downtown greenville at dusk usa south carolina family days out greenville city guide

The Best Family Greenville City Guide (South Carolina)

Greenville City Guide has done ALL the hard work so you don’t have to with this ULTIMATE Greenville City Guide to print & use!



31 May | read

When you think about South Carolina what do you think of? Charleston? Myrtle Beach? How about Greenville!? Greenville is an absolutely wonderful and charming place to visit in the Palmetto State, so keep reading as we share all the fun things to do with kids in Greenville in this Greenville City Guide!

Greenville can be found nestled up against the foothills of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, right in the heart of South Carolina's Upcountry. Greenville is located about halfway between Charlotte (which is in North Carolina) and Atlanta (in Georgia, of course!)

Greenville's friendly, thriving downtown is perfect for year-round fun with the family, as you can explore one-of-a-kind art galleries to fascianting museums and tours, and plenty of outdoor activities!

All of these reasons and more is why we are so excited to share with you our Greenville City Guide featuring our "Top 9 Family Attractions", all of which are just the beginning of what you can do with kids in Greenville!

There are so many fun things to do with kids in Greenville, so make sure check out our entire Greenville City Guide that we've carefully put together just for you, so you can make your time in this wonderful South Carolina city the best it can be with those little ones!

Image Credit & Copyright: VisitGreenvilleSC

Image Credit & Copyright: VisitGreenvilleSC

In this Greenville City Guide, we share with you our top 9 things to do with kids, as well as some really fun experiences for the entire family!

We understand that budgets are always a factor when you travel (especially with kids!), so also in this Greenville City Guide we list some must-experience FREE things to do with kids that won't damage the budget!

Won't have a car? Not a problem! We let you in on a great way for getting around Greenville if you won't have any wheels (and it's a really fun option too!) plus we share some super fun facts about the city that might just surprise you! 

If you want to explore a bit further out for the day, our Greenville City Guide also shares our favorite a day trip from the city, plus we let you know some famous faces who were lucky enough to be born in this beautiful town.

So whether this is your first trip saying "Yes, take me to Greenville I can't wait!" or maybe you have lived in Greenville all of your life but never really discovered what there is to do, and you wonder "What is there is to do near me in Greenville?", then keep reading because we have the top 9 things to do in Greenville with kids...and so much more!

Image Credit & Copyright: VisitGreenvilleSC

The land that Greenville sits on today was once Cherokee hunting ground, and actually closed to Colonists' settlements. Then, in 1770 a man named Richard Peris from Virginia was living with a chief's daughter, and was given 100,000 acres of hunting land.

On this land, Peris set up a Plantation on the banks of the Reedy River which ultimately became downtown Greenville.  This plantation housed a grist mill as well as stables, and even a trading post. Then, the Revolutionary War arrived, and as a result of siding with the Tories and Cherokee allies, a Patriot troop raided the plantation and burned the mill and home. 

Whilst Peris never returned, today his name lives on with Paris Mountain!

Once the Revolutionary War was over, the state of South Carolina was dividing up land and offering it to Patriot soldiers as a way of thanks for their service. In 1786, the state formed Greenville (Originally spelt Greeneville after a man named Nathanael Greene who was the hero of the American southern campaign)

Throughout the 1800s the town received its first school, as well as the first four churches. It also saw the establishment of a tannery, corn and grist mills, and a general store. Visitors could also stay in Mansion House complete with a bar, a ballroom and a piano (and the only sofa in the village!)

Today, you'll find plenty of sofas across the many inns and hotels, ensuring that the town can support all the many families that visit each year!

Image Credit & Copyright: VisitGreenvilleSC

What we love about Greenville is just the variety of attractions and things to do you'll find. One minute you might be meeting the wonderful wildlife of the world at Greenville Zoo, and the next you might be taking to the trails at Paris Mountain State Park!

There is plenty of family fun to be had at places such as Frankie's Fun Park, or kids might want to make that splash at Otter Creek Splash Park!

Greenville has some fascinating museums too, with something for everyone. You can be exploring the wonders of science at Roper Mountain Science Center, or learning through play at the Children's Museum of the Upstate, before heading on over to uncover 300 years of history at the Upcounty History Museum.

From tours to trails, food to shopping, history to even axe throwing - Greenville has something for everyone and we can't wait for you to start your adventure!

Image Credit and Transporation Source: Visit Greenville SC

If you don't have a car in Greenville, never fear because you can just enjoy the FREE Downtown Trolley Service! Yes, that's right. The amazing city of Greenville offer a free service to take you around the city so you can just sit back and enjoy all the sites!

It was actually back in 1901 when the very first electric trolley service began around Greenville (and back then, it cost a whole nickel!). Today, the service is free and runs along six different routes around the downtown area from Thursdays through Sundays, all year-round. (It's worth noting that some of the routes are seasonal)

It’s certainly a nice break for sore feet and a great way to see the town! The red and blue open-air vintage trolleys are wheelchair accessible and equipped with bicycle racks too!

The Downtown trolleys operate on a fixed-stop system and make a continuous loop along each route. All you have to do to board the trolley is stand near one of the trolley stop signs along the routes!

Check the website for the various routes and operating times, as they vary from one another. Then, just jump on, and enjoy!

Greenville (and South Carolina in general!) have some incredible foods just waiting to be enjoyed, so why not take advantage of the mouthwatering Greenville BBQ Trail Tour and really learn what makes this BBQ some of the best in the city.

During the 2.5 hour tour you visit three locations across the city that produce BBQ you won't forget! At each location, you can learn all about the cooking techniques of that restaurant, as well as the restaurant's history and how they started.  Kids can learn about Greenville BBQ history as a whole, and of course, get the enjoy generous portions of the deliciously smoked meats and tasty sides (the best part!)

Don't forget to arrive on an empty stomach, you're going to need it!

Source & Image Credit: Greenville History Tours

Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Greenville

Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Greenville

It's time to get WILD in Greenville at Greenville Zoo, where kids can come face to face with their favorite animals from all over the world! In addition to seeing those amazing creatures, Greenville Zoo also offer fun activities and events that are perfect for families!

Experience the zoo at night with a private after hours experience, join in one of the many free zoo programs across the week, or enjoy a behind the scenes tour that offers you a glimpse into the inner workings of the Greenville Zoo!

Image Credit: Greenville Zoo

The Children's Museum of the Upstate is one of the country's largest children’s museums and if that wasn't enough, it's also one of the first to become Smithsonian affiliated!

This popular Greenville museum JUST for kids offers 60,000 square feet of interactive and hands-on fun, play and learning, with over 21 unique exhibit galleries that reflect programming in the arts, humanities, sciences, health, and the environment, plus they offer free weekly programming for families too!

Image Credit: TCMUPSTATE

Located at Heritage Green in downtown Greenville, the Upcountry History Museum takes you through 300 years of Upcountry South Carolina history with their interactive exhibits and dymanic programming, where you can learn all about the stories of people and events that shaped the region!

The museum features three changing galleries (meaning you can keep going back to see something new!), as well as award-winning in-house exhibitions perfect for the whole family. 

Image Credit: Upcountry History Museum

Fancy learning a new skill? How about axe throwing! Yes, you read that right. Craft Axe Throwing offers you the chance to try our your coordination skills as you try and hit the bullseye with your very own axe. It might sound strange, but axe throwing is becoming one of the leading pasttimes in the USA!

It's great fun for the whole family, and children over 10 years of age are welcome to have a go. There's nothing wrong with some friendly competition either! Craft Axe Throwing book lanes in groups of 4, but can accommodate larger groups if they have the space. Good luck!

Image Credit: Craft Axe Throwing

Get out into nature at Paris Mountain State Park! The roots of this gorgeous South Carolina state park date as far back as the Great Depression, when it was actually built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. You can actually see examples of this heritage in the preserved stone in the renovated bathhouse now known as the Park Center!

Inside, the center features historical exhibits as well as a classroom to teach young and old about the park’s ecology. Then of course, you can enjoy activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, pedal boats and more!

Image Credit: Visit Greenville SC

Roper Mountain Science Center may be a special facility for Greenville County Schools, but it also hosts a number of public events and programs that ensure YOU can visit and learn all about the wonders of science too!

Some of the public programs include Friday Starry Nights where kids can uncover the wonders of the Universe, Holiday Laser Shows, as well as 100 different week long camps in a Summer Exploration Camp series!

Image Credit: Roper Mountain

Theatre is always such a fun experience for kids, so why not make a stop at the South Carolina Children's Theatre to enjoy a performance that can entertain kids of all ages! The theatre put on a number of shows across the year, from musicals to comedies and everything in between which will be sure to entertain!

In addition to the performances, the South Carolina Children's Theatre run summer camps, classes, and you can even celebrate your little ones birthday there with super fun activity-based parties too! Curtains up, it's show time!

Image Credit: South Carolina Children's Theatre

Frankie's Fun Park gives you that classic family fun filled experience with activities perfect for all ages! Kids can challenge themselves on one of their three mini golf courses, or swing for the fences in the batting cages! Perhaps you might just need a break from the summer heat and take a ride in the bumper boats?

Frankie's Fun Park also offers thrills for the brave with their Discovery ride where your heart will surely start pumping as you're turned upside down, or you might prefer trying out their cool virtual reality attraction! 

Image Credit: Frankies

Make a splash in Greenville with Otter Creek Splash Park! The whole family can enjoy buckets of laughs as you enjoy Otter Creek's various water slides and splash pads, and really just take in that fun in the sun we know you love!

All that play can make those tummies rumble, so just grab lunch at the Otter Creek concession stand, enjoy it at one of their picnic shelters, then go back out and play some more! Great water park fun in Greenville for kids of all ages!

Image Credit: Otter Creek Splash Park

Famous Folk From Greenville!

 Family Days Out: City Guide

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson is an American Civil Rights leader, political activist, as well as Baptist minister, and politician.

He became one of the most influential African-Americans of the late 20th century.

Image Credit: Public Domain

 Family Days Out: City Guide

Edwin McCain

Edwin McCain is an American singer-songwriter that rose to fame in the 90s with his hits "I'll Be" and "I Could Not Ask For More"

Five of his eleven albums have reached the Billboard 200.

Image Credit: Public Domain

5 Fun Greenville Facts

5 Fun Greenville Facts

Impress your friends with your amazing Greenville knowledge!

  • Greenville is located on what was once Cherokee Land.
  • Greenville recieves an average of 5 inches of snow each winter!
  • The city is named after Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene!
  • Greenville is home to the only children's museum in the United States that is a Smithsonian affiliate!
  • Greenville is also home to largest public collection of watercolors by famed American artist Andrew Wyeth!

Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Greenville

Stroll Falls Park on the Reedy & visit Liberty Bridge!

Stroll Falls Park on the Reedy & visit Liberty Bridge!

Falls Park on the Reedy really is the crown jewel of Greenville, and it's free to enjoy! Spend the day strolling the 36 acres of gardens and park spaces, with the highlight seeing the views from iconic Liberty Bridge!

Falls Park on the Reedy also features historic ruins of mills, and the park also hosts free movie screenings and Shakespeare performances at certain times across the year! Plenty of park fun for the whole family, and so much more!

Image Credit: City of Greenville

Art in Public Places Self-Guided Tour

Art in Public Places Self-Guided Tour

Did you know that Greenville is home to nearly 100 pieces of art all located in public spaces such as parks and along the streets? These amazing artworks are for on display just for the public, and you don't need to even step foot in a museum!

Luckily for you, the City of Greenville has put together an online map so you can enjoy your own self-guided tour of these amazing "Art in Public Places" - which is amazing! After all, shouldn't art be enjoyed by all? And in Greenville, everyone can!

Image Credit: City of Greenville

Greenville County Museum of Art

Greenville County Museum of Art

Not only is the Greenville County Museum of Art considered the premier American art museums in the South, but it's also home to the world’s largest public collection of watercolors by the iconic American artist Andrew Wyeth!

In addition to their collections, the GCMA also runs a number of events throughout the year, including Music in the Galleries, Summer Art Camps, and sketching opportunities to those who are feeling inspired and want to get a bit creative!

Image Credit: GCMA

Mice on Main Scavenger Hunt

Mice on Main Scavenger Hunt

A continuation from the Art in Public Spaces initiative, the Mice on Main Scavenger Hunt is a really fun way for kids to actually enjoy some interactive play with the art!

Inspired by the children's book Goodnight Moon, this fun scavenger hunt is where kids can search for 9 tiny bronze mice hidden along a section of main street. The website offer clues if you get stuck, but why not challenge yourselves and see if you can find all 9!

Image Credit: VisitGreenvilleSC

Visit NOMA Square!

Visit NOMA Square!

NOMA Square (short for "NOrth MAin"!) is the largest plaza in downtown Greenville and is actually one of the most popular places to hang out! Not only is it a hub where families and friends gather, but it also hosts free events across the year for all to enjoy!

You might fancy some free yoga classes, or you might be lucky and see one of thei fashion shows! They host live music, Yappy Hour, and even an annual Oktoberfest! NOMA Square also has some amazing retail shops and dining too!

Image Credit: NOMA Square

Greenville, SC: The Best Small Town in America?

A Fun Day Trip From Greenville!

If you love history, if you love charm, and if you love small-town America, then you will love our favorite day trip from Greenville - Pickens!

Tucked into the foothills of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, Pickens is more than just history and charm. This quiet mountain retreat offers outdoor adventure, biking, amazing eateries, plenty of shopping, and so much more! Shall we delve deeper? Let's go!

Image Credit: Discover South Carolina

Pickens was founded back in 1868, and retains much of that 19th century charm still to this day. The town was named after a man named General Andrew Pickens, a Revolutionary War hero.

Prior to its founding, the area was previously Cherokee Territory. However, it was during the American Revolutionary War that the Cherokee actually sided with Great Britain, and once Great Britain were defeated the Cherokee were forced to give up their land.

In 1898, the Pickens Railway was opened up, but despite this connection to transporation the town continued to thrive on it's small-town status and even in 2022, the population remained under 4,000.  

And it's this small-town charm that we love!

At only a 30 minute drive from Greensville, Pickens makes a great day trip for a lunch, or history lesson, or just to get out into the gorgeous South Carolina nature!

Road Trip!

Here’s our top 4 Pickens things to do:

We hope you found this content useful! Please share with your friends, and if you have any comments, or want to let us know what we can do to further help you find fun days out with the family, then just email our team at [email protected]!

Let's get the family adventure started!

Lisa Written by

Lisa has been a content writer for Family Days Out for nearly 10 years, and a keen travel writer for nearly 20. She loves experiencing the best of a city, discovering the many things to do and immersing herself in the culture, and sharing these experiences with others through her writing.

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