As much as I would love to remain in my Greenville bubble, I recently decided to spend a day in Spartanburg. Take a short drive up I-85, or for a more scenic ride, take Highway 29 to our neighbor to the north. Either way, you’re looking at about a 40 minute drive from Downtown Greenville.
I never embark on a road trip without an itinerary. Be sure to prioritize. First things first – food! Let’s face it, food is the most important thing.
Spartanburg has many fine eateries with the Main Street HUB and its’ surrounding blocks. We decided to highlight a few of the “diamonds in the rough” restaurants. You know, those places you wouldn’t necessarily stop in unless you’ve been told to stop in. Spartanburg natives know that one of the best breakfasts is served at the Skillet Restaurant. Open from 6am-2pm, breakfast is served all day. Take a seat on a red stool at one of the counters and feel like you’re in an episode of Happy Days. Depending on your age, you might have to Google Happy Days. Just know I’m rolling my eyes. Skillet has been serving southern favorites for seventy five years. The pancakes and omelettes remind you of home and are served with a smile.
Moving on to lunch
Every native South Carolinian, and most visitors to our state, know about The Beacon. It’s a Palmetto State icon. Fans of jumbo chili-cheese-half/half-aplenty (I can literally hear his voice) have always flocked to Spartanburg to sample the infamous Beacon. I’d like to introduce you to another relatively unknown “greasy spoon” (as drive-in restaurants are affectionately known in the South). Ike’s Korner Grill Hamburger Restaurant comes highly recommended by construction crews and Spartanburg locals. Everyone knows the way to judge a restaurant is by the number of big trucks, with printed names on the doors, in the parking lot and across the street. I was actually taken to Ike’s the first time by an old retired Duke Power lineman. To quote their own website, Ike’s is a “Compact, lively joint serving burgers, hotdogs, fries, onion rings & beers in unfussy digs”. There’s a patio for outside dining as well as tables inside. It’s not a diner you’d choose for atmosphere, but you can’t beat the food. Be sure to order fries so you can watch them cut the potatoes with the big potato cutting thingy. I should probably get out more – this really fascinated me.
I decided to feature Fr8yard for dinner. One, because it’s outdoors and everyone loves to eat from a colorful menu outside while listening to live music. Two, because it’s literally next door to the putt putt course I’m about to introduce you to. Eating a meal where the kids can run around is an attractive quality. Hop over to their website for menu options and a calendar of events. And then give thanks because warm weather and outdoor meals (on repeat) are on the horizon.
Now that the important stuff has been covered, I can mention a couple of fun things to do when you’re not eating.
Sandwiched between two large buildings on E. Broad Street you’ll find Sparkle City Mini Golf. This 9-hole putt putt is FREE! Balls and clubs are not furnished. A few neighboring businesses loan equipment and only ask for an ID for collateral. We borrowed our clubs and balls from Paisley Paw. (Let me stop here to say there are unique shops downtown you don’t want to miss.) Each hole represents a specific part of town or business. The first hole is in the shape of our state with the South Carolina logo. All the holes were very creative! I won’t describe each one, although I really want to, you need to see them for yourself.
If you’re not a sports fan, you can check out Cleveland Park. With a huge playground (like, really huge) and plenty of shaded spots, this park was designed with families in mind. Walkers, joggers, and bikers can follow a red brick road to a paved walk that runs around the lake and through the park. There are shelters you can rent and plenty of green space for a picnic. In my opinion, this is a must stop spot.
If you’re only in the mood for a stroll, Spartanburg also has an inviting Main Street.
So, we’ve covered breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the park and mini golf. I was originally only going to highlight the mini golf because, as a parent, I’m a number one fan of anything free that keeps the kids occupied outdoors for more than ten minutes. When I visited, I quickly realized just how much Spartanburg has to offer.