If you love a good comeback story, Greenville, South Carolina, could write the book on staging the perfect urban revival. A former industrial hub dominated by the textile industry, the city has restyled itself into the next Southern “it” destination, complete with farm-to-fork fare, green space galore and an art scene worthy of Andrew Wyeth.
As the perfect blend of hip and unpretentious, Greenville is our kind of town. And in 2022, Kimpton will open a new hotel with rooftop views of the Smoky Mountains at a downtown location that puts you in the heart of it all.
Eat Seriously Local
We’re pretty sure no one ever left a Southern city hungry. Exhibit A: Greenville’s The Commons, a cafeteria-style foodie hotspot packed with local institutions like Automatic Taco (Korean pork belly tacos and sweet potato donuts), GB&D (duck and grits, anyone?) and creative caffeination at the beloved Methodical Coffee.
Over at Jianna, you can gaze at Greenville’s iconic waterfalls while reveling in house-made pastas. Or score a table at Husk, sister restaurant to Southern-fare phenom of Charleston fame. Enjoy authentic Caribbean cuisine at Jamaica Mi Irie, like beef oxtail, goat curry and of course jerk chicken and plantains. For something light, the “Lord Have Mercy” detox juice at Southern Pressed Juicery will leave you feeling downright virtuous.
If you’re looking for swoon-worthy Instagram shots, go underground to Vault & Vator Cocktails, where you can sip vintage and reimagined cocktails in a moody space lit by Edison bulbs. Or sample award-winning moonshine and other locally made spirits at Dark Corner Distillery. In the West End Water Tower District, you’ll find local favorite Birds Fly South Ale Project, a Coast Guard family’s endeavor to make “craft beer with a throwback approach.” (Even better: leashed pups are welcome.)
There are souvenirs and then there are treasures. Billiam can make you custom jeans out of Selvedge denim, a sturdy fabric woven on antique looms. Browse books and gifts at M Judson Booksellers. For curated gifts with a social conscience, head to Given in the Overbrook Historic District. And May through October, Main Street becomes pedestrian for the Saturday Market roundup of fresh produce and hand-crafted goods.
It wasn’t long ago that Greenville’s 40-foot waterfalls were badly polluted by nearby mills and largely obscured by a hulking concrete bridge. But, after years of work to clean up and reclaim the spot where Greenville literally began, the city demolished the bridge and opened the 32-acre Falls Park on the Reedy, a triumph of gardens, art and public performance spaces. You can also walk, run or cycle the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile mixed-use trail that winds its way along the Reedy River.
Art lovers have plenty of options to fill their creative souls here. Peace Center has become the town’s performing arts epicenter in the spot where abandoned textile factories used to stand. The Greenville County Museum of Art is considered the premier museum in the South, and is home to the planet’s largest public collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors. Art Crossing is a riverfront gathering of some 20 artists who create, showcase, and sell their works daily. Pretty much an art-lover’s dream. And the community-focused Center for the Creative Arts offers all sorts of studios, galleries, classes and summer camps for those looking to advance their creative skills.
This city excels at live music, with countless venues big and small scattered around town. Check out the Greenville Jazz Collective, a nonprofit started by celebrated local jazz musicians to give back to their community. If you’re visiting in autumn, Fall for Greenville is the area’s largest food and music festival. Main Street Fridays treat locals and visitors alike to live music and dancing March through September.
Anticipate With Us
This town’s just getting started, and we can’t wait to be part of the scene with 170 guest rooms, a brewery, tasting room, signature restaurant and a hangout-all-day rooftop pool deck. Mark your calendar for early 2022, and we’ll see you in Greenville!