For the most part, Greenville sees an abundance of sunny, mild days throughout the year. However, like every other region in the Southeast, heavy rain is a common occurrence. The city sees 51 inches per year, which is well above the US average of 38 inches. Summer and winter are typically the rainiest times of year, so if you are visiting at this time you will want to have a few backup indoor activities lined up on your itinerary.
Hopefully, you luck out and the skies are clear so you can enjoy the many beautiful hikes and waterfalls in the Blue Ridge region. However, a little bit of rain does not necessarily have to put a damper on your trip plans. There is plenty enough to do and see to keep you busy for the weekend, most notably exploring the city’s charming, old-fashioned Main Street.
Let’s look at the top 15 things to do on a rainy day in Greenville.
1. Explore the collection at the Greenville Museum of Art
The Greenville Museum of Art is pretty small, yet still an interesting place to kill an hour or so. A rainy day is a perfect day for a relaxing stroll around an art museum. While limited, the collection does include many beautiful paintings by renowned artist Jasper Johns. Additionally, the museum houses the largest collection of watercolors by Andrew Wyeth. This museum is always quiet and well-maintained. Best of all, admission is free all the time!
2. Plan a coffee date
While there are more than a few Starbucks lining Main Street, you will also find a number of great independent coffee shops. Port City Java is my personal favorite. This North Carolina originated roaster offers the best patio and overall ambiance of the bunch. Plus, the drinks are super affordable, they offer a free refill, and service is always great. Their house coffee is always delicious and the homemade muffins (try the red velvet, if available) are the perfect treat to accompany your cup of joe.
3. Treat yourself to an amazing breakfast
Nothing really brightens a glum morning more than a nice filling breakfast. No need to resort to a chain as Greenville is well known for its’ thriving foodie scene. If you are craving something sweet, head downtown for a sweet or savory crepe at Crepe du Jour. Looking for something more traditional? You really cannot go wrong with Stax Omega Diner, voted one of the best diners in the South. For foodie fare, grab a steamed bagel at Sully’s or a cathead biscuit at Biscuit Head. If your visit falls on Sunday, definitely splurge on Soby’s wonderful brunch buffet.
4. Take a drive out to a roadside waterfall
While rainy days are not ideal for any type of outdoor recreation, this does not mean that nature is necessarily off limits. Assuming it is not raining too hard, you can at least drive out to one of the wonderful roadside waterfalls. The Upstate is home to dozens of gorgeous waterfalls including numerous easy access roadside options. Wildcat Branch Falls is the closest to Greenville (just 20 min north of the city). And although short on the distance, definitely not short on the views! Looking Glass Falls is a bit farther, although one of the most magnificent in the region!
5. Treat yourself to a gelato
Did you know that ice cream actually warms you up due to the high fat content? Thus, a cold rainy day is the best excuse to treat yourself to a creamy treat. Downtown Greenville is loaded with treat shops including an abundance of local ice cream shops. You really cannot go wrong with a scoop (or 2) of homemade Italian gelato. Available in over a dozen flavors, deciding which way to go is the hard part here.
6. Browse the shops on Main Street
Downtown Greenville is home to the quintessential Main Street. As local mom and pop shops continue to close around the country, everyone appreciates a traditional tree lined Main Street. You will find a number of interesting boutique shops lining Main, enough to occupy at least a few hours of your time on a rainy day.
Check out Mast General Store, Oil & Vinegar, and Southern Culture for starters. And be sure to treat yourself to some fresh flavored popcorn from Poppington’s (try the dark chocolate sea salt)! Bonus: they use GMO free oils and offer vegan/GF selections.
7. Test your old fashioned gaming skills at Dave and Busters
Dave and Busters is the place to go for some old-fashioned fun. If you have never been here before, you are in for a blast. Enjoy timeless arcade/carnival and ticket redemption style games like skee-ball, the goldfish toss game, the clown ball game, and many others. Be on the lookout for special deals including eat and play combos. For hours of indoor fun, you really can’t beat D&B.
D&B also offers a great NFL game day special which includes all you can eat wings/fries and a $10 game card for just 20 bucks. Lots of big screens to take in the games and plenty of great drink specials.
8. Browse for record deals at Horizon
Horizon Records is a great little independent record shop specializing in both old and new records. In addition to the new releases, you can browse through a large selection of oldies priced under $10. I have found so many classics here, adding to my collection with each visit. The quirky Bohemian Cafe is located just next door if you are looking for an eccentric place to eat.
9. Soothe your tired achy feet at Wake Foot Sanctuary
Wake Foot Sanctuary is the perfect pick me up treat on a grim rainy day. After a bit of hiking in the area, your sore feet will be begging for some therapy. At Wake, you will get to choose amongst a dozen rejuvenating warm foot soaks which are loaded with clay, essential oils, and healing botanicals. As you drift away during the 45 minute session, all your worries will temporarily float away. Take up the pampering a notch by adding on a hand or foot massage!
10. Detox at Drift Spa
Infrared sauna and float therapy are two interesting modern means of detoxing and alternative health. On cold rainy and snowy days, I love treating myself to a healing infrared sauna session. There are numerous benefits to infrared therapy including muscle and joint pain relief, stress reduction, cellulite reduction, and overall detoxification. The temp is set around 140, with the option for 30 or 45 min sessions. The sauna is big enough for 2, although there will be an extra charge.
11. Treat yourself to a wonderful dinner
Greenville has been making headlines in recent years for its’ terrific foodie establishments. There are so many interesting dining choices throughout the city. Main Street alone is home to over 100 unique restaurants. From a French bistro overlooking beautiful Falls Park, to award winning new southern style cuisine, there’s an option for everyone. Handi Indian, Greektown Grill, Pomegranate on Main, and Kitchen Sync are some of the top spots to place high on your must try list. Definitely try the Southern style tomato pie at Kitchen Sync pictured above!
12. Swing by the Shoeless Joe Jackson museum
Shoeless Joe Jackson, famous for the notorious Chicago Black Sox Scandal of 1919, lived and die in the Greenville area. His home is now open for tours and loaded with interesting baseball memorabilia. Anyone who loves “America’s favorite past time” definitely needs to check this nostalgic museum out. Free tours are available for any baseball lovers (any anyone else seeking a fun affordable rainy day activity) out there!
13. Stroll around Haywood Mall
Haywood Mall is the premier mall in the state of South Carolina. It’s the largest in the state and home to 2 floors of retail fun. Nothing too fancy in terms of decor, however, it’s clean and well maintained. There is nothing better than browsing around a great mall on a rainy day. As an added bonus, there is a Cheesecake Factory, a Starbucks, and numerous other great restaurants on-site. And be sure to treat yourself to a reflexology session at Total Health massage.
14, Go vintage hunting
You will find a number of vintage/thrift shops throughout the area. Who wants to waste a nice day shopping? A rainy day, on the other hand, offers the perfect ambiance for hunting down hidden treasures. Both Greenville and the nearby community of Travelers Rest offer an abundance of shops which will impress even the most avid bargain hunter. Check out Rocking Horse Antiques in Greenville and Country Antiques in Travelers Rest.
15. Cozy up with a great novel at Joe’s
Joe’s is a cozy independent bookstore/cafe located just off busy Main Street. The hidden location means that most tourists pass it right by. The historic charmm and quiet ambiance make it the perfect place to relax on a rainy day. They serve coffee and wine so you can enjoy a great drink along with a great book. Several rooms of both used and new books, along with numerous cozy nooks, will easily keep you busy for an hour or 2.
More rainy day fun
- See a movie at Regal Hollywood on Woodruff Rd. Prices are high for the area, although it’s the cleanest theater in town.
- Spend the day catching up on some reading at the Hughes Main Library.
- Go bowling. Splitsville is a nice luxury alley which frequently offers specials.
- See a show at The Peace Center.
- Grab a Starbucks inside the Hyatt Regency downtown. The ambiance, which includes an atrium and giant ceilings, is gorgeous!