Perhaps one of the best ways to describe Spartanburg is that it’s a city that’s “not too big, not too small.”
As one of the larger cities in South Carolina – 12th largest to be exact – there is no shortage of fun things to do whether you’re moving to the city or just passing through. And you can bet that the city offers a wide variety of things to do, whether it’s exploring the rich culture and history, walking through the streets of the rising downtown area, or hiking along one of the many trails in or near the city.
When experiencing a new city, the common thought is that a pretty penny has to be spent in order to have yourself a great experience. While this may be true in big cities (think Los Angeles or New York), Spartanburg is completely different in that regard. Of course, having some money with you will help maximize your travels, but there are also many great, free things to do in Spartanburg. Who said having fun requires spending money?
Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve
832 John B White Sr Blvd
This beautiful 10-acre garden is open to the public during daylight hours and is the perfect place to retreat from the busyness of life or to simply go for an afternoon stroll. There are beds of colorful flowers, birds singing sweet music, fish floating down the stream, and all sorts of natural beauty. There’s even a meditation garden if you’re in need of quiet reflection. Visit the Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve website for additional information.
Hub City Railroad Museum
298 Magnolia St
Did you know that Spartanburg’s nickname is the “Hub City”? In the late 1800s, seven train lines branched out from the center of the city, much like the hub of a wheel. If you look at the city from a bird’s eye view, Spartanburg resembles a wheel hub with its many train lines branching from the city’s center. Originally built in 1915, the Hub City Railroad Museum is a celebration and display of the city’s rich history. Inside you’ll find displays from textile mills, the city’s peach industry, and of course, its rich railroad history. While they gladly accept donations, admission is free at the Hub City Railroad Museum.
Explore the BMW Zentrum
1400 SC-101, Greer
Do you like speed and luxury? Are you a BMW connoisseur? If so, the BMW Zentrum is the perfect afternoon stop. Even if you’re not a car person, this museum is still a great place to visit. Here you’ll find cars and innovative technology of the past, present, and the future, all gathered into an impressive and unique building (as could be expected of BMW). The Zentrum is also located next to the one and only BMW manufacturing plant in the U.S., and they give free tours to visitors as well.
Window Shopping in Downtown Spartanburg
When in doubt, window shopping is one of the best ways to explore a city. And since the Hub City’s downtown is easy to explore on foot, it’s the perfect place for this. Downtown Spartanburg is growing by the day, with new construction happening all the time and new attractions appearing on the scene every month.
There are many art galleries and museums, niche stores, bars and restaurants, and other venues to visit along your stroll. Sure, you might be tempted to stop in a local bar for an afternoon drink or buy a local slogan tee from one of the stores, but that’s completely optional; downtown is a fun and free place to explore. If you’re looking for a great starting or ending point, the Chapman Cultural Center is a great option.