Numbers tell the Upstate story – more than 7,000 job postings per month (on average) and home to more than 500 international companies. For those who love being outdoors, the region has nearly 400 miles of bike trails and plenty of sunshine – just some of the reasons that people are moving to the Upstate (about 30 people per day). Everyone wants to experience the “upside” of living in the Upstate.
So Where Is "Upstate"?
Accolades For The Region Are Many
Greenville County is ranked #1 Best County for Families in S.C. by niche.com, Spartanburg Regional Medical is #2 Best Hospital in S.C. (U.S. World & News Report), Greenville is #6 Prettiest City in the South (Southern Living) and Greer is the #5 Most Diverse City in S.C. (niche.com).
The Upstate is a great place to start or continue a career. Expertise in manufacturing, banking, pharmaceuticals and other industries have attracted international companies that call the Upstate home. Major manufacturers like BMW and Michelin, financial services, technology, healthcare, education, and other industries are located in the Upstate. Research and development centers for Hubbell, FUJI, and GE are located in the Upstate.
Superior education starts at the K-12 level which include 14 of the top 25 best K-12 school districts in South Carolina. Colleges and universities are nationally ranked: From prestigious Clemson University to revered schools such as Anderson University, Furman University, Wofford College, Converse and the USC School of Medicine.
Food And Festivals
The Upstate food scene is nationally recognized with something for every taste – try Southern downhome eateries or the 25 different ethnic cuisines represented at local restaurants. Barbecue is always a favorite at Henry’s Smokehouse or explore the growing farm-to-table scene with New American favorites like the Anchorage or Sullivan’s.
Travelers come from across the U.S. for vacations planned around renowned festivals. In the summer, it’s the South Carolina Festival of Discovery; in the fall, it’s Fall for Greenville or Euphoria; in the winter, it’s the Festival of Trees; and in the spring it’s Spartanburg’s Spring Fling, among others.
Upstate locals enjoy active lifestyles with walking and hiking trails in parks or greenways with many close to the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Towns have bike sharing programs for easy rides in town, or try one of nearly 400 cycling trails. Cyclists are in pedal heaven with numerous bike events throughout the year.
Collegiate games are fun gatherings for all seasons. Fans gather for Clemson football, Greenville Drive minor league baseball at Fluor Field, Wofford basketball, local soccer and baseball teams, and other sports.
For an evening of entertainment, catch a show at the Peace Center, Chapman Cultural Center, Electric City Playhouse, or hear national recording stars at the CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park in Simpsonville. For live music, most towns and cities have Friday night and weekend concerts.
For fun with the kids, visit the Children’s Museum of the Upstate or the Roper Mountain Science Center. Cool off at one of the area’s scenic lakes, or get the full waterpark experience at Shipwreck Cove. A new children’s theatre, the South Carolina Children’s Theatre is planned in Greenville. Greenville is the largest city in the region and known for its highly ranked restaurant scene and metropolitan flair. Locally owned and nationally reviewed restaurants serve up exceptional food by prestigious chefs. Downtown never seems to sleep and boutique hotels promise plenty of choices to lay your head. One of the city’s most heady accolade is from The New York Times which ranked Greenville as 12 on the “52 Places to go in the World.”
To see a waterfall in a city, visit Falls Park on the Reedy. Take a photo of the waterfall and iconic Liberty Bridge on one side and visit art galleries and boutiques on the other. Dine at one of the restaurants overlooking the falls or have exceptional coffee at Spill the Beans.
Textile mill revitalization continues throughout Greenville with former mills morphing into mixed-use developments. Judson Mill will feature the largest bouldering gym in the South and Poe Mill is on its way to becoming a multi-generational skate park.
Key Communities In The Upstate
Anderson County is known for its scenic beauty nestled between the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the shores of Lake Hartwell. The city of Anderson offers a big-city shopping experience in a bustling downtown filled with locally owned boutiques and farm-to-fork restaurants. Water defines the county known for its lakes, specifically Lake Hartwell, one of the top bass-fishing lakes in the country. The Saluda River Blueway on the county’s eastern side has made it easier to canoe and kayak in the town of Belton with new launch sites. The town of Seneca is ranked one of America’s top 23 lake towns by Thrillist.
Spartanburg is fast becoming a favored Upstate destination. The “Hub City,” a former textile giant in the South, has evolved into a bike-friendly community with new businesses springing up joining national brands. Dining options are numerous and exceptional at locally owned restaurants. Spartanburg is also home to a thriving cultural district—including more than two dozen indoor and outdoor performance venues. The city’s downtown is a true “hub” of restaurants, entertainment and living spaces.
Pickens County has the distinction of containing the highest natural point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, with an elevation of 3,560 feet. Table Rock State Park is also a favorite spot known for its scenic views. Water lovers get their groove on with plenty of natural water assets such as the Savannah River basin, Saluda River basin and the French Broad River basin.
Travel is easy in the Upstate. On average, residents enjoy a 16-minute commute—about half the national average. Cars are the main transportation but many locals ride bicycles to reduce the carbon footprint. The region’s growing bicycle infrastructure includes the first protected bike lane in the state and the first bike-share program in the Southeast.
Greenville Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) serves as a gateway to work and play in the Upstate. For domestic and international travel, GSP offers convenience and efficiency with direct flights to 16 cities and one-stop connections to the world. More than 2.6 million passengers traveled in GSP (2019).