Real Local: Milo Putnam

From kayaking down our rivers to scoping out the best vegan eats, you’ll find Milo Putnam where city meets nature in the heart of SC. Read along for his tips on an adventurous and environmentally friendly trip to Columbia SC.

My name is Milo Anderson and I’m the Conservation Communications Manager at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. As a transplant to Columbia SC, my fiancé Lance and I love taking on the city and the outdoors with our pup Merdock. 

Breakfast: smallSUGAR is the perfect spot to sip your morning coffee and plan the day’s adventure. Whether you’re vegan or not, there is plenty on the menu here. Order up the overnight oats or a tartine and grab a seat on the patio. 

Pro Tip: The patio is pup-friendly so bring along your four-legged friend.

Featured: smallSUGAR

Nature lovers can’t miss a trip down one of Columbia SC’s three beautiful (dare we say Instagram-worthy) rivers. Taken by foot along the Saluda Riverwalk or straight through the rapids in a kayak, come get lost amidst fresh air right outside the city. 

Pro Tip: Saluda Shoals offers kayak rentals and a shuttle to help you navigate the river.

Featured: Saluda Shoals

After a day on the river, the next logical place to go is River Rat Brewery for a post-adventure happy hour. This local favorite pours everything from hearty IPAs to house made seltzers. Climb up to the rooftop for unbeatable views of the city or hang out in the yard for a friendly game of cornhole.

Pro Tip: If beer isn't your beverage of choice, place an order for one of their frozen cocktails or house-made seltzers.

Featured: River Rat

DATE Night: Looking to break from hum-drum date nights? Enjoy an unexpected evening on Devine Street. Start out at Fern Flower Studio’s Thursday flower bar where you can design your own arrangement. 

Featured: Fern Flower Studio


When it comes to flavor, COA does not mess around. This agaveria and cocina boasts a vegan menu that I can’t get enough of. The tacos de Jamaica are filled with chipotle hibiscus and topped with cashew queso.

Pro Tip: You’d be remiss not to check out their bar, filled to the brim with smooth tequila and smoky mezcal.

Featured: COA