Why You Need to Spend a Weekend in Greenville, South Carolina

March 13, 2020

Last Updated on September 24, 2021 by Candy Wafford

Spend a weekend in Greenville, South Carolina, and see why this little city of about 70,000 residents, has caught the eye of fancy travel publications like Travel + Leisure. What’s not to love about a city that has retained its small-town charm but feels like a modern Southern city? Read on to see why you need to spend a weekend in Greenville, South Carolina.

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Woman standing in front of a Coke mural in downtown Greenville, SC.  Spend a weekend in Greenville, South Carolina and fall in love!

Why Greenville?

Nestled near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville’s downtown is clean as a pin. It’s pedestrian-friendly, has an impressive amount of public art and has one of the best public parks I’ve visited.  Its location makes it an easy drive for most of the South, and its affordability and variety of activities make Greenville a must-visit destination.

Greenville is an easy destination to reach from the southeastern United States. Located between Charlotte and Atlanta, it’s a great road trip destination but there is also an airport in Greenville for those coming from farther away.

What to Do In Greenville, SC

I was blown away by the number of things to do in Greenville. From sports to culture, to outdoor activities, there truly is something for everyone. Making Greenville a great destination for girlfriend getaways, a family-friendly trip, or a romantic weekend for you and that someone special.

Hotels in Downtown Greenville

Downtown Greenville is compact but packed with hotels. We stayed in the Aloft Greenville Downtown and loved the location. We saw most major brands located downtown including Hyatt, Westin, Springhill Suites among others. I also noticed the construction of some other hotels including AC Hotels and a Grand Bohemian Hotel. Looking for a budget hotel? You can find many budget-friendly hotels outside of downtown Greenville.

We considered using an Airbnb in Greenville and will probably go that route the next time we visit.

Downtown Greenville South Carolina.

Greenville, South Carolina Restaurants

My affection for a city usually depends on the food. For a small city, Greenville, South Carolina downtown restaurants are plentiful and diverse. And restaurants in downtown Greenville will please all budgets and palates. As a foodie, I would have been happy to go from restaurant to restaurant. But our schedule and full bellies meant we didn’t get to try as many restaurants as we would have liked (this time).

Where to Eat in Greenville

Restaurants in Greenville, SC

We started with lunch at Trio, a cozy local spot on Main Street and enjoyed our meals. Make sure you ask for some bread for your meal. A warm, yeasty round of bread is sitting in a pool of garlic butter and covered in Parmesan cheese. Yummy!

Chicken salad sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup at Trio Restaurant in downtown Greenville.  There are many downtown restaurants in Greenville, SC.

Dinner was happy hour appetizers at one of my favorite southeastern chain restaurants, Tupelo Honey. Tupelo Honey is a great place to try southern classics including fried chicken, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits. Their menu also includes healthier options like a spinach salad with blueberries and goat cheese. I appreciate that their chefs stay true to regional classics while putting a fresh spin on them.

Happy hour appetizers at Tupelo Honey restaurant downtown Greenville.

I own a couple of the Tupelo Honey cookbooks and they are among some of my favorites, the mac and cheese recipe is a personal favorite!

Breakfast in Greenville

We take breakfast seriously in the south! One of the best breakfasts I’ve had recently was at Maple Street Biscuit Company in downtown Greenville. The menu features a lengthy list of creative biscuit sandwiches. I had The Squawking Goat and it was out of this world. A crispy fried chicken breast is topped with fried goat cheese and both are sandwiched between a flaky biscuit. It’s then topped with house-made pepper jelly. Decadent and delicious! And perfect fuel for a day of wandering through downtown.

Since our evenings were spent watching basketball games, we didn’t eat dinner while out. I have a long list of Greenville restaurants I want to try when we return. Instead of eating big meals, we filled up on breakfast and a large lunch and then ate snacks throughout the day.

One snack was a scoop of gelato at Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe & Restaurant. The gelato was delicious, but the servings were kind of skimpy.

Gelato at Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe & Restaurant.  One of the many restaurants downtown Greenville.

Another treat was had at The Chocolate Moose Bakery, located in one of the best bookstores I’ve ever visited, M. Judson Booksellers. Grab a couple of books and then one of the tempting cupcakes, cookies, and other sweets available at the bakery.

Bookshelves full of cookbooks at M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, SC.  It's one of the many places to shop in Greenville, SC.

Fun Things to Do in Greenville

Visit Falls Park on the Reedy

Hands down, Falls Park on the Reedy is one of the best urban parks I’ve visited! A weekend in Greenville, South Carolina wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Falls Park. This oasis is just off of Main Street and features a series of waterfalls, gardens, an old mill, and gorgeous landscaping. Take a stroll over Liberty Bridge to get a view of the park from above.

Falls Over the Reedy Park in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

You will find shops and restaurants near the park and public art throughout. Falls Park on the Reedy is the heart of this beautiful city and an oasis for residents and visitors.

Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 22-mile walk and bike path that runs along the Reedy River and up to the nearby town of Travelers Rest. Bikes can be rented at several spots downtown and some hotels in Greenville offer guests the use of bikes during their stay.

Swamp Rabbit trail along the Reedy River in downtown Greenville, SC.  Taking a bike ride or walk along the Swamp Rabbit trail is one of the many fun things to do in Greenville, SC.

Take a Stroll Down Main Street

As you take a stroll down Main Street I bet you’ll be thinking, “I could live here.” Greenville is just that type of place. In addition to the many restaurants and shops you’ll find along Main Street, there are other attractions to keep an eye out for.

Make sure you walk past Falls Park to West End Greenville where you will find a slightly different vibe. I wish I had spent more time here eating at the many restaurants in the area and getting in some more Greenville shopping.

Building in the west end area of downtown Greenville, South Carolina.  You need to spend a weekend in Greenville, South Carolina!

Mice on Main

One of my favorites is Mice on Main. Normally seeing a mouse would elicit an EEK but these little bronze cuties are part of a scavenger hunt along Greenville’s Main Street. It was the brainchild of a high school student who loved the book Goodnight Moon as a child (who didn’t?). There are nine mice scampering along Main Street and trying to locate them will delight kids and adults. This is one of the reasons that Family Vacation Critic included Greenville on their list of small-town getaways your kids will actually enjoy.

Mice on Main is a fun scavenger hunt in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.  Based on the popular children's book Pat the Bunny, this scavenger hunt invites visitors to search for nine bronze mice scattered along Main Street.  A great thing to do with kids in Greenville, SC.

Take a Pic with Il Porcellino

Il Porcellino is a copy of a bronze statue in Florence, Italy. Il Porcellino, or the piglet is of a wild boar sitting along Main Street inviting those passing by to stop and place a coin in his mouth If it falls out, your wish will be granted. Also, rub his nose for good luck and a promise to return to him.

Bronze statue of a wild boar on Main Street in Greenville, SC.

Sample Some Spirits

Dark Corner Distillery is a family-owned distillery offering locally made spirts right on Main Street. Being from Kentucky, I’m more of a bourbon girl, but couldn’t pass up the $10 tasting that Dark Corner offers. For ten dollars, you select six tastings from their flavored whiskeys and rums, whiskey, gin, and vodka. Hanging out and sipping some Whiskey Girl peach was a great way to start the evening.

Tasting experience board with six tasting samples of whisky at Dark Corner Distillery in Greenville, South Carolina.  One of the many activities in Greenville.

Greenville Public Art Tour

Il Porcellino is one of the 99 pieces of public art you can see on the Greenville Public Art Tour. The volume and variety of art throughout this vibrant city is incredible!

Poinsett's Spring in downtown Greenville, SC.  This historical item is part of the public art walking tour and one of the many things to do in Greenville.

Spend Some Time Outdoors

In addition to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, visitors to Greenville can find ziplining, kayaking, paddleboarding, and rappelling activities less than an hour from downtown Greenville.

Area with benches and tables and chairs under the Liberty Bridge in downtown Greenville, SC.

Visit the Wildlife

Did you know that Greenville has a zoo? It’s just one of the many things to do with kids in Greenville. The city also has a Children’s Museum with a variety of hands-on activities and exhibits.

Have you spent a weekend in Greenville, South Carolina? What were your favorites places in this charming little city?

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More about Candy Wafford

Candy Wafford is a US-based travel blogger and while she travels frequently for her job, she is happiest when traveling for pleasure. Preferably strolling along a cobblestoned street with an ice cream cone in her hand.

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