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Top 7 Things to do in Spartanburg's Downtown Cultural District

August 29, 2018 | Features

By Lane Moore | Chapman Cultural Center Summer Intern

Spartanburg’s downtown is growing fast, and a lot of that growth I believe is because of Spartanburg's Downtown Cultural District. The Cultural District was the second designation awarded in the state and the very first in the Upstate! Through my internship at Chapman Cultural Center, I've been given the opportunity to explore Spartanburg like I never have before! That's why I decided to make a list of my “Top 7 Things to Do in Spartanburg's Downtown Cultural District.” 

Enjoy the Art

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Without art, there wouldn’t be a Cultural District. Fortunately, Spartanburg has plenty of it. From sculptures to murals, artistic work continues to thrive and pop-up in the downtown area.

Two art galleries you should visit are the Spartanburg Art Museum and The Johnson Collection. Spartanburg Art Museum is the souths oldest contemporary art museum and brings artists from all over the world to exhibit right here in Spartanburg. The Johnson Collection gives a visual tour of our region’s history and tells a story of Southern art. 

Visit the Hub City Bookshop

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Commended as “one of the best bookstores in the South,” by Southern Living in 2016, Hub City Bookshop is Spartanburg’s very own independent bookstore. Like any bookstore, Hub City Bookshop stays up to date on new titles while providing a wide range of literature considered to be classic or “must reads.” Unlike other stores, however, is the fact that the proceeds of each book purchased are used to fund creative writing education and independent book publishing in the local community.

While you’re there, walk on over to Little River Roasting Co. for some of the best coffee in the Upstate.

Experience Downtown Music

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Impatiently waiting for the weekend? Then look no further than Music on Main. Music on Main is an after-work live music event that takes place on Thursday's from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Morgan Square, the heart of downtown Spartanburg.  

Whether you’re going for the music, food or just to have some drinks, every Thursday from April through July, Music on Main is a solid staple in Spartanburg’s social scene. Missed Music on Main? Check out Jazz on the Square every Friday in September and October. Shows are from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. You can also spend Labor Day Weekend at Barnet Park for a fun-filled afternoon with live music from local bands, food & drinks, and splash fountain for the kids at Groovin in the Park. Don't forget about Downtown Programming! There are even more musicians filling the sidewalks of downtown Spartanburg Wednesday through Saturday's creating a hip and fun vibe in the city. 

The Restaurants

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You can’t have a thriving downtown area without a multitude of restaurants to choose from, and whether its sushi served traditionally at Miyako’s Sushi Group, or poke bowls at Pokenori, Spartanburg’s Downtown Cultural District is far from lacking in places to eat.

Since I can’t choose just one, some of my favorites include:

Lime Leaf

Brickhouse Pizzeria and Grill

Mezcal Taberna Mexicana

Cribbs Kitchen

Lemon Grass 

Sparkle City Mini Putt

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Sparkle City Mini Putt is an entirely free mini golf course in downtown, located right behind the Fr8Yard. If you want to play a few holes, all you have to do is borrow a putter from any of the six partnering businesses downtown (Paisley Paw, The Local Hiker, Dotties Toffee, Hub City Scoops, Growler Haus and The Coffee Bar) or bring your own.

After your game, be sure to stop by the Fr8Yard, Spartanburg’s Biergarten, for a bite to eat and something to drink.

Sundays Unplugged / Second Sundays

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If you’re like me, you are probably dying to get out of the house on a Sunday afternoon and do something before the work week starts. That’s what Sundays Unplugged and Second Sundays are for.

Both events take place in the Chapman Cultural Center Plaza and provide a casual and cultural experience to visitors. Sundays Unplugged features a performance by a local singer-songwriter, while Second Sundays (held in place of Sundays Unplugged on the second Sunday of each month) is a wider event that features a musical performance and adult or kid-friendly activities by a community organization, along with food and beverage vendors.

Museums and exhibits at Chapman Cultural Center are open for free during the event (except for a small admission fee for The John F. Green Spartanburg Science Center). Sundays Unplugged are from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., while Second Sundays are from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Trivia Night at Growler Haus

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Not only is Growler Haus one of the best bars in Spartanburg, with its ever-rotating tap of craft beers, they are the host of a weekly trivia night every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Gather a team of friends, or bring a team of enemies to compete against, and test your trivia knowledge for a chance to win the priceless gift of free beer money.

If you enjoy Spartanburg's Downtown Cultural District as much as I do, consider supporting it with a financial donation! Your gift will help liven up the district with more downtown music, public art, and diverse programming for all! 

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