The top things to do in Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville — with its bustling art scene, bike-friendly attitude, colorful architecture and Southern hospitality — is rising the charts as one of the most desirable places to visit in the country. It’s also one of America’s fastest-growing cities, drawing thousands of people every year who are eager to call this thriving town home.
Whether you live here or you’re just visiting, there is so much to keep you entertained. So much, in fact, that it can be tough to decide what to do first. We rounded up a list of the top 16 things to do in the area, from wineries to outdoor activities and everything in between. How many can you check off this list?
Top things to do in Greenville, SC
Attractions in Greenville, SC
There is an endless list of things to do in the charming city of Greenville and there is surely something for the whole family to enjoy.
Marvel at the Greenville County Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Emily Barbee via the Greenville County Museum of Art
If you’re a fan of art — or if you just like looking at pretty things — the Greenville County Museum of Art is a must. The museum is considered to be the premier American art museum in the South, and is home to the world’s largest public collection of watercolors by iconic American artist Andrew Wyeth. You’ll find impressive collections of prints, painting and sculptures throughout, and you’ll leave with a comprehensive idea of American artwork with a particular emphasis on the South and the Carolinas.
See a show at the Peace Center
The Peace Center is the hub of cultural life in upstate South Carolina, featuring a 2,100-seat concert hall, a state-of-the-art amphitheater, and a 400-seat theater. The center plays host to hundreds of events per year, so on any given night, you’ll find something to entertain you! Peruse the event calendar to plan your next outing.
Watch the Greenville Drive play at Fluor Field
Catch a minor league baseball game at Fluor Field while in Greenville and watch the Greenville Drive play, and hopefully, score a win! With games all throughout the summer and weekly events at the stadium, there is always something to see at the field.
Take a stroll down Main Street
Take in the charm of Greenville by walking down main street and seeing what all the city has to offer. From shopping to dining to entertainment, there is always something to see and explore while in this friendly and quaint small town.
Learn something at the Roper Mountain Science Center
There’s always something new to learn at the Roper Mountain Science Center. Come experience the on-site butterfly garden, the living history farm, the nature trails, the hall of natural science and so much more! The planetarium is one of the center’s best attractions and is home to the nation’s seventh largest telescope.
Visit the BMW Zentrum Museum
As the only BMW museum in the nation, this place is like none other. There are numerous exhibits to explore all while learning about the history of the world renowned car company. While the museum is free, for just a few dollars you can go on a factory plant tour and go behind the scenes on the engineering and design of the BMW car company. And just a short drive away is the BMW Performance Center. Here, you can sit behind the wheel and test drive BMW models on a driving track and experience the thrill of BMW’s latest model cars.
Take the family to Frankie’s Fun Park
Photo courtesy of Frankie’s Fun Park
There’s something fun for people of all ages at Frankie’s Fun Park. This fun center features more than 100 arcade games, a go-kart course, virtual reality games, laser tag, a fun house, a batting cage, amusement park rides, bumper boats and the best mini golf course in town. Bring the whole family to explore, but keep in mind you might need more than a few hours!
Experience Greenville’s Wild Side at the Greenville Zoo
The Greenville Zoo has been serving the area since 1960 and is a beloved gathering place for Greenville families. Nestled within Cleveland Park, the zoo spans 14 acres and houses interesting species from all over the world! Plus, there are picnic areas and volleyball courts onsite for enjoying the gorgeous Greenville weather.
Food and drink in Greenville, SC
Whether you’re looking for a nice meal out with your family or a midday snack while walking around Greenville, the culinary scene offers a lot for locals and visitors alike.
Grab a bite at Soby’s
It’s tough to avoid picking a favorite restaurant when Soby’s is in the mix. Situated in a renovated 1800s historic cotton mill in the heart of downtown Greenville, the restaurant offers an unbeatable atmosphere with fun decor and rustic touches — and the outdoor patio is a great spot for people watching. Get a true taste of the South with a modern twist and accompany anything on the menu with a hand-crafted cocktail or a selection from the extensive wine list.
Enjoy a cup of coffee at Leopard Forest Coffee Company
Offering high quality, specialty coffee, smoothies, and other cafe fare, Leopard Forest Coffee Company is the perfect place to catch up with old friends, take a break from exploring midday, or sit and read a book in a cozy atmosphere.
Have a sit down meal at Passerelle Bistro
With some of the best French cuisine in town, indulge in their wide variety of sandwiches, salads, soup of the day, dinner specialties, or desserts. And if you’re in town for the weekend, be sure to stop by for brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Go on a self-guided brewery tour
And as much as we love our food here, we might love our beer even more! Craft beer aficionados will love the chance to explore Greenville’s local beer scene. Our city is dotted with them — and each boasts a different style and personality. Of course, there are way too many to experience in one day, so choose a few within easy reach and split a flight with friends at each stop. You might just find a live band (or a new favorite beer) along the way! We recommend Grateful Brew, Thomas Creek Brewery and Upstate Craft Beer to start.
Eat your way through Greenville on a culinary tour
Greenville boasts a wide selection of globally-inspired fare prepared by award-winning chefs. Experience the best of our culinary scene by embarking on the At the Chef’s Table tour with Greenville History Tours. This three-hour tour will take you to five delicious restaurants and will give you fascinating insights into Greenville’s rich history, culture and architecture.
Enjoy dinner with a view at Larkin’s on the River
Dine in a beautiful riverside restaurant while devouring Greenville’s best steak and seafood. This fine dining establishment offers vegetarian and gluten free options as well. Be sure to make a reservation before you arrive!
Make a pit stop at Poppington’s Gourmet Popcorn
Popcorn lovers everywhere will enjoy this one of a kind snack shop with flavors ranging from spicy bacon cheddar to espresso caramel to cotton candy popcorn. Their popcorn also makes for a great souvenir or gift no matter the time of year.
Try locally made wine at City Scape Winery
Photo courtesy of City Scape Winery
If you prefer wine to beer, there’s something local for you, too! Head up the hill to City Scape Winery to sample wines inspired by the local landscape and vinted in the cellars on site. The winery is owned by husband-and-wife team Josh and Deb Jones, who will happily welcome you onto the premises! The pair has traveled to Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley, Spain, Portugal and Italy to learn more about the craft and provide their guests with the best-tasting product possible. Come sample the selection while taking in the picturesque views of the Greenville skyline and keep an eye out for the couple’s adorable pet pig while you’re there.
Dine at The Lazy Goat
Photo courtesy of The Lazy Goat
The Lazy Goat is a universal favorite among Greenville locals and visitors alike, offering picturesque views of the river, upscale Mediterranean cuisine and inventive cocktails. Settle with loved ones at one of the community tables and order an assortment of shareables inspired by the cultures of Spain, Italy, Morocco, France, Greece, the Middle East and North Africa.
History of Greenville, SC
If you’re interested in the plethora of history that Greenville, South Carolina has to offer, be sure to check out these historic landmarks in and around town.
Explore the grounds at the Kilgore-Lewis house and gardens
On the National Register of Historic Places, this mansion was built in 1838. Over the years numerous weddings, baby showers, and other celebratory events have been held here. Make sure to stop by to see the gardens and arboretum overflowing with plant and wilde life.
Check out the Hagwood Mill
Another Greenville location on the National Register of Historic Places is the Hagwood Mill. Built in 1845, this mill is water powered and was originally meant to grind grain. There are log cabins and a blacksmith shop on site to explore as well. If you go on the right day, there might even be bluegrass music playing.
Visit the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum
Baseball fans will love visiting the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum. Located in the house where the baseball legend lived and died, the museum is dedicated to presenting Jackson’s personal life and professional career. The museum’s house number is .356, a reminder of Jackson’s lifetime batting average which is the third highest in baseball history.
He was one of the most beloved ball players of all time, and even if you’re unfamiliar with the name, the museum is a sight worth seeing!
What to do in Greenville, SC: Entertainment
Whether you’re looking for a laugh, a show, or a drink or all three, there is always something to see. From comedy shows to live music to cat cafes, be sure to check out the entertainment scene in Greenville.
Have a laugh at Alchemy Comedy Center
Offering a wide range of comedy shows to make even the most serious of guests laugh, the Alchemy Comedy Center is sure to lighten the mood and leave you laughing and smiling for hours after. The small and intimate setting is comfortable and the perfect place for an evening out.
Listen to live music at the Piano Bar
At this dueling piano bar you can participate in the sing-alongs or listen to the banter and performance of the show hosts. They also have food and drink to compliment the show. Be sure to reserve a seat before you go, though, so you can get in!
Organic Cat Cafe
If you love cats and supporting a good cause, then stop by Organic Cat Cafe when in Greenville. Home to over 23 adoptable cats, the purchase of an entry ticket to the cat sanctuary goes to support the cats in finding a fur-ever home.
Visit Coffee Underground
A coffeehouse and cafe by day, but a bustling theater scene at night, there is always something to see at Coffee Underground. Grab a cup of coffee in the morning and sit back and enjoy nightly performances ranging from improv and comedy sketches to Ted Talks and even film screenings.
Attend a comedy show at Cafe and Then Some
If you’re looking for some good, old-fashioned belly laughs, look no further! Since 1979, Cafe and Then Some has been performing for the citizens of Greenville. Book a night out with the unabashedly silly comedy troupe, and enjoy a wacky show and a delicious meal to go with it. Shows take place nightly Wednesday through Saturday.
Exploring the great outdoors in Greenville, SC
For those who love hiking, biking, kayaking, or taking in nature’s beautiful views and fresh air, there is an outdoor adventure around every corner in Greenville, South Carolina.
Take in the views at Falls Park on the Reedy
This exquisite natural oasis anchors the city of Greenville with gorgeous waterfalls, tree-lined walking trails, lush greenery and sunny spots for picnicking. It’s a wonderful spot to explore if you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a few moments, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor and recreational activities. Venture across the Liberty Bridge, which arcs over the park to offer views of the falls, and then peruse the public art and sculptures that can be found throughout.
Trek the Swamp Rabbit Trail
Swamp Rabbit Trail is one of Greenville’s must-try bucket list items, attracting more than 1,000 visitors each day to traverse the 22 miles to the nearby Travelers Rest via bike or by foot. Rent a bike from a nearby shop to try it for yourself — and if you can’t make the full distance, you can always turn around! It’s an ideal way to get some exercise and view the local scenery.
Explore Table Rock State Park
Home to Pinnacle Mountain–the highest peak in South Carolina–this edge of the Blue Ridge Mountain range has over 3,000 acres of natural beauty. Hiking, camping, pets on leashes, fishing, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, geocaching are all welcome and encouraged.
Experience the thrill of the Gorge Zipline Canopy Tour
Just a short drive north of Greenville, teens and adults alike will enjoy the thrill of riding a zipline through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spanning over 1.25 miles, and over 11 ziplines, there is a beautiful sight to see around every bend and curve in the trees.
Adventure in Paris Mountain State Park
Located just north of the city, Paris Mountain State Park is a 1,540-acre paradise featuring seemingly endless hiking and biking trails, canoe and kayak rentals, and plenty of spots to sit and take in the views. If you’re looking to extend your day trip, consider booking a campsite for the weekend — there are dozens available.
Go horseback riding at Black Horse Run
Photo courtesy of Black Horse Run
Located on the outskirts of Greenville County, Black Horse Run is a little piece of the Old West tucked away in a picturesque setting. You have the chance to experience it all for yourself on horseback with a guided trail ride from one of the professionals. Explore the country trails, wooded areas, trickling creeks and scenic meadows — all levels of experience are welcome!
Kids activities in Greenville, SC
If you’re planning on traveling to Greenville, South Carolina with some little ones, be sure to check out these kid friendly experiences in town.
Create some art at TReehouse Cafe & Studio
Enjoy a bite to eat and let your kid’s release their inner artists at this cafe in Greenville. From painting to coloring to board games and more, your kids will love to visit this restaurant. Plus, it’s just a short drive from downtown Greenville giving the atmosphere a cosy small town feel.
Explore the interactive exhibits at the Children’s Museum of the upstate
Your kids will love to explore the exhibits at this interactive children’s museum. From news rooms, to playgrounds, science experiments, spaceship exploration, visual arts, and more, this museum is great for an all day adventure.
Find all of the Mice on Main
There are 9 bronze mice statues hidden throughout downtown Greenville that have become a landmark in Greenville since they were first created. Read all 9 clues and see if you can find each hidden mouse!
Play at Linky Stone Park
This park was designed with children in mind and each element of the park is sure to spark imagination with your kids when you go. Stop by and explore the murals on the wall with excerpts from famous children’s books. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, take a walk through a gingerbread house and see if you spot an evil witch.
Festivals in Greenville, SC
What better way to experience the life of a local in Greenville than by attending the seasonal festivals and town events the city has to offer.
Get in the fall spirit at Fall for Greenville
If you love fall, live music, and good food, then this street festival is perfect for you. This is the largest festival in upstate South Carolina. Be sure to stop by between October 11-13th this coming fall to indulge in some delicious food and entertainment.
Shop and buy local at the Saturday Market
The Greenville Saturday market boasts fresh and local produce, baked goods, coffee, dairy products, and arts and crafts available for purchase. Over 20 vendors set up shop on Saturdays from 8am to noon. Just be sure to visit Greenville between May and October while the market is in season.
Complete the Park Hop challenge
If you’re visiting Greenville during the summer with children, the Park Hop challenge is a fun way to explore the town. Answer questions, explore many of the parks in the area, and complete the scavenger hunt to find cool prizes like swag bags and tickets to see the Greenville Drive baseball team!
View the talent of local artists at Artisphere
Both locals and visitors alike are sure to enjoy this art festival. Ranked by USA today as the 3rd best art festival in the nation, the talent showcased during May is like none other.
Enjoy your time in Greenville, SC!