Things to do in Greenville in Summer

Oh summer. Barbecues, fireworks, swimming pools, sundresses, long days, and warm nights. As kids we all yearned for this one season and then bemoaned it when it had past. And that feeling has never left me.

Summer is my favorite season. And Greenville has some pretty amazing summers. Living here, I’ve always had something to do and summer is no different. So, without further adieu, here are 20+ things to do in Greenville in Summer.

I’ve broken these events and activities into categories (as best as I can), so just jump to the topic that interests you to see my suggestions.

Updated for 2021!

Looking for my other guides? I have ones for fall, winter, and spring too!


City Events

Downtown Alive

2021 Start Date TBD

Thursday, Mid-March-August: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Head to Noma Square on Thursday nights to get your fix for live music. Food vendors and beer trucks will also be on site if you want to get your Thirsty Thursday on. While Downtown Alive officially starts in March, it runs throughout June, July, & August. Which is why I always think of it as a summer event. And while the event is completely family friendly, my personal observation is that there are more adults here sans kids than on Friday nights (Main Street Fridays – see below). Think like happy hour with live music.


Main Street Fridays

2021 Dates: JULY 9 – SEPT 24, 2021

Fridays, Mid-March-September: 5:30pm-9:30pm

One thing I love about Greenville is how often the city blocks off parts of main street for various events. And the tradition continues on Friday nights (if Thursday night didn’t quench your thirst for live music). As with Downtown Alive, the entry and music are free, but don’t forget your cash for food and drinks.


Celebrate July 4th Downtown

Cancelled for 2021.

July 4, 2020: 5:00pm-10:00pm

Going to be in Greenville for Independence Day this year? Don’t miss the annual July 4th celebration. Greenville is planning on shutting down 3 blocks of Main Street for the festival. There’ll be food, beer, and of course fireworks.


Arts, Crafts, & Music

TD Saturday Market

Saturday Mornings, May-October: 8:00am-12:00pm

Join the crowds downtown on Saturday Mornings to find everything local. Greenville blocks off a couple blocks of Main Street for various vendors. Here you can buy vegetables, fruits, plants, meats, cheeses, fresh pasta, jewelry, crafts, and more. You’ll find a bit of everything here – not just fruits and vegetables. This is not your standard farmer’s market.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: TD Saturday Market

Travelers Rest Farmers Market

Saturday Mornings, May-August: 8:30am-12:00pm

Another of my favorite farmers markets is held up in Travelers Rest. You’ll find the usual vegetables, fruits, and meat from the local farms. And there’s also usually some crafts as well if you’re looking for any gifts. But one of my favorite events is the Tomato Sandwich contest. This event is held over one Saturday in the summer. Local restaurants submit their best tomato sandwiches and the attendees get to taste test and vote. It doesn’t cost much and is one of my favorite summer activities. Check thee market’s events to see when the contest is.


Upstate Shakespeare Festival

No information yet on 2021.

End of May-August
Thursday through Sunday during the run of each show
Starting Time: 7:00pm

Every summer the Warehouse Theatre puts on two plays in Falls Park for free. Each play runs for several weeks (4 shows a week). There is a gap between the two shows so make sure to check their schedule to see the exact dates (and what show you’ll be seeing).

One year I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream (my favorite Shakespearean) play and loved it. Though we were quite a bit back from the stage (bring chairs!), I heard the play clearly. They also handed out a brief synopsis when we arrived so we could follow what was going on in case the Old English got to be too much.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Shakespeare Festival

The Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale

August 6-8, 2021

This is one of my favorite events every summer. Each August the Greenville Literacy Association hosts a gigantic book sale. And it’s really huge. It’s set up at McAlister Square in Greenville which I think used to be like a mall. They have fiction, non-fiction, cooking, travel, audio books, and more. Like so much more. If you’re into reading, definitely check it out. My favorite day is Sunday. Fill up a grocery sized brown paper bag (which they supply) for like $10 per bag. And they hold like tons of books.


See a Show at the Peace Center

Beat the heat and head indoors to catch one of the Peace Center shows. One year Ryan and I saw Riverdance during the summer and in years past it had shows like The Lion King, Finding Neverland, The Book of Mormon, Cats, and more.

And if heading indoors doesn’t call to you, they do have several shows at their outdoor TD Stage along the the river. In 2021, check out their White Claw Concerts. With 8 shows from June to September, you’ll sure to find one you’ll like. Plus you can’t beat sitting by the river and listening to some music.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Peace Center
Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Peace Center

Food + Drink

Fireforge Anniversary Weekend

June 18, 2021 at 12pm till June 20, 2021 at 9pm

In 2021 Fireforge (one of my favorite breweries in town) turns three years old. And this year they’ll celebrate all weekend long and brew three anniversary beers to celebrate. There will be food, music, beers, and lots of fun to be had. If I’m in town, I love stopping by this annual event.


Funk Collective Festival

No news yet if this will return.

In 2017 I went to this festival’s first appearance at Birds Fly South (my favorite brewery in town). And I loved it. If you happen to love saisons, wheats, sours, and anything Belgian and/or funky, then this is the festival for you. I even did a full review of the festival afterwards if you want to know what it was like!

Every other year (even years) the festival is hosted at Revelry Brewing in Charleston, SC.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Birds Fly South

Restaurant Week

Not scheduled for 2021 yet.

I look forward to this every year. I scope out the place I want to go and usually already have my meal picked out before I walk in the door. And Greenville has 2 restaurant weeks a year! One in January and one in August.

One January I scored a seat at the bar at American Grocery (RIP) and had one of the best meals of my life. Now I always make sure to hit up those fancy places I tend to save for special occasions.


Enjoy Greenville’s Rooftops & Patios

Greenville used to be lacking in the whole rooftop scene. But they’ve really started to get it together over the last couple of years. And they’ve definitely stepped up their game with the patios and decks. Below are some of my favorites but there are a whole lot more (especially if you consider sidewalk seating as well).

Rooftops:

Patios/Decks:


Beer Gardens

Greenville’s brewery scene is expanding at an amazing pace. In fact for one of my birthdays, I had my boyfriend take me on a self-guided tour of my favorite breweries. And summer is peak beer garden season. All of the breweries below have some kind of outdoor seating you can take advantage of.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Birds Fly South

Outdoor Activities

Red, White, & Brew 5k

July 2, 2021: 7-10pm

I think their slogan says it all: “Celebrate this day of FREEDOM with STARS, BANNERS, and BEER!” This race takes place at Brewery 85 and you’ll get a free beer. Be prepared to sweat though as a 7pm start time is still a hot time of the day.

Experience Main Street

Walking along Main Street is an activity I enjoy any time of the year. But there’s something special about summer. The downtown stays hopping until well into the night. And it just seems alive. Street musicians on every corner. The outdoor seating of my favorite restaurants humming with activity. And it just seems welcoming.

Need to escape the heat? Duck into one of the many local stores that dot the street. One of my favorites is M.Judson Books.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Main Street

Visit Falls Park

How many cities have a waterfall in the middle of their downtown? I’m going to guess not a lot. The Falls is the centerpiece to the city in my opinion. And I always end up in Falls Park on a walk through town. There’s something magnetic about it. The waterfall is a destination for every season.

If you want to dip your toes in the water, please do so at the base of the waterfall. Make your way down the hill (under the Liberty Bridge), pick a shady spot by the bank, and relax your feet in the cool water.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Falls Park

Cleveland Park & the Swamp Rabbit Trail

Cleveland Park is one of the main downtown parks. It’s got the zoo, tennis courts, pavilions, playgrounds, and the swamp rabbit trail runs right through it. It’s a major gathering spot for Greenville (especially on the weekends).

Packing a picnic and finding a shady spot to enjoy is perfect for a summer day. Then you can head along the trail into town and find yourself at Falls Park.

Biking the trail may be considered the quintessential Swamp Rabbit Trail activity, but I would probably recommend that as a fall or spring activity. (If I’m biking in the summer, I’m a hot, sweaty mess.)


Swim at Paris Mountain

Paris Mountain State Park is a great destination any time of the year. But heading there on a hot summer day to take a dip in the cool lake might just be perfect. Swimming is only allowed at Lake Placid in the designated area (and there is a lifeguard). Check the park’s website for details on admission prices.


Pick Some Blueberries, Peaches, or Sunflowers

Summer is the season of the blueberry and the peach. And luckily there are two places outside of town you can head to this summer to grab some local, fresh-off-the-vine fruit. These two places offer a pick-your-own fruit experience. Blueberry season runs from May to August and peach season from July to August.

For blueberries, checkout the following:

For peaches, checkout Fisher Orchard.

For sunflowers, check out Denver Down’s South Carolina Sunflower Festival. It’s held over two weekends in June. Or checkout Beechwood Farms where I went sunflower picking a couple of years ago.


Sporting Events

Greenville Drive Baseball Game

Games are at home every other week or so May through September.

You might think a minor league baseball game might not be all the rage. But going to the games is a major thing to do. (I showed up once at the ticket office only to discover the game was sold out. I kid you not.) In fact, I’ve never been to a game that didn’t have a sizeable number of people there – regardless of the day of the week. But my favorite night to go? Thursdays for dollar drink night. Oh yea.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Greenville Drive

Greenville Triumph

April-October (2-3 games per month)

If baseball isn’t your thing, then check out Greenville’s soccer team. I have yet to attend a match, but it’s on my list for this year if I can. And for those families with soccer aficionados, this is a perfect way to get them their fix locally.


Trips

Day Trip to Traveler’s Rest

Escape Greenville for a day and head up to Traveler’s Rest. This little town has really taken off. Below are some things you could get up to:

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Traveler's Rest
Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Traveler's Rest

Head to Lake Jocassee

There are three big lakes within about an hour of Greenville: Lake Hartwell, Lake Keowee, and Lake Jocassee. My favorite is Jocassee. Situated in the mountains and almost completely surrounded by undeveloped lands, this is an escape. You can go swimming, fishing, hiking, kayaking, or boating.

Don’t have a boat? No problem! Rent a canoe on your way there from Sunrift Adventures (Traveler’s Rest) or at Lake Jocassee (provided by Eclectic Suns).

You can also go on a boat tour that’ll take you to all of the waterfalls (they are kind of spread out).

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Lake Jocassee

Go Camping

Camping is one of the quintessential summer activities. Campfires, s’mores, hiking, swimming, tents, and more. Escaping into the wild is something that seems to call to us as the weather warms. Below are some of the parks in the surrounding Greenville area that have camping.

Note: I actually prefer to camp in the spring or fall. But I’m a bit of an outlier with that. And I can’t argue that camping in the summer is a huge thing to do down here.

Things to do in Greenville in Summer: Camping

So Greenville, are you ready for summer?

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