15+ Free Things to Do in Downtown Greenville, SC

Entertaining the kids can become expensive so perhaps you’re looking for something to do that’s FREE in Downtown Greenville! Luckily for us, there are lots of free things to do in Greenville your kids will enjoy. We’ve put together a handy list of free activities to check out, including everything from museums you can visit for free and a new scavenger hunt downtown!

One of the best things our family loves about downtown Greenville, not discounting all the awesome well-planned community events, of course, is that one can still enjoy a simple stroll down Main Street without having to spend big bucks. In fact, if you pack a picnic and combine it with the activities listed below, you can have a completely spend-free day. Are you up for this fun challenge? We tried to be a little more creative with this list and come up with some new ideas. If you have any more ideas, please leave us a comment. We love hearing from you!

This article includes:
Free Museums in Downtown Greenville
Mice on Main
Butterflies on Main & Cancer Survivors Park
Free Mini Golf at McPherson Park
Falls Park, Liberty Bridge, and the Medusa Tree
Downtown Greenville Gardens
Shakespeare in the Park
Moonlight Movies
Downtown Splash Pad
Free Concert Series
Greenville Saturday Market
Street Performers
Downtown Trolley
Swamp Rabbit Trail
Cleveland Park
PAL Center
Free Story Times at Local Bookstores
Free Family-Friendly Events
First Friday Events

Free Museums in Downtown Greenville

There’s a reason why Greenville County Museum of Art has always been top-rated for things to do in Greenville. Not only is it free, but they have public events on Sundays, from 2-3 pm for the public to enjoy. This is in addition to all the amazing art on their walls. At GCMA, you can enjoy a free jazz concert, a sketching session, or a family art adventure!

Other museums that offer free admission are the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum, The Confederate Museum, and the Military History Center of the Carolinas by Runway Park. Note: The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum is temporarily closed due to its relocation and construction of an addition.

Mice on Main

Nine mice sculptures inspired by the book Goodnight Moon are hidden along Main Street. You can download a list of clues online and there is a cute picture book found in many of the local stores along Main Street such as the Mast General Store to help you on your journey.

Butterflies on Main and Cancer Survivors Park

If you have a little one, Mice on Main never gets old. But what about the older child or parent who has repeatedly found all the mice? Here’s another public sculpture hunt for you, also made of metal, but will have you and your kids looking up instead of down. All along the east side of Main Street towards Cancer Survivors Park is a trail of more than 130 butterflies by local artist, Yuri Tsuzuki. This is not an official hunt, but it’s quite fun when spots one the metal yet graceful-looking butterflies (about the size of one’s hand) in the most unexpected places like a lamp post or shop wall. Hint: Start at Coffee Street.

Free Mini Golf

Bring your own putters and golf clubs for a round of free, 18-hole mini-golf course at the popular McPherson Park in downtown Greenville.

Falls Park, Liberty Bridge, and the Medusa Tree

Don’t miss Greenville’s iconic Liberty Bridge and Falls Park that span the Reedy River Falls. Across the park near the road, you will also find the Medusa Tree (“Root Tree”) which is a favorite photo spot for visitors to Greenville.

Many locals enjoy a sweet treat or cup of coffee from Spill the Beans located at the bridge entrance while visiting this park. Public restrooms are located outside Spill the Beans.

Greenville, SC's Medusa Tree
Medusa Tree

Downtown Greenville Gardens

Rock Quarry Garden

This beautiful garden is hidden but has been a favorite photo spot for locals for years.

Kilgore-Lewis Garden

This private garden is open to the public and is a lesser-known beautiful place to explore in downtown Greenville.

The Children’s Garden at Linky Stone Park

This small park will enrich the five senses with its sensory gardens, fairy-tale-inspired structures, and child-friendly sculptures.

See our complete list of Greenville gardens for more information.

Upstate Shakespeare at the Park

After a two-year pause, The Warehouse Theater’s Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park will resume with its 26th season this summer! This is the ultimate downtown Greenville experience and yes, free! A treat for families with middle school kids or any child who enjoys theater. What better way to introduce theater than under the stars. It also helps to have the option to make a quiet exit without the regret of costly tickets. Though for the record, this theater group is definitely worth paying for.

Moonlight Movies at Falls Park

During the months of September and October, you can head to Falls Park to watch an outdoor movie for free on Thursday evenings at sundown. Be sure not to forget the bug spray as you will be near the Reedy River. Note: The 2022 movie schedule has not been announced yet.

Downtown Splash Pad {currently closed}

Put on the bathing suits and take the kids to the downtown train-themed splash pad, located near Falls Park in RiverPlace. Public restrooms are available beside the splash pad.

Splash Pad in downtown Greenville, SC
Downtown Greenville splash pad/Kristina Hernandez

Free Concert Series

Downtown Greenville offers a free concert series during the warmer months.

Greenville Saturday Market

The Greenville Saturday Market offers a plethora of vendors and has a children’s area and activities on select Saturdays from May to October.

Swamp Rabbit Trail

Hike, bike, or run along the Swamp Rabbit Trail in downtown Greenville. This popular part of the trail can take you from Linky Stone Park, through Falls Park and Cancer Survivors Park, to Cleveland Park and Greenville Zoo.

Cleveland Park

This popular park outside the Greenville Zoo includes one of Greenville’s top playgrounds as well as great paths for biking and several picnic shelters.

Playground at Cleveland Park
Cleveland Park

Enjoy Street Performers

We do love our walks down thru Falls Park and back to Main street. On the weekends, we pause at each street performer and enjoy what they have to offer along Ivey Square on North Main. Have you seen the Hello Kitty drummer or the young magician performing algebra card tricks? Recently, we’ve chanced upon a caricaturist who will draw your portrait in minutes. Remember to wear comfortable shoes!

Downtown Trolley

Don’t feel like walking all the way to West End Greenville? Well, there is a free option to try. You can enjoy a tour of downtown on the charming Greenville Trolley on Main Street.

Downtown Greenville trolly

PAL Center at Greenville Main Library

Open at select times, your young children can play at the PAL (Play and Learning) Center at the Greenville Hughes Main Library. Note: Due to COVID-19, the PAL Center is temporarily closed. It is expected to open sometime in 2022.

Free Story Times at Local Bookstores

Young readers get engaged with the world of books at several local bookstores’ storytimes. Be sure to call ahead to confirm storytime details.

Free Events Downtown

Downtown Greenville has a number of annual free events that are fun for the whole family. Some of our favorites are the annual Duck Derby, iMAGINE Upstate, Artisphere, and Fall for Greenville. See our calendar for a list of current events happening each week. From March to September, Main Street Fridays happen from 5:30-9:30 pm downtown, and every Thursday from 5:30-8:30 pm from March-August is Downtown Alive in NOMA Square. These events feature live entertainment for free as well as a kid’s area with bounce houses for a small fee.

First Friday Art Events

Every First Friday of the month, dozens of art galleries open up to the public from 6-9 pm, with many having free crafts for kids. Owned by a local mom and artist, Open Art Studios on Main Street is one of our favorites.

BONUS TIP: Visit the Children’s Museum and the Upcountry History Museum for Free

The Hughes Main Library at Heritage Green is well-loved by local parents for its vast collection of books and special events. As an added plus, Greenville residents can also borrow a museum pass to The Children’s Museum (family admission for up to two adults and four children of the same household) or the Upcountry History Museum (free admission for 2 adults and 4 children) both conveniently located right beside the library.

Also, families with an EBT card are eligible for $3 tickets at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate with their card (for up to 4 family members).

Parking for Free in Downtown Greenville

Parking in Greenville is affordable on weekdays at any of the public garages and the public parking is often free on weekends and holidays select. During the weekday, you can often find free 2-hour street parking. If events are currently happening, you may need to pay an event fee of approximately $6-10 to park downtown.

For even more free activities see our giant list of 50+ free things to do in Greenville County.

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