vent-goers enjoy a night of Euphoria, an annual food and wine festival, in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

#4. Greenville

Since the 1970s, city leaders in Greenville, S.C., have pushed for renewal of the city’s downtown area. Their continual effort, patience and push has paid off. Today, downtown Greenville is lauded as one of the most livable places in the country and one of the Top 10 Best Downtowns in 2015. The downtown is one part of the equation that got Greenville placed on our two previous Top 100 Best Places to Live lists. 

During the last decade, developers have constructed luxury condos, apartments and lofts in the downtown area, attracting new residents and businesses. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has given Greenville a pair of Great American Main Street Awards, while dozens of publications from Southern Living to Forbes have run stories about this thriving community.

Shutterbugs tend of focus on Falls Park, which weaves through the heart of downtown, offering a fairy-tale like setting in an otherwise urban landscape. The park includes gardens, and a long pedestrian suspension bridge provides impressive views of the Reedy River and a series of waterfalls. A pair of trolleys make continuous loops from West End to the Colonel Elias Earle Historic District, a neighborhood filled with homes dating back to the early 1800s. Despite ongoing development, downtown Greenville has retained its small-town charm. Restaurant owners know many of their customers by name, and thanks to large multinational corporations like BMW, Michelin and Mitsubishi, many of those customers are from other countries.

Greenville is brimming with entertainment options, from galleries and restaurants to museums and sports events. The Peace Center, one of many venues for live music and performances, provides elegant accommodations for show watchers. Fluor Field, a mini replica of Boston’s Fenway Park, hosts the Greenville Drive, a minor league affiliate of the Red Sox. Families flock to The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, an 80,000-square-foot educational playland with three interactive floors. 

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