Main Street: Greenville, South Carolina


Main Street in downtown Greenville attracts residents and visitors alike with bustling foot traffic seven days a week, day and night. Once lined with numerous vacant buildings, Greenville's long-term commitment to planning and plan implementation during the past 30 years has turned Main Street into a magnet of commerce and social activity that is now expanding into neighboring areas. From its storefront displays to historic buildings, dozens of restaurants and Falls Park, Main Street offers a nexus of opportunities in a unique and remarkable setting.

Designated Area

Fifteen blocks of Main Street are designated Pendleton Markley Street to the south and Academy Street to the north.

Wide sidewalks and colorful storefronts and signage make Main Street an interesting place for pedestrians. Plazas, street furniture, and brick crosswalks further complement the street. Photo courtesy of City of Greenville.

Planning Excellence

Pedestrians, shoppers, visitors, and others are drawn not just to the plethora of activities, festivals, live music, and baseball games taking place along Main, but also to its historic, scenic sense of place. Its inviting ambiance encourages everyday strolls and interludes to enjoy views of the picturesque Reedy River waterfall.

Greenville's Riverwalk viewed from the Main Street Bridge. This bridge is one of two pedestrian bridges off Main Street that overlooks the Reedy River. Photo courtesy of City of Greenville.

Defining Characteristics, Features

Pedestrian Orientation

  • Amenities include wide sidewalks, extensive tree canopy, and trolley bus;  attractive benches, coordinated trashcans, and landscaping differentiate each block, creating a series of  "outdoor rooms" along the street
  • Mixed-use developments along Main Street (examples include Wachovia Place, which consists of 157,000 square feet of office space, 15,500 square feet of retail space and 22 apartments and the 338,000-square-foot office, retail and residential RiverPlace, which includes one building that fronts the street at 550 South Main) are within walking distance of everyday amenities including an urban Publix grocery store

Spectacular Vista

  • Falls Park, located at Main Street and Camperdown Way, provides sight-seeing opportunities and quiet retreat from Main Street bustle
  • The pedestrian Liberty Bridge, located in Falls Park, curves around the 60-foot Reedy River waterfall, affording scenic views of both river and falls
  • Public gardens on the banks of Reedy and brick ruins of the Camperdown Mill built around 1876

Economic Vibrancy

  • One-fourth of downtown Greenville's 1,750 residential units are located on Main Street, which has increased demand for commercial activities in the area; also contributing to downtown economic growth is the relocated baseball stadium, Fluor Field, which has brought one million consumers to the street since 2006
  • Sixty-four restaurants and cafes along Main Street provide downtown Greenville  with the greatest concentration of dining options in upstate South Carolina
  • Downtown Greenville averages more than 320 special event days a year including festivals, parades, and weekly music series during spring, summer and early fall

Historic Nature

  • The original plat dates back to the 1700s when Lemuel J. Alston created a grid of 52 lots on a north to south axis and named only two streets: Main Street, known as "the street," and McBee Avenue, called "the avenue"
  • Nineteen buildings, mostly on the southern end of Main Street, including five individually listed buildings, are on the National Register of Historic Buildings and have been preserved or adapted for reuse; building styles include Victorian, Neoclassical, Beaux Arts, Romanesque Revival (Stradley and Barr Dry Goods Store) and Art Deco (First National Bank)
  • Early 20th century skyscraper styles from Chicago architecture also used; the Poinsett Hotel (1925) was one of the first skyscrapers to be built in Greenville and has since been restored as a luxury hotel (2000)

Long-Term Planning Commitment

  • In 1978, the city implemented a comprehensive plan that added trees, angled parking, landscaping, and wider sidewalks; Main Street narrowed from four to two lanes to accommodate changes
  • Relocated the Greenville minor league baseball stadium to Fluor Field in 2006 from the Greenville Municipal Stadium, which was located about 6 miles outside the downtown; the new baseball stadium, home of the Greenville Drive, attracts an average of 5,000 attendees per game and is designed without parking to encourage people to utilize strategically placed parking garages, walk, or use the Main Street trolley
  • About one-fourth of downtown's 16,000 downtown garage and surface parking spaces are strategically located one block east and one block west of Main Street in order to not detract from the street's pedestrian character, with the remaining spaces located further out of the pedestrian realm
  • City now replicating success of Main Street to nearby areas; guiding the revitalization is the Sasaki Downtown Master Plan adopted in 2008

The free downtown trolley runs along Main Street to Fluor Field, the newly built baseball stadium. Parking for the stadium is off site at nearby garages. Photo courtesy of Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau.