Arts + Culture
An Arts and Culture Hub
You’re going to like what you see and hear in Upstate South Carolina. See a Broadway play in the heart of downtown Greenville. Experience classic performances at a historic opera house, take in Beethoven with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, enjoy Shakespeare in the Park, or get in a laugh with a latte on the side at local favorite, Coffee Underground. Take a stroll down any main street and you’re bound to see multiple statues, sculptures, and murals. History buff? Experience the history of the American Revolution on a hike.
Join a community that loves its art. A community where more than 140 artists open their studios to the public for a weekend during the fall and a place where you can join friends for First Fridays gallery crawl. A region where the arts are celebrated with Artisphere, consistently one of the top-rated fine arts shows in the country. Explore opportunities at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, which features everything from student art exhibits to internationally acclaimed opera performances. Other attractions include the Peace Center, Alchemy Comedy Theater and the arts district in the Village of West Greenville, which offers more than 60 unique artists, galleries, services, shops and restaurants. Cultural highlights are around every corner, from the historic Abbeville Opera House and a variety of playhouses including the Oconee Youth Playhouse and Clemson University’s Brooks Theater for Performing Arts. Check out a map of the Upstate’s arts and cultural hot spots and read on to learn more.
Facts + Figures
Public Art Installations
Green Spaces & Arboretums
Historic Sites Commemorating the American Revolution
Top 10 Underrated Cities for Art Lovers
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- Performing Arts
- Visual + Community Arts
- History + Museums
World-Class Performance Entertainment
Upstate South Carolina is home to a diverse and growing performing arts scene that rivals major metros. The Peace Center features a 2,100-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theatre, an amphitheater, and a variety of other venues where you can see everything from Hamilton to the Carolina Ballet Theatre. The Chapman Cultural Center features both nationally acclaimed and locally produced performances.
The Abbeville Opera House, which initially opened its doors in 1908, is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Governor’s Travel Award for Tourism and is also designated as the Official State Theatre of South Carolina. Other popular entertainment venues include:
Sounds from the South and Around the Globe
What do Edwin McCain, The Marshall Tucker Band and NEEDTOBREATHE have in common? They all got their start in Upstate SC. Our region is alive with the rhythm of the South and a variety of musical sounds and experiences from around the globe. Live music is a big part of the culture in the Upstate—just about every night of the week you can find a planned or impromptu performance, whether its Kelly Clarkson or Eric Church at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, or an alt-rock or roots band at the Spinning Jenny or The Firmament. Prefer your tunes in the open air or out in the streets? You’ve got options with local events and festivals like Live on the Square and Music on Main, or take in a few notes at a local restaurant or bar like Smiley’s Acoustic Café or Blues Boulevard Jazz. For outdoor venues, try CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, a premier outdoor entertainment venue in Simpsonville featuring some of America’s most sought after acts, from Willie Nelson to Mumford & Sons, or the TD Stage at the Peace Center
Learn more about the history and tradition of music in the Carolinas and around the world. Home of the world-famous Carolina Clavier collection, the Carolina Music Museum in Greenville features more than 40 English, European and American pianos and harpsichords dating from 1570 to 1845. Take a step back in time and follow the Spartanburg Music Trail, which honors Spartanburg’s esteemed musicians and dives into the area’s rich musical heritage.
From Murals to Museums
Upstate South Carolina is home to a thriving public arts scene with installations throughout a variety of communities by local and nationally recognized artists. Spartanburg is known for its downtown murals and large-scale public art installations, like the “Lighten Up” series of larger-than-life lightbulbs painted by 36 different artists. Greenville is ripe with art, from sculptures to water features to murals, that inject vibrant energy into the city. Mauldin, Clemson, Gaffney and many other cities throughout the Upstate have embraced public art and have dedicated art museums and arts centers.
Art museums and other visual art venues in Upstate SC include:
Experience History from Exhibits to the Trails
Upstate South Carolina is a region rich in history with a variety of museums and other venues with educational and experiential exhibits. Most notable is the region’s role in the American Revolution, which comes to life at a variety of historically significant sites and state parks that commemorate battles fought there. These include Kings Mountain National Military Park, Cowpens National Battlefield, Ninety Six National Historic Site, Historic Brattonsville and Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
In addition, Upstate SC is home to a number of museums showcasing the region’s historical significance, including the Upcountry History Museum. Operated by Furman University, the museum showcases the culture, history and heritage of the South Carolina Upcountry, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Family fun is a common theme among Upstate museum offerings. The Children’s Museum of the Upstate has locations in Greenville and Spartanburg with exhibits geared toward children ages 6-11 with lessons on topics like the environment and nutrition, and interactive exhibits involving music and other interests. Another great activity for families is a visit to the Roper Mountain Science Center, a science and nature center with a planetarium, amphitheater and walking trails featuring a butterfly garden, water lily pond and vegetable garden.
Other notable museums and historic sites in the Upstate include:
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