Main Street is the heart of Columbia SC’s bustling downtown. As you walk the long stretch of blocks, you’ll find it hard not to be in awe of the architecture and history of the buildings that tower over you. One in particular, The Arcade Building, has been a part of the downtown district for more than 100 years.
It started in 1912 when plans were made to build Columbia’s first indoor shopping center, inspired by open arcades seen in Italy. The Arcade has weathered many changes since then. Including a major restoration in 2016, and even an underground restaurant and bar scene called Down Under Columbia from 1972 to 1978. Today, The Arcade Building is a hub for retail shopping and more, and with entrances on Main Street and Washington Street, you can’t miss it. Pop in and check out some of these local businesses that call this historic building home.
Ally & Eloise
If you’re craving a sugary delight, Ally & Eloise is your fix. Homemade and baked with the freshest ingredients, this woman-owned bakeshop is serving up some of the best desserts in town. Pick up the macarons, cookies, or baby cakes as a small treat, or really indulge that sweet tooth and order cake by the slice. Using the express menu, place your order and pay online, and they’ll have your sweets ready for pick up within an hour.
There’s just something about a hand-crafted sandwich loaded with all the fixings that can’t be beat, and Swanson’s Deli is the place to get your hands on one. With a long list of sandwich options, like the Underground Club and the Gamecock, you might find yourself coming back again and again to try a different signature creation. For the days you want something lighter or just want to switch it up, check out the salad menu.
Family-owned and operated, Granger Ownings at the arcade gives you a snapshot of what you can expect to find and more at the store’s main location. This showroom has each season’s latest styles and trends on display to pique your shopping interest. If you spy that can’t-live-without piece and you want to see more, head across the street to the Ameris Bank building, where you’ll find the main location of the premiere clothing boutique.
Odd Bird Books
Calling all book worms! Odd Bird Books is the indie bookstore of your dreams. Peruse the generous selection of diverse book offerings that line the selves of this cozy spot, or order online and get your next read shipped straight to you. However you choose to purchase, you can feel good about supporting an indie business that is active in the community and champions our local writers.
Have you ever wanted to see an artist at work? Well, if you swing by the Arcade Building during the afternoon, you’ll most likely spot Blue Sky making a masterpiece in his working studio, the Blue Sky Gallery. If his name sounds familiar, you probably know him from his public art contributions around town like the Five Points and Tunnel Vision murals. You can even make this Columbia native’s artwork a part of your home by purchasing his prints online.
Header Image by @LaF0t0