Real Local: Merrell Johnson

The capital city attracts all manner of characters, including Merrell Johnson. From local restaurants and muralists to the river guides who help visitors navigate the Congaree, Merrell shares that the people set Columbia SC apart. Get to know the city alongside this local champion.

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I'm Merrell and I'm excited to welcome y'all to the heart of SC! This city has so much to experience, but there's more than that. The hidden gem of Columbia SC isn’t a monument or a place, it’s the feeling you get when you’re here. Follow along, and I'll show you what I mean.

Fresh START: A Regal Lounge visit is sure to set any weekend off on the right foot. Owner Landry Phillips opened this downtown spot to give men a place to relax and rejuvenate. Stop in for a fresh cut, facial or a round of pool with your guys.

Pro Tip: While the haircuts are great, don’t miss Regal Lounge's other grooming and spa services they offer, such as their scalp massage, deep tissue massage, and pedicures.

Bottoms UP: Bourbon is a Columbia SC classic that still keeps it fresh each time you visit. Pull up a seat at the bar to watch Kat Hunter at work as she makes her award-winning cocktails. Even if you just come in for drinks, you’ll have a hard time resisting the Cajun inspired menu.

Pro Tip: Each year, Bourbon transforms for Tiki Week and they serve tropical cocktails and a whole new menu. Follow their social media for details.

Float ON: The rivers that flow through Columbia SC are one of the best ways to escape the hustle without going too far out of your way. Grab a tube with Palmetto Outdoors and a few friends to float down the river. You’ll pass wild life, exhilarating rapids and historic sights.

Pro Tip: Reserve an extra tube with Palmetto Outdoors for your cooler so that you can pack some local brews and a snack to enjoy while you float. 

Let's PLAY: Bowling at The Grand is always fun. You can really do it all right there from dining to drinks and games. 

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out The Grand's calendar for a list of events including trivia and live music.

Art EVERYWHERE: Columbia Museum of Art is a great spot to take visitors. With engaging events and rotating exhibits, there’s always something new to experience. But don’t think we keep all of our art inside. Main Street is a great place to spot public art that gives a nod to our history and creativity.

Pro Tip: For more information about public art, check out One Columbia.