The Reedy River tumbles through downtown Greenville, SC. (Courtesy Visit Greenville)

Greenville, South Carolina might not come to mind if you’re thinking of a weekend getaway but hear me out. If you’re looking for cool shopping, dining, and outdoor experiences, then this nearby city should definitely be on your itinerary.

Greenville’s effort to revitalize its downtown after decades of neglect is obvious the moment you pull into town – just a little over two hours up I-85 from Atlanta.

You’ll definitely want to park your car and explore downtown on foot to get the full experience. But first, let’s get you checked into a hotel that’s easy on the budget and has an incredible view.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn at Riverplace (, which is right in the heart of Greenville’s most spectacular area – Falls Park on the Reedy. Make sure you ask for a room with a view when you make a reservation.

Walk out of the hotel and you’re in the heart of the park. The view from the Eugenia Duke Bridge offers an incredible view of the Reedy River as it cascades over the falls.
You’re also just steps from Main Street and its shops and restaurants, including Halls Chophouse (, which offers a delicious steak with an equally stunning view of the river.

If you want to grab coffee and dessert, walk across Main to Spill the Beans (, which offers gourmet roasts and ice cream and, you guessed it, amazing views of the falls.

Wyche Pavilion at the Peace Center. (Courtesy Visit Greenville)

There are numerous paths to stroll along the river and check out the public art there and be sure to check and see what’s happening at the Peace Center (, which is just on the other side of the river from the hotel. The concert hall hosts everything from concerts, to comedy, to musicals.

While you’re at the Peace Center, but sure to check out the historic Wyche Pavilion, which is all that remains of the Duke’s Mayonnaise factory. The shell of the 119-year-old building has been preserved and now plays host to outdoor concerts, weddings, and other events.

If you want to walk off dinner, take a stroll along one of the trails along the Reedy River. Head south and you’ll come to the main part of the falls and the beautiful Liberty Bridge that spans it. It’s a great spot for selfies and taking in nature.

If you get into town on the first Friday of the month, you don’t want to miss the First Friday Art Crawl ( Galleries all over town – and especially along Main Street – are open from 6 to 9 p.m. with special exhibitions, art for sale, and more. 

Pastries from the Book Room. (Courtesy of Bake Room)

Saturdays are definitely a good day to visit Greenville for a couple of reasons. The Saturday Market on Main Street is open from May through October with local vendors selling produce, bread, sweets, and more. Another is the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Library ( If you’re a fan of baseball – or even just the “Field of Dreams” movie – this museum is only open on Saturdays and it’s a fascinating look at one of Greenville’s most famous native sons.

On Sunday, we took a visit to The Commons (, a food hall with some of Greenville’s best local eateries. We just managed to grab some sinfully good pastries and bread from Bake Room ( before it sold out and grab a coffee at Methodical Coffee (

And if you need some more outdoor adventure before you head home, the Swamp Rabbit Trail might be what you’re looking for. You can walk or bike the 22-mile trail all the way from Greenville to Travelers Rest.

To find out more about visiting Greenville, check out

Jacob Nguyen is a freelance writer and photographer in Atlanta.