Myrtle Beach, South Carolina continues to rank as one of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation, attracting approximately 20 million visitors annually. Given its accessibility and variety of attractions for couples and families alike, the Myrtle Beach area received several new accolades in 2019 including being ranked number one on USA Today’s list of “50 Cities Where Everyone Wants to Live,” one of Yahoo! Finance’s “30 Most Affordable U.S. Vacations for Families,” and one of Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Beach Towns 2019.” The following is the latest information on new tourism developments in the region.
ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS
Cultural Arts Center in Downtown Myrtle Beach
The City of Myrtle Beach and Coastal Carolina University (CCU) have entered into an agreement to purchase property that will be turned into a new cultural arts center and theater in downtown Myrtle Beach. The center will be located in what is now three properties in the downtown area of Myrtle Beach along Highway 501. The space will include a 300-seat theater, art gallery, reception area, dressing rooms and rehearsal space. It will be used for performing arts classes by CCU students as well as allow the city to host up to 30 productions per year. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 with the theater opening in the spring of 2022.
The Carolina Opry Theater
The originators of live entertainment in Myrtle Beach, The Carolina Opry Theater, will be celebrating their 35th season in 2020. Award-winning director and producer, Calvin Gilmore, will bring stunning changes and new cast members to his live variety shows, The Carolina Opry, Time Warp Show and Pure Magic. In addition to the full calendar of original productions, the theater will also host a robust schedule of celebrity concerts including Travis Tritt, Confederate Railroad, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Russian National Ballet’s Swan Lake, Gladys Knight and Paul Reiser. Last but not least, the theater also has a full schedule of unbelievable tribute concerts planned including the Stayin’ Alive Bee Gees Tribute, Purple Experience Prince Tribute, Symphonic Sinatra, Hotel California Tribute to the Eagles, Zoso Tribute to Led Zeppelin, Invincible: Tribute to Michael Jackson, Resurrection Tribute to Journey, Killer Queen and the music of ABBA. For more information, visit www.thecarolinaopry.com.
Gateway Galleria Mixed-Use Complex Coming to Ocean Boulevard
Plans have been approved for a mixed-use complex on Seventh Avenue North and Ocean Blvd. in downtown Myrtle Beach called the Gateway Galleria. The top three floors of the Gateway Galleria will be dedicated to downtown condos and the lower level is expected to house 18,000-square-feet of retail shops, restaurants and bars, and other outlets, including ones dedicated to fitness and the beachfront lifestyle. A completion date has not yet been announced.
Huntington Beach State Park Nature Center
Huntington Beach State Park is building a new nature center after their previous center was destroyed in a lightning strike fire three years ago. The new nature center will be a $1.2 million investment and will feature a birding area, a classroom and an exhibit area with live animals. Money for the new nature center’s exhibits was donated by several small groups and individual private donations to the Friends of Huntington Beach State Park group. The proposed opening is spring 2020. For more information, visit www.southcarolinaparks.com/huntington-beach.
Myrtle Beach Mall Plans for The District
The Myrtle Beach Mall is proceeding with its $150 million redevelopment for a new retail and restaurant space. Named “The District,” current plans include new waterfront restaurants, sports bars, additional shopping areas, clubs, and a boutique hotel. Renderings also include a promenade and garden in the middle. A construction date has not yet been set. Additional details can be found at https://www.mymallmyrtlebeach.com/.
Bruce Munro at Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Gardens will play host to a major exhibition by British artist Bruce Munro. The Southern Light exhibit will feature seven works of art in light and mixed media, each designed for the natural garden rooms where they will be installed. The illuminated installations will consist of tens of thousands of components placed throughout the sculpture gardens and arboretum. The exhibit will run from April 8 – September 12, 2020. For more information, visit www.brookgreen.org.
American Surf Parks
Myrtle Beach will soon be home to South Carolina’s first man-made surf park, called American Surf Park. The park’s surfing lagoon will generate up to 1,000 waves per hour, with waves between 2-6 feet in height. The development will also include an amphitheater to accommodate up to 15,000 people. American Surf park is planning to open its doors by 2021.
Ripley’s Aquarium Autism Designation
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach became the first South Carolina business to become a Certified Autism Center, an international designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). As part of the Certified Autism Center requirements, staff members at the aquarium completed autism sensitivity and awareness training to learn how to better communicate and engage with guests with sensory needs and their family members, as well as safety concerns and protocols. The aquarium also has designed specialized programs for guests with autism and other sensory disorders such as: Sensory Friendly Days, Sensory Friendly Camps and more. For more information, visit www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach.
Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse
A new interactive expansion is coming to Ripley’s Aquarium in early 2020 called Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse. The addition will feature an African penguin habitat with floor-to-ceiling viewing glass and a 360-degree crawl tunnel for guests to waddle through. The 5,500-square-foot expansion is the largest in Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach’s 20-year history. For more information, visit www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach/penguins.
Big Air Trampoline Park
Big Air Trampoline Park is opening a location in Myrtle Beach in early 2020. The facility will be over 38,000 square-feet in size and will include more than 20 attractions for guests of all ages, including jumping courts, climbing walls and more. The park will leverage technology to gamify trampoline-based attractions, capitalizing on the thriving gaming industry while holding true to the brand’s focus on active fun. Other in-park experiences will include Cosmic Nights® on Friday and Saturday nights, and Toddler Time® on select weekday mornings. Parents will be able to relax in Big Air’s Parents’ Lounge, with access to comfortable seating, free WiFi and a comprehensive food and drink menu.
Grand Strand Brewing Company
The two-story building that fronts Nance Plaza in the soon-to-be-revitalized downtown area will be home to Grand Strand Brewing Company. The brewery plans to produce a variety of handmade beers to be available in its taproom. Construction plans also call for a small, on-site commercial kitchen where local chefs and restaurants can prepare food to pair with the craft beer selection. Grand Strand Brewing Company is planning to open by summer 2020.
Crooked Hammock Brewery
A new brewery is coming to Barefoot Landing featuring a restaurant and backyard beer garden. Crooked Hammock Brewery will bring to life an all-ages backyard escape that will feature craft beer, indoor/outdoor seating for more than 500 guests, firepits, hammocks, a playground for kids, bocce ball courts, corn hole, and a bar that is set over the lake. Crooked Hammock Brewery’s menu features backyard cookout-inspired food such as burgers, oak-smoked baby back ribs, giant Bavarian pretzels, and savory sides such as jalapeno and cheddar cornbread, all in a pet-friendly environment. Crooked Hammock Brewery is scheduled to open spring 2020. For more information visit www.CHBMyrtleBeach.com.
The Avenue at Broadway at the Beach
Two new culinary options are open at Broadway at the Beach: Bar Louie and Melt. Bar Louie is a gastrobar serving shareable chef-inspired food, craft cocktails and local beers. Melt, a newly opened artisan sandwich and pizza restaurant, has a Marra Forni brick wood-fired pizza oven and makes its own dough and pizza sauce daily. For more information on Bar Louie, visit www.barlouie.com/locations/us/sc/myrtle-beach/broadway-at-the-beach and for more information on Melt, visit www.meltmb.com.
44 & King
44 & King is a unique and locally-owned Southern pub that opened in Myrtle Beach in April 2019. The restaurant has been serving comfort food with a Southern flair with menus featuring sweet tea-flavored collards, smoked fish, ribeye and filet mignon. The pub also has plenty of beverages available, with 16 beer taps, six wine taps and specialty cocktails made by a mixologist. Additional details available at www.44andking.com.
Twelve 33 Distillery
The Myrtle Beach area of Little River just opened its first craft distillery, Twelve 33 Distillery. The name is a reference to December 1933, when alcohol prohibition ended in the United States. The spirits are produced in-house, by hand, using mostly local ingredients produced in the Carolinas. The selection produced includes a silver rum, spiced rum, vodka, a spicy vodka, gin, bourbon and rum. Twelve 33 also features a VIP hidden speakeasy designed to look like you stepped back into 1933. For more information visit www.twelve33distillery.com.
Tidal Creek Brewhouse
Tidal Creek Brewhouse will soon be a community-focused craft brewery and kitchen. Construction began in December 2019, and the new brewhouse is expected to open in Myrtle Beach’s Market Common in spring of 2020. For more information, visit www.tidalcreekbrewhouse.com.
HGTC International Culinary Institute Achieves Leader Status
The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach Fowler Dining Room has achieved Smart Catch Leader Status by the James Beard Foundation. The status is a result of the Institute’s commitment to sustainable sourcing of seafood. The James Beard Foundation partners with chefs and other leaders to work toward a better food world. One of the roles of the Foundation is to support the culinary community to become effective advocates for causes that make a positive change in the world now through food and about food and for the next generation. For more information, visit www.hgtc.edu.
Sea Captain’s House
The Sea Captain’s House will undergo major renovations in early 2020, including creating a more open dining environment for guests. The new space will also include new paint and décor, a new bar in the Chart room that will open up the outside bar, and a new Sushi bar inside. For more information, visit www.seacaptains.com.
Eggs Up Grill
Eggs Up Grill recently opened at the Shoppes at Tournament Boulevard. Eggs Up Grill began in 1997 in Pawley’s Island, and has evolved from an all-day-breakfast concept to serving breakfast, brunch and lunch at its more than 35 locations throughout the southeast. The restaurant is located at the intersection of the newly widened S.C. 707 and Tournament Boulevard in Murrells Inlet. For more information, visit https://www.eggsupgrill.com/.
Quigley’s Pint & Plate
Quigley’s Pint & Plate also recently opened at the Shoppes at Tournament Boulevard. This is the second location for Quigley’s Pint & Plate, which features Low Country-inspired comfort foods with house-made ales and lagers in an English pub atmosphere. The restaurant is located at the intersection of the newly widened S.C. 707 and Tournament Boulevard in Murrells Inlet. For more information, visit www.pintandplate.com.
Carolina Country Music Festival New Artists
The Carolina Country Music Fest (CCMF) will return for its sixth year to Myrtle Beach from June 4-7, 2020. The festival features more than 30 of the industry’s biggest stars. This year’s performers include Luke Combs, Eric Church, Darius Rucker, Jake Owen, and many more! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.carolinacountrymusicfest.com.
Myrtle Beach Bowl
South Carolina is getting its first ever college football bowl game. The Myrtle Beach Bowl is coming to Brooks Stadium at Coastal Carolina University in 2020 and will be shared by Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, and the Sun Belt. ESPN will own, operate and televise the game. The three conferences will participate in the game four times each from 2020 to 2025. Visit https://www.myrtlebeachbowlgame.com/ for more information.
About Myrtle Beach…
The Myrtle Beach area, popularly known as the Grand Strand, stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 14 distinct cities along the South Carolina coast. Home to 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of entertainment and family attractions, Southern hospitality and world-class golf, the Myrtle Beach area presents the quintessential vacation experience.
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