While Croft State Park, the Chapman Cultural Center and other Spartanburg landmarks are worthy destinations for any traveler, venturing off the beaten path will show you a side of the city that is truly its own. See an original Krispy Kreme shop built in 1969, sample some hand-distilled whiskey from the Motte & Sons family distillery or visit the gravesite of a legendary Southern rock band. Once you begin discovering Spartanburg’s hidden gems, you’ll never want to stop exploring.
Did you know that you can see part of the Berlin Wall in the state of South Carolina? When the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, Josef Menzel, the German owner of Menzel Engineering in Spartanburg, asked a friend in East Germany to send him two pieces of the wall. You can see them displayed in the parking lot in front of the Menzel headquarters at Simuel Road near I-85.
Strawberry Hill USA is home to Cooley Farms, a family-owned and -operated business since 1946. The farm offers tours, a maze and a year-round cafe serving full Southern breakfast and lunch options. The cherry on the top of this family farm adventure is the ice cream parlor, open most of the year and serving the creamiest strawberry ice cream around.
If you’ve already explored the Spartanburg Music Trail and are looking for some musical history that’s a bit eerier, visit the graves of Spartanburg's own Marshall Tucker Band. Greenlawn Memorial Gardens is the final resting place for three of the band’s original members, brothers Toy and Tommy Caldwell and George McCorkle. When you arrive at Greenlawn, ask the front office for the location of the graves to pay your respects. There’s one more musical grave you won’t want to miss while in Spartanburg. Just a short drive away in Lincoln Memorial Park is the headstone of singer and guitarist Pink Anderson. A South Carolina native, Anderson was a famed artist in the blues genre and part of the inspiration for Pink Floyd’s band name.
If you’re looking for handcrafted southern liquors, stop by Motte & Sons Bootlegging Co., a distillery experience unlike any other. Inspired by a family’s love of Revolutionary War history, Motte & Sons is Spartanburg’s first micro-distillery and is operated by Eugenia Motte and her four sons. The distillery offers a selection of liquors, from “The General,” an American light whiskey, to “Palmetto Rum,” a warm, vanilla-y rum. The distillery also sells a wide selection of local gifts, candies and nuts.
Ciclops Cideri and Brewery is a funky local spot for craft beers and ciders with flair. Snack on cheeses, Bavarian pretzels and desserts while sampling a "Downtown Spartanburg" Northern English brown ale or a "Mozza Roasters Coffee Double," a double milk stout made with coffee from Spartanburg's Mozza Roasters.
Blues Boulevard Jazz is the locals' destination for live jazz, beat poetry and open mic nights. This bar feels like it's straight out of the early 20th century and serves signature cocktails, such as a blueberry pomegranate martini named for jazz great Miles Davis.
If you have a sweet tooth, Spartanburg is your destination. Cakehead Bake Shop offers a wide array of treats made from scratch by local baking wizard Liz Blanchard. Your mouth will water just hearing the names of some of their sweets like the New Orleans Praline Cake and Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Torte.
If donuts are your weakness, visit the “dueling” Krispy Kreme shops on North Church Street. Snack on a hot glazed donut from the working shop, then stroll across the street to see the original shop built in 1969. For donuts with a more local flavor, visit Downtown Deli & Donuts, a charming eatery in the heart of downtown Spartanburg. In addition to offering expansive breakfast, lunch and brunch menus made with fresh, often organic ingredients, the shop has its own menu of artisanal, small-batch donuts served daily in its intimate atmosphere.
Little River Coffee Bar is another place for signature tastes of Spartanburg. Little River Coffee is roasted in Spartanburg and served in a cozy location tucked in front of Cakehead Bake Shop. Pick up a batch of their beans while you sip on a handcrafted latte.
The Nu-Way Lounge, a Spartanburg staple, offers visitors a look at the city's underground culture. If you're in search of a drink, Nu-Way can serve you something strong, but the real attraction here is the bar's world-famous Redneck Burger — a massive beef patty topped with homemade pimento cheese and chili and lauded by the Food Network.