An 1830s settlement originally called Plain has evolved into a charming little city that’s anything but. Renamed in the late 19th century for Peter Simpson — a blacksmith who opened shop at the fledgling community’s first crossroads — today’s downtown Simpsonville is forging a revitalization that celebrates the past while embracing possibilities.

Simpsonville is noted for giving voice to live music — indeed, it’s the “Stage of the Upstate.” Big acts play CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, while Hendricks Pavilion sets a smaller stage for regional performers. Local musicians love playing at hometown restaurants like Clock Tower Taproom & Billiards and Sweet Sippin’, a wine bar that boasts a unique rooftop space. Warehouse at Vaughns rocks a full schedule of local and regional artists within a community venue comprising local vendors such as Servus Biergarten, indoor and outdoor dining, a container courtyard and a full acre of greenspace.

Burdette Central transforms a historic hardware store into a dynamic hub offering yet more community gathering space. Popular local chain Sidewall Pizza is here along with vendors including Smoqued BBQ, 1885 Tap Room and Kaffeine Coffee Shop and Roastery, where there’s lots of buzz about espresso flights.

Find local flavor all day long downtown, starting with Exchange Co.’s fresh-made crepes, biscuits and bowls — come here if you go gluten free. Indulge in eclectic Southern fare and don’t miss the fried green tomatoes at Mary’s Lunchbox. If you prefer a French accent, enjoy sweet, savory and lots of soul at Authentique French Creperie.

Shortfield’s is a dinner fave, as is Unterhausen: The Castle Cellar Pub with its cellar ambiance and gute selection of German beer and food, especially corned beef and cabbage. Ice Cream Station is a cool gathering spot in a renovated railroad depot. Stella’s Southern Bistro isn’t quite downtown but merits mention for its seasonal, sustainable menu of Carolina cuisine.

Antiquing is in the bag in historic downtown Simpsonville, where you’ll find room after room of unique pieces at Bennett & Sons Antiques and plenty of vintage décor at The Front Porch. Local boutiques include Pink Owl, Koinophobic and Three Generations; check out Carolina Olive Oil Marketplace, too.

Finding outdoor recreation is a walk in the park. Access miles of paved trails, age-appropriate playgrounds, even a miniature steam train in Heritage Park. City Park comprises disc golf, batting cages and a zip line; adjacent is The Dog Spot, with play areas divided by size, so your best friend can have fun, too.

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