A weekend in Columbia SC just isn’t complete without a stop at Soda City Market, where you’re as likely to find waffles and avocado toast as you are arepas and island noodles. And fresh-cut flowers, jewelry, handbags and more are just a few of the handmade (or homegrown) options you can bring back home with you. Check out our roundup of just some of the market mainstays and get started on your shopping list!
Kick the morning off with some caffeine from local roasters, Indah Coffee. Indah actually got its start at Soda City Market before ever opening a brick and mortar location (of which they now have two!). We recommend the Thai Coffee for a perfect Saturday sip.
With fresh, seasonal topping options like grilled tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, City Roots microgreens, corn, mango salsa and more, there’s absolutely nothing basic about this avocado toast.
Boiled PNUTS Y’all!
You’re not likely to miss this vendor, due to all of their colorful and full-of-character signage to draw you in. Sure, you can buy boiled peanuts here, but why stop there when they also have rainbow cake skewers, plus a hot chocolate bar for the cold days or a sweet tea bar for the warm ones.
We don’t know about you, but fresh flowers always put a little spring in our step. Enter Petite Fleur. Throw in the fact that they come from the most adorable classic-style teal pickup truck and we’ll be swooning the whole week through.
Quite possibly the steal of the century, load up a box of fresh fruits and vegetables from Livingston Farms for only $10 for up to 12 lbs of goods. Pop by the City Roots stall for microgreens, mushrooms, wildflowers and more. Or, take home some hydroponically grown products from Freshly Grown Farms.
Nana by Sally
Sally Peek used to be a paralegal before a sewing class at the Columbia Museum of Art inspired her to launch her own line of handmade handbags, bow ties and more in the most fabulous prints.
Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuits
Though they made their market debut within the past year, Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuits has quickly become a community favorite. And with offerings like Chipotle Pimento Cheese & Sausage, Herb Goat Cheese & Egg, Pork Belly w/ Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly and sides like Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese or a Cheesy Hash Brown Bake, it’s no wonder.
If you’ve never seen a giant skillet of paella being prepared, then you’re in for a treat (or two, counting the paella itself). Rice, vegetables, seafood or chicken simmer together, creating a Spanish dish that’s presentation is matched only by its flavor. Both Paella South and I Love Paella do it up right.
Mary's Arepas is a longtime market favorite, serving up authentic Colombian cuisine, including their namesake, arepas. A corn pancake is filled with chicken, cheese or avocado (or all three!) and topped with a sauce of your choosing. A hearty, yet light, morsel to fuel your day.
Belgian Waffle Truck
Saturday mornings are made for waffles. Whether you err on the side of sweet or savory, the Belgian Waffle Truck has you covered. Keep it simple with a plain waffle topped with anything from syrup to Speculoos spread or opt for a signature item. Might we recommend the Strawbwaffle or the Croque Monsieur Waffle?
Gorilla Boost Co.
Get ready to feel refreshed and rejuvenated with plant-based superfood offerings from Gorilla Boost Co. Their vegan, gluten-free donuts are a huge hit (because duh), as are the iced beverages like the Sparkling Lemon Matcha Sunrise or the Arnold Calmer.
Hippy Do-Da Creations
Sure to stop you in your tracks are the gorgeous jewelry designs by Hippy Do-Da Creations. Mixed metals, colorful beads, tassels, mantra bracelets and more come together for unique finds that’ll add a little something extra to any outfit.
Carry around a steaming carton of Island Noodles, Yaki-Soba noodles of Hawaiian origin. It’s like a vacation in the palm of your hand!
At Papa Mountain, you'll find artisan cheese bread that’s naturally gluten-free, grain-free, vegan/vegetarian and Paleo-friendly. And trust us when we say you won’t miss the real thing at all.
Gin's Juice, a mobile juice bar, offers an easy and delicious way to pack in your nutrients for the day with options like the Summer Mist (cucumber, apple, lime) or the Zinger (carrot, apple, ginger), among others.
Who doesn’t love kettle corn? It’s sweet, it’s salty, in a nutshell - it’s the perfect snack. Watch them make it on the spot, nibble on a free sample and then try not to take a whole bag home with you - we dare you.
Soda City Market isn’t just for shopping. Enjoy the atmosphere as buskers perform musical numbers, Flamenco dancers entrance the crowd and live painters create a masterpiece right before your eyes.
You just never know what kind of cuddly creature you might stumble upon at the market next. Dogs in sunglasses, dogs in strollers, dogs everywhere! It’s also not uncommon to find beautifully bright parrots or baby goats that make for an adorable photo op. And, we swear, we’ve even seen someone bring their pet raccoon before.
Up and Coming
You won’t want to miss upcoming events like the Hoops Fan Day on Main Street in celebration of the first and second rounds of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament being in Columbia SC. Be sure to check out Beyond the Court, a new public art piece installed on the First Citizens Green at the corner of Main and Lady Streets for the tournament.
If you’re around in April, come by for the Soda City Spring Yard Sale to hunt for some new treasures or for the International Food Corridor that’s a special satellite event for this year’s Columbia Food and Wine Festival.