It’s no secret to Columbia SC locals that West Columbia is booming. This beloved district is home to a burgeoning batch of funky restaurants, a delightful array of antique shops and more art than you can shake a stick at. 

Start out by booking a stay at West Columbia’s Holiday Inn Airport, where kids stay and eat free, and sustainable initiatives abound as part of IHG’s Green Engage Hotel Program. Plus, it’s conveniently situated between the Columbia Metropolitan Airport and the treasure trove of activities in West Columbia. Also convenient, the Hampton Inn in West Columbia offers free breakfast and is located near I-26, the airport and attractions. 

After checking in and freshening up, zip over to Black Rooster for an Italian dinner with river views from the rooftop bar. Entrees range from the Royale with Cheese, a double-decker burger with Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and demi glacé aioli, to a fresh take on Crispy Duck Confit. Or cozy up at nearby Terra for their Lamb Mac and a variety of expertly prepared seafood, pastas and steaks, or try Al’s Upstairs, a West Columbia classic, offering Italian dining in an intimate setting.

If you happen to be coming in for the weekend, Friday nights are for bluegrass. Head to Bill’s Pickin’ Parlor for live music and line dancing on Thursday through Saturday nights.

Wake up early if you want to beat the line out the door at Cafe Strudel for brunch (yes, it’s worth the early alarm). Their Hangover Hashbrowns are legendary but you can’t go wrong with Breakfast Burrito or Cinnamon Pancakes and a Bloody Mary or fresh-squeezed orange juice. 

Just behind Cafe Strudel, you can spend the afternoon exploring the new Interactive Art Park, with multiple murals, sculptures and even a colorful set of drums for mini jam session.  

A visit to West Columbia is not complete without shopping at the many antique stores and unique shops including The Elephant Trunk, State Street Trading Co., Cherry’s Delight, 763 Antique Mall or Ed’s Editions

Squeeze in a quick lunch at Zesto of West Columbia (look for the giant chocolate dipped cone out front!) or, if you're in town Monday-Friday, pick up grab-and-go delights from Primal Gourmet Kitchen & Market and head to the West Columbia Riverwalk for a picnic and stroll. 

Next up? Plant power. The Riverbanks Botanical Garden at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is open until 5pm daily and has been recognized by Horticulture magazine as one of 10 gardens that inspire and by HGTV as one of 20 great public gardens across America. 

If you're planning a trip to South Carolina, keep an eye out for new restaurants, bars, businesses and attractions popping up all over West Columbia