Nestled in the picturesque Upstate region of South Carolina, Anderson is a charming destination that offers a unique blend of small-town charm, rich history, and natural beauty.
Nicknamed “The Electric City” due to its pioneering role in the use of electricity during the late 19th century, Anderson has evolved into a thriving city that attracts visitors from near and far.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Anderson has something for everyone. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the best of Anderson and provide you with essential tips to make the most of your visit.
Getting to Anderson, South Carolina
Anderson is conveniently located off Interstate 85, making it easily accessible by car. The city is approximately two hours from Atlanta, GA, and just under two hours from Charlotte, NC.
If you prefer to fly, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is only 45 minutes away and offers flights to and from various domestic destinations. You can rent a car from the airport or take a shuttle to Anderson.
Where to Stay
Anderson boasts a range of accommodations to suit all budgets and preferences. Some popular options include:
The Bleckley Inn: This boutique hotel is housed in a beautifully restored historic building that blends old-world charm and modern amenities. The inn is conveniently located in downtown Anderson, within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anderson: This hotel provides excellent value with comfortable rooms and essential amenities, including a complimentary breakfast buffet, fitness center, and indoor pool.
Hampton Inn Anderson: Located near Lake Hartwell and the Interstate, this hotel offers clean, spacious rooms and a variety of amenities, such as free breakfast, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool.
Anderson County Museum: To gain a deeper understanding of Anderson’s rich history, make your way to the Anderson County Museum. This museum houses a variety of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the area’s heritage, from Native American history to the growth of the textile industry.
Lake Hartwell: As one of the Southeast’s largest recreational lakes, Lake Hartwell is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Anderson. With 962 miles of shoreline, the lake is perfect for boating, fishing, and swimming. Numerous parks and recreation areas along the shore provide ample picnicking, hiking, and camping opportunities.
Carolina Wren Park: Situated in the heart of downtown Anderson, Carolina Wren Park is a bustling community gathering place that hosts various events throughout the year. The park has a beautiful water feature, a playground, and an amphitheater that hosts concerts and outdoor movies during summer.
Split Creek Farm: This working goat farm is a delight for animal lovers and cheese connoisseurs alike. Take a guided tour of the farm to learn about the goats and the cheese-making process, then sample some of the award-winning goat cheeses and fudge made on-site.
The Anderson Arts Center: Celebrate the local arts scene by visiting the Anderson Arts Center. Housed in a historic former warehouse, the center features rotating exhibitions of works by local and regional artists. They also offer classes, workshops, and special events throughout the year. You may also check out Best Places in Miami: Make Your Traveling Memorable
Hiking: Anderson offers numerous opportunities for hiking enthusiasts. Sadlers Creek State Park, located on the shores of Lake Hartwell, features several trails that wind through hardwood forests and along the lakeshore. Explore the trails at the nearby Caesar’s Head State Park or Table Rock State Park for a more challenging hike.
Golf: Golfers will enjoy the variety of courses available in and around Anderson. Some top courses include the Cobbs Glen Country Club, a challenging 18-hole course that offers stunning views, and the Brookstone Meadows Golf and Country Club, which features a well-maintained course surrounded by picturesque landscapes.
Fishing: With Lake Hartwell just a stone’s throw away, fishing is a popular pastime in Anderson. The lake is home to various species, including largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Numerous fishing tournaments are held throughout the year, attracting anglers from all over the region.
Cycling: Anderson offers a range of biking opportunities for cyclists of all levels. The East-West Connector Trail is a paved, multi-use path that winds through the city, providing a safe and scenic ride. For a more challenging experience, tackle the hills and switchbacks of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.
Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Get out on the water and explore Lake Hartwell’s quiet coves and inlets by kayak or paddleboard. Several local outfitters offer rentals and guided tours, allowing you to discover the area’s natural beauty up close.
Dining and Nightlife
Anderson’s dining scene is as diverse as its attractions. From traditional Southern fare to international cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Some local favorites include:
Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill: This elegant downtown restaurant offers an eclectic menu of American and European-inspired dishes, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Don’t miss their delectable desserts, especially the signature white chocolate banana cream pie.
Summa Joe’s: For a casual dining experience, head to Summa Joe’s, a local hotspot known for its gourmet pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly service make it a great option for a relaxed meal.
Grits and Groceries: Located in a historic country store just outside of Anderson, Grits and Groceries serves up delicious Southern comfort food made from locally-sourced ingredients. Their menu changes daily, but you can expect classics like shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and buttermilk pie.
Uptown Lounge: If you’re in the mood for a night out on the town, go to the Uptown Lounge, a popular local hangout offering live music, karaoke, and a full bar. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly crowd make it the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring Anderson.
Anderson offers a variety of shopping options, from quaint boutiques to modern shopping centers. The historic downtown area has several unique shops, selling everything from antiques and home décor to locally-made art and crafts.
For a more traditional shopping experience, visit the Anderson Mall, which features a range of popular retailers, including Belk, JCPenney, and Bath & Body Works.
Festivals and Events
Throughout the year, Anderson hosts a variety of festivals and events that showcase the city’s vibrant community spirit. Some notable events include:
Anderson Soiree: Held annually in April, the Anderson Soiree is a celebration of local arts, food, and music. The event features live performances, artist demonstrations, and a variety of delicious dishes from local restaurants.
Lights of Hope: Darwin Wright Park in Anderson is transformed into a stunning display of more than 3.5 million lights during the holiday season. This event is family-friendly, along with amusement rides, food vendors, and Santa Claus visits. Celebrate Anderson: Celebrate Anderson is a town-wide celebration that unites locals and guests for a day of live music, food, and fireworks every Labor Day weekend.
Anderson, SC, is a charming destination that offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and small-town charm. There is something to captivate every traveler, from exploring the Lake Hartwell shoreline to learning about the city’s fascinating past at the Anderson County Museum. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, moreover just looking for a relaxing vacation, Anderson will undoubtedly deliver an exceptional experience. Make the most of your trip and take advantage of everything Anderson has to offer by using this comprehensive guide. Travel safely!