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5 Places that Anyone Who Loves Nature Will Want to Visit Spartanburg, SC

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Are you looking for the perfect outdoor space in Spartanburg? We gathered together our 5 favorite spots to enjoy nature with our children. Our list includes a garden, a park with a gazebo, and a park that overlooks a lake.

Things to do in Spartanburg, SC

Looking for more fun things to do in Spartanburg?

Be sure to check out our Spartanburg guide!

It may be the four true seasons Spartanburg has to offer, but my family loves to spend outdoors together. We feel fortunate to live in a place with so many great outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and great temperatures. Now that Spring has truly arrived, we are spending more and more time outside.

No matter what part of Spartanburg County you live in, you will find beautiful outdoor spaces for your family to explore. Whether it is a park, a lake, a garden, or a boisterous downtown restaurant, there is something outdoors for everyone. For even more fun ideas of things to do outside see our giant list of things to do outside in Spartanburg.

outdoor spaces in Spartanburg Hatcher Gardens

Cleveland Park

Located right in the center of Spartanburg is Cleveland Park. This park is a quiet gem in the middle of the city with a lake, swings, a playground, and walking trails. There is plenty of spaces for picnics and room for kids to roam and explore. In addition to the accessible playground, the park is a beautiful setting. So much so that it is frequently used for special events and weddings.

141 N. Cleveland Park Dr.
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Admission: Free

Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve

We love Hatcher Garden & Woodlawn Preserve on the Westside of Spartanburg. Located off John B. White Sr. Boulevard, you might have even passed it without realizing it was there. If so, you have been missing out! This is a free public garden, once again, right in the middle of Spartanburg – you might even say “hidden.” The gardens have beautiful trails to explore with waterfalls, flowers, butterflies, observation decks and more.

820 John B. White Sr. Blvd.
Spartanburg, SC 29304

Admission: Free

Anchor Park at Lake Bowen

There are several wonderful lakes to visit around Spartanburg County, but even if you do not own a boat, Lake Bowen’s Anchor Park is a welcoming outdoor space in North Spartanburg. With an excellent enclosed playground that overlooks the lake, you can enjoy great views while your kids run free. Plus, there are picnic tables and grills available. It is also a great spot to find the geese, so be prepared to get up close and personal with some feathered friends as you walk around the park.

8515 Hwy 9
Inman, SC 29349

Admission: Free

Croft State Park

Did you know that Spartanburg is home to one of the largest South Carolina State Parks? Croft State Park, on the Eastside of Spartanburg, is only five minutes from downtown. This state park is huge! It has miles of trails for exploring whether by foot, bike, or horse! Really – it even has equestrian trails.

In addition to all the outdoor trails to explore, there is also a huge lake for fishing and other water activities. Plus, families can extend their visits by camping on site. The park also hosts events regularly like the monthly Music in the Woods event. It is free for those under five years of age and only $3 for adults and $1 for children 6-15 years old.

450 Croft State Park Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29302

Admission: $3 for adults | $1 for children 6-15 | Free for 5 and under

Cottonwood Trail

Cottonwood Trail is a nature preserve that protects a wonderful outdoor space near downtown Spartanburg. Recognized as an “urban green space,” Cottonwood Trail allows visitors to spend time outdoors while remaining close to the city.

The trail is clearly marked and is easy for even the littlest hikers, and they will love trekking across the various footbridges. While on the trail, you should expect to see plenty of wooded areas and wildlife, but you should also spend some time visiting the other connected trails that are part of the preserve, such as the Wetlands Trail.

Accessed off Beechwood Drive (off Fernwood Drive)
Spartanburg, SC 29307

Admission: Free

For those looking for other outdoor spaces in Spartanburg, don’t forget that Downtown Spartanburg also offers plenty of outdoor dining options, as well as Sparkle City Mini Putt.

What’s your favorite outdoor location in Spartanburg?

Five Playgrounds in Spartanburg, SC Your Kids Will Beg Not to Leave

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Ready to get outside and play? These playgrounds in Spartanburg, SC are perfect for playtime! You’ve read about the wonderful playgrounds that Spartanburg and the surrounding area have, but after a long winter of planning indoor activities, here is a reminder of some of the best playgrounds in Spartanburg you can revisit, or check out for the first time.

5 excellent playgrounds in Spartanburg, South Carolina
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Visit Spartanburg Spring Fling!

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The annual Spartanburg Spring Fling runs April 26-28, 2024 in the streets of downtown Spartanburg. If you are new in town or have not been to Spring Fling, plan to visit this special outdoor festival with your family. Most local families agree this is an event they look forward to all year.

Spring Fling in Spartanburg

Heading to Spartanburg’s Spring Fling? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Feeling at Home at Happy Hollow Park

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One of Spartanburg’s lesser known parks, is also one of its best.  Tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Converse Heights, Happy Hollow Park spans one block at the corners of S. Fairview and Glendalyn Avenue.  Small and secure, Happy Hollow Park provides a safe and shady place for children of all ages to play.

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Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve: Take A Garden Walk in Spartanburg, SC

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Have you enjoyed Hatcher Garden in Spartanburg, SC? Just a couple miles off of I-26 in Spartanburg, among shopping and restaurants on the busy main thoroughfare of John D. White, Sr. Blvd, is a 10-acre botanical garden and woodland preserve. 

The beautiful space is full of ponds, waterfalls, wildlife, trees and gardens with a wide variety of leafy and flowering plants. Hatcher Garden is open free to the public and should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Spartanburg.

Hatcher Gardens
Things to do in Spartanburg, SC

Here’s your guide to all the fun things to do in Spartanburg, SC!

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Your Kids Will Love the TCMU Location in Spartanburg, SC

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Have you been to Spartanburg’s children’s museum yet? TCMU Spartanburg offers a fun and educational indoor activity geared specifically for children five years of age and under. This location of the museum is perfect for your littlest ones. With padded play areas, water play, and a new Publix mini grocery store, there’s plenty for them to explore!

Looking for more indoor activities to entertain the kiddos this summer?
Check out our Indoor Guide to Spartanburg!

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Lemongrass Kitchen Is Where You Find Authentic Vietnamese Flavors in Spartanburg

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Have you been to Lemongrass Kitchen in Spartanburg, SC yet? Growing up with a love of flavors and spices, I am in constant search not so much for fusion restaurants but more authentic dining experiences, places that are about celebrating their heritage and remain true to the characteristics of each dish.

Lemongrass Kitchen Spartanburg SC

There’s nothing like discovering a family-run restaurant who boldly share their home-grown recipes to share with the public. The Lemongrass Kitchen is such a place. It’s run by husband and wife team Tony Nguyen and his wife Thang Bui. Transplants from California, Tony used to run a kitchen in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Now they are adding to the growing list of fun dining options in downtown Spartanburg.

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About The Lemongrass Kitchen

Just a block off Main Street, The Lemongrass Kitchen mostly serves Southern Vietnamese dishes. Just as if you were in Saigon, the restaurant specializes in Pho, a good-sized noodle dish, sometimes served in chicken or beef broth and paired with fragrant condiments of basil, mint leaves and bean sprouts, a definite Southern Vietnam touch.

Some visitors might be surprised with the limited menu, but if you were to visit Vietnam, this is actually typical. Restaurants specialize in specific dishes and have about multiple variations of the same dish. So goes with The Lemongrass Kitchen. On our visit, hubby had the “dry” noodle dish, Bun Thit, a combination of vermicelli rice noodles, fresh vegetables, spring rolls, and sliced pork. I was feeling cold and ordered the beef Pho, Pho Tai cooked with a deep sweetish broth and served with thick flat noodles. If you noticed, both dishes had noodles, veggies, and meat.

But the variations come in broth options, type of noodles, and protein of choice (they also have tofu on request). I also ordered a pearl milk tea, just because they had it and I was glad I did. It was a nice addition to the savory dish I had.

The Lemongrass Kitchen Spartanburg SC

One thing we love about Vietnamese food is its freshness. We found the same experience at The Lemongrass Kitchen which sources their produce from the local farmers’ markets. The broth was crystal clear, probably from simmered bone marrow cooked for hours and strained with love. Compared to Japanese Ramen, it is much lighter and the noodles are made of rice, not wheat (though we do love our fair share of Ramen).

Before you add any Sriracha (the now ubiquitous Vietnamese chili sauce)  to your dish, make sure to taste the broth first and savor it. Every kitchen has its signature Pho flavor. Then proceed and make it your own, with a squeeze of lemon, a bite of basil, a handful of bean sprouts for crunch, and maybe a splash of more fish sauce.

Another thing we ordered was the Cha Gio or the Vietnamese egg roll. It was a delicious appetizer and quite reasonable. Altogether, our bill was roughly $25, though if you didn’t order all the other things I did, a meal here would cost $10 per dish. A bowl of Pho can easily be shared with your littles. If you’re not up to having soup or a baguette sandwich (Banh Mi), I would suggest trying a couple of the appetizers for a meal.

The restaurant is casual dining, decorated with a bamboo theme. They mostly cater to the office lunch crowd but open for dinner till 8 pm.

Vietnamese food at Lemongrass Spartanburg

Plan a visit for yourself

The Lemongrass Kitchen
121 Dunbar Street (a block from Main Street)
Monday-Thursday 11 am to 8 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 am to 9 pm
Closed on Sundays
864.205.6150

Do you love a great Vietnamese restaurant?

Enjoy Live Music at Spartanburg Library’s Music Sandwiched In

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Do you wish there was an affordable way to expose your preschool children to all different types of live music without risking having to listen from the lobby? Let us tell you about Spartanburg Library’s Music Sandwiched In free music series. Whether you work downtown and would like some live music to re-energize you for the second half of the day, or you are looking for a fun lunchtime experience to enjoy with your little ones, we have the details here.

Music Sandwiched In free music program at Spartanburg Library

What is Music Sandwhiched In?

Did you know that for over 25 years, The Spartanburg Philharmonic and The Spartanburg Library have been providing the opportunity to enjoy lunch to live music free of charge? The series called “Music Sandwiched In” got its start in 1997 when the current headquarters library location was dedicated. Every other Wednesday from 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm, people of all ages find themselves enjoying all types of music, from German Oompah band music to an electric cello and violin duet.

If you don’t have time to pack a lunch, don’t worry. Lunch is available for purchase when you get there. Or you could treat yourself to a yummy dessert to go with your bag lunch.

My son and I stumbled onto this one afternoon as we were leaving the children’s library. As we were exiting the library I could hear singing and laughing coming from the Barrett room. My interest was peeked and as I poked my head into the room, I heard a familiar tune. Selections from The Chapman Cultural Center’s production of “The Music Man” were being performed. I was thrilled, for several reasons but mostly because now my son could see what characters were being spoofed on his favorite cartoon. He loved it and so did I.

I’m so excited to share this experience now with my young daughter. Being two, she has a mind of her own and ticketed events are still a risk for us. With “Music Sandwiched In”, we can go stress free, without worrying that I will have to walk away from a ticketed seat, if she gets cranky.

Musician playing piano at Spartanburg's Music Sandwiched In

Take your kids to Music Sandwiched In

Spartanburg Headquarters Library
151 S. Church Street, Spartanburg

A complete list of the upcoming performances can be found at the Music Sandwiched In website.

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Looking for more free things to do in Spartanburg, SC? Here’s your ultimate guide to free or cheap things to do.

Create Something Amazing at Spartanburg County Public Library’s SPARK Space

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The Spartanburg County Public Library offers some really cool crafting resources you may not be aware of yet. one of which is the SPARK Space. This unbelievable resource offers tons of classes and machines any crafter out there is going to want to know about! With over 20 specialized crafting machines to use for FREE or super cheap, the SPARK Space is a valuable resource for all crafters and makers.

The SPARK space at Spartanburg Public Library System

Have you ever wished you owned one of those cool home die-cutting machines you see used all over Pinterest? Or have you wished you had an embroidery machine, so you could monogram your entire wardrobe? Well, maybe not your entire wardrobe… just most of it.

Well, guess what? All those items and more can be yours to use for the low, low cost of a library card!

What is The SPARK Space?

Teenage and adult patrons of the Spartanburg library system are lucky because they have access to something called the SPARK Space. This unique program gives patrons the opportunity to learn about and use die-cutting machines, embroidery machines, sewing machines, a green screen studio, VHS transfer system, and more! Not to mention several 3D printers that are available to produce small items for only a small fee.

This program also offers arts and crafts classes that only cost a small registration fee or are completely free.  A few of the classes offered include canvas painting, tile mosaic art, tie dye, knitting, and floral design, just to name a few. Most of these classes teach the same things that, away from the library a person would pay ten times more to learn, with the added benefit that the library always supplies the needed materials, so all you need to do is show up.

Christina Fuller-Gregory, former Makerspace Librarian at the headquarters library, had this to share with me about the facility – “The Spark Space specializes in both high-tech and low-tech making. We wanted to build a space where both the crafty DIY-er and the techie have equipment and tools that they can use to create. We support making by offering a monthly programs in a variety of interest areas (Photoshop, Illustrator, sewing classes, How-Tuesdays, etc.). While we are an age-restricted space (12 and older) we offer programs for our young makers … These programs have an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) but we use creativity to make learning fun.”

Take The SPARK Space home

If you don’t have the time to craft away from home, but would still like to give a new hobby a test drive, the make-away kits are just for you. These kits include different kinds of crafting sets that can be checked out for weeks at a time and used at home.

The kits include various things like a wood whittling kit, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, rainbow loom & more. Some make-away kits also include cake-baking sets with character pans. This is especially nice because purchasing these pans is usually pricey and most people do not use them more than once. Now you can just borrow one from the library. These kits can also be transferred for loan from your local branch library.

Completed embroidery at the Spartanburg County Public Library SPARK space
Completed Embroidery from the SPARK Space

What does The SPARK Space offer?

Because your time may be limited, depending on which crafting equipment you want to use, it’s best to go in knowing what to expect. Any of the appropriate design files you find online at home can be loaded to a flash drive for use with the different machines once you get to the library.

3D printing

There are 3 Makerbot replicator 3D printers in the maker space. These machines print from a design that you can choose from websites like  www.thingverse.com or design your own on www.tinkercad.com. 3D printing fees are currently $1.50 an hour and that covers the plastic filament used.  There is currently a limit of 4 hours of print time per item, which limits your project to a small figurine-size item.

Cricut cutting machine

With so many different things that can be made with the help of a die cutter, this is an exciting item that has been made available for the public to use free of charge. Patrons only need to supply their own cutting material.

There is a selection of designs available, but I suggest going in already having a plan, so that you can be sure to have all the vinyl or paper colors you’ll need when you get there.  A search on Pinterest for “free SVG files” will turn up an infinite selection of compatible files.

One of my favorite sources of free SVG files can be found here. The library also has a selection of card stock for purchase ranging from .20 – .30 a sheet.

Embroidery machine

The cost of this type of machine can be cost prohibitive, keeping most people from having access to their own personal one. It is also a great test drive opportunity for someone who might be thinking about investing in one.

The sessions have a limit of 90 minutes, and for that reason, I suggest going in knowing what you want to make. With a design in hand, you can sit down at the machine and leave 90 minutes later with a completed monogram. Several things will determine how long it takes to complete a design, including the number of thread color changes. Keeping it simple for your first design, is preferable.

You’ll need a PES file to use; Boutique Fonts is my favorite source. Free PES files are less common, but some sites like Boutique Fonts post a new downloadable free file every week. Etsy is also a good source for this type file if you are looking for something specific. Aside from a plan, you’ll need to bring the item you wish to embroider on and patience. The session fee is currently $5.00 for 90 minutes.

Sewing machines

Sewing classes are frequently available and include all the needed materials. If you want to use the machines on your own, there is no cost and you only need to supply the fabric and pattern. A limited supply of thread colors is available and you can purchase a bobbin for .10 if needed.

VHS conversion

For those who have boxes of family home movies on VHS, this is a great way to convert them without spending a fortune. There is no fee, you just need to supply the flash drive or DVD to store the digital version on. If you forget to bring them, both are available for purchase in the SPARK Space. Flash Drive – $10 , DVD – $2

Check out The SPARK Space for yourself

There are so many more things to explore in The Spark Space than we mention here! A full list of the equipment in the SPARK Space can be found online. I hope this inspires you to take advantage of this truly unique resource we have at the Spartanburg libraries. Don’t worry if all of it sounds intimidating, there is a patient, knowledgeable team at the library just waiting to show you all of the crafting fun you’ve been missing.

SPARK Space
151 South Church Street, Spartanburg

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10 am- 8 pm
Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 1:30 pm – 6 pm

Have you taken advantage of The Spark Space?


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