Once upon a time Greenville, SC would have probably never been considered a city where anyone would want to go for a day, let alone a weekend trip. But in recent years, that same city of Greenville has become a popular destination in the state of South Carolina for those seeking an easygoing, yet lively and modern city to escape to.
In my third planned visit to Greenville, I decided to make it a girls weekend having already visited with my mom and aunts, then also with a youth ministry from my church. With exploring Greenville with my best girl friends, I knew I would experience the city in a different way than the previous times. Here is how our weekend went:
Day 1 – Friday
Leaving Charleston after work hours, the 3 hours drive to Greenville allowed us to arrive in the city just after dark to check into our room at the contemporary new Springhill Suites hotel located in the heart of downtown. Shortly after checking in we walked around the corner to have dinner at Jamaica Mi Irie which boast to be the only authentic Jamaican restaurant in Greenville. Our love of Caribbean cuisine topped with the inexpensive menu cost, made this an easy choice to dine among the plethora of other restaurants in the area. We walked into the small busy restaurant and immediately sat ourselves at the first spotted table. Having only two servers and a bartender on staff, the wait time to greet our table and take our orders were a bit extended. They also ran out of some of the side items that were supposed to come with our dishes. Nonetheless our main courses were satisfying and I tried curry chicken for the first time. I thought it was okay.
After leaving the restaurant, we headed about two blocks down the street to Alchemy Comedy Theater where we participated in the improv comedy show. Well, I did not participate, I only watched the show and caught a few laughs. It was something different and enjoyable to do, and should I add, it was also a free event.
It was just before midnight when we left the theater, so we thought we would walk out into the vibrant downtown atmosphere we had witnessed earlier, but to our dismay it appeared that the sidewalk crowds had already dispersed into their intended destinations for the evening. We were surprised that it was so quiet being a Friday late night, but we used the opportunity to explore the city in its quiet peace.
We walked down the popular Main Street taking notice of all of the boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants and everything that made the city unique like the extra wide sidewalks and the city like feel. After walking a few blocks we came across a luminous pedestrian bridge that we decided to cross over. It really added to the ambiance of the city. Having crossed that bridge, we then looped across the street to enter the beloved Falls Park on the Reedy, where we were absolutely amazed by the beauty of yet another gleaming pedestrian bridge overlooking a spectacular waterfall right in the center of downtown. Now, I have seen this waterfall in the day, but at night, it really does sparkle. Falls Park on the Reedy is a must visit site on any trip to Greenville.
After taking in the night air and having walked around the city, we headed back to our hotel to wine down and enjoy some of the guest amenities. A cozy seat by the fire pit with glasses of champagne and girl talk was the way to end our first night.
Day 2 – Saturday
One of the main purpose of our trip to Greenville was actually to visit the Cheesecake Factory since we do not have one of those restaurants at home and Greenville offered the nearest option. Every once in a while, you have to satisfy your cheesecake craving with a quality cheesecake. Therefore, we started the day by having brunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Since the restaurant is connected to the mall, we took the opportunity to spend time shopping. The Haywood Mall in Greenville is very nice and also provides some high-end store options.
Leaving the mall, we drove 30 mins south of Greenville to visit City Scape Winery where we had a reservation to do their special Girl Scout cookies and wine pairing tasting. Of course in every city we have to visit a winery! The drive to City Scape was a scenic countryside route. When we pulled up to the winery we were taken back a bit because it almost seemed that we had pulled up at someone’s house. As we walked through the parking area, we finally reached the small building known as City Scape Winery. Walking inside the tasting room, it reminded me of being in someone’s dining room only with a few extra tables and chairs. The owner Josh was able to find us a comfortable seating arrangement in the cramped space and soon after we were brought our cookies, and cheese tray to start our tasting. Surprisingly, the cookies and wine made a great pairing, and there were some Girl Scouts who made major business that day. The special pairing was so delightful to our pallets, we decided to do another round this time purchasing the premium wine tasting. Our visit at City Scape Winery did become quite extended, but we did enjoy the wines, our server Megan was very pleasant, and we made a new friend – Hey Brittany! Oh, our favorite wines from City Scape were the Pomegranate Pinot Noir, Pineapple Riesling, Green Apple Gewurztraminer and the Chocolate Raspberry Delight port wine.
After leaving the winery we headed back into the city to prepare ourselves for dinner and a night out on the town. Entering the hotel, we were distracted by the great sounds of the live music coming from the attached Oak & Honey restaurant. The bar vibe was entertaining and we wished we could have stayed longer for the music, but having a short time to spare before our dinner reservations, we did not want to miss out on trying the cold treats at the highly recommended Luna Rosa Gelato cafe which was around the corner. The gelato flavors were delicious and we appreciated all of the samples.
For dinner we drove back near the mall area to The Melting Pot restaurant. Although this is a chain restaurant in a city that boast having hundreds of locally owned dining options, we chose The Melting Pot just to have the experience of dining at a fondue cooking style restaurant which we otherwise do not have many of at home. The Melting Pot experience was quite different. If you have never been to a fondue cooking style restaurant, just know that some of the menu choices have to be a shared decision among everyone at the table since there is only one pot provided to cook the food items. For this reason alone, I think the cost to eat in this place is a bit too pricey.
The four course dinner did consist of cheese and bread bites, a green salad, meat choices, and desserts to dip in chocolate. The food is good as long as you do not overcook your meats in the broth. But the broth made the meats and vegetables very flavorful. The portions of uncooked meats brought to the table may have not seemed like a lot, but halfway through dinner we were struggling to finish our meals. Our desserts had to eventually be carried out.
It was very late when we left dinner, and although the plan was to enjoy a night out in the city after, we were so full and drained, the only thing we wanted to enjoy was the comfort of the soft hotel pillows and plush mattresses. Before pulling into the hotel, we did drive through downtown to make sure that we did not want to change our minds about turning in for the night. We were impressed to see a more lively scene than the night before. There were lots of bars with long lines of people waiting to get in, the sidewalks were crowded and people seemed to be soaking in the nightlife. If we were not so tired our plan was to go to Jack n’ Diane’s Dueling Piano Bar to have some guiltless fun, then possibly go to Up On The Roof to have a few cocktails. The bed did end up ruling the night however.
Day 3 – Sunday
We woke up early on Sunday morning to have breakfast in the hotel, then after, went back to bed to sleep in until the noon check out time. The plan for the day was to go hiking so that we could discover the outdoor nature the other side of Greenville had to offer. We drove about 35 mins north of the city to Table Rock State Park where we set off on the Lakeside trail. The views of the mountains were spectacular and the waterfalls we scrolled by were a wonder to the eyes. We would never imagine that we would be so into the great outdoors, but taking the hike together served to be an empowering and cherished experience. After finishing the 45 minutes trail, it was time to head back home to the charming city of Charleston.
We did not get to do everything that was recommended to do while in Greenville, but we still had an amazing time. Some of the things that we did miss out on that we wish we had more time to do included visiting the Greenville County Museum of Art since the city is well known for its artistic scenery, taking a leisure bike ride through the Swamp Rabbit Trail , and dining at more of the local restaurants.
The next time you and friends are deciding on a city to visit for a short weekend getaway, I would advocate for you to explore the city of Greenville, SC as an alternative to any place else you may be thinking of. There is the excitement of downtown and the fascination of the outdoors making this the best of both worlds all in one city. Visit Greenville.