Neighborhood Guide: Alta Vista neighborhood in Greenville, SC

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Between the hustle and bustle of downtown Greenville + Augusta Street (or Augusta Road) is a cozy neighborhood dating back to the early 1920’sAlta Vista. Maybe you’ve found yourself on one of Alta Vista’s marvel-worthy avenues while cutting through to downtown or have taken the scenic route to Cleveland Street.

If you haven’t explored in a while, it might be time to rediscover why so many people — maybe even you — love to call it home.

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Might you venture down McIver Street? | Photo by GVLtoday

Need to know

You’re not the only one with your eyes set on Alta Vista. Between 2020-2022, there were ~100 homes sold. Wondering why? While we can’t say for sure, Alta Vista is known for its tree-lined streets, walkability and collection of eclectic + historic homes on the National Register of Historic Places, like the Lanneau-Norwood House and the T.Q. Donaldson House.

Cleveland, Augusta, South Church Streets + East Faris Road all serve as borders to Alta Vista. With those borders comes a wide variety of shopping (local and big-name brands), ways to get active (parks and trails) and dining (famous mainstays and daily specials). Nearby schools rank as some of the best in SC by US News & World Report, including No.1 Best Middle School Sterling School, No. 10 Best Elementary School Augusta Circle Elementary, and No. 18 Best High School Greenville Senior High.

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The Lanneau-Norwood House at 411 Belmont Avenue. | Photo via @_james_simpson_photography

The early days

Before Alta Vista (“high view” in Italian + Spanish) had its noteworthy landscaping and homes, it had cotton fields. John Wilkins Norwood purchased the land from Charles Lanneau in 1907 for $12,000 (two names that might sound familiar).

Fast forward to Dec. 23, 1924John Wilkins Norwood transferred his 39-acre estate and set forth terms to develop the land into a subdivision with sewers, streets, and telephone + power lines. Between McDaniel and Crescent Avenues, three new avenues were created: Belmont (“beautiful” in French), Fairview, and Afton.

The 106-lot subdivision would come to be advertised as “A Beautiful Location in the Heart of the City…on the highest sloping knoll overlooking the business district and with all the allurements of the country — Alta Vista, Greenville’s Greatest Pride.” The first lot sold in 1924 for $8,000. In 2021, the historic Lanneau-Norwood House was listed at $2.3 million.

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A Newspaper ad for Alta Vista lots for sale in 1927. | Clipping via the Greenville News, Feb. 20, 1927

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Shop

With Augusta Street nearby, your shopping needs are covered — from antiques to outfits for you, your kids, and your pup.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Johnathan & Teddy (@aguyandagoldenn)

A visit to The Barkery Bistro is a treat for both hoomans + pups. | Post via @aguyandagoden

Outdoors

Whether you’re looking to have a picnic or want to break a sweat, Alta Vista is within walking distance to some of Greenville’s best green spaces + trails.

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Swing through (and in) this quaint Afton Avenue park. | Photo by GVLtoday

Eat + drink

While downtown Greenville’s restaurant + bar scene is just a stone’s throw from Alta Vista, there’s a variety of options on the outskirts of downtown’s Main Street and within walking distance (or just a couple minutes drive or bike).

  • Wrap an afternoon spent in Cleveland Park with pizza + breadsticks from Sidewall Pizza Company. Pro tip: Don’t forget to check its instagram for the ice cream flavor of the week.
  • Indulge in weekly drink specials + oysters on the half shell or the Sunday meat-and-three at longtime local Blockhouse Restaurant and Oyster Bar, est. 1981.
  • Cozy up in a booth with a specialty cocktail or glass of wine from Augusta Grill + enjoy its daily menu, featuring a mix of tried-and-true specials like jumbo lump crab cakes + new plates to try.
  • Bring your bed head to Biscuit Head for a cat head biscuit, like the Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit or the Biscuit Donuts. If you miss the jelly + butter bar, it’s not our fault.
  • While Thai Restaurant is technically further down Augusta Street and just outside of Alta Vista, it’s worth the trek (and a favorite of the Alta Vista Nextdoor community). Order up the classic Thai dish, Pad Thai.

Blockhouse serves half-priced bottles of wine on Thursdays. | Post via @blockhouse_greenville

Arts + culture

Beyond Alta Vista’s quiet avenues is a festive lineup of events and multiple ways to engage in the arts, all within walking distance.

  • Enjoy samples of 60+ wines at the Greenville Zoo Foundation’s annual Sippin’ Safari in the fall or local craft beers at Brew in the Zoo in the summer — no designated driver needed, because you can walk from Alta Vista.
  • Stop by Cancer Survivors Park to see one-of-a-kind sculptures, like The Welcome Statue by local sculptors Charlie Pate and Charles Pate Jr.
  • The annual Summer on Augusta celebration (which made its return this year after a two-year hiatus) is just a short walk down Augusta Street + features festivities like live music, block parties, Southern-themed events, car show, and a shag contest.

The Welcome Sculpture in Cancer Survivors Park | Post via @cpatejr

Where to live

If you’re sold + looking to buy a home in the area, here are some housing options currently on the market:

  • 517 Watts Ave. | 4 BD, 3 BA | $1,299,601 | Cozy up under this craftsman home’s two covered porches.
  • 6 Southland Ave. | 5 BD, 5.5 BA | $2,250,000 | This carefully crafted “urban farmhouse” style home features an outdoor fireplace, perfect for cooler fall temps.
  • 38 Southland Ave. | 4 BD, 4.5 BA | $2,399,000 | New construction, with white oak hardwood floors and 10-ft ceilings, meets Alta Vista’s historic charm.
  • Bonus: 24 Forest View Dr. | .33 acre lot | $599,000 | Take advantage of a blank canvas and build the home of your dreams.
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New construction meets old Alta Vista charm. | Post via @wilsonassociatesrealestate

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