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The Ultimate Guide to Downtown Greenville SC

Downtown Greenville SC Guide
Table of Contents

Downtown Greenville, SC

Downtown Greenville SC is a shining gem in the Southeast US. As a result, 5 million visitors from around the world visit each year. Located in the Upstate of South Carolina, almost half a million people live in Greenville County and cherish the downtown area. Positioned between Charlotte and Atlanta, Greenville also provides easy access to South Carolina’s world class beaches. Our team spent a week compiling the most important information about Greenville, it’s history, nightlife, restaurants, hotels, green spaces, parking, and most recent news.

Awards and accolades? Oh yes, Greenville’s downtown has won many recently:

A Brief History of Downtown Greenville SC

Downtown Greenville SC

Greenville hasn’t always been the destination that it is today; it has come a long way, especially in the past two decades.

As early as 1979, Greenville City officials and investors began working to turn downtown into a major draw for current citizens and visitors alike. They initiated cornerstone projects such as the Greenville Commons and Peace Center.

In the late 1990’s, Greenville added the Bon Secours Wellness Arena to attract larger events downtown. Bon Secours is a nearly 16,000 person performance and sports center, which currently hosts portions of the NCAA March Madness tournament. Next, community leaders revitalized one of Greenville’s original landmarks: the Westin Poinsett Hotel.

In 2004, the City made one of it’s largest improvements by replacing the Camperdown Bridge with the Liberty Bridge. Due to improvements like Liberty Bridge, private investors poured over $100 million within almost two years.

Liberty Bridge, which oversees Falls Park, home of the Reedy River Falls is arguably Downtown Greenville’s most sought-after attraction.

To learn more about the revitalization of downtown Greenville, be sure to take a look at the City’s “Downtown Reborn” presentation.

Bonus links:

Location of Downtown Greenville

Main Street is the heart of town, and home to the majority of restaurants, nightlife, and the stunning Falls Park which anchors downtown. Here’s a map that gives you the lay of the land:

Food, Dining, Restaurants in Downtown Greenville

The City of Greenville’s downtown boasts over 200 retailers and restaurants within a 10 block radius. Some of the most recent additions include Jianna, a Modern Italian restaurant with a twist from Greenville’s Table 301 Group (who also own The Lazy Goat, Passerelle, Soby’s, and several others). Also new is Caviar and Bananas, Luna Rosa’s Gelato Cafe, Otto Izakaya, and the Anchorage, a little West of downtown. Larkin’s is a classic staple as well. Looking for a high-end steakhouse? Check out Hall’s Chophouse on Main. Looking for something a little funky? Head for The Lazy Goat overlooking the river.

Greenville celebrates its restaurant scene in many ways, including Greenville Restaurant Week, which takes place in January and August. Furthermore, festivals such as euphoria (September) and Fall for Greenville (October) attract hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Want a comprehensive list of downtown restaurants? Check out this complete list from Visit Greenville.

National publications regularly cover our food scene:

These Greenville restaurants are open on Christmas Eve and New Years.

More Information on Greenville’s Restaurant Scene:

Downtown Greenville Nightlife

Greenville is has plenty of bars and watering holes serving late into the evening. For cocktails, there’s Jianna, Hall’s, and the Anchorage. For beers, try the Pour Tap Room or Barley’s. But booze ins’t the only game in town. With over 300+ events per year happening in downtown, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find a concert, sporting event, Broadway show, or family event happening any given night.

The Peace Center is popular for larger performances and Broadway tours. A cornerstone to the revitalization of Downtown Greenville, The Peace Center is a must-do when visiting Greenville downtown.

In the mid-1980s the Peace Center raised $42 million to build the Peace Concert Hall and Gunter Theatre on its 6-acre plot of land in the center of Main Street.

By 2010, it had raised another $23 million to build Genevieve’s - a lounge and restaurant, the TD Stage amphitheater and the Graham Plaza.

It now draws in more than 360,000 visitors per year.

Bonus* – Greenville Heritage FCU Main Street Friday’s - where a section of Main Street near NOMA Square is blocked off for music, food, drinks and dancing. Main Street Fridays run from March 16 to September 28, 2018.

Keep it legal: unlike some cities in the Southeastern United States, such as Savannah and New Orleans, carrying open alcohol is prohibited in Greenville, SC. The law states that last call for all alcohol sales is 2 AM in Greenville County and City.

Hotels in Downtown Greenville SC

Westin Poinsett Hotel Downtown Greenville SC

With over 1,000 hotel rooms just in downtown and over 9,000 rooms in Greenville County, you’ll easily find a place that fits your fancy. Whether you’re visiting or in need of a staycation, you can find a comprehensive list of Greenville’s hotel listings here.

If you’re looking to stay at the créme de la créme of Greenville hotels, try the Westin Poinsett Hotel. The Poinsett is in the middle of downtown; you have walking access to everything from there. Poinsett hotel has amazing history and many stories to tell.

Another prime location and popular spot for visitors for both business and leisure is the Hyatt Regency Hotel, located at NOMA square. This is arguably the most accessible from I-385.

If you’re looking to stay somewhere a little more hip and new, check out the Aloft Hotel. It features smaller rooms with modern design, in a great Main St. location.

Free Parking Downtown Greenville SC

Parking Downtown Greenville SC

The City of Greenville currently offers 14 parking facilities, 700 free on-street parking spaces and 8,000 total spaces throughout downtown.

Your first hour of parking in all city parking facilities is free? After the first hour, rates are $1.50 for the second hour, and then $1 per hour with a daily maximum of $7.50.

The City of Greenville offers free parking on the weekend in two of its facilities.

Greenville also offers a free trolley, which runs Thursday through Sunday downtown. You can find a PDF version of the trolley route here and even download the Greenlink app for information on bus and trolley routes in real-time.

Visit the City of Greenville site for route times and daily updates and click here for an interactive parking map.

Nature and Parks

Falls Park Downtown Greenville SC

It may come as no surprise, but Greenville’s downtown is full of green spaces. In fact if you’re looking for a staycation in Greenville, SC, read on!

Falls Park is downtown’s cornerstone project and largest attraction. Nestled on 32 acres in the middle of downtown Greenville, you’ll enjoy walking across the Liberty Bridge where you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the entire park as well as the Reedy River Falls.

As you explore, beyond Main Street, be sure to visit McPherson Park located at 100 East Park Avenue and features family activities such as putt-putt, tennis courts, and a playground.

The Children’s Garden at Linky Stone Park is a hidden gem and magical oasis for children located at 24 Reedy View Dr.

In addition to the parks mentioned above, the recently renovated Cancer Survivor’s Park which connects Falls Park to Cleveland Park is a must see and officially opens June 1, 2018. The park will feature a “Celebration Plaza”, healing garden, amphitheatre and an education center that will play host to a variety of community programs.

For the Kids

If you brought the whole family to town and need a list of things to keep the kids happy, look no further. Throw the kiddo up on dads shoulders and explore these kid-friendly sites in downtown Greenville.

South Carolina Children’s Theatre – check out their website for more information their mission and how your child can be involved.

Latest News, Civic Issues, Developments

Perhaps the biggest news recently, the city has announced its partners for the $1 billion redevelopment of County Square.

Additional Resources:

Greenville is lucky to have some local podcasts. Stories Of The Upstate™ Podcast (iTunes, Stitcher app) features a variety of topics including the people, passions, careers, attractions, and music of the Upstate. Episodes are released every Monday and Thursday, and the podcasters host a free unplugged concert featuring local singer-songwriters on the second Wednesday of each month.