Greenville, SC Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Greenville, SC

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a foodie or an art lover, there's no shortage of things to do in Greenville. Many popular attractions are located in the downtown area within walking distance of one another, including the cultural campus of Heritage Green, which is home to the Children's Museum of the Upstate, the Greenville County Museum of Art and the satellite location of the Bob Jones Museum and Gallery. You can also walk to Falls Park on the Reedy to enjoy trails, gardens and gorgeous Reedy River views right in the heart of the city. Several of Greenville's top restaurants are also located in this area, as is the popular Dark Corner Distillery. When you're ready for an outdoor adventure, hop on the nearly 20-mile-long GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail. And while you're exploring, look for the nine bronze mice statues hidden along Main Street.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated March 15, 2017

  • #1
    Things to do in Greenville, SC
    View all Photos
    #1 in Greenville, SC
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Falls Park on the Reedy is a favorite of both locals and visitors alike. Located in the heart of downtown, the park features beautiful stonework, walking trails, waterfalls, picnic areas, lush gardens and public art installations, complemented by the graceful architecture of the Liberty Bridge. The two-acre Pedrick's Garden, which serves as the park's main entrance, honors a former community leader instrumental in the establishment of Falls Park. What's more, two eateries are located within the park: enjoy salads, sandwiches and Southern favorites at Mary's Restaurant at Falls Cottage or French fare at Passerelle Bistro.

    Recent visitors said Falls Park is a popular place for families and pet lovers, noting that kids love watching the ducks and dogs enjoying the many walking trails. Many also noted the beautiful bridge and garden and some suggested bringing a picnic to enjoy this peaceful spot. Other reviewers enjoyed the park's two on-site restaurants, as well as its proximity to other popular downtown eateries. 

  • #2
    GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail
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    #2 in Greenville, SC
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Bring your own bike or rent one at Reedy Rides to explore the nearly 20-mile-long Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail, which runs along the Reedy River from downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest (a city in Greenville County). Stop at mile marker 24 to get your heart pumping at the Bike Skills Flow Park or pack a picnic and take a break along the way at the Furman University campus. Before you head out, download the mobile GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail food guide to find lunch and dinner spots, or the ArcGIS Interactive Map, which bookmarks features on the trail from restrooms and water fountains to ATMs.

    Visiting cyclists love this paved bike trail, touting the convenient stops and the full-service bike shop along the route. Recent riders said there are fun restaurants at both ends of the trail, in Greenville's County Square and in Travelers Rest, and some recommended detouring into the Furman University campus for a rest break or picnic by the lake. Others suggested relaxing on the patio at the Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom in Travelers Rest or grabbing lunch at the Cafe At Williams Hardware (also located in Travelers Rest). 

  • #3
    Greenville County Museum of Art
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    #3 in Greenville, SC
    Museums, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This small museum is home to the world's largest public collection of watercolors by American artist Andrew Wyeth and also boasts an extensive assemblage of works by South Carolina artist Jasper Johns. Additionally, the museum's Southern Collection offers a visual depiction of the Southern experience, ranging from the colonial period to the present.

    Reviewers loved the modern feel of this small museum, calling the building itself a work of art. Others said the works on display are definitely worth seeing, especially Wyeth's watercolor collection and the contemporary works of Johns. Many visitors also praised the free admission and the convenient downtown location. 

  • #4
    Runway Park at GMU
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    #4 in Greenville, SC
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Greenville Downtown Airport features a unique aviation-themed park that kids of all ages are sure to love. A Cessna plane mounted on a pole anchors the two playgrounds, which feature play structures, grassy areas and walking "runways." When kids aren't watching aircraft take off and land, they can learn about the history and science of aviation thanks to the park's educational displays. The Perimeter Taxiway around the park serves as a walking and jogging trail and a picnic hangar is available for family and party rentals. What's more, the adjacent Runway Café serves casual food.

    Recent visitors call this park "a must" for kids, and said it's a great place for little ones to run and play or ride their bikes, commending the park's cleanliness and accessibility. Many commented on the excellent facilities including a picnic shelter, new restrooms, multiple play areas and a walking track, and several mentioned the Runway Café as an easy place to grab lunch. 

  • #5
    Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery
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    #5 in Greenville, SC
    Museums, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery houses one of the largest collections of old master paintings in the United States, featuring works from the 14th through the 19th centuries by Rubens, Tintoretto and van Dyck, among others. In addition to art, the museum is also home to the Bowen Collection of Antiquities, exhibiting artifacts from ancient Egyptian, Roman and Hebrew cultures. 

    Recent visitors were surprised at the quality and size of the museum's collection, saying it was one of the finest assortments of Christian art in the southeast. Many called it a "must-see" and some noted that the audio guide rental was worth the extra $5. Meanwhile, locals say the museum is the best deal in town, touting the admission discounts for children and seniors. 

  • #6
    Dark Corner Distillery
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    #6 in Greenville, SC
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The northeastern corner of Greenville County – an area located in the Appalachian hills – has been known for more than 175 years as Dark Corner, due to its long association with moonshiners. Paying homage to this history, Dark Corner Distillery continues the traditions of the Celts who originally settled there by producing small batch moonshine, including aged whiskey, gin and absinthe. The downtown tasting room offers samples of six spirits, accompanied by a history of each product.

    Visitors loved the tastings at Dark Corner Distillery, citing inventive cocktails that pleased even those who weren't whiskey aficionados. Many applauded the reasonable $5 tasting fee, which included a souvenir shot glass, and several visitors suggested purchasing bottles to take home as gifts. While most tasters found the downtown location convenient and the tasting process a fun and quick activity, some complained of long waits during busy times. 

  • #7
    The Children's Museum of the Upstate
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    #7 in Greenville, SC
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located on the Heritage Green cultural campus in downtown Greenville, The Children's Museum of the Upstate offers three floors of unique, interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Kids can build dams and float toy ducks and boats in the Reedy River Bend, play guitar in the Garage Rock exhibit, build skyscrapers in the Construction Zone or host a news show in the WTCM broadcasting studio. Meanwhile, young children can play in the Toddler Lily Pond or enjoy the outdoor recreation area. Plus, the on-site cafeteria is stocked with kid favorites like Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

    Recent visitors described this children's museum as both affordable and fun for kids and adults, and said the hands-on exhibits were entertaining and educational, especially the interactive grocery store. Out-of-town visitors were pleasantly surprised by the merchandise selection and reasonable prices in the gift shop, and many appreciated the on-site cafeteria and the convenient downtown location. 

  • #8
    Centre Stage
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    #8 in Greenville, SC
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This regional, 285-seat theater offers a subscription season of music, comedy and drama, as well as independent film screenings, chamber music concerts, lectures and special art exhibitions throughout the year.

    Recent travelers called this local theater "a hidden gem," praising the in-the-round seating and the quality of the productions. Many recommended arriving early to enjoy a drink before the show or visiting the nearby Playwright Irish Pub for a meal after the performance. Some visitors complained that the refreshment stand at the theater had problems processing credit card purchases. Others recommended arriving early to locate free street parking, rather than paying $5 at the lot next to the theater. 

  • #9
    Paris Mountain State Park
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    #9 in Greenville, SC
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located 5 miles north of Greenville, Paris Mountain State Park is a popular retreat for families looking for outdoor recreation. The park was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and several park structures, including the bathhouse – now the Park Center – and Camp Buckhorn Lodge, hold a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The center features historical exhibits, while the park offers campsites, picnic shelters, a swimming area with a lifeguard, a playground, a camp store and a 15-acre lake with fishing and canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals.

    Although recent visitors said the scenery is underwhelming, many enjoyed the stone bridges and informational signage along the variety of hiking paths, from the challenging Sulphur Springs Trail to the relaxing loop around the lake. Reviewers also enjoyed the variety of activities and said the park is ideal for families, dogs and groups of friends. However, a few felt the $5 admission fee was too much to pay to access the hiking trails.

  • #10
    The Peace Center
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    #10 in Greenville, SC
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This performing arts center in the heart of downtown Greenville offers a 2,100-seat concert venue, a 400-seat theater and an outdoor amphitheater. In addition to presenting Broadway shows, comedy, dance and a variety of musical performances, the Peace Center is home to the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the Greenville Chorale, two ballet companies and the South Carolina Children's Theater.

    Recent visitors called this "an exceptional venue," noting that even upper level seats offer a great view. Many also praised the attentive service from the theater's staff and said they were surprised to find such a quality venue in a city the size of Greenville. Most reviewers found the prices reasonable and the proximity to downtown restaurants a plus, but noted that parking was difficult. 

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