QUALITY OF LIFE
The Upstate is known for its scenic vistas at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and for its welcoming communities, rich with international diversity and cosmopolitan amenities. Our region has something for everyone: an active nightlife and a wide range of cultural activities from Broadway musicals to college football, to scenic lakes and mountains for recreational activities. And it’s grounded with excellent health care and quality schools, all within a region where cost of living is 10% lower than the national average.
Perspective from Solar Atmospheres: Why Upstate South Carolina?
The Upstate’s city centers hum with a creative energy that’s all our own. Cultural highlights include world-class dining, arts and entertainment. Enjoy opera, rock concerts and theater, as well as award-winning festivals and globally recognized museums and galleries.
Recognition of Upstate Urban Centers:
- Downtown Greenville ranks #3 on a list of Top 10 Downtowns for 2016 by Livability.com.
- Greenville ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 10 Underrated Cities for Art Lovers.
World-Class Cultural Facilities:
- The Bon Secours Wellness Arena is a 15,000-seat venue for concerts, family events, sports, and comedy acts. From Springsteen to Elmo, hockey to bull riding, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena is South Carolina’s venue for first-class entertainment for all ages.
- Broadway theatrical productions and local and traveling musical acts take the stage at the Peace Center, an event venue with 2,100-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theatre, an amphitheater, a sophisticated patrons’ lounge, and a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting, rehearsal, and event spaces.
- A number of community theatres and special events venues such as the Spartanburg Little Theatre, Greenwood Community Theatre, Abbeville Opera House, Anderson Sports & Entertainment Center, and the Oconee Community Theatre provide a leisure outlet and special events venue throughout the Upstate.
- From Southern culinary staples to exotic international cuisine, the Upstate’s food and beverage scene is rich with variety. More than 100 restaurants line Greenville’s Main Street corridor, and our entrepreneurial spirit is on display in the more than nine breweries that call the Upstate home.
Upstate communities also seize our comfortable weather climate as an opportunity to host a number of recurring outdoor festivals to celebrate our rich culture, such as:
- Upstate International’s International Month, held in March with a variety of events to celebrate, showcase and share the many international cultures represented in the Upstate.
- Artisphere, an annual three-day event in May that connects artists with art patrons, including live demonstrations in downtown Greenville.
- Gallabrae – Greenville Scottish Games, a two-day celebration of the region’s concentration of Scots-Irish descendants that includes Celtic music, a parade, athletic competition and dancing, held on the Furman University campus in May.
- South Carolina Peach Festival, held in Gaffney over multiple days each July to celebrate one of South Carolina’s sweetest signature crops, featuring food, entertainment, music and sweet peach creations.
- Euphoria, a weekend-long culinary immersion featuring tasting events, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, held each September to showcase Greenville’s restaurant scene.
- Fall for Greenville, a weekend-long festival in downtown Greenville each October featuring small plates from Upstate eateries, live music and rides.
- South Carolina Festival of the Flowers and South Carolina Festival of Discovery in Greenwood feature fun for the whole family and have garnered “Top 20 Event” status for the Southeast.
- Greer Station Oktoberfest, a weekend celebration of the strong ties between the Upstate and Germany, featuring German oompah bands, German beer and an assortment of German foods, such as Bavarian white sausages, knackwurst, bratwursts, fresh baked pretzels.
The Upstate’s natural beauty is an endless playground for kayakers, bikers, runners, and climbers. Lakes, mountains and some of the most beautiful terrain in the country provides the setting for a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities.
Natural Beauty Accolades
National Geographic named Jocassee Gorges one of “50 of the World’s Last Great Places – Destinations of a Lifetime” in a 2012 special edition of the magazine. The Jocassee Gorges tract contains about 43,500 acres extending along the South Carolina/North Carolina border from northern Oconee County at the South Carolina/Georgia state line eastward to Jones Gap State Park. The area is known for its lakes, streams, waterfalls and a diversity of wildlife and plant life that includes the rare Oconee Bell wildflower.
Sports & Recreation
Whether you’re a player or a spectator, you’ll find that sports thrive in the Upstate. In addition to college athletics and semi-professional hockey and baseball, the Upstate is home to premier golf course and recreation facilities in a wide array of sports including baseball, hockey, soccer, football and others.
- The Greenville Swamp Rabbits Hockey Team is an ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers that plays at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
- The Greenville Drive Baseball Team, a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, plays at Fluor Field, a stadium modeled after Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox that is undergoing $10 million worth of facility upgrades and renovations.
- The Upstate is home to 14 South Carolina State Parks that offer mountain views, hiking trails, recreational boating, tournament fishing and cabins for cozy campfire getaways. Among the region’s most popular parks are Table Rock State Park, Caesars Head State Park, Oconee State Park and Devils Fork State Park.
- Upstate South Carolina is plentiful with beautiful fully recreational lakes including: Lake Greenwood, Lake Hartwell, Lake Keowee, Lake Robinson, and Lake Jocassee.
- A number of paved trails for biking and running dot the Upstate, such as the 22 mile Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail that connects Greenville and Travelers Rest, the 2.5-mile Heritage Trail in Greenwood, more than 7.25 miles of trails in Spartanburg County, and the 7.5 miles Doodle Trail from the City of Easley to Pickens.
Raising a Family
The abundance of natural resources, cultural and sports offerings, where entertainment options are around every corner, make the Upstate an ideal location to raise a family. The strength of our community is showcased through the presence and performance of our K-12 education systems, which serve more than 219,000 students across the 10-county Upstate.
- U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 ranking of Best High Schools included national recognition for 16 Upstate High Schools, several of which are ranked in the top 20 high schools in the state.
- 16 of the 25 top Niche.com’s 2017 Best School Districts in South Carolina list are within the Upstate.
- U.S. News & World Report’s South Carolina High Schools the top 20 lists includes 8 Upstate schools.
Health Care Recognitions
- Four Upstate hospitals were among the Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems for 2017, according to this year’s HealthCare’s Most Wired survey: Bon Secours/St. Francis, AdMed Health, Spartanburg Regional and Pelham Medical Center.
- Spartanburg Regional Medical Center ranks #3 on the 2017 U.S. News and World Report list of the Best Hospitals in South Carolina. Bon Secours Downtown ranks #5 and GHS Greer Memorial Hospital ranks #7.