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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville (population 68,000) is an attractive, friendly city in South Carolina's Upcountry (the northwestern part of the state). It is at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and has been a textile town, a military training center and a hotbed of civil rights activity.

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Today Greenville is a shopping, dining and cultural hub that is undergoing a renaissance. Although it remains a small city that sometimes struggles with "good ole boy" politics, it has received national attention for turning its once decaying downtown into an inviting, leafy, walkable area with a slightly European ambiance.

The city is home to hotels, pubs, cute shops, elegant condos, fun art galleries and outstanding restaurants that rivel those found in New York and San Francisco. In just one 10 block area downtown, more than 120 locally owned eateries have loyal followings. Perhaps the highlight of downtwon is Falls Park, a beautiful waterfall park with a 345-foot long suspension bridge.

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This is all thanks to an active city hall and a business vision that in the 1970s started replacing the declining textile base with new industries, including automobile manufacturing, software development, biotech and aviation.

The cost of living is 16% below the national average. Politically, residents lean to the right. Thirty-five percent of locals are age 45 or better, and more than 40% hold at least a four year college degree. The city has grown 10% in the last 10 years.

The median home price is $295,000, reflecting an 18% increase since last year. Neighborhoods have a rural quality and are peppered primarily with ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers, although there are apartments, town homes and custom estates, too. Many residences sit on a large, wooded lot.

Greenville's cultural fabric is as impressive as its downtown, particularly for a metropolis of this size. The beautiful Peace Center for the Performing Arts has a Broadway series, and the Carolina Ballet Theatre is a professional classical ballet company and contemporary dance group. The Greenville Little Theatre mounts productions from writers as diverse as Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. The Warehouse Theater, in an old textile building, performs up to 15 shows a year. The Greenville Chorale, the Greenville Light Opera Works (GLOW), the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and the Greenville Chautauqua all present performances throughout the year.

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First Fridays Art Walk, Greenville Open Studios and the West Greenville Arts Festival are regular events. The Greenville County Museum of Art has a significant Andrew Wyeth collection. One of the last Frank Lloyd Wright homes built is here, too. Bob Jones University, a Christian university, and Furman University, a private liberal arts university, are small, with 2,500 to 3,500 students each. The University Center was founded to give residents access to higher learning and houses programs from six larger universities, including Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.

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The Swamp Rabbit walking trail extends for 17 miles and is a soothing place. The Greenville Zoo is small, but it receives excellent reviews. The Greenville Drive, a minor league baseball team, plays in the city's downtown, Boston Red Sox replica stadium.

Hughes Main Library has adult classes, workshops, a book club, writing contests and even books (old fasioned paper and downloadable). Churches are plentiful, and religion plays a part in many people's life.

Greenlink buses serve the area. The regular fare is $1.50, but people age 65 or better ride for $.75.

Greenville has two accredited hospitals. One, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, is award-winning, and the other, Memorial Hospital, is a Primary Stroke Center.

Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 48 inches of rain per year.

It should be noted that even with all of Greenville's revitalization, the crime rate is above the national average, but most crime is generally concentrated in parts of the city that can be avoided. Locals complain about traffic congestion and oppressive summer heat.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes   |   Is South Carolina Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes

The higher than average crime rate in some areas is a concern, but Greenville's reasonable housing costs, good hospitals, inviting town core and growing its cultural amenities make it a place to consider for retirement.

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South Carolina:

South Carolina is nicknamed the Palmetto State and its motto is "Dum spiro spero," which is Latin for "While I Breath, I Hope." It is 40th in size in the United States and was the eighth state to be admitted to the Union, on May 23, 1788. The largest city and state capital is Columbia.

Formerly known as the Province of South Carolina, the area was also one of the Thirteen Colonies that declared its independence during the American Revolution. The state was the first to secede from the Union and was the first and founding state of the Confederate States of America.

South Carolina is in what is considered the Deep South and is bordered by the states Georgia on the south and North Carolina on the north.

The state does not host any major professional sport franchises. However, the Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes actually represent both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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