If you want to paint this town, bring orange! Clemson, the city, makes the most of a thriving town-and-gown relationship with Clemson, the university. The campus energizes the entire community with an exciting schedule of sporting events — highlighted by the three-time national champions Tigers football team — along with intriguing cultural events and outdoor activities.
Clemson University’s Brooks Center is a hub of performing arts for both city and school. This professional roadhouse hosts renowned dance, theater and musical performances in its main hall while presenting student acts in an intimate black-box theater. Discover acclaimed visual artists at the Rudolph E. Lee Gallery within the Center for Visual Arts, which also weaves public art into the campus environment.
Explore more than 295 acres of natural beauty at the South Carolina Botanical Garden, which comes complete with miles of streams and trails, plus a butterfly garden, wildflower meadow, specialty gardens and arboretum. The Bob Campbell Geology Museum is here, too, as are the historic Hanover House and Hunt Cabin. Access 100-plus miles of trails — via foot, bike or horse — within Clemson Experimental Forest.
Get off campus and go downtown, where the main street is College Avenue and many a merchant specializes in the Tiger trade. The floor creaks at Judge Keller’s, lest you forget the long legacy of this dry goods store founded in the late 19th century. The Tiger Sports Shop, also a local tradition, has been selling Clemson gifts and gear for going on 50 years.
Palmetto’s Smokehouse and Oyster Bar serves up Carolina cooking — don’t miss the shrimp and grits — in a building that’s older than the first car. Newer to the street is Evolve Kitchen and Table, where you’ll find craft cocktails and an elevated, locally sourced menu.
For cheap eats, head to Loose Change. Feed your inner co-ed at Tiger Town Tavern, Study Hall and TD’s of Clemson. The Esso Club is a must-go on game days; this iconic sports bar features a bevy of memorabilia and the best fried pickles you’ll ever eat.
A little further afield is Moe Joe Coffee, a hot spot for local and regional acoustic acts. Elkmont Tap & Cellar features locally sourced brews, wines and gourmet foods. Pixie & Bill’s and Calhoun Corners are long-time local faves, too.