Why Greenville Should Be on Your Travel Bucket List

The secret's out about this charming South Carolina city. Eat your way through a fantastic food scene, shop Southern treasures, and explore one of the region's best bike trails.

The city of Greenville, South Carolina, has undergone a true metamorphosis over the last 20 years, transforming from a little-known area to one of the most delicious and entertaining destinations in the Southeast. From near-endless options for local dining to outdoor activities, old-fashioned family fun, and lush green spaces, Greenville's grown up but stayed true to its roots: an emphasis on community and experience.

Greenville, SC: Falls Park
Falls Park on the Reedy brings the great outdoors to downtown Greenville. Laurey W. Glenn

Where to Stay

In the heart of downtown, the 12-story The Westin Poinsett, which debuted in 1925 as the city's first skyscraper and hosted famous guests from Amelia Earhart to Bobby Kennedy, is all about traditional luxury (don't miss the afternoon tea service). For more intimate accommodations, check out Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast, a six-room retreat located in one of the city's beautiful historic districts. For something more modern, AC Hotel Greenville opens in February, and the city's highly anticipated Grand Bohemian Hotel will welcome its first guests by the end of the year.

What to Do

As long as the weather's nice, plan to spend at least a morning (but ideally a day) exploring the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail. Walk, run, or bike this 22-mile trail system, which traverses along the Reedy River, an old railroad corridor, and city parks. Pop into Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery along the trail for coffee, delicious pastries, and a wide selection of locally made items.

Downtown, the bountiful summer farmer's market is a must-visit. There are plenty of treasures to see on Main Street while you're there, too. Browse a curated collection of books by Southern authors at M. Judson Booksellers and Storytellers, catch a game of minor league Greenville Drive game at Fluor Field (a mini replica of Fenway Park), and pack a picnic to take to Falls Park on the Reedy with the only curved single-suspension cable foot bridge in the United States.

Where to Eat

Greenville has more than 100 locally owned restaurants downtown. Soby's New South Cuisine is credited with starting the culinary revolution in Greenville about two decades ago and serves an epic Sunday brunch. Kitchen Sync not only has incredible food (try the tomato pie) but has also earned the highest green certification in the country among independent restaurants. Savor Persian cuisine at Pomegranate on Main, with plenty of vegetarian options and the best hummus. Mediterranean-inspired The Lazy Goat has prime views of the Reedy River; get the fried goat cheese and Manchego-topped Brussels sprouts. In 2020, the new hyperlocal Oak Hill Café and Farm and Topsoil Kitchen & Market each received James Beard nominations. For something more casual, Gather Greenville food hall has options for the whole family, with 13 restaurant concepts from HenDough's fried chicken and doughnuts to The Lob Father's lobster rolls.

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