Greenville, SC is now considered home to me. Originally, I did not plan to stay in this city, but planned to make money in a city that had a lot of growth and job opportunities and then migrate west. To say that Greenville has been one of the most pleasant surprises is an understatement. Here I am, still in Greenville, 5 years later calling this place home. The continued growth and centralized focus on health, biking, sustainability, and conscious development keep me here and proud to be here. Greenville continues to rank on the charts of best places to live in the US and I know why. I am happy to share with you my guide to my city.
Here is your Drifted Earth weekend guide to exploration that will lead to adoration for this green, healthy, friendly town. Here is my authentic feel of this growing little town I have loved for so long.
See and Do
Visit the Village of West Greenville
– this area has some of the most growth right now of artists and creators. Artists are migrating here to set up shop, including my personal favorite Greenville jeweler Kate Furman
who creates bold jewelry inspired by nature and Lady Groove
who is leading a powerful movement of women empowerment through her high end boudoir photography. In that same area is the SEC4P
, which promotes the “art and enjoyment of fine art photography.”
This area of town has not only art to offer, but great coffee, food, and beers as well. If you want to hang out all day over here, I’ve got you covered:
Coffee: The Village Grind
is my favorite coffee shop, not only in this area, but in town. They have a simple menu with house made syrups, amazing coffee, and a gorgeous reclaimed wood bar.
Lunch/Dinner: Visit GB&D
for lunch or dinner and see what they have for the day from their locally sourced, rotating menu.
Beer: Growler Haus
has a fun, laid back indoor and outdoor drinking areas with modern/eclectic design and great craft and micro brews. If you’re lucky, you may catch some music on the patio, as well.
Greenville is notorious for free music downtown. I’ll just name a few for reference:
Main Street Friday held at Main Street NOMA square fills the streets with a diverse array of talented musicians every Friday from March to September. A portion of the street is shut down and drinks and bands are set up for a good time on Main Street.
Downtown Alive is yet another option for free music on the Main Streets of Greenville. This event runs from March through August and brings the streets alive every Thursday night with a different band each week that is sure to have something for everyone.
Gottrocks is hands down the best music venue in Greenville for those that like jam band, funk, and groove-tronic. This venue is an intimate music -hall feel that has brought in some incredibly talented bands for over 14 years.
We are all waiting to see what is in the works for The Firmament
. This venue opened late 2017 by an old favorite of the town, the Handlebar, that shut down a few years back. If The Firmament is half as great as The Handlebar, then this is the music venue we have all been waiting for!
The Peace Center is our crown jewel in Greenville providing well known Broadway plays and bringing in big names for concerts as well. There is truly not a bad seat in the house and there is always an exciting show on deck.
– Float, Sweat, Breath, Massage - all the latest research points to the progressive relaxation techniques offered at Drift. Step into Drift, and you will likely be looking for something similar in your home town. It is hands down, the best for relaxation, whatever your weapon of choice is. Give it a try after touring around town and you will see what I mean.
If yoga is what you need to stretch out your sore touring muscles, Greenville Yoga
the place for you, choose slow flow or another one of the mild restorative classes that will help relax the body and mind.
Here in Greenville, we love our local State parks. There is Paris Mountain
for hiking and biking within 5 miles of the city, Caesars Head
and Jones Gap
that are a little further from town and offer more challenging, longer trails, and Table Rock
that shows off a view of the bald rock from below. Try the Table Rock Trail, which is a strenuous trail that will take you all the way to the top for a breathtaking view of Pinnacle Lake below.
You cannot leave Greenville without knowing what the Swamp Rabbit Trail
is. This trail follows the Reedy River and leads you through Falls Park and under the Liberty Bridge where you will have a gorgeous landscape view of the iconic Reedy Falls. If you decide to continue on, the trail will lead you by Furman University and into the town of Traveler’s Rest that makes for a fun stop before you head 9 miles back to Greenville. Some of my favorite resting points include Farmhouse Tacos
, Sidewall Pizza
, Tandem Crêperie
, Pink Mamas Ice Cream
, and Swamp Rabbit Brewery
. Traveler’s Rest covers all the bases easily accessible on Main Street.
Greenville is lucky to be in close proximity to some major foodie towns like Charleston and Asheville, which bring some of their best flavors to the city next to some of our own local legends, as well.
migrated down from Asheville to share their creative spins on the biscuit and jam with us Greenville folk. The jam bar is a fan fav!
has it all, but the Brunch special is up there with the best around. The menu includes fresh squeezed mimosas and their own Cajun spiced Bloody Mary, locally sourced honeys and jams, and several brunch breakfast or lunch-ish options to choose from.
Happy and Hale
“produce healthy fuel that nourishes the body, fulfills the soul, empowers the community and balances the planet”…enough said. This right here speaks to the Greenville local, who prides themselves on having a sustainable, fit community. They have all day breakfast and fun smoothies to power you through the day.
Caviar and Bananas - Migrating from Charleston to the downtown of Greenville, Caviar and Bananas has a gourmet sandwich shop, a beautiful atmosphere, and local treats and goods that allow you to take a little SC home with you.
Nom, Nom, and more nom at Bacon Brothers Public House
. Bacon Brothers speaks to the soul of a bacon-lover with all meats cured in house that makes for one of the best meat boards around, classic southern sides with a fresh new spin, and BBQ made daily.
Ink n Ivy
has the best atmosphere on all 4 levels of the place. The first level is eclectic and fun. Take the elevator up to the roof to see one of the most genious wall murals you will ever lay eyes on and have a drink on the roof while looking at Greenville’s beautiful skyline. Ink n Ivy is one of the best in town for Oysters and Steamed shrimp cocktails.
Another rooftop favorite is Up on the Roof
. This restaurant is located at the top of the Embassy Suites – it has an outdoor area with a fireplace, stunning panoramic views of the Reedy River, and a tasty tapas-like small plate menu. If the views don’t knock your socks off, the menu and artisanal cocktails will.
In the most up-and-coming side of town, The Anchorage
keeps their menu in season and in line with everything that will make you crave another visit. It’s a foodie’s dream come true and the menu is always chock full of fun things I have never heard of like “Ham Dust” and “Miso Butter”. Bring it on!
is a newer spot in Traveler’s Rest brought to us by the owners of Sidewall Pizza. Although, not in Greenville, it is a very short drive away to Traveler’s Rest and has a “craft cocktail bar with traditional and inventive cocktails, awesome snacks, burgers, and wonderful dessert.” That covers all the bases for a good time.
Also, in Traveler’s Rest, but definitely worth the drive is Restaurant 17. The restaurant is located in Hotel Domestique, inspired by the world travels of Greenville’s local cycling legend, George Hincapie. Hotel Domestique has a stunning landscape and artistic, modern design that is a dining experience and culinary adventure all in one. What is a Domestique, you ask? Stop by, and find out while you are there.
Coffee and Tea:
Easily a local favorite is Grateful Brew
, that makes the seamless transition from day to night, offering “artisan coffee during the day and craft beer in the evening”. Now that’s my kind of tap room.
O Cha Tea Bar
is the place for tea. It’s right on the Reedy River and has all things tea and bubble tea on the menu.
Craft brew is certainly not a foreign concept to Greenville. Some of my favorites reside right here in my very own city. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Birds Fly South Ale Project
takes the cake for creative ales and owns the self-proclaimed title of “progressively old school”. Their small batch craft beer is always rotating on the menu as the brewers at BFS are always cooking something new up. They have sours, IPA’s, and stouts that will give some of the more well-known breweries around the country a run for their money. White Duck Taco
is right next door, so you can power through a few more rounds with some tacos on your plate.
They are full of flavor and the perfect compliment to thier craft beer neighbor.
Quest Brewing Co
has great beer, a great outdoor stage for live tunes and events, and even hosts “Hatha and Hops Yoga” from time to time.
For the taproom lover, it’s The Community Tap
and Grateful Brew t
hat will give you just what you are looking for. Both serving up local craft brews and hosting food trucks for dinner, these are the places that the locals love.
For those looking for a unique spin on the ole’ tap room, Piney Mountain Bike Lounge
is your place. A bike shop/ tap room inside, a patio and pump track outside, and a perfect stop on the way back to the city after a hike or ride around Paris Mountain.
As usual, I am going to recommend an AirBnB.
I believe AirBnB is always the best way to stay in a city. If you go this route, find yourself a “Super Host” and you can’t go wrong.
With great proximity to the downtown and a bike shed on site for rentals, the Swamp Rabbit Inn
allows you to live like a local. It is your home-away-from home right off the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
If an upscale stay with a view of the mountains, a vineyard on site, and a touch of adventure is what you are looking for, Hotel Domestique
in Traveler’s Rest is it. If you came for the road cycling, this is the place for you. They have everything you need and offer the chance to ride with the pros as part of their cycling package.