Real Local: Anthony Goldman

From outdoor getaways to urban hot spots, Anthony takes you on a real Southern adventure with his top picks for a weekend in Columbia SC.

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In Columbia SC, where city meets nature, it doesn't take long to get from the middle of town to what seems like the middle of nowhere.

I am an outdoor junkie who loves to get off the beaten path and go hard. Riding my bicycle around the city and through its many parks never gets old. But, I love to relax with a cold beer or even some scotch, but only neat!

I love Columbia because it has an amazing local scene can be polished and gritty. There is something here for whatever the mood and it is always evolving. Let me know if you need any suggestions for your next staycation or visit!

FRIDAY NIGHT: I love to kick off a weekend with a visit to Columbia Riverfront Park. Historic sites and river views combine, plus at certain times of the year there's a pop-up beer garden. You can grab a pint of German-style beer from Bierkeller, sit back, and enjoy the evening. 

Pro Tip: If you're going for a walk or bringing your bike, take the path less traveled by using the auxiliary pathway that will lead you straight down to the river. 

Featured: Columbia Riverfront Park

SATURDAY MORNING: With 18 miles of trails from easy to difficult, Harbison State Forest offers walkers, joggers, hikers and bikers all manner of paths to enjoy. Tucked away from the busy shopping options in Irmo, this forest will help you feel away from it all. 

Pro Tip: If you're headed out on your own, any time is a good time to head to Harbison State Forest. If you're headed out with a group, try a Friday evening to give yourself a little extra room on the trails.

Featured: Harbison State Forest

SATURDAY MORNING: Follow the locals to Curiosity Coffee Bar when you need to refuel after a long bike ride. This friendly North Main neighborhood spot will serve up your batch brew, pour over and espresso coffees. Don't miss awesome food menu items like the bagel bombs.

Pro Tip: Greg Slattery, one of the owners, used to work in the music business. Definitely stay tuned to their event schedule to catch a great selection of live music. 

Featured: Curiosity Coffee Bar

SATURDAY LUNCH: A little slice of France, The Gourmet Shop is a tried-and-true Columbia favorite (where you won't want to miss ordering "A Little French Cheese" made with brie and rhubarb-raspberry preserves). If you need a break from eating, browse the shop side to pick up your next kitchen gadget or a bottle of wine for that next party.

Pro Tip: If you love good wine, this is your spot. Or if you're new to wine, don't worry -- there's a sommelier who is always there to answer any questions you might have.

Featured: The Gourmet Shop


SATURDAY AFTERNOON: The art scene in Columbia SC is booming. Local artists are doing amazing things, and new art studios and galleries keep popping up across the city and region. My friends and I checked out Stormwater Studios during Artista Vista. 

Pro Tip: First, Stormwater Studios is free! Plus, because it's the artists' studios, you stand a good chance of being able to ask questions of the artists themselves.

Featured: Stormwater Studios


SATURDAY AFTERNOON: I love a chance to bike across the city by myself or with friends. I used to cycle competitively and now I own Koala Bottle, a magnetic water bottle system that makes a cyclist's life a little easier.

Pro Tip: If you're looking for an easy way to bike around the city while visiting, give Blue Bike SC a try. The bike sharing service lets you hop on, hop off across downtown. 

Featured: Blue Bike SC

SATURDAY EVENING: Breweries have taken over Columbia SC, and, trust me, no one's complaining. One of the newest spots is Hunter-Gatherer Brewery at Curtiss-Wright Hangar. Housed in a renovated and historic airport hangar, this brewery is a must-visit.

Pro Tip: Grab an ESB and head up to the top of the patio where you might see planes land or take off. Extra tip: if you like disc golf, there's a free course right behind the brewery.

Featured: Hunter Gatherer Brewery at Curtiss-Wright Hangar


SUNDAY FUNDAY: Walking around Five Points, Columbia's original neighborhood village, is a delight. Tree-lined streets and little shops circle around the center of Five Points at the Five Points Fountain. One of my favorite stops is Papa Jazz Record Shoppe. It's been around for years and is a requirement for any music lover visiting Columbia. 

Pro Tip: With a great selection of vinyl records, you never know what you're going to find. I bought an original of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon here, and I've got to admit it sounds so much better on vinyl. 

Featured: Papa Jazz Record Shoppe

SUNDAY MORNING: For a breakfast and caffeine stop, try Drip in Five Points. Pour over coffee made with Counter Culture beans means any coffee aficionado will want to visit. Plus, they have a great selection of breakfast biscuits and sandwiches.

Pro Tip: If you want something sweet for later, be sure to grab a slice of the made-from-scratch cakes up at the bar. My favorite is the Hummingbird Cake, a Southern classic that won over this Boston-raised guy.

Featured: Drip in Five Points

SUNDAY AFTERNOON: I'm not a photographer, but it's important to remember the special moments on a trip. For a great backdrop, try the Five Points Fountain or the Five Points mural before heading out of town. 

Pro Tip: For more ideas on photo-worthy spots or things to do, give my friends at @ColumbiaSC a follow on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. I'll be sharing more there about my favorite Columbia places too. 

Featured: Five Points Fountain