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Spartanburg (and Spartanburg County)

Spartanburg and Spartanburg County

There’s only one Spartanburg. In fact, it’s the only city of its name in the country and it lives up to its unique reputation. Spartanburg is home to a thriving cultural district—including more than two dozen indoor and outdoor performance venues, and a collection of eclectic, colorful murals—and diverse educational institutions, from liberal arts colleges Wofford and Converse to the University of South Carolina Upstate. Plus, Spartanburg’s international business community has given way to a diversity of restaurants that range from Irish to Vietnamese, so you’ll never eat the same meal twice.

Facts + Figures

38,714

City Population

305,813

County Population

$47,185

Median Household Income

  • Food Scene
  • Arts + Culture
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Business Climate
  • Education

Food Scene

Spartanburg’s mix of local staples, casual dining options and high-end restaurants means you could eat out every meal every day for weeks, and never have the same meal twice. The city has experienced a restaurant renaissance over the last several years, with its burgeoning culinary scene welcoming new dining concepts and unique foodie experiences. For those seeking the authentic Spartanburg taste, Wade’s Restaurant and Charlene’s Home Cooking serve up delicious meat-and-threes with options like pulled pork, fried chicken and all the fixings. These Southern classics have been joined by a variety of newcomers from the beer-inspired dishes at The Silo at RJ Rockers, to the gourmet street food at the open-air biergarten FR8 Yard, to the high-end new American eatery The Kennedy. Thanks to Spartanburg’s abundance of international companies, an impressive roster of global cuisines have joined the scene as well, from Le Spice, serving French-Thai fusion bites, to Bar 1884, offering Asian-forward plates with a twist and a rooftop view. Browse a full list of local restaurants here.

Also plentiful in Spartanburg County are local breweries where residents and visitors can find delicious hand-crafted brews, like those from  RJ Rockers Brewing Company, Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery and New Groove Artisan Brewery.

An active agricultural scene makes for a great variety of farmers’ markets and produce stands in the area, including Spartanburg’s Hub City Farmer’s Market, the longest-running market in the Upstate, and smaller markets in Inman, Cowpens, Landrum and Woodruff.

Arts + Culture

You can’t spell “Spartanburg” without “art.” With a mix of rich public art and a dynamic music and festival scene, Spartanburg’s arts and culture offerings are among the best in the South. The epicenter of Spartanburg County’s cultural experiences is its Downtown Cultural District. The downtown district is thriving with daily cultural experiences of live music, public art, stage performances, historic sites, and art galleries. One highlight is the presence of diverse public art and mural installations which can be seen while walking throughout the city. Another popular cultural attraction is Chapman Cultural Center located in the Cultural District. This cultural campus is home to a 500-seat theater that hosts over 300 music, dance, and theater performances a year. Along with 3 museums and galleries, an open-air plaza, and open seven days a week, Chapman Cultural Center is the leading entertainment destination in Spartanburg.

The Johnson Collection in downtown Spartanburg counts iconic masterworks among its holdings, by an astonishing depth and breadth of artists, whose lives and legacies form the foundation of Southern art history. The AC Hotel Spartanburg also functions as a showcase for modern masterpieces created by artists associated with the experimental arts enclave of Black Mountain College. A selection of 40 works curated from the Johnson Collection’s holdings is on permanent view throughout the first floor and mezzanine. The Spartanburg Music Trail showcases the region’s deep musical heritage by honoring the Spartanburg musicians who have made a national or international impact in the world of music.

A sample of other cultural attractions and events include:

Outdoor Activities

Spartanburg was recognized as South Carolina’s first bicycle-friendly community in 2007 and created the first bike-sharing program in the Southeast in 2011 with B-Cycle Spartanburg. The community embraces miles of open bike lanes and trails as a way to explore the region while getting some exercise at the same time. The city is home to the Spartanburg Regional Criterium, a one-night series of cycling races on the USA CRITS circuit, as well as the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a self-paced ride from downtown Spartanburg, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the summit at Mt. Mitchell State Park in North Carolina, traveling more than 100 miles.

Not into cycling? Grab your kayak, canoe and hiking boots to explore Spartanburg’s blueways and greenways. Croft State Park is perfect for a weekend camping trip, with 50 campsites for RV or tent camping, while Glendale Shoals Preserve is ideal for an afternoon stroll, complete with 13 acres of scenic property along Lawson’s Fork Creek, with a waterfall that cascades over a dam, and significant plant, animal and bird life. Spartanburg’s premier outdoor concert and special events venue, Barnet Park doubles as a cultural and outdoors hotspot with seven acres of land and a 2-mile paved walking trail. For a weekend stroll, Hatcher Garden is a stunning botanical garden and woodland preserve that will leave any nature-lover inspired.

Business Climate

As a hub for higher education and creativity, Spartanburg’s diverse business climate includes a mix of local businesses and a significant presence of international companies. The county’s ideal geographic location allows business to easily access major metropolitan areas like Charlotte, a 1.5-hour drive away, and Atlanta, a 2.5-hour drive away. Spartanburg is the home of BMW’s only North American facility, thanks to the city’s high quality of life, strong talent pool and strategic location. As a result, since the mid-’90s, more than 100 automotive suppliers and companies have located in the region. Spartanburg County’s other major employers include:

Education

Spartanburg County is comprised of more than 44,000 students in seven school districts. The county operates more than 39 public elementary schools and four career centers, and its private schools include Oakbrook Preparatory School, St Paul the Apostle Catholic School, Spartanburg Christian Academy and Spartanburg Day School. The region is also home to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Spartanburg’s international business climate is fueled by the region’s diverse higher education institutions. Home to seven different colleges and universities, Spartanburg is known as a college town for its plethora of learning opportunities and vibrant campuses. Explore Spartanburg County’s K-12 schools and higher education institutions below:

K-12 Districts

Higher Education

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