48 Hours in Greenville: The Ultimate Itinerary

Aerial drone shot of Downtown Greenville South Carolina
Kruck20 / Getty Images

With stunning parks, dozens of restaurants and breweries, eclectic galleries, varied museums, and year-round recreational activities ranging from hiking to cycling, Greenville is an ideal scenic weekend getaway. Whether you're driving in or flying in, getting to this picturesque mountain foothill town has never been easier. From the can't-miss museums to the must-visit restaurants to the most epic mountain hikes, here is how to make the most of your short stay in Charlottesville

01 of 06

Day 1: Morning

Chairs in the Westin Poinsett Lobby

Courtesy of VisitGreenvilleSC

10 a.m.: As soon as you land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, head to your hotel to stow your bags, or if you're lucky, check in early. Stay at the Westin Poinsett, a historic property in the heart of downtown that offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. The hotel is with walking distance of restaurants, breweries, shops, galleries, and points of interest such as Falls Park on the Reedy and the Peace Center.

11 a.m.: Perk up with tea or coffee (try the lavender latte) and pastries from Methodical Coffee, a few blocks up Main Street. Then wander through downtown's dozens of unique shops and boutiques, including MAKE MADE for one-of-a-kind handbags and jewelry made by local artisans, Vintage Now Modern for antique and contemporary home furnishings, or GVL Soy Candle Co. for bath and body products — including a Greenville candle that makes a perfect souvenir. On Saturday from May to October, stop by TD Saturday Market on Main Street for cold-pressed juices and fresh-baked pastries and bread, plus seasonal products, fresh-cut flowers, small-batch candles, pottery, and custom furniture.

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02 of 06

Day 1: Afternoon

buildings and a stream in downtown Greenville, South Carolina
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

12:30 p.m.: After spending some time shopping it's time for lunch. Both Passerelle Bistro, which serves French bistro fare, and Foxcroft Wine Co., a retail shop and wine bar with a full-service restaurant, offer seating with views of the 32-acre Falls on the Reedy. After lunch, stroll along the walking trails to view landscaped gardens, public art installations, dramatic stonework, and the 355-foot suspension Liberty Bridge, the longest single-sided bridge in the Western Hemisphere. If traveling with little ones, make a stop at the whimsical, experiential Children's Garden at Linky Stone Park, which is tucked underneath the South Academy Street Bridge and features a colorful gingerbread cottage, a secret garden, and a geology wall comprised of local rocks and minerals.

2:30 p.m.: Rent a bike from Reedy Rides and pedal along the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile multi-use greenway that winds by the Reedy River. Travel southeast for just over a mile to visit scenic Cleveland Park and the adjacent Greenville Zoo. Or travel north for 10 miles to downtown Traveler's Rest and its galleries, breweries, and shops. Check out TR Makers Co. for pottery and jewelry from area artisans, RetroMarketplace, Inc. for mid-century furniture and up-cycled clothing, Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom for local brews like its Belgian-style white ale, and Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse for espressos, pour-over coffee, and sweet and savory crepes.

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03 of 06

Day 1: Evening

restaurant dining table with oysters, cured hams, and pasta

Courtesy of Table 301 Restaurant Group

6:30 p.m.: Grab pre-dinner drinks and snacks at UP on the Roof. Located on the top of the Embassy Suites in downtown, this appropriately named restaurant offers the city's best views and some of its best food and drink. The shareable snacks—think rabbit tacos, drunken mussels, and fried chicken lettuce wraps—are great for groups, and the drink menu includes local craft beer, wine on tap, and bottled cocktails.

Stay for dinner or opt for one of downtown's other great restaurants, like Jianna, an Italian trattoria meets oyster bar. For a more casual evening, opt for The Trappe Door, a moody basement bar with a rotating list of more than a dozen Belgian and Belgian-style beers on tap, plus five different varieties of moules-frites (mussels and fries), and house-made pork and cherry sausages. Families will enjoy Sidewall Pizza, with specialty and customizable pizzas with toppings such as prosciutto, Italian sausage, arugula, roasted red peppers, and Kalamata olives.

9 p.m.: Enjoy an evening of live music at one of several local venues. Downtown, Blues Boulevard Jazz hosts local and touring artists, while Rainer's Cafe and Bar offers an intimate spot for listening to a range of artists, from blues and soul to folk and Americana. Just a few miles up the road off Poinsett Highway, Radio Room hosts 20 shows a month featuring artists playing hip hop, indie rock, and EDM, plus trivia nights, karaoke, and other special events.

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04 of 06

Day 2: Morning

Sunset on Table Rock Mountain viewed from Caesars Head State Park in South Carolina
John Coletti / Getty Images

9 a.m.: Fuel up for your second day in the city with a hearty breakfast. Downtown, Biscuit Head Greenville offers a menu of specialty biscuits and breakfast sandwiches (we highly recommend the filthy animal) and sweeter items like French toast. Another Asheville import, Tupelo Honey serves up Southern-style brunch classics like chicken and waffles, pancakes, and eggs Benedict. Or opt for lighter fare like a veggie quiche, oatmeal, or avocado toast at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery.

10:30 a.m.: Weather permitting, head to one of the area's sprawling state parks. Just 5 miles from downtown, Paris Mountain State Park has 15 miles of hiking and cycling trails, plus four lakes with beach access and kayak and canoe rentals. To get a glimpse of a dramatic waterfall, try the 4-mile, out-and-back Raven Cliff Falls Trail at Caesars Head State Park. 25 miles northeast of downtown, Table Rock State Park offers over a dozen miles of hiking trails ranging from half-mile easy excursions to strenuous paths that wind through dense forest and over boulders to the mountain's 3,124-foot summit, plus two lakes with seasonal swimming access as well as kayak, canoe, and pedal boat rentals.

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05 of 06

Day 2: Afternoon

Man looking intently at a piece of art on display in a gallery

Courtesy of Southern Cross Creative

1 p.m: Head to Gather Greenville, a food hall on downtown's West End near Fluor Field. With stalls selling a wide range of delectable treats including Philly cheesesteaks, sushi, pizza, and Maine-inspired lobster rolls, everyone will be able to find something to eat. The pet-friendly space (weekdays only) also has a coffee shop and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, ideal for large groups.

2:30 p.m.: After lunch, visit The Village of West Greenville, located just 2 miles to the west. The district is home to more than 60 shops and galleries, including the Greenville Center for the Creative Arts, which hosts art classes and meet and greets with artists. If traveling with kids, don't miss the Children's Museum of the Upstate, with three floors of interactive exhibits exploring music, nature, science, and design, plus an outdoor recreation area, an on-site cafe, a play pond for toddlers, and a climbing wall.

4:30 p.m.: Greenville is home to more than a dozen craft breweries, many of them offering on-site tastings and tours, plus live music, food trucks, patios, and yard games. Your first stop? The city's oldest, and family-run Thomas Creek Brewery, known for its signature IPAs like the Class Five. Other must-visit spots include Brewery 85, which has a large taproom serving its signature German-style brews like the 864 Weizen; Yee-Haw Brewing Co. with its award-winning Dunkel, seasonal beers, wings, and courtyard games; Birds Fly South Ale Project for farmhouse and saison-style beers; Fireforge Crafted Beer, which has a large outdoor beer garden and more than 15 types of beers on tap; and Southernside Brewing, whose extensive menu also includes cocktails and Southern-style bites. To explore more of the city's beer scene, book a tour with the experts at The Brewery Experience.

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06 of 06

Day 2: Evening


Lauren Rubenstein

6:30 p.m.: Grab drinks at Juniper, a 16,000 square-foot garden-inspired rooftop bar perched eight floors above Main Street. In addition to a dining room, the bar offers an outdoor lounge and table seating near fire pits along with an open-air Secret Cocktail Garden complete with scenic views, seasonal floral arrangements, lush topiaries, and artwork by local makers.

8 p.m.: Searching for a dinner splurge? Try The Anchorage, a 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist that offers concise menu of shareable small plates that highlights local, seasonable vegetables and lean proteins. Indulge in the four-course "tasting table" menu, which features a sampling of all the restaurant's dishes (like green garlic farro with Black Pearl mushrooms, slow-cooked and bronze fennel, and turmeric vinaigrette). The restaurant's menu includes craft cocktails, beer, and sustainable wines, many of which are available for purchase in the adjacent bottle shop, Taxi House Wines.