Noonday City Guide: Greenville, SC
One of the many benefits to having a community of Noonday Ambassadors from every state in the US is getting to discover the beauty in each of their towns and cities! Today, Ambassador Sarah Gillette gives us a tour of her town of Greenville, SC from a local’s perspective. Read of for Sarah’s favorite spots in this often overlooked Southern destination!
Greenville is a hidden gem of a town in the Upstate of South Carolina. When in Greenville, you’re thirty minutes from the mountains, a few hours from the ocean, and in the middle of a hospitable city filled with genuine people interested and prepared to learn about you. Greenville is beautiful, tasty, local, adventurous, and close-knit. There is so much to experience, and we can’t wait to have you!
If there’s ever a place to start your tour of Greenville, it’s Traveler’s Rest. Just north of Furman University is downtown TR, as the locals like to call it. TR is filled with revitalized restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques.
I would recommend starting your day early and visiting Tandem Creperie for breakfast. Even if the line is out the door, do not be discouraged. The friendly staff will serve you quickly and efficiently. Besides, the crepes are worth every minute you may wait.
Traveler’s Rest offers several more delicious eateries like The Cafe at William’s Hardware, Upcountry Provisions (make sure to snag a cookie for the road!), Sidewall Pizza, and Farmhouse Tacos. You cannot go wrong with any of these locally owned restaurants. Before you leave, if you’d like a taste of the outdoors, be sure to visit Paris Mountain State Park for a walk through the woods.
As you make your way from Traveler’s Rest to Downtown Greenville, I would highly recommend driving through Furman University’s campus. Continually ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, it’s worth stopping to see. The public campus is open year-round to residents and visitors. Oftentimes you will see family picnics by the lake, bridal portraits on the mall, and the school gardener clipping flowers for students in the rose garden.
If the weather is nice, you can continue your tour of Greenville on bike. The Swamp Rabbit Trail, beginning in Traveler’s Rest, flowing through Furman, and into Downtown, connects all of Greenville. The 22-mile multi-use trail is filled with morning commuters, joggers training for their next race, or visitors enjoying the city like you! The trail largely follows an old railway corridor along the Reedy River and was named for the small rabbit often seen by the river, the swamp rabbit.
As you make your way into downtown, I hope your bike ride helped you work up an appetite for lunch because Main Street is filled with dozens of food options. If you are looking for something quick, stop by Caviar and Bananas, Southern Pressed Juicery, or Happy + Hale. But, if you have time to sit down for a meal my favorite spots include The Lazy Goat, Jianna, or Chicora Alley.
If you think like me, a meal must be followed by dessert, and if you’re downtown you must visit Spill the Beans. STB has the best ice cream in the Upstate of South Carolina! Once you pick chocolate or vanilla, they swirl in your favorite toppings producing the most delicious ice cream cone you’ve ever tasted!
The most iconic feature of Downtown Greenville is Falls Park. Grab your ice cream and enjoy the 32-acre park centered on the waterfall flowing straight through town. The Liberty Bridge, located in the center of the park, is unlike any other bridge in the United States. Suspended on one side, it provides an unobstructed view of the falls.
Don’t forget to ask someone to take your picture here on the bridge! When you use the hashtag #yeahthatgreenville, you’ll discover hundreds of more interesting spots, stores, and trails. If you’re visiting in the summer, stick around until evening for Shakespeare in the park, a weekend production series you don’t want to miss!
The Village of West Greenville
If Shakespeare really isn’t your thing, don’t end your tour of Greenville until you’ve seen The Village, or the West side of Greenville. This area, just a few minutes ride from downtown, boasts an eclectic mixture of art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, and community programs.
Golden Brown and Delicious, or GB&D for short, is one of my favorite local breakfast, lunch, or dinner spots in Greenville. Plus, their letter board perpetually features a quote from “The Office.” They’ve got great food and great sense of humor.
Connected to the restaurant is the Village Grind, a bustling coffee shop serving the community with the best cheese scone you’ve ever tasted along with a staff that’s sure to remember your name.
No matter what time of day, these two places are filled with individuals working, friends catching up, or companies taking their weekly meeting to a more interesting atmosphere. As a local, you’re bound to run into someone you know!
Visiting Greenville is like a breath of fresh air. Seriously, we are close to that crisp mountain air! The local options and the steady growth, paired with a friendliness unlike anywhere else warrants a weekend visit. After one visit, you may find yourself dreaming about a life in Greenville. We can’t wait to see you!
All photos captured by Christa Rene Photography
Want more city guides? Check out Ambassador Katie Beard’s walk through Nashville, TN.