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What Is the Artisphere?

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina, transforms every year during Artisphere. The annual festival brings a variety of artists together for one weekend in May. 

Not restricted to traditional studio art, the event has something for everyone. Even those not into handmade crafts will find something worthwhile at Artisphere. 

Jump in with us as we look at one of the largest art festivals in the South. 

Let’s dig in!

About Artisphere

In Greenville, South Carolina, art is a way of life. Home to the largest art museum in the state, Greenville sees the value of creativity. So in 2003, a group of citizens came together to create Artisphere. Over the last twenty years, the fest’s growth surprised even the founders. 

Incorporating handmade crafts as well as culinary and performing arts, the festival brought 70,000 visitors to the region in 2022. Officials appreciate the over $9 million tourists spend in the area. But economic impact aside, the festival’s activities are just plain fun!

Artisphere’s unique approach to the art festival is part of its charm. Instead of only focusing on the canvas, organizers bring chefs, theatrical artists, and musicians into the fold. With so much creativity packed into downtown Greenville, the energy is electric. 

Where Is Artisphere?

Greenville’s downtown area is one of the most picturesque and funky in the region. Wrapped around the Reedy River, the bridges and walkways make cars unnecessary. However, walkability is vital for a huge festival atmosphere, and the downtown location is the perfect fit. 

Multi-use trails and a suspension bridge give visitors easy access to downtown bars and restaurants. A sub-tropical climate provides comfortable temperatures nearly all year. There’s also plenty to do outside of Artisphere. If you’re traveling to the area for the fest, make plans to stay for a while. 

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is a wonderful spot to take the family. Hands-on galleries and exhibits are great for the 12 and under crowd. A short walk from there, the Greenville Zoo provides additional fun before heading to the fest. 

Do You Need Tickets for Artisphere?

If you plan to visit Artisphere this May, here are some things you should know. While the fest is free, you’ll want to plan ahead to make sure you’re ready for any curveballs. 

The 2023 festival runs from May 12 to 14 in downtown Greenville. Friday hours are 12 pm to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 8 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. There’s plenty to do and see at the event. If you’re coming from out of town, give yourself plenty of time to see the over 900 artists. 

Most of your needs are available in the festival space. Local restaurants offer food and beverages for sale in various locations throughout the weekend. Organizers also provide plenty of port-a-lets as well, including handicapped accessible. A smoke and vape-free environment and no pets ensure everyone is comfortable walking around.

But leave your blankets and coolers at home; this isn’t that kind of festival.    

Pro Tip: Art lovers will enjoy exploring these 5 Great Art Festivals in April.

Walking through arts festival
Enjoy Greenville’s art scene by heading to Artisphere.

Other Fun Things To Do Near Artisphere

Downtown Greenville practically bursts with things to do near the festival footprint. So if you’re feeling adventurous, get out and explore all that the town has to offer. 

Falls Park on the Reedy and Liberty Bridge

Gorgeous Falls Park on the Reedy River isn’t a spot to miss on your walking tour of the city. Home to Liberty Bridge, a 345-foot suspension bridge, the park is the heartbeat of downtown. Residents flock to the area for yoga, music, theatre, and of course, the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. 

It’s easy to enjoy solitude in the park, even in the center of town. Little hidden gardens provide moments of contemplation. Recognized as a “Top Park in the U.S.” by Tripadvisor, it’s the perfect spot to relax after a day at Artisphere. 

Public Art Walking Tour

Greenville supports art in a big way, and not just for one weekend in May. Over 125 pieces of public art dot the city. An online map provides locations and information about each of the installations. 

World-renowned artists like Dale Chihuly and Brian Hunt have pieces nestled in the heart of the city. Along streets and parks, the town shows its support for creativity. Check out the walking tour and enjoy moments of unexpected joy. 

Brewmiceter Hops Hunt

A newer attraction to the area, the Brewmiceter Hops Hunt is a fun and free way to explore the local craft beer scene. Started by residents Darcy, Deb, and Jerry, the tour puts some extra fun in the bar crawl scene. With so many heavy hitters along the way, organizers recommended you spend a few days to fully enjoy the tour. 

Eight stuffed mice hidden along the trail make up the scavenger hunt piece of the puzzle. They’re dressed up and have names like Grandpa Mouse, Funky Fun Fretta, and Peter Prost Mouse. Catch a photo with the cute rodents and enjoy some local brews.

art festival at night
Enjoy the vibrant city of Greeneville and all it has to offer.

Pro Tip: While in South Carolina You Won’t Regret Visiting The Charleston Farmers Market.

Best Places to Stay Near Artisphere

With so much to see and do, staying close to downtown is a must. So whether you’ve got your RV with you or want something cozier, Greenville’s got it handled. 

Paris Mountain State Park

Just north of Greenville, Paris Mountain State Park is the perfect spot to park when exploring the region. The campground accommodates RVs up to 40 feet, but there aren’t many amenities besides a dump station. A long, winding road to the campground is a challenge, and a ravine has greyed more than a few hairs over the years. 

The state park is best enjoyed on foot and is surrounded by hiking trails and trees. You won’t want to drive your rig in and out each day of the fest, though. So if you’re planning a stay, make sure you’ve got another vehicle for day trips. 

Pettigru Place Bed and Breakfast

A short walk from downtown and all that Greenville has to offer, Pettigru Place is perfect for couples. Six rooms and an English garden provide a serene stay for visitors. Just a short walk from the festival grounds, it’s perfectly situated for a walking weekend around town. 

Adirondack chairs on the patio beckon and beautifully decorated common areas invite you to sit for a spell. Pettigru’s is also known for the quality of its breakfasts. Peaches and Cream French toast, toasted croissants, and Basil Eggs (a take on Eggs Benedict) are unbeatable. 

The Westin Poinsett

Constructed in the style of old South Carolina, the Westin Poinsett is a luxury stay. Perfect for a weekend, or a wedding, the hotel is known for its nicely appointed rooms and common areas. Ballrooms drip with crystal, and events at the hotel are fancier than you’d expect. 

Just steps from the hundreds of shopping and dining options downtown, the hotel’s great for the Artisphere weekend. Make sure to book early, though; their 200 rooms fill up quickly. Then, after a long day of walking around the festival, stop into The Piano Bar for a nightcap. 

Is a Road Trip to Artisphere Worth It?

The gem of South Carolina, Greenville alone, is worth a road trip. Artisphere brings the vibrant downtown to life and offers something for everyone; Kidsphere for the kids, Brewmiceter for the adults, and food for the whole family. Gorgeous mountain views and perfect temperatures draw visitors to the area year-round. 

But be careful. Greenville is an easy place to stay. So much so you may never want to leave.

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