Whether you’re visiting friends or relatives, Greenville is a magical city to discover over the holidays. But Greenville as a world-class destination really shouldn’t come as any surprise. After all, it’s been named one of the Best Small Cities in America and its foodie scene has few rivals. It has also been mentioned as one of the country’s best places to spend Christmas. What’s more, you’ll be greeted by some of the friendliest people around and you’ll have all sorts of fun things to see and do.

If this is your first trip to Greenville, you’ll return home with a ton of fond memories. But if you’re returning to Greenville, you already know why it’s a destination worth seeing more than once. Here’s a short preview of what’s happening during the holiday season in yeah, that Greenville!

Greenville Holiday Lights!

Part of what makes Greenville so enchanted this time of year is its dazzling collection of holiday lights. While downtown’s trees are already lit at night, the city pulls out all the stops when it comes to the most wonderful time of the year. For starters, there’s the downtown merchant’s window decorating contest that begins December 6. Visitors can also enjoy the official Christmas tree lighting December 4 and the city’s annual Festival of Trees. There’s also the annual Menorah Lighting celebration December 13. If that’s not enough, visitors can also marvel at the enormous light displays in neighborhoods and other attractions like the Greenville-Pickens Speedway.

Related: America’s Best Christmas Markets

Greenville Holiday Lodging!

All of Greenville’s leading hotels are extending their welcome mats in anticipation of their holiday guests. For instance, popular hotels like the Greenville Marriott and Hyatt Regency will be graced with Christmas trees and holiday decorations. The city’s premiere destination, Westin Poinsett will also showcase their own Christmas tree and distinctive wreaths. Both the Regency and Westin Poinsett will host Thanksgiving dinners, with information on Christmas dining to follow. Other top recommendations for lodging are Hampton Inn and Suites and Embassy Suites by Hilton.

Related: Westin Poinsett in Greenville South Carolina

Ice Skating!

Getting into the holiday spirit in Greenville isn’t difficult. But having an outdoor ice skating rink to enjoy just makes it that better. The United Community Bank Ice on Main is open through January and tickets for one-hour skate sessions are available online. The ice rink is located in the heart of downtown Greenville, just steps from City Hall and the AAA Four Diamond Westin Poinsett. A larger ice rink is also available at the Pavilion in the neighboring community of Taylors.

More Holiday Events!

Although Greenville’s beloved Christmas parade was canceled, visitors can enjoy many more holiday events. Among the notable are the Greenville Convention Center Holiday Fair December 3-5 and TD Essential Holiday Market November 28 and December 5 and 12. The city’s renowned Peace Center will also host events like Holiday at Peace with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra December 18. The Upcountry Museum is also hosting a White Christmas: The Exhibition. For families with children, the Greenville Zoo will also be open during the holidays except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. For winter sports, visitors might also enjoy a Swamp Rabbits hockey game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

The Food!

Last but certainly not least are the wealth of dining options, particularly in downtown Greenville. Within a few blocks, there are more than 30 restaurants that shows why the city is one of the leading foodie destinations in the Southeast. Among the top recommendations are Halls Chophouse, Passarelle Bistro and Soby’s of the Table 301 Restaurant Group. The Table 301 collective features world-class chefs like Shaun Garcia, Jen Rogers and Drew Erickson, previously with the Michelin three star French Laundry. Additional options include foodie tours with Greenville History Tours, cooking classes and culinary events at M. Judson Booksellers. For breakfast, visitors will enjoy favorites like Flying Biscuit Cafe or Maple Street Biscuit Company.

Related: Shoeless Joe Jackson Attractions in Greenville

About The Author:

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles, CBS Chicago and CBS San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, he reportedly had a digital audience reach of 489 million and more than 5.5 million monthly visitors. His other stories have also appeared in the Daily Meal,  CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.

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