17 Best Holiday Events in Upstate South Carolina

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17 Best Holiday Events in Upstate South Carolina

Have you been counting down the days until it was time to participate in your favorite Christmas activities? You're in luck: Upstate South Carolina is ready for you! Our South Carolina holiday events are set to begin. Whether you're looking for an incredible holiday lights display or a special, family-friendly holiday event, the Upstate has you covered. Here are some of the most popular holiday-themed activities in the Spartanburg, Greenville, and Greenwood areas. 

Top Spartanburg Holiday Events

The North Pole

Nothing says the holidays like a visit to the North Pole. This special event is happening at the TCMU Greenville and Spartanburg locations. The Children's Museum of the Upstate transforms into a magical visit to the North Pole. The event has snow, holiday activities, photos with Santa, and much more. The 2021 event is scheduled for December 11 and requires advanced time-entry tickets. Tickets start a family of two for $25. The admission includes the special crafts and activities, storytime, and a digital photo with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Cookies with Santa

Spartanburg holidays are not complete without cookies with Santa! Cookies with Santa will take place on November 6, 2021, at the Spartanburg Memorial Stadium. You can take a photo with Santa, make crafts, decorate cookies, and more for an entertaining hour! Purchase your tickets online because additional tickets will not be available for purchase at the door. 

This year's event has five different ticketing times: 

  •  8:30 am
  • 10:00 am
  • 11:30 am
  • 1:00 pm
  • 2:30 pm

Tickets are $20 each for a child and one adult. Additional adults must purchase a ticket to attend. 

Whimsical: The Nutcracker

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with the joyous and playful Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker? The South Carolina holiday season brings this music and dance work, performed by the Spartanburg Philharmonic and Ballet Spartanburg, to the Twichell Auditorium. Carlos Agudelo, Ballet Spartanburg Artistic Director, choreographs the show, and special guest conductor Geneviève Leclair will conduct this timeless holiday classic for the 2021 season. 

The collaboration brings the annual family tradition of The Nutcracker to life and is a fantastic experience that will delight people of all ages. The four performances run December 10-12. Ticket prices are $35 for adults and $20 for youth and students up to age 22. ticket costs $20-$35. 

The Spartanburg Christmas Parade

To accompany the Spartanburg holidays, the Spartanburg Jaycees have organized and hosted the city's annual Christmas Parade since 1985. The Christmas Parade is one of the largest nighttime parades in the Upstate area and attracts up to 20,000 spectators along a 1.5-mile route. 

The holiday extravaganza is full of Christmas happiness that will bring joy to family members of all ages. The 2021 Parade is scheduled for December 14 and steps off at 6:30 pm through downtown Spartanburg. Attending the parade is free.

A Dickens of a Christmas

This unique Victorian-themed event has carolers, horse-drawn carriages, living window displays, and much more. Scheduled for December 7, the event starts at 6 pm with a tree lighting ceremony. Included is a festive holiday market. The event is free, but you'll want cash for vendors and activities like ice skating, carriage rides, and food trucks.

Must-See Greenville Holiday Events

Festival of Trees

Now entering its 34th year, the Festival of Trees runs from November 19-December 28 at various hotels in downtown Greenville, SC. Visit Courtyard Marriott Downtown, Embassy Suites by Hilton - Riverplace, and Hyatt Regency to see spectacularly decorated trees. Local businesses and Upstate groups decorate all trees. The event kicks off with the "Martinis and Mistletoe" gala, and all proceeds benefit the Bon Secours St. Francis Foundation. Viewing the trees is free, but there are fees for the coinciding events like the Gala and the Teddy Bear Luncheon.

Greenville Poinsettia Christmas Parade

For more than 75 years, this bumping holiday procession has marked the start of Christmas in Greenville. Thousands of people come to the town each Christmas to watch the floats and participate in the festivities.

The celebration is held to commemorate the official start of the holiday season with the arrival of Santa Claus, who always appears in the final float. Enjoy the stream of floats themed around Christmas, dancing, marching groups, and bands performing Christmas music. The 2021 Parade will be Saturday, December 4, and begins at 6 pm. Viewing along the downtown route is free. 

Holiday Fair at the Greenville Convention Center

Over 300 crafts and vendors offer holiday gifts and decor at this annual event. The holiday fair is one of the largest in the region and spans three days. The 2021 fair runs December 2-4. Admission is $7 for adults when purchased at the door or $8 in advance, including processing fees.

Yuletide Unicorn Festival with Santa

Celebrate the holidays at The Unicorn Farm's Third Annual Yuletide Unicorn Festival, where you can meet and ride upon magical unicorns! You can make a wish on a unicorn, visit Santa Claus, and have some Christmas fun.

The Unicorn Express Kiddie Train offers free rides. The $12 per person entrance fee covers the bounce house, bounce slide, petting zoo, and Santa visits. Children under the age of two are free. The Yuletide Unicorn Festival takes place at Hidden Pasture Farm.

A Very Special Christmas With Michael W. Smith and Darci Lynne

Three-time Grammy-winner Michael W. Smith has regularly put out new music and toured worldwide for over 35 years. Darcy Lynne, a talented singer, and ventriloquist was the youngest winner of NBC's "America's Got Talent." Both will be bringing the Christmas spirit to the Greenville area with a stop on their A Very Special Christmas Show tour. The performance at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena is on December 15. 

They're ecstatic to begin serving the Christmas spirit in Greenville, South Carolina, starting December 15! Seat prices range from $26.76 to $140. Find ticket information for the show here

Ice Capades Nutcracker on Ice at Haywood Mall

For a must-see spectacle like no other, a holiday classic combines the stunning splendor of the musical with the incredible majesty of ice skating. Ice Capades Nutcracker On Ice is a dazzling performance for the entire family! Sweet dreams, holiday magic, magnificent costumes, and breathtaking settings tell the stories of epic battles between brave toy soldiers and naughty mice. 

This show will visit Haywood Mall in Greenville, SC, this holiday season. Shows run December 16-19 at various times. Tickets cost $19.95 for one adult and one child. Children two and under are free. 

Cirque Dreams Holidaze 

Cirque Dream Holidaze illuminates the stage in this breathtaking and eye-catching family holiday spectacular. This annual event combines a fun show infused with circus arts into the ideal holiday treat for the whole family!

The cast of holiday storybook characters comes to life under a lavish wonderland that evokes the tales behind a kid's imagination. The performers soar through the air, balancing on their heads or dancing with their feet in mid-air.

Twenty of the world's most renowned and accomplished circus performers don over 300 unique costume designs to help bring the South Carolina holiday season to life. Performances are December 21 and 22, starting at 7:30 pm at the Peace Center. Tickets cost $30-$75

Christmas "Inn" Fountain Inn

The charming town of Fountain Inn runs a series of holiday-themed events. The Merry Market at Commerce Park runs November 6 & 13, selling holiday-themed wares from local craftsmen and vendors. The official Rudolph Run and Tree Lighting take place on December 4. Enjoy the Main Street Christmas Parade on December 8, starting at 5:30 pm. The Christmas Inn Our Town Festival runs December 9-18 from 6-9 pm nightly. The Santa Workshop, Petting Zoo, and Live Music on the weekends are free. Carriage rides and the Polar Express require advanced ticket purchase. 

Fun Greenwood Holiday Events

Uptown Holiday Lights

The Christmas decorations in Uptown Greenwood start in mid-November and stay up till after New Year's Day. You can admire the lights by vehicle or park downtown to walk around Main Street and Maxwell Avenue. Capture amazing photos of the lights with your family. 

Of particular note, the classic, brilliant white lights that drape over the trees on Main Street and Maxwell Avenue illuminate the beautiful sky. Also, Santa Claus, toy soldiers, and other festive decorations can be found throughout Uptown. 

Uptown Holiday Lights are a short drive from Uptown Greenwood, and it's well worth the trip; Best of all, the lights display is free!

Elf The Musical 

Buddy the Elf, a tiny man with a big imagination, is on a quest to discover his true identity in this uproarious musical comedy based on the beloved holiday film. The timeless classic Elf The Musical is a must-produce holiday musical that may quickly become an annual tradition for any family. Performances at the Greenwood Community Theater run December 3-12. Tickets cost $22

Uptown Christmas Parade

Celebrate the best South Carolina holiday events in Uptown Greenwood. Kicking off with the theme "A Coastal Christmas," the Uptown Christmas parade has floats, dancers, sweets, and of course, Santa Claus. 

Greenwood encourages you to jingle and mingle with their community of businesses, churches, and schools before and after the parade. The event is scheduled for December 5, 2021, and begins at 2:30 pm. For more information, check out the Uptown Greenwood Christmas Parade FAQs page. 

North Pole Express 

Join the elves and Santa as they revel and rejoice in the holiday season at the Railroad Historical Center. The students of a local theater group perform a North Pole Express play while dancing elves offer cocoa and cookies. Children have the opportunity to meet Santa at the event, and will create ornaments and take home a gift bag from Santa. Tickets are $25 for children and $10 for adults. The event takes place on December 11, 2021, from 6-8 pm.

Holidays in Upstate South Carolina

The holiday spirit is alive and well in Upstate South Carolina. Check out these events to create new traditions by getting together with your friends and relatives. From stunning light shows to festivals and parties, South Carolina holiday events are guaranteed to create lifetime memories.

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