Greenville, SC has been gaining in popularity recently, so we wanted to break down all the pros and cons of living in Greenville SC to give you an unbiased overview of this expanding city.
Our team did some extensive research and determined all aspects of what makes Greenville great, but also uncovered the annoyances and shortcomings that you may not realize on a short trip or vacation to the city.
Greenville has earned many awards and has made it onto several “top city” lists recently. In fact, we named it the 3rd best city in all of South Carolina and it was ranked 10th best on Livibility.com’s top 100 cities in the US. But, there are several reasons why it may not be perfect for everybody.
So, is Greenville SC a good place to live and settle? Here is our full review of the pros and cons of living in Greenville SC!
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Pros of Living in Greenville SC
1. Thriving Downtown
Greenville is best known for its lively downtown area that offers an excellent blend of dining, shopping, and entertainment options for all ages. The local government has been actively investing to revitalize this area and the result has been a beautiful district that residents love to spend time in.
The local planners made sure to develop a walkable area with mixed-use buildings containing residential and commercial spaces to allow the whole community to interact and help develop strong connections.
Today, downtown Greenville is filled with quaint cafes, craft breweries, and specialty boutiques among several new residential buildings. There are also tons of great restaurants as Greenville continues to build on its reputation as a foodie haven. It even made People Magazine’s list of the 10 hottest foodie cities in America.
Additionally, downtown is the host to numerous fairs, festivals, and live music events all throughout the year.
2. Growing Economy
Greenville’s strong growth has been tied to its ability to create jobs in the local economy and attract talent and also large corporations to the city.
There are several Fortune 500 companies that have built an office in Greenville, which is pretty impressive considering the relatively small size of the city. Michelin, 3M, Lockheed Martin, and GE are some examples of big companies that are located in and around the Greenville area.
Meanwhile, Greenville’s job market is expected to grow by almost 40% in the next 10 years, which is also higher than the national average. Greenville’s emergence as a hub for technology could potentially aid this growth even further.
For all the great amenities and job prospects that Greenville offers, its cost of living is quite reasonable. In fact, the overall cost of living is about 5% lower than the national average.
Your dollar goes a bit further here than other big cities in South Carolina and in the South in general, making it a strong value.
4. The Great Outdoors
It’s right in the name of the city. The numerous parks and outdoor space around the city really put the “green” in Greenville. There is the picturesque Falls Park on the Reedy that is located right in the heart of the city, which contains a waterfall of the Reedy River that runs through the city.
Along the river, there are numerous hiking and biking trails and well as the Greenville Zoo, which is another impressive amenity for a small city to have.
Greenville is also surrounded by large expanses of nature, with many nature preserves, lakes, and rivers just a short drive from downtown. On top of that, Greenville is just a couple of hours away from the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, giving nature lovers a variety of choices to enjoy the outdoors.
Residents of Greenville can expect to enjoy warm weather all year round as it is officially located in a subtropical climate. Winter lows never go below freezing, while highs are in the mid 50s. Summers are warm, maybe too warm for some (we will get to that in the cons).
You can also expect to experience all four seasons in Greenville, with the chance of snow in the winter, a beautiful transformation during the spring, the hot summer, and the crisp air and radiant foliage in the autumn.
Cons of Living in Greenville SC
1. Rising Housing Costs
While the overall cost of living remains relatively low, housing prices in Greenville have been increasing at a higher rate. According to Zillow, the average home value in Greenville is about $230,000, which is up about 9% since last year. That also represents a 50% increase over the last 5 years.
The Greenville real estate market is predicted to continue to be a hot market through 2021, as low interest rates and a limited supply of houses should both contribute to higher home valuations.
So, the best time to get into the market may be now.
2. Heat and Humidity
While Greenville’s subtropical climate may be great during the mild winters and pleasant spring and falls, the summers can get excruciatingly hot.
It usually starts to reach above 80 degrees starting in May and it is not uncommon to have many days of 90-100 degree weather between June and August.
On top of that, it can get extremely humid as well. Even though Greenville is not in the deep south like Florida or Alabama, the heat and humidity is not much different.
3. Limited Diversity
Greenville continues to expand and improve, but remains a bit limited in diversity in terms of ethnic and cultural aspects. Don’t expect Greenville to mirror the streets of New York City, which also means that there are less options for authentic ethnic cuisines.
Additionally, there is a lot of suburban sprawl outside of downtown, with many similar, cookie-cutter type subdivisions that some may find lack in character.
Not everything in Greenville is perfect. As the city continues to expand, it has had a difficult time fully controlling all parts of the city. Currently, the crime rate in Greenville is 84% higher than the national average. But, just like any city, it is not all bad and there are some specific areas to look out for. This map can help you locate the safest neighborhoods in Greenville.
5. Congestion and Lack of Public Transportation
For a city of this size, Greenville suffers from a lot of traffic and congestion that you may not expect. You may experience some pretty significant backups on Woodruff Road, a main thoroughfare in the eastern part of town that leads to the main commercial district outside of downtown.
It is easy to understand why, as that street is lined with all the major big box stores like Walmart, Target, Costco, and other shopping plazas that the whole city heads to on weekends.
South Carolina drivers have also been characterized as “unpredictable” at times, which may lead to some of the traffic.
Meanwhile, downtown Greenville is indeed very walkable, but you will need a car to access the rest of the city, such as the commercial district mentioned earlier. The city lacks a strong public transportation system, so you will likely need to use a car everyday unless you live downtown. The overall walk score for Greenville is just 43 out of 100, while its transit score only earned a 19 out of 100.
Greenville offers a great mix of downtown and suburban living with easy access to many outdoor activities, and a growing economy. But, it suffers from rising housing costs, extreme heat in the summer, areas of crime, and some unexpected traffic.
We hope that this review of the pros and cons of living in Greenville SC will help you decide if this is the right place for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Greenville SC a good place to live?
With all things considered, we believe Greenville SC is a good place to live based on its expanding economy and vibrant downtown. There may be some cons, such as its crime rate, limited infrastructure, and higher housing costs, but that is not unexpected for a city that is growing as fast as Greenville is.
Over time, Greenville will be able to invest more in these issues and continue to support the city and help it thrive.
What are the best places to live in Greenville?
Some top neighborhoods in Greenville include:
- Hampton Pinckney
- Downtown Greenville
- North Main
What are the best places to live near Greenville?
- Taylors – 10 minutes away
- Five Forks – 15 minutes away
- Spartanburg – 30 minutes away
- Clemson – 40 minutes away