The Top 12 Things to Do in Greenville, South Carolina

Liberty Bridge with Bikers on Path
Jon Lovette / Getty Images

Located in South Carolina's Upstate in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city of Greenville is one of the nation's fastest-growing cities and draws nearly 5.5. million visitors annually for its scenic parks and outdoor activities, acclaimed museums and performing art venues, restaurants, breweries, and shopping. Within driving distance of other Southeastern cities like Atlanta, Asheville, and Charlotte, Greenville makes a great weekend getaway, whether you want to kick back on a patio with a local brew, pedal to the best restaurants and attractions, or hiking to sweeping mountain views.

01 of 12

Visit Falls Park on the Reedy

Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville, South Carolina
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images
601 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601-2504, USA
Phone +1 864-467-4350

This stunning, 32-acre green space in downtown's historic West End is the ultimate urban oasis. Stroll along the walking trails to view landscaped gardens, public art installations, dramatic stonework, and a wall from the site's original 18th century grist mill or grab snacks from local vendors and settle in for a scenic picnic. For the best views of the city and the park's namesake dramatic waterfalls, cross the 355-foot suspension Liberty Bridge, the longest single-sided bridge in the Western Hemisphere.

02 of 12

Opt Outside at Paris Mountain Park

Paris Mountain State Park

Courtesy of Visit Greenville

2401 State Park Rd, Greenville, SC 29609, USA
Phone +1 864-244-5565

Formed by a monadnock that towers above dense hardwood forest just ten minutes from downtown Greenville, Paris Mountain is the site of a 1,540-acre state park that is one of the city's best recreation areas. Hike or mountain bike over 15 miles of trails, from the gentle, nearly 1-mile Lake Placid Loop to the steep, technical 12-mile Paris Mountain Big Loop. In the warmer months, swim in the designated area in Lake Placid or rent a kayak, canoe, or pedal boat to explore the calm waters. The park also has fishing and boating access and offers 39 paved campsites and five trailside campsites for those wishing to stay overnight, plus picnic shelters and an educational park center.

03 of 12

Pedal Down the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail

people walking on a suspension foot bridge over a creek

Courtesy of Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail

103 McDaniel Ave, Greenville, SC 29601, USA

This 22-mile mixed use greenway follows an old railroad bed and connects downtown Greenville to the town of Travelers Rest. Rent a bike from Reedy Rides—rates start at $20 for a half-day—or take a guided tour to pedal to points of interest along the trail, including public art installations, quirky coffee shops, and local breweries. Head 1 mile east from downtown to explore Cleveland Park and the Greenville Zoo. Or venture 6 miles north to picturesque Furman University and its iconic lake and bell tower, ideal for lounging with a book or enjoying a picnic. Just further to the north at the trail's end is the Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom, where you can enjoy snacks and local brews before your return trip.

04 of 12

Visit the Greenville County Museum of Art

front entrance of Greenville County Museum of Art

Courtesy of Visit Greenville

420 College St, Greenville, SC 29601-2017, USA
Phone +1 864-271-7570

Located on the Heritage Green cultural campus downtown, this modern museum is home to the world's largest public collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors. The museum's permanent collection also includes a significant number of pieces from South Carolina contemporary artist Jasper Johns as well as a Southern collection with works ranging from early colonial pastel portraits to American impressionism and abstract expressionism.

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05 of 12

Play at the Children's Museum of the Upstate

young children playing on platforms at Children's museum of the upstate

Courtesy of Children's Museum of the Upstate

300 College St, Greenville, SC 29601, USA
Phone +1 864-233-7755

Also part of the Heritage Green area downtown, the Children's Museum of the Upstate is an affordable, fun activity for families. Explore three floors of interactive exhibits ranging from playing with sounds and instruments to discovering indigenous wildlife and natural resources to building miniature dams and learning about the area's water systems. The museum also has an outdoor recreation area, an on-site cafe, a play pond for toddlers, and a climbing wall.

06 of 12

Dine With a View

couches and a fireplace on an outdoor patio lounge

Courtesy of UP on the Roof

From the breathtaking falls of the Reedy River to city skylines, some of Greenville's best restaurants offer dining with a view. Part oyster house, part Italian trattoria, Jianna overlooks scenic Falls Park downtown and offers a range of house-made pastas, seafood plates and oysters on the half shell, and specialty cocktails. Inside the park, French-inspired Passerelle Bistro serves small plates like escargot and crab cakes, generous salads, and classic dishes like Duck Cassoulet and steak frites for lunch and dinner and weekend brunch. For rooftop views, head to UP on the roof, which is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on the weekends. The extensive menu includes sharable snacks as well as generous main plates (think tacos, wings, burgers, salads, and drunken mussels) plus local beers, wines, and cocktails.

07 of 12

Sample Local Brews

People sitting at outdoor bench tables at a brewery

Courtesy of Visit Greenville

Greenville is home to more than a dozen local breweries, many of them offering on-site tastings and tours, plus live music, food trucks, patios, and outdoor 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. for its award-winning Dunkel and seasonal beers, wings, and courtyard games; Birds Fly South Ale Project for farmhouse/saison-style beers; and Fireforge Crafted Beer, which has a large outdoor beer garden downtown serving food and more than 15 types of beers on tap. To explore more of the city's beer scene, book a tour with the experts at The Brewery Experience.

08 of 12

Catch at Show at the Peace Center

fountain and small reflecting pool infront of Peace Center in Greenville, SC

Courtesy of Peace Center

300 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601-2606, USA
Phone +1 864-467-3000

As the home of five local performing arts companies, including Carolina Ballet Theatre, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Symphony, International Ballet, and South Carolina Children’s Theatre, this gorgeous, downtown venue has a 2,100-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theater, and an amphitheater. In addition, the space hosts a Broadway series with touring productions of the latest hits like Mean Girls and Hamilton, plus film screenings, comedy shows, music recitals, and performances by popular musicians such as Old Crow Medicine Show and Patti LaBelle. Even if not attending a show, the beautifully landscaped grounds are worth a visit.

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09 of 12

See the Stars at the Roper Mountain Science Center

a family standing outside of Roper Mountain Science Center

Courtesy of Roper Mountain Science Center

402 Roper Mountain Rd, Greenville, SC 29615, USA
Phone +1 864-355-8900

This science academy is part of the Greenville County School District but has many programs available to the general public. The most popular of these is its "Friday Starry Nights" shows at the T.C. Hooper Planetarium, with two separate viewings. Admission also includes access to the Charles E. Daniel Observatory, with a historic 23-inch refractor telescope, the eighth largest in the world. The Roper Mountain property also has a 1-mile nature trail, butterfly garden, and living history farm.

10 of 12

Play at Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park in South Carolina
JillLang / Getty Images
158 E Ellison Ln, Pickens, SC 29671-9524, USA
Phone +1 864-878-9813

Located 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. For an easy, family friendly stroll, opt for the 1.9 mile Lakeside Trail, which offers views of the mountain and local wildlife. The park also has two lakes, with seasonal swimming access as well as kayak, canoe, and pedal boat rentals, plus fishing piers, a playground, a gift shop, and monthly "Music on the Mountain" bluegrass jam sessions held at Table Rock Lodge. Guests wanting to stay overnight can book one of several fully furnished cabins or stay at one of two campsites.

11 of 12

Tour the Greenville Center for Creative Arts

Greenville Center for the Creative Arts

Courtesy of Greenville Center for the Creative Arts

540 Buncombe St, Greenville, SC 29601-1906, USA
Phone +1 864-467-3100

Housed in an old cotton factory, this community arts space includes galleries dedicated to resident as well as local, regional, and international visual artists. The center also hosts touring exhibits, summer camps, and art classes in photography, clay, jewelry, and other mediums. Meet in-studio artists on the First Friday of each month between 5 to 8 p.m.

12 of 12

Enjoy Some Shopping Downtown

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina Skyline Cityscape
Kruck20 / Getty Images

With its tree-lined, landscaped streets, Greenville's downtown is compact, walkable, and dotted with more than 100 local shops, perfect for browsing or bringing home a unique souvenir. Stop into MAKE MADE for one-of-a-kind handbags and jewelry made by local, independent artisans or Given for contemporary women's clothing and accessories. Head to Horizon Records for the latest in vinyl, plus concert posters and other memorabilia and Vintage Now Modern for antique and contemporary furnishings plus lighting, bedding, and artwork. Greenville Jerky and Vine offers a variety of gourmet foods such as house-made, grass-beef jerky, plus hot sauces, pickles, preserves, and wines from local, family-owned vineyards.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of two hours of free parking in the West Market Street lot.

Article Sources
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  1. Research and Statistics. "Visit Greenville." 2021.

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The Top 12 Things to Do in Greenville, South Carolina