With winter on the outskirts, it’s time to step into the Columbia SC sunshine and all that springtime brings.
Our city comes alive with beautiful blooms at the first hint of spring. From the cherry blossoms to pear trees, a walk through the State House Grounds is a perfect fusion of history and nature. Jump in the car too see what’s budding all around the heart of SC while on a self-guided public art tour, and you’ll find just how beautifully the two coexist.
To really dive into springtime’s floral offerings, head to Riverbanks Botanical Garden. They have 70 acres of 8 unique gardens, and events and workshops throughout the spring. For blooms you can take home to enjoy, stop by Fern Studio Flowers, which is overflowing with fresh picks this time of year. Their Thursday Flower Bar allows visitors the chance to create their own bouquet.
For those on the hunt for some self-made flora that will brighten up your home, head to The PlantHouse. They offer weekly DIY terrarium building workshops that feature succulents, cacti, and bonsai, in case you don’t quite trust your green thumb yet. If you aren’t looking to get your hands dirty, they have a wide selection of plants that will turn into home decor with their free potting service once you find your perfect plant match.
Festival Season Kicks Off
We’re really into our food and beverages year-round, but especially in spring. This season, Columbia hosts a plethora of festivals dedicated to our first and favorite love, food. The 2023 Columbia Food and Wine Festival is the hot ticket in town, the five-day festival showcases some of the city's finest cuisine and emphasizes the use of ingredients sourced from South Carolina farms. Get your fill at the Columbia Food Truck & Beer Festival. This yearly event hosts over 35 vendors with something to please everyone and local libations featuring every flavor from watermelon to mango to “salty.” As the days get warmer, keep an eye out for the many other fun festivals and events happening like the Rosewood Crawfish Festival and the Columbia International Festival, an event you’ll want to bring an empty stomach to.
Beat the Heat
It's no secret that we have some seasonably warm days approaching. Before we hit the dog days of summer, get thee to a patio! When it comes to al fresco dining options, we’ve got them in spades. Peruse our page of local spots with outdoor dining spaces to enjoy.
If you’re looking for something a bit more active, now is the perfect time to explore Congaree National Park. The park offers numerous trails with different levels of difficulty, sure to keep all ages entertained with changing fauna and surprise visits from wading birds. In May, you’ll be able to catch the synchronous fireflies and follow their journey on one of the boardwalks. Keep up with the exact timing of the fireflies and updates on safety accommodations on their website so you can witness this magical event for yourself.
Are you still too hot to handle? The cool water and calm currents of the Saluda River make for the perfect escape on a hot day. At Palmetto Outdoors, you can rent tubes for a laidback float. Bonus points if you rent a second tube for a cooler so you can sip and snack while you go with the flow (literally). Guided and self-guided kayak tours are also offered for those who like a game plan and the thrill of whitewater rapids.
Spring in Columbia also hosts bountiful activities to keep those kiddos occupied, we’ve got all your spring break fun listed here.
It’s time to brush off the winter blues and swap into your spring florals, from farmers markets to boutiques, you’re sure to find something fresh. Soda City Market is open year-round but boasts some truly wonderful produce in the springtime that you won’t get any other time of year and will be perfect for cooking. Strawberries anyone?
Shed those winter coats with a stroll down Devine Street. Pop into Pink Sorbet or My-Kim Collection for something that is sure to brighten your spirits and your wardrobe. Looking for something more suited for your warm weather outdoor adventures? Swing by REI in the Bull Street district for all your outdoor needs. Can’t think of what to bring? They’ll supply you with a packing list for every exterior activity.