Nestled between the banks of the Congaree River and the downtown scene, you’ll find one of Columbia SC’s most electric districts. From museums full of wonder, public art around every corner, and a mouth-watering culinary scene, The Vista makes for a whirlwind weekend escape.

Saturday Morning

Check in and get settled into your home away from home, Aloft Columbia Downtown. With their knowledgeable staff and plenty of attractions and restaurants waiting for you right outside the hotel, you’ll quickly feel like a local, ready to explore it all.

A hot drink and artisan pastries are a must to fuel you up for your adventure ahead. Take a quick walk over to smallSUGAR and take delight in a Mocha Latte or Charleston Fog to awaken your senses. For a light bite, grab a pain au chocolate or croissant, or for the more hungry traveler, try the overnight oats, a ricotta tartine, or one of their hearty bowls.

Saturday Afternoon

Kick off your weekend with one of Columbia’s most noteworthy attractions – the South Carolina State Museum. The state’s largest and most comprehensive museum boasts four museums in one. You’ll find exhibits on art, natural history, technology & science, and cultural history all under one roof. If you have time, check out the Boeing Observatory or see a show in the 4D theater.

Traveling with kids? Be sure to pop over to EdVenture for a full-throttle art and science experience. This hands-on, rollicking good time will surely incite curiosity, and the kids won’t be the only ones buzzing with excitement.

Saturday Evening

After freshening up, make your way to Art Bar for pre-dinner drinks at this vibrant spot where local art and robots grace the walls. While you relax with your bevy, you may just catch a performance from a local or regional act.

Once you’ve had your fix, it’s time for dinner at Motor Supply. As you stroll your way to this F2T local favorite, keep an eye out for the murals and public art scattered around The Vista. At Motor Supply, you can expect to be served nothing but the freshest, locally sourced ingredients (even the cocktails are farm-to-drink). With a daily changing menu, you can always expect to be surprised and delighted here.

If you’re not ready for the night to end, cheers with a nightcap and dessert at Kaminsky’s Dessert Café right down the street. May we recommend the Drunken Cookie (an adult-friendly milkshake) or a slice of New York-style cheesecake?

Sunday Morning

Start your Sunday on a sweet note with coffee and small bites at Zombie Coffee and Donuts. Grab an iced coffee and donut covered in your sugary fixing of choice. With toppings like sprinkles, Oreos, and coconut, choosing just one may be a challenge.

Spend the rest of your morning wandering The Vista and discovering the shops that line the streets. From clothing, home goods, art, and local merch at the Columbia SC Visitors Center, there’s plenty of spots to find souvenirs to bring home to family and friends (or to keep for yourself. We won’t tell).

Wrap up your 24-hour getaway with one last delicious meal at 929 Kitchen & Bar. Inspired by Korean traditions and flavors, this cozy hideaway will not disappoint. Order the Korean Tacos that come with truffle parmesan fries or a bowl of Bibimbap to leave you full and happy as you say goodbye to the capital city.

We’ve just scratched the surface of everything there is to explore and discover in The Vista. There’s plenty more to see here and in the surrounding areas of our Southern city. Check out our trip itineraries and blogs to start planning your next escape