown. Expansive suites provide ample space to unwind with spacious living areas and luxurious en-suite bathrooms. Enjoy amenities like a well-equipped fitness center and a delicious complimentary breakfast to kickstart your day. Unwind at the rooftop bar with panoramic city views.
Prepare for an exceptionally stylish stay at Aloft Greenville Downtown. Their range of rooms blends contemporary design with comfort. Enjoy the convenience of their fitness center and savor the culinary delights of their dining options. Head to the rooftop bar for killer city views and a relaxing ambiance. The hotel’s prime location is a short walk away from the bustling attractions on Main Street.
Experience timeless luxury at The Westin Poinsett in Greenville. Elegant rooms and suites have modern comforts and top-notch amenities, including a fitness center, upscale dining, and versatile event spaces. Indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments at the hotel spa. A short walk will take you to nearby Main Street’s vibrant attractions.