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Clemson (and Pickens County)

Clemson and Pickens County

Best-known for the prestigious Clemson University, follow the orange paw prints to Clemson and Pickens County. Known  for its rich history, natural beauty and Tigers pride, the area offers a small-town atmosphere just 30 minutes from downtown Greenville, with access to the great outdoors and the best of college sports and performance arts. Catch a Tigers game or a play at Clemson’s Brooks Theater for Performing Arts, visit the South Carolina Botanical Garden or take a hike to one of more than 20 waterfalls in the area. Read on to learn more about Clemson and Pickens County.

Facts + Figures


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County Population


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U.S. News & World Report
  • Food Scene
  • Arts + Culture
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Business Climate
  • Education

Food Scene

Thanks to a blend of regional flavors, Clemson and Pickens County are a hotspot for hidden gem eateries. A staple in a Clemson University foodie’s diet is likely to include the mouth-watering ice cream from ’55 Exchange, the student-run enterprise that manufactures, sells and serves Clemson’s world famous ice cream. Or maybe you want to indulge in a Southern delicacy? Don’t worry, your taste buds can decide which restaurant truly boasts the best fried green tomatoes. Craving a slice of pizza? Don’t miss dollar slice nice at Todaro Pizza in downtown Clemson. And Esso Club is a must on game day. Upscale dining experiences are plentiful as well, including Rick Erwin’s in Clemson’s Patrick Square.

Apart from the traditional dining setting, coffee shops and bistros are plentiful, adding to the region’s communal atmosphere. Upstate South Carolina’s booming agritourism industry means the area is home to numerous farmers markets. The city of Clemson, Easley and Pendleton each host their own seasonal farmers markets, featuring fresh local produce, homemade food items and more.

Arts + Culture

Pickens County’s arts and cultural scene offers a handful of festivals, galleries, events and other fun experiences. Take an art class at the Arts Center of Clemson, view historic fine crafts at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History, stand in architectural awe at the Hagood-Mauldin House or catch a play at Brooks Center for Performing Arts at Clemson University – the choice is yours! Are you a self-proclaimed history nerd? Clemson’s rich history has several museums and cultural exhibits packed with historic info. Want to give back to the community? Attend Upstate SC’s premier charity event – Blue Ridge Fest. The event features live entertainment, local food and all for a good cause. Here are just a few other noteworthy attractions:

Outdoor Activities

As the No. 2 best county for outdoor activities in South Carolina, according to Niche, Pickens County’s outdoor scene is nothing short of breathtaking. From hiking to picnicking to biking, Pickens County offers the full outdoor package. Thanks to its mild climate, the county’s outdoor areas and parks are accessible year-round and draw outdoor adventurers from all over.

Among the most notable attractions is Table Rock State Park, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and features an old-fashioned swimming hole on one of the park’s two lakes. The park also possesses some historic elements including several cabins and structures that are on the National Register of Historic Places. With the park’s 3,083 acres open for exploration, Pickens County is a hotspot for outdoor activities.

Keowee-Toxaway State Park is also an attractive spot for outdoor-seekers. This 1,000-acre park gives you the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains or challenge yourself with a strenuous hike. You can also enjoy the outdoors without leaving the car, thanks to the Jocassee Gorges Scenic Driving Tour that begins in Pickens County and crosses into neighboring North Carolina.

Business Climate

Home to global and industry leaders, Pickens County attracts top companies with the help of its technically-skilled workforce and business-friendly environment. With a mix of international and domestic companies representing a variety of industries, Pickens County has a dynamic and diverse business ecosystem. Pickens County’s major employers include:


While Clemson and Pickens County are home to the No. 1 Best College in South Carolina, according to Niche, Clemson University, the county has two additional top-tier higher education institutions: Tri-County Technical College, a 2-year institution, and Southern Wesleyan University, a 4-year institution.

Beyond higher education, Pickens County School District has an annual enrollment of about 16,300 students and a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. In total, Pickens County has 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, four high schools, and a state-of-the-art Career and Technology Center. Clemson Montessori School, Easley Christian School and Soaring Eagles Christian Academy are among the county’s roster of private schools. Discover more about Pickens County schools below.

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