Greenville lies east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina Upstate, a lush, rolling midpoint between Atlanta and Charlotte. The Cherokee tribe first inhabited this foothills region, settling near Paris Mountain, later named for a plantation owner who established a local trading post, in the 18th century. Once a booming textile town, Greenville is now home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, such as BMW, Lockheed Martin and Michelin. Today, the city’s bucolic charm and prominent art scene blends with business and industry. The Reedy River weaves through verdant parks and passes under oak-lined Main Street. Visitors can cross Liberty Bridge over Falls Park, watch a Broadway production at the Peace Center for Performing Arts or stop at renowned High Cotton Restaurant for shrimp and grits or buttermilk-fried oysters.
Main Street, a major attraction in Greenville, is a tranquil strip of shops, upscale restaurants and galleries shaded by soaring hardwoods. Sculptures dot the courtyards and sidewalks, paying tribute to the city’s rich, complex history. Bronze statues of two African American students mark the Washington Street crossing, where protesters held sit-ins at the former Woolworth’s building during the Civil Rights Movement. Two blocks south, at the Greenville News plaza, stands a statue of General Nathanael Greene, the city’s namesake. During the Revolutionary War, Greene led patriot troops in the South and played a crucial role in defeating the British.
From Main Street, art aficionados can walk one block east on College Street to Greenville County Art Museum, housing the largest public collection of Andrew Wyeth’s work in the world. One of the best museums in Greenville, its gallery features contemporary art by Andy Warhol, as well as the prominent Southern Collection with works by Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper.
Main Street stretches south past the Reedy River, leading to the Historic West End with the Warehouse Theatre and West End Market shopping center. A few minutes south is the prestigious Augusta Street area, regarded as one of the best "old neighborhoods" in Greenville. Floral shops, food markets and clothing boutiques are nestled near grand, historic homes.
Outdoor activity abounds from picnicking and jogging to Shakespeare in the Park performances. A downtown walking trail skirts the Reedy River from Falls Park in the west to Cleveland Park and the Greenville Zoo in the east. For an elevated look at the falls, walk across the Liberty Bridge, located in the West End. North of downtown, cyclists are drawn to Swamp Rabbit bike trail, while hikers prefer the rugged beauty of the Foothills Trail, just off Scenic Highway 11.
Beyond Greenville's natural beauty, thriving art scene and rich history, visitors can discover a wealth of entertainment and culture. North of downtown, the Bi-Lo Center arena hosts concerts and sporting events. South of downtown, the Peace Center for the Performing Arts features symphonies and ballets. At Fluor Field, sport-enthusiasts can catch a Greenville Drive game, the minor league baseball team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. Vendors sell boiled peanuts, the official snack of South Carolina.