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greenville city guide

by Stephanie

Illustration by David Siglin

Our Greenville City Guide comes to us from David and Rachel Siglin, who have called Greenville home for the past ten years. David designs books and Rachel teaches piano. Most Saturdays, they can be found either searching out new places or revisiting favorite spots. They enjoy showing friends around downtown, discovering coffee shops and finding thrift store treasures. And now they share with all of us the wonders of this great city! Thanks, David and Rachel, for this fabulous tour of Greenville! — Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!

About Greenville

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Atlanta and Charlotte lies the perennially scenic city of Greenville, SC. Its original name, Pleasantburg, is an apt description. Thanks to extensive renovations, the once fading downtown is now a vibrant tapestry of art, food and culture. A wooded park winds through the heart of downtown, while the Reedy River Falls run beneath the award winning Liberty Bridge. Two free trolleys are operated downtown by the Greenville Drive baseball team. Also, on weekends, horse-drawn carriages are a common sight along Main Street. But Greenville is more than just a vibrant downtown. Among other attractions, a short drive can take you to a family-run gem shop brimming with natural beauty, a sushi pub seemingly straight out of a Tokyo side alley and nature trails winding through the Appalachians to breathtaking vistas. For more information on why Greenville is such a great city, check out this review from RelocateAmerica.com.

Things To Do

Falls Park — The focal point of downtown Greenville and the go-to spot for a picnic, a study spot in the shade, or running and biking. Spanning the river is the award-winning Liberty Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian suspension bridge.

The Swamp Rabbit Bike Trail — A 13.5-mile walking/biking trail that runs along the Reedy River and connects Travelers Rest with the city of Greenville.

The Upstate Shakespeare Festival — Offers free open-air summer performances in Falls Park.

Moonlight Movies — During May and September, Moonlight Movies light up the night beside the Reedy River.

Indie Craft Parade — This September, Greenville hosted the first annual Indie Craft Parade, which yielded overwhelming success. Area artists showcased handmade paper crafts, jewelry, pottery, food, 2D art and much more.

Paris Mountain State Park — Miles of scenic walking and bike trails, as well as picnic areas. For more hiking opportunities, the Appalachian Mountains are also within 30 minutes of Greenville.

The Peace Center for the Performing Arts — Located on Main Street, the Peace Center for the Performing Arts center features Broadway shows and music legends right in downtown Greenville.

The Arts

Photo courtesy of  Bryan McKinnon

Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery — The world’s second largest collection of religious art. The university also sponsors the Museum and Gallery at Heritage Green, a smaller, centrally located satellite of the larger museum where the entire top floor is an interactive children’s center (also great fun for adults).

Christopher Park Gallery — A non-traditional gallery featuring funky art and recycled jewelry by rising artists.

Lily Pottery — Each piece of Lily’s jewelry is a unique, wearable and handcrafted work of art that has been stamped with her one-of-a-kind stamps and finished with her custom designed glazes. An original, fashionable line of jewelry that is aesthetically pleasing and a pleasure to wear.

Michael McDunn Gallery — Showcases original works by artists of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and the surrounding southeast region. The gallery features furniture, woodturning, ceramics, sculpture, textiles and blacksmithing.

Pendleton Street Arts District — Up-and-coming arts center with open galleries on the first Friday of each month. One fascinating gallery is Art and Light.

Art & Light — With a mix of art, furniture, lighting, accessories and eccentricities, the gallery features unique visual presentation, which aids in selecting items that work well together.

White Whale — A sprawling old house, which is home to a diverse array of artists: potters, illustrators, graphic designers and painters.


Photo courtesy of  Tony Crescibene

Saturday Morning Markets — During the summer, Greenville hosts Saturday Markets in the middle of Main Street where local farmers, artisans and vendors gather to sell freshly picked or handcrafted goods.

Christina Nicole Studios — Studio 110B, 300 River-Street, Greenville, SC, 29601, P: 864-609-7057. Jewelry creations that bring timeless elegance and vintage fashion together with a modern twist. Capturing the couture classics, Christina Nicole restores brooches, charms and heirlooms that illustrate her vision of celebrating the modern, yet feminine, woman.

Dapper Ink Custom Outfitters — Opening a storefront this November to sell hand-printed, artisan-created tee shirts and other vintage-inspired wearables. They will also partner with artists to create limited runs of specialty tees and carry local handmade goods.

Dixie Gem — 2517 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, SC 29609, P: 864-235-7309. An intriguing collection of nick-knacks, jewelry and fossils. Perfect for unique gifts and jewelry-making supplies.

Galleries of Brian Brigham — Fine antiques and interior design services. The galleries are situated in an old fashioned, Southern-style house. A walk-through is like a museum visit.

Knack Studios — Owner Barb Blair is a weekly contributor to D*S for all things furniture. She specializes in totally resurfaced pieces and sells unique found goods, as well as new home accessories that complete the Knack look.

Kudzu — 1 Augusta Street, Greenville, SC 29601-3584, P: 864-271-4888. Specialty home accessories and personal gifts.

Mayme Baker Studio — Beautiful shop featuring high-end home decor and jewelry.

The Needle Tree — Offers needlepoint supplies, fine yarns, baby yarns and felted purse kits.

Postcard from Paris — High-end European-style home goods.

Shinola Art and Antiques — 19 Mohawk Dr, Greenville, SC 29609, P: 864-235-5055. An intriguing collection with a surprise around every corner.


Brew and Ewe — Serves Counter Culture coffee and tasty baked goods. The second half of the shop features exquisite hand-knitted delights.

Café Crema — These people are passionate for and highly informed about coffee. Stop by their cozy shop and have a chat with the owners while you wait for your drink. Arguably the best cup of coffee in Greenville.

Coffee Underground — A favorite study spot or group hang-out. Coffee Underground also offers performances in their Theater Room and features art by locals.

Leopard Forest — Located just outside of Greenville in Travelers Rest, this Zimbabwe-based company grows and roasts their own beans. The owners chose the location because the area reminded them of their farmland in Zimbabwe.

Liquid Highway — A South Carolina company that gives all profits to charity. Their coffees never fail to impress.

O Cha — Here I tasted my first bubble tea and learned to love hot tea. Among their many offerings are milk tea, green and black teas and their exclusive LaTEAs.


Davani’s — A fine dining restaurant with cozy seating located on historic Augusta Road. Their menu offers continental cuisine alongside old world classic French and Italian dishes made with premium cuts of meat, fresh seafood and local ingredients.

Larkins — High-class dining and amazing steak. Their terrace seating faces the Reedy River and an old, open warehouse used for parties and receptions.

Lemongrass — Fine Thai dining where the Pineapple Fried Rice is exceptional.

Mary Beth’s — Mouth-watering breakfast menu.

Nations Bakery — 105 Spartanburg Highway, Lyman, SC 29365, P: 864-949-0819. Actually a few miles out from Greenville, but too good to miss. An amazing European-style bakery with very friendly service. The owner trained in New York City before moving to the upstate area. Great breakfast offerings, which include very yummy banana bread French toast.

Ristorante Bergamo — Chef/owner Nello Gioia is a native of Bergamo, Greenville’s Italian sister city. The restaurant features northern Italian cuisine and is known for its fresh ingredients, homegrown organic herbs and Chef Gioia’s first-hand knowledge of authentic Italian style.

Shane’s — Delicious, homemade Southern selections. The carrot cake and the She Crab Soup are amazing.

Smoke on the Water — Elegant Southern comfort food and breezy outdoor seating.

Sushi Masa — For an authentic Japanese sushi bar experience, this is the place! Fresh sushi, wide selection, good prices.

Table 301 Group — Devereaux’s, Soby’s, Lazy Goat — Sophisticated Southern food experiences. Lazy Goat adds a Mediterranean twist — order several small selections and share. Soby’s offers leisurely fine dining with front door seating that opens onto Main Street. Devereaux’s is upscale and features delicious creations and a chef’s tasting menu. All Table 301 locations are glad to accommodate special dietary needs and prepare vegetarian or vegan dishes.

Blueberry Frog — Frozen yogurt with great fruity, nutty or sweet toppings.

Spill the Beans — 531 S. Main St, Greenville, SC 29601, (864) 242-6355. Located at the heart of downtown with an impressive view of Falls Park. STB offers hand-mixed ice cream; their chocolate with brownies and peanut butter is incredible.

Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe — Wide, authentic selection and lovely sidewalk seating.


Candleberry Inn Bed and Breakfast — Favorite for girl-weekend getaways and weddings.

Pettigru Place Bed and Breakfast — A picturesque home with romantic rooms, English-style gardens and a tasty breakfast.

The Phoenix — Located conveniently near downtown, shopping and the interstate.

Soby’s Apartment — Fully furnished with a kitchen, 20-seat dining room, roof-top patio, living room and two luxurious bedrooms.

Westin Poinsett — A lovely, historic hotel in the heart of downtown.

Suggested For You


  • I am so excited to read about my own city and all my favorite local places on D*S today! Greenville is a wonderful place with lots of great shops and always something great going on! Thanks for the write up David and Rachel!

  • Fun! Although, I got excited because I thought it was Greenville, NC..I guess there are 2 Greenvilles?! :)

  • Totally agree with Lib—a great write up! Greenville is an awesome place to call home, and I have a few more places to explore thanks to David & Rachel’s guide!

  • good work. only, coffee & crema isn’t “arguably” the best coffee in town. it is easily in a league of its own. and you can ask anyone on the national specialty c0ffee scene.

  • Yea greenville, and high fives to ds! One glaring oversight though is the pita house on pleasantburg. Fast, fresh, affordable middle eastern cuisine.

  • Greenville truly is a hidden gem–boy did I love the 4 years living there. NYC is nice now, but I miss Gvegas! Great writeup, guys.

  • Two of my dearest friends live in Greenville. It’s easily one of my favorite places to visit. What fun to recognize coffee shops and art galleries I’ve visited!

  • @bz – you are right it is in a league of its own, but I didn’t want to show my obvious bias too much. :)

  • I agree w/ this article 100%! the trails are great wonderful entertainment. And the best food in Greenville. Ristorante Bergamo FYI has been open for 25 years. The food is consistent, and the wine is Wonderful. Thank you for such a beautiful article!!!

  • Great job, Rachel & Dave!! I’ve been waiting for this! Can’t wait to share it on my blog! I’ll let Bryan know his photo made the cut! For more photos by Bryan or to book your special day, visit http://www.shadowlight.smugmug.com! Thanks!

  • don’t forget my pal Erin Jones’ amazing pottery studio in the Pendleton Arts District…she offers classes and makes both functional and fine art ceramics…

    a lifelong native and pioneer of the arts scene in our hometown!


  • Great guide! Greenville is a lovely place, full of charm and splendor!

    Surprised to not see Furman University featured. http://www.furman.edu, one of Greenville’s pride and joys!
    And, the Museum/Cultural Heritage Green. Heritage Green is urban arts and cultural campus that comprises four museums—The Greenville County Museum of Art, the Museum & Gallery at Heritage Green, the Upcountry History Museum and The Children’s Museum. But there’s more: discover the acclaimed Greenville Little Theatre and the Hughes Main Library of the Greenville County Library System at Heritage Green.

  • Love to see Greenville getting a little of the attention it deserves. It’s been my family’s home for about 240 years. While a few parks were listed in the article, the park system and proximity to natural wilderness areas was severely underplayed. In 40 minutes, you can go from a lively, culturally rich downtown to any of several accessible wilderness areas where bear, turkeys, and mountain lions roam freely. And because of Greenville’s location on the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, waterfalls, overlooks and amazing hiking trails abound.

  • Yay Greenville!
    I have lived here for four years now and love it. Thanks for the wonderful feature on my fabulous city.

  • Yes! This is pure awesome. Greenville is one of the best places to visit and even better to have the pleasure to grow up there. Thanks for taking the time to put this together David and Rachel! This is a great list and only a snippet of all that Greenville has to offer.

  • Great job Dave and Rachel! Can’t wait to visit–not only Greenville, but you two as well!

  • I live just down the road in the bustling metropolis of Spartanburg, SC, and I was so pleasantly surprised to see Greenville on your list! I lived in Greenville for several years and loved it. Thanks for this post!

  • This post made me miss living in Greenville! It is a fabulous city full of great people and place. Thanks for the post!

  • I loved popping on to see my own town featured today! Thanks for highlighting some great spots, David and Rachel! A few of them I still need to check out and, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share a couple (or so) more. If you’re looking for delicious cake, Coffee to a Tea (which is soon to be moving to the West End) has the best layer cake I’ve ever tasted. The Lazy Goat’s Spanish/Mediterranean fare is my favorite to feast upon when downtown. Also love the sushi at Murasaki on Main Street just around the corner from Luna Rosa. If you have small kids or a child-like spirit, the Storybook Garden on the Reedy River is not to be missed! It’s one of our favorite spots in town. And, yes, Furman University’s campus deserves another mention. It’s lovely. Thanks again for a great tour, y’all!

  • And, sorry, I read too fast and missed that you’d mentioned the entire Table 301 group, including Lazy Goat! But, hey, it deserves the extra mention ;)

  • When my sister moved from San Francisco to Greenville 15 years ago, we hated visiting her, politics aside (which tainted my view) the city just seemed shabby and insular. We just spent Thanksgiving in Greenville, and I have to admit the city in the last few years has blossomed. The downtown has been beautifully restored, the restaurants were fantastic, shops unique, and the nightlife hopping. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It is not the same place it was 15 years ago.

  • Greenville is an amazing city, even if you’re not a budding or established artist. :) One update on a shop though. The Galleries of Brian Brigham is not at that Southern mortuary anymore. It moved into the building beside Twigs next to the Haywood Mall. You can see their new website here: http://www.galleriesofbrianbrigham.com/

  • So, it looks like Greenville only drinks coffee and tea? Hmmm — could there be some Bob Jones connections going on here?

  • Yayyy!! D*S is the best!! Thanks so much for including me in your Greenville, SC blog post!!! Such an honor to be included:)

    Greenville ♥’s D*S!

  • The Community Tap is a great place for craft beer and wine with a great growler station! Not everyone is Bob Jones.

  • It is great to see Greenville featured on D*S, but it’s even better to discover so many great local design blogs here in the comments section.

  • This so great! My mother will soon be moving to greenville and now Im even more pumped to go visit!!

  • Oh, I just absolutely love Greenville. I spent a summer there interning at Erwin-Penland and fell in love with everything Greenville. I live in DC now, but try to get to Greenville a few times a year! My fiance and I swear we will move back there one day!

    Only three things I would include in the guide:
    Mice on Main hunt–finding Marvin & his family all along Main St is so much fun (& sometimes hard, haha): http://www.miceonmain.com/

    Two Chefs Deli in the Carolina First building on Main St. has an amazing selection. Must get the Salad Sampler on Mixed Greens. YUM!

    AND my absolute FAVORITE thing when I come to Greenville–the ice cream from Spill the Beans!! (they have yummy coffee & waffles too): http://www.stbdowntown.com/

  • oh, man! i just got giddy seeing my home town on d*s!! :) greenville is so wonderful!! thank you design*sponge slash david & rachel!

  • So glad to see Greenville on d*s!!! I live in Travelers Rest in northern Greenville County and we love to “go to town” to enjoy all the great restaurants and the entertainment. Keep up the great work. It is fun seeing that I am not the only one in Greenville reading your blog :)

  • I was so excited to see Greenville on D*S!! I lived there for the past 13 years and loved it. I recently moved to England and was sad to leave, and this makes me miss it! The art scene, family activities, surrounding scenery and nightlife are all fantastic, and it’s a definitely a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime!

  • I moved to Greenville in 1977. I left 4 months later because there was no there, there. My Dad still lives in Greenville so I visit every year. I knew it had changed but … WHO KNEW?! I think I could even live there, with a guide like this! Thanks! I’ll use it next time I’m in town.

  • So great to see Greenville featured. I love the downtown area, too . . . but it should be noted that there are great restaurants and shops outside of the city (which seems to be growing outward in every direction!)

    My husband and I love Cafe Paulista on Wade Hampton . . . especially on nights when we just don’t feel like doing the downtown scene. You can check them out here:


    And a second on Ristorante Bergamo. We just finished a short film shot at Bergamo’s. Gorgeous ambiance:


  • So happy to see this posted on Hayne’s facebook this morning.
    I grew up in Easley, moved away for several years and came back in ’95. It has been a source of pride watching Greenville evolve into an awesome little city.
    My favorite things about living in this area are The Pita House, Cafe and Then Some (for a hilarious take on local politics and being Southern), WNCW (the best radio station on earth), Barley’s Tap Room,and the beautiful mountains.
    Thanks so much for writing about Greenville.

  • Yay!! Greenville has so much to offer, I’m always so excited to see it mentioned anywhere. And Greenville doesn’t only drink coffee and tea. Someone else mentioned Community Tap — and Northampton Wines on Broad Street is an absolutely fantastic wine & cheese shop/restaurant. (www.northamptonwines.com)

  • …Shinola (Art, Antiques and Funk) mentioned above… is an awesome place! Thanks for the suggestion to go there! They have an ecclectic collection of EVERYTHING! Im going to redecorate my house from there!

  • Great great feature about Greenville SC! Thank you for listing McDunn Gallery, I manage the gallery there. We appreciate it! There is a website called http://www.greenvillesouth.com with lots of older information on the area, but it is closing down on March 1, 2011 after 12 years. I created that site back in dial-up days, but it has run its course. You guys carry on the torch in a very great way. Thanks, again!

  • I have to give Cafe Paulista Grille another recommendation. Amazing food and great service. Love it.

  • OK, I’m new here and yes I’m a Yankee. My husband and I are looking, Looking and looking some more for a great place to move. We original wanted NC…put to many tax stuff changing..not for the retired benefits. SC…much more tax friendly from were I sit.
    We will both have to work…I am a jewelry designer (handmade) and would love to work for another artist with the same passions I have had for the past 14+ years. Hubby is in the HVAC industry….We are hoping to work 4 days a week. We would love to rent for the fist year…..have heard Five Forks is a great place….any info would be great. Also heard Somerville is great…any thoughts comments that could help us would really be appreciated.