Humming with activity and offering a host of attractions, Spartanburg may not be the first place you think of when you're planning a peaceful getaway, but all of the city's dining, sightseeing, recreation and shopping is set against a backdrop of rich history and culture in the beautiful and serene Upstate mountains region.
Founded in 1785 and named for a local militia in the Revolutionary War, Spartanburg is located near two important battle sites of the war's Southern campaign—the Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of Musgrove Mill. Cowpens National Battlefield and Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site are living reminders of the important role this area played in American history.
In the 19th century, Spartanburg acquired the nickname Hub City due to the railroad lines that extended from the city like the hub of a wheel. The Hub City Railroad Museum, located in a working Amtrak station, is your ticket to learn more about Spartanburg’s industrial past.
As the city progressed into the 1900s, Spartanburg became a center of the textile industry in the South with more than 40 working mills. Today, many of those mills have been transformed into lofty luxury apartments and marketplaces, such as Drayton Mills just outside of downtown.
During World War II, Spartanburg’s Camp Croft served as a training site for the United State Army, as well as a prisoner-of-war camp. Today, Croft State Park offers miles of biking, hiking and equestrian trails, swimming, camping and more.
The eventual decline of both the textile industry and railroads didn’t stop Spartanburg from moving forward. The city is now home to BMW's U.S. factory, Converse College and Wofford College, and hosts thriving arts, culinary and recreational scenes.
Visitors can catch a show or exhibition year-round at the Chapman Cultural Center, where you'll find the Spartanburg Science Center, Spartanburg Regional History Museum and the Spartanburg Art Museum, the only strictly contemporary art museum in the South.
Shopping options are just as diverse with the city’s many one-of-a-kind gift stores and boutiques. Hub City Bookshop and Press is the best place to find a new read from a local or regional author, while The Local Hiker offers an assortment of outdoor gear from hiking boots to sleeping bags. Be sure to stop by Blue Moon Specialty Foods and browse the shelves of enticing handmade spices, sauces, pies and seasonings.
In the evening, you'll want to explore some of the city’s local dining establishments. For casual cuisine, try one of Chef William Cribb's three eateries—Willy Taco, the Fr8yard open-air biergarten or Cribbs Kitchen. Enjoy local, cuisine-driven fine dining at The Kennedy. Renato in Centro and Gerhard’s Cafe are upscale European dining staples in the city and make for great romantic dinners.
No visit to Spartanburg would be complete without a visit to one of the city's classic drive-ins, among them The Beacon Drive-In and Sugar-n-Spice, both storied Spartanburg diners known for their heaping portions of classic American fare.
Don’t miss one of Spartanburg’s hidden gems to finish off your dining experience. Cakehead Bake Shop offers some of the best desserts in town with dozens of made-from-scratch cakes, tortes, pies and cupcakes. If you’re looking for local libations, try Motte and Sons Bootlegging Co., the city’s first micro-distillery and a family-run outlet for local whiskey, brandy, rum and vodka.
Enhance your restful getaway at one of Spartanburg's lodging options. Choose from the contemporary luxury of the downtown AC Hotel by Marriott, the classic decadence of the Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens or the natural beauty of a Croft State Park campsite. Whichever you choose, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.