Greenville

Overview

Introduction

Greenville, in the Upcountry and 100 mi/165 km northwest of Columbia, was a declining mill town that has reinvented itself as a thriving weekend tourist destination. Its wide, four-block Main Street retains its old-fashioned buildings and tree canopy. Storefronts boast non-chain boutiques, restaurants, coffeehouses and lounges, and offices and condos fill abandoned textile factories. At night, crowds stroll Main Street and listen to live music beneath trees strung with miniature lights.

During Memorial Day weekend, the Gallabrae festival, presented by the Greenville Scottish Games at Furman University, showcases traditional piping, drumming and dance as well as athletic competitions and other cultural events.

Be sure to visit Falls Park on the Reedy River, beautifully landscaped with waterfalls, walking trails and a suspension bridge. In warm months, Falls Park stages the evening Upstate Shakespeare Festival at an outdoor amphitheater. Fine-arts performances are offered riverside in the Peace Center.

Bob Jones University, on the north side of Greenville, is best known for its fundamentalist views on religion, education and culture. It has a superb collection of European religious art. (Children younger than age 6 not admitted.)

A few miles/kilometers northeast of Greenville, in Greer, is the first BMW automobile production plant built in the U.S. You can take a plant tour to see how the sports cars are manufactured (we suggest that you make reservations 90 days in advance). Walk-in visitors can get an overview of the factory at the facility's Zentrum museum.

Battlesite buffs will want to see Cowpens National Battlefield (30 mi/48 km northeast of Greenville), the site of a major (and morale-boosting) Revolutionary War victory for the home team. The site signifies the successful use by the colonists of a shoot-and-run tactic against the British Army's standard marching formation. Kings Mountain National Military Park (50 mi/80 km northeast of Greenville) was the site of another major Revolutionary War victory for the Patriots.

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