By Heather Raulerson
Freelance Travel Writer
Take a Stroll through the Walkable Downtown
Downtown Greenville is family-friendly day and night. During the day, you can see families wandering in the specialty shops, hunting for the Mice on Main Street, strolling through the Farmer’s Market, chasing street art, or playing in Falls Park on the Reedy. After walking across the Liberty suspension bridge, go underneath to see the 28ft Reedy River waterfalls up close. Along the Reedy River, Greenville’s first European settler, Richard Pearis, established a trading post in 1768. This area eventually saw the rise of ironworks, grist, corn, and sawmills. Nowadays, many of those sites have been remodeled into specialty shops, art galleries, and restaurants. At night you’ll hear the clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriages while walking under the twinkling lights along Main Street.
Munch on Amazing, Delicious Food and Drinks
Greenville is a continuously changing city with new restaurants always popping up. One of the best ways to experience how much Greenville is a foodie town is to go on one of the culinary tours from GreenvilleHistoryTours.com. The first one I recommend is the BBQ Trail Tour. This tour gives you three back-to-back barbecue tastings where you can munch on a mouth-watering BBQ that just falls off the bone. Another fabulous tour is the Breakfast Tour, where you can eat through a few lovely breakfast joints enjoying energy bowls and huge homemade biscuits. Make sure you come hungry for these food tours.
If you aren’t in the mood for a group tour, wander around the downtown area, and you’ll come across gourmet popcorn, craft bears, walking tacos at Papi’s Tacos, and ice cream treats. And for the best collection of street food, make sure to visit Gather, where you have over ten different street food vendors to choose from. And if you want a unique nightlife experience, try Greenville’s speakeasy, Vault & Vator. You won’t ever go hungry with all the food options here in Greenville.
Explore the Numerous Museums
Greenville is full of history, and you can learn all about it at the many museums throughout the city. Whatever your interest, you can find a museum for any family member. There is the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum by Flour Field for hard-core baseball fans. For the race car enthusiast, wander through the BMW Zentrum Museum. A couple of my favorites can be found at Heritage Green. If you are a music fan, you will love exploring the Sigal Music Museum. With over six hundred musical instruments, you’ll see some of the most intricately designed keyboard instruments and a unique collection of woodwinds and guitars.
Another fantastic museum is the Up Country History Museum. The museum allows you to experience the uniqueness of the Upcountry. Each section of the museum gives insight into Greenville’s fascinating past, including how the Cherokees, Catawbas, and Europeans found this area the perfect place to settle with its mild weather, good hunting, and rich soil. You can also learn about the ingenious farming and mill industry around Greenville. These are only a few fabulous museums that Greenville has to entertain you when you visit.
Walk or Bike the Miles of Nature Trails
I love the great outdoors, and there is nowhere better to experience than Greenville. Being nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is an endless supply of nature adventures to be had. A short drive away is the Bald Rock Heritage Preserve, Caesars Head State Park, Wildcat Wayside Falls, Poinsett Bridge, and the Campbell Covered Bridge. But, the adventures are even closer on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. This 22-mile paved trail starts at Falls Park on the Reedy and runs along the Reedy River to Traveler’s Rest. This is one of the busiest nature trails for cyclists and joggers, with eateries for the Swamp Rabbit Trail enthusiasts to stop, rest, and refuel along the route. Check out the Whistle Stop Cafe when you make it to Travelers Rest.
There is so much to see, do and explore in Greenville that I’m not surprised that Greenville has become one of South Carolina’s fastest-growing urban areas. Just watch out because the combination of the hip, cosmopolitan downtown and traditional Southern charm makes visitors lifelong residents here. And after a few trips, I could easily see that happening. Greenville is worth a visit or two or three.