Why Every Design Lover Should Visit Greenville, South Carolina

While South Carolina is known for the sights and buzz in Charleston, the city of Greenville just three hours away is making a sound of its own. The art and design community leads the charming town with initiatives that push toward the future, from a first-of-its-kind Nature Playscape to an award-winning food scene.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the city to judge Artisphere, on a tour with Visit Greenville, and haven’t been able to stop praising it since. Everywhere I went I met creatives, art lovers young and old, and endless shopping opportunities for art and decor. While exploring, I visited historic areas of Greenville, restaurants, and small business owners who carry the pulse of the city. Below, I’ve listed the must-see locations to visit in Greenville with the help of interior designers and artists. Put this town on your 2023 road trip destination list, and prepare for a memorable trip rich with culture and surprises.


Where to Stay

Big Bohemian

Greenville has some of the most picturesque waterfalls in America. If you stay at the Grand Bohemian, you can admire one right from your window! It is Greenville’s first luxury boutique hotel overlooking a 350-foot suspension single-cable bridge that curves over the natural waterfalls. Interior designer Danielle Walter of Diggs Designs says, “From the massive stone fireplace upon entering, to the rich wooden accents, to the patio where you can relax among the treetops, it feels as if you are immersed in nature right on the banks of our own Reedy River.”

preview for Dream Rentals

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For an immersive and intimate look into living like a local, Diggs suggests Room + Revival’s Pettigru House located in Greenville’s Pettirgru Street Historic District (you’ll swoon over the glass panel French doors).I believe it is vital to keep as much historical integrity as possible when approaching a design project. This particular home was built in 1904. Although updated to feel fresh and modern with marble accents, a soothing palette, and luxurious touches, its bones still very much shine through,” Walter explains.

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ac hotel in greenville

AC Hotel

This hotel is perfect for anyone searching for a “big city” feel. Out of the five restaurants available, you have to check out Juniper, the rooftop bar designed like a whimsical garden. “The atmosphere is upbeat, the design is innovative with a European flair, and you feel immediately welcomed. The location is also phenomenal, as it is right in the heart of downtown and within walking distance of everything that makes our city tick,” says Walter.

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Located downtown but away from all the bustle, artist Michelle Jardines of Oyé Studios’s favorite staycation locale is Modal. It is a twenty-bed, bespoke hostel and art gallery that attracts traveling artisans, couples, or curious travelers seeking a communal space. The rooms are arranged in bunks (or private rooms) and there are plenty of hotel accommodations to make your stay enjoyable.

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Where to Eat & Drink

I dined at this incredible globally-inspired American restaurant two nights in a row solely to get to one dessert: Thai Tea Creme Brule. The restaurant is lively and the place to be if you’re looking to meet new people or get a front-row seat of the kitchen from the bar. The colorful menu curated by Drew Erickson, Diego Campos, and Matt Bolero changes seasonally but it’s a welcome surprise to anyone who is craving something new, elevated, and yet packed with comfort.

In the mood for Italian with a twist? Walter suggests visiting jianna for a memorable date night overlooking Falls Park and tones of people watching. “As an Italian who cooks all the time, the menu never fails to impress me,” she shares. “Order the ricotta crostini with truffle honey and sea salt or the potato gnocchi with smoked bacon. They melt in your mouth!”

open air dining with umbrellas gather gvl

Myles Berrio

For an amazing casual outdoor dining experience, visit this open-air food court situated at the West End of downtown. A collection of food and beverage vendors, from the Greeneville Beer Exchange to Hendough’s Chicken & Donuts, have set up shop around the property, interspersed with game areas and lots of covered seating. It’s a great place to go with friends—mine went back the day after our first visit for round two. (The frosé and margarita flights were a hit.)

If you fight the urge to ask your waiter what they love on the menu, do not hold back at The Anchorage. While booking a reservation is competitive, once you taste the food, you’ll realize why. The farm-to-table restaurant is contemporary and eclectic, with options like yellowfin ceviche and heritage pork and walnut ravioli. Struggling to choose? Go for the Tasting Table, a four-course meal you’ll oooh and ah over throughout the meal. The entire team is kind and accommodating, sparking conversation whether you’re at a table for two or with a large group.

End a weekend trip with brunch at Stella’s Southern Brasserie, a favorite Greenville. Interior designer Allison Smith says, Greenville has gotten so many wonderful restaurants over the years, but I always go back to two brunch spots: Fork and Plow and Stella’s Southern Brasserie.”

Walter loves to dine at Pomegranate on Main for a genuine Persian food and drink experience. “The flavor profiles are rich, the service is welcoming, and it feels like you are in a boutique dining setting in New York City. I love their marinades and everything is so fresh! I’m hungry thinking about it,” she raves.

Taco Tuesday can last all week if you’re in the mood for traditional street tacos or chorizo ​​smashburgers. The neighborhood where the restaurant is located is a food desert; each Thanksgiving, free meals are served until they run out.

Where to Shop

It’s hard to resist a shopping spree at Roost Interiors and Gifts, where Smith says you’ll find accessories and home decor to elevate your home.

Smith also loves shopping from Twigs, a floral store with home decor. “Their store display is a must-see if you are visiting over the holidays! I always have them make a beautiful floral arrangement to bring to my clients when I add my finishing touches to a project,” Smith shares.

Visit Walter’s interior design store curated with a collection of global, eclectic, and chic interior decor pieces and gifts. “From linens hand-blocked in India, to framed vintage African slingshots, to the finest olive oil cold-pressed in Southern Tuscany…our hope is to bring joy and enliven your home with items you will not find anywhere else in the upstate South Carolina,” she says.

House Beautiful‘s team can’t get enough of the magic in We Took Into the Woods—it’s one of our Best Home Stores in America! The shop is open seasonally so be sure to stop by and stock up on gifts for your family and friends.

Walter can’t stop singing praises of the idyllic store either: “The atmosphere stimulates all of your senses and takes you on an adventure. As a designer, I’m inspired every time I walk into this shop. They thank seasonally to reflect the feeling of being in a cabin in the woods during that time. The shop balances old and new beautifully. It is intimate, moody, and gives all the right vibes.”

Clear out your Saturday morning to go through troves of antiques and vintage finds. Walter explains, “Upon entering, your mind goes into treasure hunt mode in what appears to be endless amounts of rooms full of century-old pieces. You want to leave no nook untouched! The price points vary, and there is something for every budget , which is always a plus.”

Where to Explore

oye studio church

Oye Studio

Driving down the street, you might expect this midcentury church building to solely open its doors on Sundays and holidays, but it is actually the workspace for a dynamic group of artists. Entering is an experience like no other—the building once set for demolition has been brought to life by a generation of visionaries of various disciplines. Michelle Jardines, a resident artist in the space explains, “Oyé Studios mission is dedicated to practice, artistic fellowship, and cross-pollination, and a constructive effect in the Greenville community.”

The group consists of 12 artists (some local, and others transplants): Michelle Jardines, Dorothy Shain, Rey Alfonso, Patricia DeLeon, Genna and Signe Grushovenko, Jeffrey Leder, Glory Day Loflin, Taylor Adams, Everett King Waldrep, Kelly Grant Bertrand, Christopher Rico, and Keith Seitz. I went through the room of each artist, in awe of the craftsmanship, welcoming spirit, and humility. If you’re interested in an exhibition, purchasing work, or stopping by for visit, head to their website, oyestudiogvl.com.

Greenville confronts its racial history by following through on a promise made in 1939 and a call for reconciliation between what was two segregated parks. The park represents inclusivity, a remembrance of the past, and hope for the future of the city. Unity Park opened in May with 60 acres of land now lined with playgrounds, a memorial, rails-to-trails pathways, water features, and more.

Plan a night out with family and friends at Group Therapy. It’s the perfect spot for fun with indoor mini golf, ax throwing, ping pong, ice curling, karaoke, trivia, and bingo.

Fall Parks on the Reedy

It is impossible to walk into town and not take in the scenic nature trails in Greenville. “With enchanting waterfalls, hiking trails, a bridge walk, and gardens throughout, there is a feeling of serenity everywhere you go. The waterfalls are right in the middle of Downtown, so it truly is an urban oasis,” Walter shares.


Planning your next trip and in need of inspiration? We have all of the tips you need.


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