From Falls Park on the Reedy to lots of nature trails and paths to walk along, Greenville is a fun and lively South Carolina town that you will fall in love with.
South Carolina is certainly mine and Ferdy’s (my fiancé) special place. It was one of the first places that we traveled to on our own as a couple. I had the privilege of accompanying Ferdy, to Greenville, South Carolina twice during his work trips there and fell in love with it. So green and filled with beautiful trees, Greenville is absolutely beautiful with all of the nature trails and parks you can find there and in the surrounding area, including Falls Park on the Reedy, which Ferdy and I greatly enjoyed visiting. While there are so many great nature spots to see, Greenville is also an amazing spot for delicious treats, whether it’s Southern comfort food, enormous burgers, or delectable Mediterranean dishes.
So, whether you’re wanting to explore nature, shop downtown, or enjoy some delicious food, Greenville has it all. Here is The Colorventurer’s Guide to Greenville, South Carolina.
Places to Visit
There are so many amazing places to visit in Greenville, but the places that truly struck me were all of the nature trails and parks. Greenville is packed with such lush, green trees and, running through downtown through Falls Park and throughout the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the Reedy River is so beautiful to walk along. Here are some of my highlights of places to visit, and I think you’ll enjoy them, too!
Falls Park on the Reedy
Located in Downtown Greenville, Falls Park on the Reedy is one of Greenville’s greatest treasures and serves as an oasis within the city. Filled with walking paths to serenely meander along and enjoy the river and the flowers, Falls Park is a nature lover’s paradise. You’ll find lots of people taking a walk through the park, enjoying picnics, splashing around in the Reedy River (if it’s the summertime), or peacefully swinging on one of the many bench swings throughout the park while listening to the water.
My favorite season to visit the park, though, was in the fall when all the leaves on the trees were changing colors. Ferdy and I spent an afternoon walking through the park collecting beautiful fall leaves.
The best part of the park, however, is Liberty Bridge. Standing like a marvelous sculpture with its distinctive curve, the bridge showcases the falls and the park. If you walk across Liberty Bridge, you’ll get a spectacular view of the falls as they flow into the park, as well as the gorgeous trees throughout the park!
Rose Crystal Tower
There are several pieces of beautiful public art throughout Falls Park, but my favorite was the Rose Crystal Tower. Tall, shiny, and oh-so-pink, the Rose Crystal Tower is an incredible piece of art to marvel at. Secretly, though, I think liked the Rose Crystal Tower because, to me, it kind of looked like a giant version of those rock candies on a stick. Anyone else? Just me, okay.
Swamp Rabbit Trail
If you like bicycling or taking a walk to explore, then the Swamp Rabbit Trail is perfect for you! This 22-mile, multi-use trail starts in Downtown Greenville and hugs Reedy River. The trail is popular with locals and tourists alike who are able to explore the outdoors from beautiful Downtown Greenville to the forests and foothills of the mountainous Upstate. Along the trail, you can also find a hip café with local-oriented pride, Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery, and enjoy handcrafted beers at local breweries. Whether you’re here for some family fun or a good workout, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is not to be missed.
Downtown Greenville is one of the city’s most popular destinations for enjoying the river, shopping, dining, and entertainment. Full of vibrance and bustling with activity, Downtown Greenville has a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere with wide sidewalks to stroll along, particularly along the Reedy River, along with street-side dining and plazas.
Walking along the water was so peaceful and relaxing and certainly one of my favorite parts of being downtown. There is also another beautiful bridge to cross while walking along the river and beautiful fountains to see, including The Children’s Fountain. During the summertime, The Children’s Fountain is great for the kids to splash around and cool off in.
Downtown is also a shopper’s paradise, with 100 retailers, including a variety of art galleries, specialty stores, local boutiques and national favorites like Anthropologie. And with so many local eateries, downtown is a food lover’s paradise (more on that later!). but perhaps one of the best highlights was the trollies that you can catch on the weekend that will take you through downtown!
Mice on Main
An activity for the whole family, searching for the “mice” along Main Street is a lot of fun! Don’t be alarmed—these mice are made of bronze. Inspired by the book “Goodnight Moon,” Jim Ryan proposed the idea of installing a family of nine unique mice sculptures in surprising places along Greenville’s Main Street for his high school senior project, and local sculptor Zan Wells brought the nine mice to live. Following the clues to hunt for each mouse makes a stroll along Main Street extra fun! I know Ferdy sure had a fun time searching for them!
One of our favorite things to do is go to the zoo. Ferdy and I have been to the zoo in the Netherlands where he lives and to the one here in California where I live, so of course, we had to go to the zoo in Greenville! Spend the afternoon visiting and learning about all of the animals, including the monkeys, red pandas, birds, and snakes at the reptile house!
Frankie’s Fun Park
One evening while looking for something fun and different to do, Ferdy and I headed over to Frankie’s Fun Park for a miniature golf date night. We had an absolute blast laughing and competing against each other. Ha! Afterward, we enjoyed some games inside the arcade and went on the racing cars, where Ferdy was literally having too much fun. If you’re looking for some plain ole fun one night, head to Frankie’s!
Discovered completely by chance, Ferdy and I stumbled upon this fun Greenville mural. If you’ve looked at any of my other travel or mural guides, you know I’m a fan of stopping and taking pictures at a mural that features the city’s name. Located on the side of Stax’s Original Restaurant, a Greenville tradition since the 1970s, this mural tells you everything you need to know: Life tastes better in Greenville. Painted by muralist Kate Furman, the mural is so fun and we had a lot of fun snapping some pictures in front of it.
Caesars Head State Park
Located just 50 minutes outside of Greenville, Caesars Head State Park has an amazing overlook atop the rocky peak of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and sight-seers are treated to a spectacular view that extends into North Carolina and Georgia. In addition to the beautiful lookout, there are lots of hiking trails and waterfalls to explore. One of the most popular trails at Caesars Head is the four-mile, round-trip Raven Cliff Falls trail. This hiking trail leads to the scenic overlook, where you can view the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls.
Glendale Shoals Preserve and Waterfalls
Located at the site of the old Glendale Mill on Lawson’s Fork Creek, the property is scenic with a fall cascading over the dam. It was so beautiful to walk across the bridge and look at the creek. After crossing the bridge, Ferdy and I headed down to the Glendale Mills to look at the gardens and nature trails.
In the 1800s the area was known as Bivingsville and the mill, a large cotton factory that supported the local village, was originally called Bivingsville Mill. In the late 1840s, the mill experienced an economic downturn and Dr. James Bivings, the founder, decided to give up his stake in the mill. When it fell into bankruptcy in 1856, the mill was auctioned off to a group of businessmen and was the town and mill were renamed to Glendale and Glendale Mill, respectively. It changed hands several times and struggled financially during the turn of the century and again during the Great Depression, and ultimately closed in 1961. However, the mill’s edifice burned on March 21, 2004, and all that remains is the mill’s tower. Now known as the Glendale Shoals Preserve, the park spreads across thirteen acres and features numerous activities for people to enjoy, including picnic areas and nature trails.
Where to Eat
As promised earlier, it’s time for the food! And I mean it when I say that Greenville is a food lover’s paradise. With delicious, elegant dishes to hearty hamburgers and over-the-top desserts, life really does taste better in Greenville.
Make sure to come hungry if you’re heading to Grill Marks. From salads and short ribs to enormous burgers, Grill Marks has some delicious food. My personal favorite was the BCB burger and Ferdy’s was the Old Markdonald. The best part, however, was the freakshake. These aren’t just your everyday milkshakes, but gigantic milkshakes with an abundance of toppings like whole ice cream cookie sandwiches, blondies, or candy. Ferdy and I split the Freaks-Ahoy! and we could barely get through it. Ha! Grill Marks also offers more adult shakes, too, like shaketails and beershakes, so if you like to enjoy a spiked milkshake, those might be worth a try.
The Lazy Goat
The Lazy Goat was one of my favorite spots to eat at in Greenville. Located along the river walk downtown, this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant has a beautiful terrace which we at on for our dinner date night and had a lovely view of the river below and everyone walking along it. The food here was absolutely delicious. For an appetizer, I chose the Harissa Spiced Hummus (hummus is one of my greatest weaknesses), which was absolutely delicious. For my entrée, I had the Mediterranean Spiced Chicken and it was, hands down, one of the best meals I ever had. The Lazy Goat is definitely one restaurant you need to visit.
Larkin’s on the River
Located along the Reedy River, Larkin’s on the River is one of Greenville’s premier restaurants for a great steak and seafood. All of their dishes are served with artistic flair and makes for a fabulous dinner date night (as prices are a little more pricey end). One of the coolest parts of the restaurant, however, is that Larkin’s is located in the old Gower Coach Factory. This is the only building remaining of the original eleven dating back to Civil War. With its beautiful preserved exposed brick walls, the history of the building serves as the perfect backdrop to the modern and hip atmosphere Larkin’s on the River offers.
The Lost Cajun
If you are a fan of Southern comfort food like I am, The Lost Cajun is worth a visit. From Po-Boys and Gator Bites to Gumbo and Jambalaya, the food at The Lost Cajun is incredible. Ferdy and I ate at The Lost Cajun twice while in Greenville and each time, the food was delicious. One of my favorite parts of the restaurant was that they bring out samples of everything to you, like the Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Lobster Bisque, so you can try everything before deciding on what to order!
The first time we ate at The Lost Cajun, Ferdy and I split the Gator Bites and they were pretty good. I had the Jambalaya along with the Red Beans and Rice for my entrée and Ferdy enjoyed the Seafood Platter. Of course we had to have Beignets for desserts, though! Ferdy and I had a competition to see who would make the most mess with all of the powdered sugar and he definitely won in a landslide. Ha! From our second trip, though, I highly recommend the Gumbo as well!
Molly and Myles Ice Cream
Come for the ice cream, but stay for the experience at Molly and Myles Ice Cream. The ice cream shop is filled with loads of pop culture moments that make the experience so fun. Not to mention that the “absurdly amazing flavors”, as Molly and Myles call it, that are offered. Make sure to try one of their outrageous ice cream cones that they make out of your favorite childhood cereals! If you happen to have dietary restrictions, don’t worry about missing out on the fun—Molly and Myles offer gluten free and dairy free selections as well! If you are craving a sweet treat while in Greenville, make sure to stop by Molly and Myles Ice Cream.
I hope you add some of these destinations to your itinerary when you visit Greenville! Enjoy your trip!