Winter is often synonymous with Christmas. And Greenville has some great holiday celebrations and activities. But what about those other two pesky months of January and February? Well I think Greenville is a bit quieter during these months, but there are still a few things to do.
Winter is also one of my favorite seasons to be outside in the Upstate. Yes it does get cold, but we also get several days in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s. And I take full advantage of them. So, without further adieu, here are 20+ things to do in Greenville in winter.
Updated for the 2020-2021 season!
Due to the pandemic, I’ve indicated events below that have been postponed, cancelled, or moved. I will try to keep this updated so this can be a resource to use this fall.
Holiday City Events
Cancelled for 2020.
This parade has been going on for 75 years so you know it’s a tradition. There’ll be floats, dancing, music, and of course Santa. (I mean it’s a Christmas parade after all.) The parade procession will go up Main Street from River street to North Street. So make sure to stake out a good spot early!
While the Greenville parade is cancelled, the Travelers Rest parade is still a go for 2020! Come out to get your parade on in TR. Plus the stop by the Trailblazer Park after for the Very Merry Christmas Market.
September 18 – December 20th
Fridays through Sundays: 11:00am-5:00pm
Instead of a weekend event (that’s usually held in the fall), a temporary retail shop will be open instead in December before Christmas. The shop will feature work from over 100 artists.
In addition to the shop, there will be a series of mini markets held in the green space next to the shop (with free admission)!
December 12: 12:30pm – 4:30pm
Traveler’s Rest Farmers Market has a special Christmas edition. I love the market in the summer and their one in the fall. There will be music, food, local vendors, and even Santa! Plus the market is right after the Christmas parade in Travelers Rest
December 5 & December 12: 9am – 1pm.
Downtown Greenville’s Saturday Market will have a special holiday themed farmer’s market. But expect a lot more than just the normal produce. I’ve gotten so many Christmas gifts from this market. I like a one and done kind of Christmas shopping experience.
Want even more options to shop local and buy from local artists and crafters? Enter the Holiday Flea by Swamp Rabbit Cafe. In normal years, the event is held over two Saturdays in December. Think over 40 local artists and live music. Plus the cafe itself! (Baked goods, beer, pizza, and more.)
In 2020, instead of two large holiday markets, there will be a series of smaller markets.
Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays
November 27 – December 20
December 3: 9am-8pm
Friday, December 4: 9am-8pm
Saturday, December 5: 9am-6pm
This fair held at the Convention Center in downtown Greenville reminds me of the holiday craft show I went to as a kid where I grew up. My mother loved seeing all of the holiday themed crafts and getting new, quality, handmade decorations for our home (instead of something that’s plastic and made in China).
December 6: 1:00pm-6:00pm
Doing my Christmas shopping at a brewery? I think this is a win-win-win (aka a win for me to do some xmas shopping, a win that I get to drink beer at the same time, and a win for the vendors as I’m definitely more pro-buying when I’ve had a few beers).
December 12: 1:00pm-4:00pm
I’m not as familiar with this market. But hey, if it supports our local businesses, I’m game.
December 4: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Sometimes the hardest part about shopping local is the closing time of the stores. Well for one night in December, the local shops of Travelers Rest will stay open late for you to come by, peruse what their offering for the season, and maybe even start your Christmas shopping (or finish if you’re one of those on your ball people).
Holiday Light Displays
Roper Mountain Science Center: Holiday Laser Shows in the PlanetariumCancelled for 2020
Upstate Holiday Light Show
$30 to drive through
Anderson Christmas Lights
near the Anderson Civic Center
Pretty sure it costs money but can’t find the price on the website
Need to get your holiday music fix?
Holiday At Peace
December 18, 7:30pm
December 19, 7:30pm
December 20, 3:00pm
Shannon LaBrie Christmas
December 10, 7:30pm
Would one of my top 20 lists be complete without mentioning my favorite brewery? No I don’t think so. So Birds Fly South is doing a holiday movie night every Wednesday night in December. It’s free, though you do have to reserve your table online.
Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree
I hate fake trees. My family always used to go to a Farmer’s Market and get our own tree. But since I’ve moved to South Carolina, Ryan and I now go and cut down our own tree. Well actually we go to a farm and pick out our tree, and then have someone experienced with a chainsaw cut it down. But you can do it yourself if you want.
Our favorite spot? Moss Tree Farm in Cashiers North Carolina. But there are other places you can go. Below are some nearby local tree farms.
Catch A Holiday-Themed Play
Warehouse Theatre and the Greenville Theatre are both closed for 2020.
A couple of years ago I went to go see the “Christmas On The Rocks” at the Warehouse Theatre, and it was awesome. I’ve also seen a few Christmas plays at the Greenville Theatre (used to be Greenville Little), like the Sherlock Holmes Christmas one in 2017, and I loved it. So every year I take a look at the holiday shows to see if there’s anything that strikes my fancy.
Want to cruise downtown with Santa in his sleigh? Here’s your chance. Be sure to make your reservation this year!
December 19 & December 20
9:00AM, 11:30AM, 2:00PM, 4:30PM
If you have little ones, the Children’s Museum is amazing. Combine the museum with their holiday themed festival, and you have the perfect outing.
Food + Drink
Try Some Holiday Food & Drinks
I love me some holiday themed drinks. Beers, coffees, lattes, and maybe even smoothies. And hello holiday treats. There’s a reason I gain like 10 pounds every December.
- Liquid Highway: Peppermint Mocha & Eggnog Latte
- Southern Pressed Juicery: The Grinch Smoothie
- Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse: Gingerbread waffle & Gingerbread latte
- Cohesive Coffee: Kris Kringle (Mocha Latte with Peppermint Foam) & Orange Maple Latte
January 7-17, 2021
Yes Greenville has two restaurant weeks! And the one in the winter is actually my favorite. It gets me out of the house on a dreary January week and into an amazing restaurant. I make an effort to eat at one new place every time Restaurant Week rolls around and this year you can bet that I’ll be keeping to tradition.
4th Annual Mac-N-Cheese Off at Birds Fly South
I’m not sure if this is happening this year. I haven’t seen anything yet. But if it is, it’s usually in February.
Wait…not one but two Birds Fly South events on the list? Yes you read that right. But come on…it’s a Mac-N-Cheese off, who wouldn’t want to go? Now unfortunately I didn’t make it to the first one last year, but I will not be making that mistake again.
Do-It-Yourself Brewery Tour
Greenville has a great brewery scene. So for my birthday one year (which is in the winter), I planned my own brewery tour. Luckily I got Ryan to be my driver and we spent the day hitting up my favorite breweries around town. Different friends joined in at different parts, and we spent the day trying loads of different beers. Now we didn’t hit them all, but it was a great way to spend a Saturday birthday.
And now there are even more breweries in town for our next DIY tour! Check out all of the Greenville’s breweries and plan your own!
November 13-January 31st
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00am-10:00pm
There are several new restrictions this year for Ice on Main. Attendance is limited but you can now buy your ticket and reservation online. Oh, and of course, wear a mask.
I think Ice On Main is one of the most quintessential winter activities in Greenville. Open past Christmas, this isn’t just a holiday thing. And it’s open everyday during its run. Check out the hours before you go since they do change day to day. Tickets cost $10 and include rentals.
So in the past couple of years, Greenville’s ax throwing scene has really grown (in that we have 2 options now). And while I haven’t gone to the locations below, they are on my list for this year! (Though I have gone ax throwing in my hometown before, and it was SO MUCH FUN!)
Go For A Hike
Hiking? In the winter? You might think that sounds odd. But it’s actually one of my favorite seasons to hit the trails. Several years ago I used a warm Saturday to tackle Table Rock.
I later went back and hiked it again in the spring, and I can tell you it was much nicer to do the climb in 55 degree weather than 80. Just make sure you get there early since it will get darker sooner (something we didn’t quite account for).
Another easier option I love is to head to Paris Mountain State Park for the afternoon.
This may only happen once a year. But yes it does snow in Greenville. And I urge you to take advantage of it. As someone who lived for several years up north where snow was not a rarity, it took me awhile to appreciate it. But now I look forward to our annual “snowstorm.” It never lasts very long (usually melting in just 24 hours). So get out there. Build a snowman. Go for a walk downtown to see the Falls bedazzled with the white stuff. I know you can’t do this everyday, so I debated to include it. But I like having it here as a reminder to simply be a kid when you can and enjoy the snow.
Read Next: 20 Photos of Greenville in the Snow
Arts, Crafts, & Music
December 12 – March 20
Every Saturday: 11:00am-2:00pm
Every Saturday from December to March, Brewery 85 has a kind of farmer’s market / craft show right in their brewery. I went a couple of times last year and (other than beer) bought bread, arugula, cheese, and earrings for my sister’s birthday. So it’s a pretty big mix of different farmers, crafters, and artists. Oh and there are food trucks on site as well.
Okay so you know Greenville has a very popular minor league baseball team, but what about hockey? Meet the Swamp Rabbits. Though the name has changed over time, I still love to go and watch a game. (Hockey being one of my favorite sports to watch in person.) And with lots of tickets for under $20, this is a great way to beat the winter blues.
Day Trip to Asheville To See The Biltmore
Okay so I may or may not go to Asheville every season, but there’s a reason I waited until winter to include it. The Biltmore is amazing. Think a castle located just an hour or so away. And during the holiday season, everything is decorated. I’ve been to the estate a few times, but seeing it in December was probably my favorite.
Take A Ski Getaway
The mountains nearby might make any west coaster scream in frustration, but if you’re craving some slope time, there are several options. A few years ago Ryan and I headed to Sugar Mountain. It’s a large-ish mountain with several options. And we got there on a great weekend, cold enough for some real snow but before the sleeting started.
Check out this article for some other nearby options.