Are you visiting Greenville South Carolina? I’m Chris Ashbach and I write for Dan330.com and for FourKidsandaChicken.com. I am also an airline pilot and have half day layovers all over the country. I recently stayed at Greenville South Carolina and loved it. It was a very cute town! Sometimes it is hard to find a way to spend a single day when you are traveling so I wrote some suggestions about Greenville here. It’s basically all the things I wish I knew before I got there.
Greensville South Carolina is located about half-way between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC on Highway 85. The first thing I noticed when flying down was the proximity of the city to the Smoky Mountains. I knew we wouldn’t have enough time to see them this time, but they are supposedly spectacular. This is definitelty something to think about if you stay for more than a day.
Before you read my reviews, you may find these links useful:
What to do on your layover or day trip
Our layover hotel is in a development with other hotels and restaurants. If you are a lazy slam-clicker (you know, once you get into your hotel room, you slam-click the door shut until you fly out), then you will have everything you need within a very short walk. But, if you don’t actually enjoy life, there is really just one option and it’s a good one; get in an Uber and head to the downtown area. It cost us $12 one way and $16 back. So this is a cheap activity, especially if you get more of the crew to go with you and split it.
You can tell very quickly that Greenville has done a great job planning out the downtown area and has a very active tourism bureau. It doesn’t really matter where you get dropped off downtown, the whole area is designed for you to be able to walk around.
Highlights of Downtown Greenville
As you walk around the downtown area, you will see a lot of sculptures, installation pieces, and other attraction. One of my favorites was this drooling hog. A good friend on Instagram pointed out that it would have been fun to watch the planning council on this one. He is right, I would have loved to see when the artist proposed a drooling hog. I can just imagine the conversation: “Guys, I have this great idea… It’s a hog that is drooling and gives you good luck if you put a coin in his mouth… it’s going to be great… you really need one downtown.”
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Make sure to walk the main strip of downtown. There are a lot of shopping and eating opportunities.
Then, just to the southwest of the downtown area, connected by the liberty bridge, is the West End Historic District. This is worth the walk as well.
Between these two areas, you can walk along the Reedy River to the north (upstream). This is what you will find there:
Falls Park on the Reedy – This park is on the south end of downtown. It is a large regional park and the gardens throughout it are wonderful. It is almost a botanical garden all by itself.
From the park, you can access Swamp Rabbit Trail which is a 20-mile long multi-use greenway. Next time I go to Greenville, I will be renting a bike (more on that below) and riding this trail.
The falls in the park are beautiful. It’s a large attraction for pedestrians and tourists. Later in the day, the city was going to have a rubber duck race and they were dumping hundreds of rubber ducks upstream and people got to place bets on which one would win. I think it was a raffle-like fundraiser. That would have been fun to watch all the people cheering on the bridge while the rubber ducks got demolished by a real waterfall.
Rent a Bike – There are several bike rental places in town. Check out Reedy Rides ($20 for 4-hour half day) located right in the middle of downtown and Pedal Chic ($20 for half a day) located adjacent to Falls Park and the West End Historic District.
Liberty Bridge – is a large pedestrian suspension bridge that curves around the waterfall on the Reedy River in the middle of Falls Park. This is clearly a large attraction that anchors the park next to downtown.
Passerelle Bistro – Before I recommend just a single restaurant, I have to say there were a lot that looked very good. I just happened to be near the park for the one meal I was going to have on this little day trip. The Paserelle Bistro has a scenic patio where we ate lunch and looked over the park at the falls. I had a fantastic burger. The fries were fresh and the burger was delicious. I’m undecided if the best part was the arugula or the home-made buns (at least I think they were home-made). Very delicious. The bistro had a great setting and the other food I saw looked delicious too.
Other Things to Do
Helicopter Tour – If you dare ride a fling-wing-death-trap … Shadowhawk Aviation.
Zoo – The Greenville Zoo was described to me by a local as “Great, for a city this size.” What does that mean? I don’t know. But that’s what I got for you. I do know this is very close to the downtown area. It can be accessed by the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Festivals and Events– The city has a lot of festivals and they all seem to be located downtown. I didn’t list any because the dates change year to year and but you can see them on the Visit Greenville site.
I hope you have a great stay in Greenville. It is one of my favorite layover destinations. If I missed something, please leave a comment. If you would like to contribute to these posts, please let me know and as always, if you found them useful, please share!