Wednesday, June 09, 2021
The City of Spartanburg is a surprisingly progressive retreat in Upstate South Carolina. Since welcoming the first Upstate Pride March at Barnet Park in 2009, Spartanburg has flourished with local businesses and community organizations embracing the LGBTQ+ community.
Upstate Pride Week is celebrated each November, with additional Pride events hosted during National Pride Month in June. Checkout the Upstate Pride calendar for the most current happenings.
Crystal Pace, Pinnacle Hospitality Group Vice President of Sales and Marketing , said the most comforting thing for an LGBTQ visitor is to know when they’re in Spartanburg, they’ll be welcomed, and treated the same as anyone else.
We talked to a group of locals in-the-know to put together a list of the best spots for LGBTQ visitors in #OneSpartanburg during Pride Week and beyond.
Little River Coffee Bar offers a welcoming vibe on top of locally-roasted caffeinated concoctions. The Little River Coffee Bar on West Main Street, or The Pharmacy inside the historic Montgomery Building, are perfect ways to start any visit to Spartanburg.
The Hub City Bookshop sits right next door to the Coffee Bar. The Bookshop, also home to the nationally-recognized Hub City Writers Project, offers a diverse selection of reading from around the country, but the Bookshop truly specializes in earning the talented local writers of Spartanburg more exposure.
Three Spartanburg businesses with a craft beer focus are Upstate Pride friendly businesses.
First, Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery features a lineup of core beers, plus handcrafted ciders and other off-the-wall selections. Ciclops hosts Upstate Pride events throughout the year and will again host Pride Art and Games during Pride Week.
Growler Haus has brews for all tastes, not to mention comfy seating areas and some pretty dynamite appetizers. Growler Haus is also an Upstate Pride partner, hosting monthly social events for the organization during the year.
FR8yard, South Carolina’s first fully-outdoor biergarten, built from repurposed shipping containers, offers live music and a jumbotron used for sports and movies, depending on the night. Food at FR8yard includes street food favorites like upscale version of hotdogs, chili, and chicken on a stick, with a variety of delicious seasonings and sauces.
Spartanburg is full of restaurants with something for everyone, no matter your taste.
Cribb’s Kitchen on Main features a wide variety of burgers, many created by local chefs during the Cribb’s Burger Cookoff each year. If burgers aren’t your thing, the menu also includes appetizers and entrees with Spartanburg-made ingredients.
For the foodies among us, The Kennedy features incredible, photo-worthy dishes with local ingredients and unique twists on traditional cooking. The Art Deco-inspired décor of the restaurant only adds to the environment of intricate, handmade cocktails and thoughtfully-plated, palette-delighting meals.
Heirloom: A Milltown Restaurant, is the centerpiece of Pinnacle Hospitality’s group of properties on the west side of Spartanburg County, including Hampton Inn & Suites and the 1881 Event Center. Heirloom offers an authentic taste of Spartanburg and its history, sourced from local suppliers and farms.
The Chapman Cultural Center is Spartanburg’s arts hub and the centerpiece of the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District. At Chapman on any given day, you can find live performances, art exhibits, artists-in-residence working on unique pieces, community events, classes, and more. On top of the fine arts, Chapman is home to the Spartanburg Science Center, the Spartanburg Little Theatre, the Spartanburg Art Museum and a bevy of other arts organizations.
The Proud Mary Theatre Company presents LGBTQ+ voices and stories at events across Spartanburg and the entire Upstate. The theatre company hosts theatrical plays, dramas and comedies, musicals and local original works that celebrate diversity and acceptance. (Click here for Proud Mary Theatre Company tickets and event details.)
Opened in 2020, Mayfield Art Studios allows local amateur and professional creatives to collaborate and work on their passions. Meet some of the resident creatives in the eclectic art space during an open studio experience known as First Fridays. Occurring the first Friday of each month, this showcase allows local artists to display their works and allows visitors to peek into the creative process of each artist.
Arrowhead Design Co. is Spartanburg’s home for all gear, well, BURG. The popular design took off with locals and visitors alike, and now the BURG logo, as well as designs with the enjoyable description, “Spartanburger,” can be seen emblazoning T-shirts, hats, tote bags, and more. Arrowhead designs can be found at their Kennedy Street store as well as other businesses around Spartanburg, including Ciclops, the Coffee Bar, The Local Hiker and more.
Where to Stay:
Clevedale Inn and Historic Gardens offers a touch of history with its top-notch accommodations. Enjoy picturesque scenes when you arrive, and plentiful, peaceful garden space as you explore. This gorgeous bed and breakfast blends southern charm with modern accommodations for a vacation you’ll want to brag about. Originally built in 1913, this estate features various suites for you to choose from each with their distinct style.
In 2020, Clevedale was a host site for HBO’s “We’re Here” drag performance. The reality show featured former contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race recruiting small-town residents across the U.S. to participate in one-night-only drag shows.
Tru by Hilton: Only a few miles from Downtown Spartanburg, TRU Hotel by Hilton is one of Spartanburg’s newest and most vibrant hotels. With eclectic art, bold colors and welcoming rooms and suites, TRU offers a comfy place to stay and easy access to everything Spartanburg.
The AC Hotel Spartanburg in historic downtown is walkable to all of downtown’s bars, shops and restaurants. Relax after an active day at the outdoor pool, listen to live music at the lobby bar or shoot pool. The hotel is also home to a bar in the lobby, and a showcase of fine art thanks to a partnership with Black Mountain College.