Downtown Greenville gets a lot of praise. A lot of praise. Don’t get us wrong. That praise is well deserved. But with the massive success of downtown Greenville, we sometimes don’t realize there are other world-class downtowns right here in the Upstate. It is no longer that Downtown Greenville is ruining the grading curve when it comes to scoring the awesomeness of downtowns. Actually, there are things some other downtowns are doing that Greenville is not doing. They even have some things that people Greenville need to go check out once in a while.
The coolest of those in our humble opinion is Spartanburg’s downtown. This is a downtown that has really exploded in the past year with new restaurants, shops and public art. A lot of what Spartanburg does in terms of making a great downtown is similar to what Greenville has done. Wide sidewalks. Different styles of cuisine. Strong landscaping. You would like it.
But here are five things that Spartanburg has on its Main Street that Greenville does not. And we might be cooler if we did.
- An outdoor mini-golf course. Yes, we have the one in McPherson Park, but it is nothing compared to Sparkle City MiniPutt, which is located in the heart of the Spartanburg central core. The cool thing is the holes are replicas of Spartanburg icons – The Beacon Drive-In, the Daniel Morgan Statue, railroads, colleges, etc. Kind of a cool history lesson in the heart of downtown.
- An old-school department store: Greenville has many clothing stores, but nothing like Carolina Cash Co. which operates out of 143 E. Main Street. This is like walking back into time to the 1960s with its retro style, which really isn’t retro chic, but authentic. Some people spend millions to get stores to look like this. Carolina Cash is the real deal.
- A locally owned pharmacy: Smith’s is the classic neighborhood pharmacy plan and simple. We loved it.
- A statue of a Bob’s Big Boy. A lot of people wouldn’t want this on their Main Street, but for some reason this just works and catches your eye. Can’t help but wonder how many selfies get taken with this guy. It makes no sense, which makes it awesome.
- Seeing Spartanburg in a Whole New Light: Wow, is this a gamechanger. Our lame words can’t do this one justice. This is a series of exhibits across Spartanburg that is part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Our favorite is downtown at the Denny’s Plaza. It is thousands of plastic-acrylic squares strong up on string across the plaza. The cool thing about this is the “exhibit” constantly is changing based on the weather, time of day, etc. You really owe it to yourself to go check out this awesome #VisitSpartanburg project. And while you are at it, explore the rest of Spartanburg.