At just under an hour and 30 minutes away from Charlotte NC, leave this morning and your Spartanburg SC getaway could start today, or any day, at lunch. Eat, shop, peruse a bookstore, visit an art museum, enjoy a cup of locally roasted coffee and be back to the Queen City in time for dinner.
But why rush things? Give yourself time to take it all in. Plan an overnight or a three day weekday or weekend trip and enjoy all the Hub City has to offer.
With so much to do, see, eat, drink and enjoy in Spartanburg SC. Let me be your guide on all you should plan to take in on your trip.
In this first of two posts, we’ll start with where to stay, all the art, and sports you’ll find in Spartanburg. Then, the follow up tomorrow will focus more on food and drink.
Reading this the morning of Thursday Aug 29? I’m delighted to say that I’ll be sharing this post this morning on Charlotte Today. My travel segment is right at the top of the show, so tune in or live stream the broadcast starting at 11 am on WCNC-TV Charlotte.
In case you miss it – I’ll be back tomorrow with Part Two on all there is to eat and drink, see and do in Spartanburg SC. I’ll have the video from the show embedded in the post so you can enjoy it over and over again!
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Start with Where to Stay in Spartanburg SC?
The new AC Hotel is right in the heart of downtown. The structure is new; but, they built it to look old in keeping with the city feel. And here’s a fun fact, the flowers you see in the trim of the hotel’s facade ( look just under the A and N in the word Spartanburg here)… a modernized take on the state flower of South Carolina, the yellow jasmine!
The hotel lobby is large and contemporary with lots of seating – a perfect place to office if you need a moment to connect or if you are on a working vaca.
In the evening, plan at least one night to dine at Level 10, the rooftop restaurant and bar, situated on the hotel’s top floor. More on all the deliciousness you’ll find on the menu in the second post in this two-part Spartanburg SC series… stay tuned.
And at night when it is time to go back up to your room, look for lavender sachets at the elevator. You can take one already made, or make your own to up to your room each night to insure sweet dreams – gotta love it!
Spartanburg SC is the Hub City
Spartanburg is the Hub City. A moniker it boasts because the city was once a central railroad hub.
The lobby bar at the AC Hotel makes a very cool smoked cocktail every day at five in honor of the steam engines that once brought commerce to the city. The cocktail is “The Crescent” in honor of the Crescent Railroad Line and a slice of Spartanburg history. The process starts with locally distilled Motte and Sons Rum, Vodka and Gin all lightly smoked as nod to steam engines of an era gone by. The smoky trio of spirits blended to order with peach Izze soda, bitters, Triple Sec and served with lime. Just smile and say, Cheers!
As you enjoy your cocktail, take a closer look around the hotel lobby. You’ll notice a fabulous collection of fine art on the walls. This painting by artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), is Time + Ties, 1990. The acrylic on fabric laminated paper mounted on canvas is a part of The Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The Hotel Gallery
Spartanburg SC is a city with an appreciation for art. The hotel’s lobby and mezzanine not only provide common area and meeting space, but also serve as a gallery for a curated collection of forty works of art, all a part of The Johnson Collection. The Johnson Collection, a wonderful, privately owned art collection of primarily Southern artists – or those influenced by Southern Culture, calls Spartanburg SC home. This curated art collection is on permanent display at the AC Hotel. All of the artists in this collection are somehow associated with the avant-garde midcentury modern artist’s community, Black Mountain College.
Other work from The Johnson Collection is on display at the TJC Gallery in downtown Spartanburg and travels to galleries and exhibits around the city of Spartanburg, the state of South Carolina and across the country as well.
Love Where You Live
Spartanburg is a hub for public art, museums and galleries. You’ll find murals, sculpture and cleverly painted crosswalks throughout downtown.
Even the city’s architecture, much of it saved, restored and repurposed lends an artsy feel. Sculpture, wall art and the restored facade of many historic buildings dot the city streets. Case in point, the bronze of a man reading a newspaper, situated across the street from the old Masonic Temple, now home to Little River Coffee Roasters, Hub City Bookstore and Hub City Press, a wonderful regional publishing company.
Public Art takes to Spartanburg Sreets
New to Spartanburg’s collection of public art, the recent installation of hand-painted cross walks throughout the downtown area. Three local artists took on the challenge of turing asphalt into canvas. You can hear more on the project and see the installation in the works, here. The results are fabulous and run up and down Main Street in the downtown area.
Wednesday through Saturday you’ll find acoustic street musicians, mimes, and more on lots of uptown street corners. Not only that, these talented amateur and professional artists are hired to be there by the city! Just another way the city of Spartanburg is helping residents and visitors alike connect with local culture.
Spartanburg is Serious About Sports
For the past 25 years, Spartanburg has been home to the Panthers summer practice sessions. The scrimmages and practices are over now; but they were held on the Wofford campus and were free to the public.
Panther fans in the Hub City loved it and made each practice day a real family affair.
I’d like to thank the Panther organization for letting me on the field to scrimmage a bit myself and take some more photos of players and fans.
But that’s not all…
Lots of other national teams come to Spartanburg for spring and summer training camps, including the 2019 USA Softball U-19 Women’s National Team. These ladies trained in July and for two weeks called the Hub City home. In addition there are all sorts of kids camps for basketball and more.
And, just for fun in the middle of downtown there is a fun free Putt-Putt course where each hole is about a historic Spartanburg site. The Sparkle City course is a great way to tee up your visit, and learn a little more about the town before you start to explore.
Looking to take in a bit more strenuous exercise? Or a fun place for the kids to blow off some steam? Hop in the car or on your bike and just a short ride from downtown you’ll find the Rail Yard Play 60 course for kids – which is very Panther-centric!
I particularly liked the 40 yard dash at the Play 60 course. ( Insert Laughing emoji here.) In case you can’t see the 2 second video – seriously, I did it in 2 seconds – just click through here and watch it in this same post on my website.
I can’t wait to write more
It goes without saying that the all whole downtown of Spartanburg is super walkable. The city itself is very bike friendly, with lots of maintained trails and bike paths. There are gardens and art parks and lots of great shopping and galleries. I am looking forward to sharing more.
Thanks to the team at Visit Spartanburg for all of their help and support in showing me around town and making this post possible. Go visit their site for Your 2019 all there is to do in Spartanburg list. Then, be sure to come back to these digital pages tomorrow, when I’ll offer my take on all there is to eat and drink in Spartanburg SC. You’re going to eat it up!