48 Hours in Columbia SC: Ultimate Fall Weekend + Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 12:00 PM by Renée Chow
Weekends in the fall are something special. Whether it’s enjoying the temperate weather, cheering on your football team or digging into a hearty meal, fall is arguably the best season anywhere. This fall in Columbia SC isn’t short of events to enjoy, but one weekend in particular might catch your attention for offering a rollicking good time.
Save the date for the Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon on October 13th. If you’re not ready to commit to a half marathon, don’t worry -- there’s a 5K, 10K and walk that all benefit the fight against breast cancer as a part of Palmetto Health Foundation’s annual event. Starting and ending at Spirit Communications Park, the Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon winds its way past historic places and beautiful sites in Columbia SC. If you’re headed this way already or will take the plunge to sign up for the event, we’ve got your whole weekend planned in The Real Southern Hot Spot.
You’ve checked in to your hotel. You’ve picked up your packet for the race at Spirit Communications Park. Now it’s time for the beloved pre-race carb loading. If you’re looking for pasta, then by all means head to Villa Tronco for classic Italian fare. The first Italian restaurant in Columbia, Villa Tronco has been in business since 1940. Add that it’s located in a renovated firehouse station and it’s time to grab a table.
Pro Tip: Try the Villa Tronco Chicken and never skip Carmela’s Famous Cheesecake.
We know you’re the type who wants to get to your race super early. Take a walk around Spirit Communications Park until it’s time for the race to begin. The ballpark (Ballpark Digest’s 2016 Ballpark of the Year) has a concourse track that’s perfect for some pre-race walking and warm up. Then good luck in the race! We know you’ll earn your race medal in style.
After freshening up, it’s time to enjoy the city. And what a weekend to enjoy. That awesome pink shirt you got at Famously Hot Pink Half? Well, it gets you free admission to the South Carolina State Fair. Ride the rides and enjoy everything from funnel cake to hot turkey legs or even a doughnut burger. After all, you did just run for forever, so treat yo' self.
It just so happens that the South Carolina State Fairgrounds are beside Williams-Brice Stadium and the Texas Aggies are visiting this weekend. You won’t want to miss when Willy B gets lit -- after all, it’s been said “If it ain’t swayin’, they ain’t playin’.” Even if you can’t snag tickets to the game, you can walk around and see the tailgating sights (including the Cockaboose) or grab a spot at a local sports bar in the Vista or Five Points to join in the action.
The time of the Carolina v. Texas A&M game has not been released and will not be known until closer to October 13th. However, we’re assuming that this will be an evening game. If it’s afternoon, head to the South Carolina State Fair after!
Ah, brunch. What’s more glorious after a busy Saturday than taking it easy with all the good food? Grab a table at @116 Espresso & Wine Bar for everything from Southern shrimp and grits to Spanish-inspired dishes. The bar will also be serving @116’s signature Bloody Mary (and their famous White Russian!) so don’t miss out.
Keeping with a laid-back attitude for the day, it’s time to enjoy the quiet beauty of our national parks. Take a 30 minute drive to Congaree National Park to visit the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeast. Take a walk along the 2.4-mile boardwalk loop, explore 25 miles of hiking trails or rent canoes from a local outfitter and put in at Cedar Creek. Looking up at the some of the tallest trees in the south, you can get a chance to be a little more connected to the world around you.
In case you’re hungry after all the hiking, grab a classic Columbia SC meal at Big T’s Bar-B-Que. Big T’s features old-fashioned, pit-cooked pork barbecue with the Columbia region’s signature mustard-based barbecue sauce. Any visit to Columbia shouldn’t miss some sort of introduction the gloriousness of mustard-based sauce so pile your plate with pulled pork and all of the fixins’ to cap off one great weekend.
The Palmetto Health Foundation wants to know what inspired you to walk or run this year! For a chance to win a Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon, 5K + 10K prize pack, including free registration for this year's event, a pink topaz silver necklace from Moseley's Diamond Showcase, an ASICS backpack courtesy of Strictly Running, 4 passes for the 2018 South Carolina State Fair, a $25 Lizard's Thicket gift card and a 1-year subscription to Columbia Metropolitan Magazine, share your story on social media with the hashtags #WalkForLifeColumbia and #FamouslyHotPinkHalf.