The 10 Best Things to Do in #yeahTHATgreenville This Holiday Season

Greenville, SC is the Perfect Holiday Host

This time of year 🎅, Greenville, SC, looks more like Red-and-Greenville—with a side of cornbread. Although our town is known for its warm Southern energy, bustling downtown, and scenic location at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s also the ideal spot to celebrate end-of-year festivities. Get in the holiday spirit as performing companies stage beloved classics as well as new favorites; lights and other decorations give downtown a sparkle; and, as the song says, “in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.”

From ice-skating to carriage rides to Christmas tree-viewing, here are 10 things to do and enjoy this holiday season.

1.  Christmas on Stage Right

When the lights go down and the curtains open, Greenville really shows its stuff. We're a place that takes tremendous pride in showcasing our own local talent, as well as playing host to a large number of superb touring troupes each year. From theatrical performances to ballet and exceptional, the many stages of greater Greenville are some of our most popular attractions for guests and residents alike, especially at Christmas time!

Here is just a sampling of some theater performances you should be sure to see this season: 

Christmas on the Rocks (The Warehouse Theatre)

Make a date with the characters from your favorite Christmas tales! Famous friends like Charlie Brown, Tiny Tim, and Ralphie will be there as adults letting you in on their whereabouts these last few years. Come be entertained by this boozy and boisterous twist to your favorite Christmas stories! ($35)

  • Thursdays/Fridays, Dec. 6-7, 13-14 & 20-21, 8pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 8, 8pm
  • Saturdays, Dec. 15 & 22, 2pm & 8pm
  • Sundays, Dec. 16 & 23, 2pm

It's a Wonderful Life (Greenville Little Theatre)

Come to the GLT to enjoy this heart-warming performance that inspires hope, love, and a little faith. It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic Christmas tale that you don’t want to miss! ($28)

  • Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7:30pm
  • Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays, Dec. 6-8 & 13-15, 8pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 8, 2pm
  • Sundays, Dec. 9 & 16, 3pm

A Christmas Carol  (The Academy of Arts Logos Theatre)

You may think you know this Christmas story, but this production outshines others—this performance is a musical with original music written by the founder of the academy, Dr. Nicky Chavers, and his oldest daughter. ($35)

  • Thursdays, Dec. 6, 13 & 20, 11:30am
  • Fridays, Dec. 7,14 & 21, 7 pm
  • Saturdays, Dec. 1 & 15, 2 pm
  • Saturdays, Dec. 8 & 22, 7 pm

Laughing All the Way (Centre Stage)

Laughing all the Way is a must-see with its humorous moments, musical numbers, and magnificent story-telling. A performance that can only be described as merry and bright! ($22-$35)

  • Thursdays/Fridays, Dec. 6-7, 13-14 & 20-21, 8pm
  • Saturdays, Dec. 8 & 15, 2pm & 8pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 22, 8pm
  • Sundays, Dec. 9 & 16, 3pm

Christmas Cabaret (Younts Center for Performing Arts)

Enjoy the Christmas Cabaret at the Younts Center in Fountain Inn with dazzling choreography and delightful Christmas tunes. Infused with the spirit of Christmas, the cabaret is performed with heart and a whole lot of pizzazz! ($20)

  • Thursday, Dec. 13, 7:30pm
  • Fridays, Dec. 7 & 14, 7:30pm
  • Saturdays, Dec. 8 & 15, 3pm & 7:30pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 9, 6:30pm

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (SC Children's Theatre)

Performed at the Peace Center's Gunter Theatre, this is a story about the Herdman kids (who are notorious for bad behavior) and how these crazy kids are cast in the annual Christmas pageant. Perfect for you and your kids (ages 4 and up)! ($28)

  • Friday, Dec. 7, 7-8pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 8, 10-11am; 1:30-2:30pm; 5:30-6:30pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 9, 1:30-2:30pm

2.  Parade Around Town

Several parades in the area featuring 90+ floats, marching bands, dancers, dignitaries, pageant winners, clubs, schools, businesses, and Santa Claus (always the featured guest) are an annual tradition that kick off the holiday season. Join the thousands of visitors and residents who love to take part in these once-a-year events! 

3.  Ice, Ice Baby ⛸️

Bring the kids, bring a date, bring your skates! The United Community Bank Ice on Main is open this holiday season clad with hot chocolate, coffee, treats, and an environment made for a good time. Don’t miss it! $10 per adult, including skate rental. (Open daily through Jan. 21. on the Village Green on S. Main St.)

4. Christmas "Inn" Our Town

For a truly traditional Southern Christmas, immerse yourself in holiday spirit in nearby Fountain Inn (17 miles SE of Greenville) at Christmas "Inn" Our Town (see what they did there? 😉). From the tree lighting and gingerbread houses to live music and craft vendors, this magical event complete with carriage rides and visits with Santa, is one not to miss! If you’re lucky, you’ll even come across carolers. (December 6-22; Wednesdays through Sundays, 6-9 pm)

5. Festival of Trees Festivities

Check out the diversity of artful decorations at the 33rd annual Bon Secours Festival of Trees,with spectacular decked-out trees 🎄 on display both inside and outside four downtown hotels: the Hyatt Regency Greenville, Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown, Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville Downtown @ RiverPlace, and Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Downtown RiverPlace. (Daily through Dec. 31)


6.  Go Christmas Shopping 🎁

Downtown merchants will transform Main Street into a holiday wonderland. Visitors can stroll the streets and vote for their favorite merchant display now through Dec. 15 by visiting the City of Greenville’s Facebook page. And, you can enjoy the sounds of the season while you do your holiday shopping on Saturday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 14. Local caroling groups will stroll along Main Street singing holiday favorites and spreading holiday cheer. For ideas on where to go shopping anywhere in town, check out our 600 shops! (You may need to narrow it down by category!)

For an after-shopping tour on four-legs (and four wheels), 30-minute carriage rides depart from the Westin Poinsett Greenville (on Main St.) or the Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown (on Broad St.). Usually offered daily from 6-11pm, be sure to call ahead and make your holiday reservation—carriage rides get booked quickly! Whispering Winds Carriage Company, 864.220.3650 ($15/adult; $5/children 5 and under)

7.  Get Crafty at Holiday Markets

Since it's gift giving time, be sure to shop local for the best quality presents! Most markets and bazaars offer a wide selection of vendors selling holiday gifts, arts, crafts, and edible goods—with visits from Santa Claus, of course. From accomplished blacksmiths, potters, toy makers, woodworkers, soap and candle makers to jewelers, printmakers, and food purveyors, you won't go home empty-handed. 

A few of our recommendations: 

The Very Merry Local Christmas Market: Saturday, Dec. 8, 1-5pm
​Greer Station Vintage Christmas Marketplace: Friday, Dec. 7, 12- 8pm; Saturday, Dec. 8, 9am-2pm
Mauldin Holiday Market: Friday, Dec. 7, 5-8pm; Saturday, Dec. 8, 10am-2pm
Holiday Flea: Saturday, Dec. 15, 11am-3pm at Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery

8. Orchestra(te) a Performance 🎻

Why not listen to holiday music this time of year? From classical pieces like "The Nutcracker" to the unexpected, pulsating beats of TSO, no matter what you choose, you'll have a holly, jolly Christmas! 

Here are a few orchestra (and ballet) performances to see this season:

The Nutcracker (The Peace Center)

Starring Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro in conjunction with the International Ballet and accompanied by the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, The Nutcracker has graceful choreography paired with a storyline that makes it a show that you won’t want to leave the stage. ($18-$62)

  • Friday, Dec. 21, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 22, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 23, 3pm

A Very Merry Christmas! (Bob Jones University) 

Come and listen to Bob Jones’ University Symphony Orchestra and Choirs and be awed by the harmonious instrumentals and beautiful melodic sounds that would be a gift to hear this season. A not-so-silent night to remember and cherish! ($16)

  • Thursday, Dec. 6, 8pm

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Bon Secours Wellness Arena)

As part of its Winter Tour 2018 (and 20th consecutive year of touring), the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be performing “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” featuring founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill’s timeless story of a runaway who finds her way into a mysterious abandoned theater. ($40-$77)

  • Friday, Dec. 7, 4pm & 8pm

9. Holiday Exhibits 

What's a holiday without a bit of tradition? ☃️ For one, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without "The Peanuts" gang. And for millions of people around the world, it really isn’t Christmas until they have watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. And don't even get us started on watching Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 🦌 especially on a floor of pillows in front of a warm, crackling fireplace. 🔥 Be sure to stop by and see these two museum exhibits, which will be sure to bring on a bout of nostalgia.

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! (Upcountry History Museum)

Celebrating the holidays in true Peanuts-style, the Upcountry History Museum will play host to the latest traveling exhibition from the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The Peanuts-centric exhibit invites visitors to enter the world of Charlie Brown, as they explore the making of the 1965 holiday classic and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. ($9) Daily, except for Mondays, through Feb. 10, 2019.

Holiday Traditions (The Children's Museum of the Upstate)

TCMU has daily holiday-themed programming with numerous interactive activities: Train tables and replica, Christmas village display, a Santa letter-writing station complete with a North Pole mailbox, snowman games, special cultural holiday story times, a fireplace with a Christmas movie viewing station, and a dollhouse replica of Greenville's historical Lanneau-Norwood House. ($10) Daily, except for Mondays, through Dec. 31. 

10. A Moonlight Movie

Take in a free classic holiday movie under the stars with hundreds of your closest friends at Fidelity Investments Moonlight Movies. Located in picture-perfect Falls Park on the Reedy, this year’s feature film is A Christmas Story. Come early to claim your spot in the park and enjoy holiday trivia! Lawn chairs and picnic dinners are allowed; pets are not. (Wednesday, Dec. 12, 5:30pm)