Sometimes the most relaxing thing you can do is unwind (and unplug!) with a good book. And after so much unanticipated time spent at home this year, many of us have reconnected with our love of reading. Here’s how you can get swept up in a story in Columbia SC. 

Shop

Pop into a local bookstore and add to your personal collection. At Ed’s Editions in West Columbia, you’ll find rows upon rows of shelves packed with gently used books, as well as some rare collectible finds. Over on Main Street, Odd Bird Books opened earlier this year and offers a quality selection of both new releases and old favorites.

Borrow

We’re extremely fortunate to have a national award-winning library in our community. The main branch of the Richland County Public Library system is acclaimed for being a hub for art, creativity and exploration. Children, teens and adults alike will enjoy not only browsing the books, but also the special programming, art displays and murals. (DYK – this is the only place in the world where author Maurice Sendak has allowed his artwork to be used as public art? Here, you’ll find a 46 ft. Where the Wild Things Are mural and two free-standing scenes from the beloved children’s book.) Plus, satisfy more than just your appetite for literature and the arts at The Café, operated by notable local chef, Sarah Simmons.

Forgot to pack a book? No worries – Columbia is chock full of Little Free Libraries! Feel free to take one and get your read on or leave one to share with someone else. Not only are these stations adorable, but they increase book access and forge community connections, too. It’s a win-win! Access the map here

Sip

How can you even resist reading a book without having a steaming mug of coffee or tea handy? Cozy up in a coffee shop like BlumDripPiecewiseThe Front, The Local Buzz, IndahCuriosity Coffee BarsmallSUGARLoveland and (many) more, for optimal reading conditions.

Personally, I’m also a big fan of flipping through some pages with an ice-cold pint handy. Order up a brew and settle into one of the sun-filled window seats at Craft and Draft. Or, whittle away a few hours, book and beer in hand, out in the fresh air at one of our area’s breweries like Steel HandsRiver RatHunter-Gatherer at The HangarHazelwood or Columbia Craft, among others. 

Savor

Lunchtime in Columbia calls for good food, a killer patio and an hour to yourself getting lost in a chapter or two. Thirsty Fellow is your one-stop-shop for all three. Get crafty with a make-your-own-pizza, select a book from the collection that runs the perimeter of the restaurant and snag a table out on the porch for a winning combination.

Sauced-up wing fingers and reading may not sound like they should go together, but what else are wet wipes for? Ask for extras at Publick House, where their back room offers a pool table, dart boards and a wall of books. 

Backdrop

Simply looking for a change of scenery? Get away from it all with only the stunning views of the Congaree River and downtown Columbia skyline to distract you (and let’s be real, they probably will). Stroll along the Cayce or West Columbia Riverwalk before settling in on a park bench or at a picnic table. Bask in the warmth and your book while enjoying an idyllic afternoon. 

The grounds of the South Carolina State House are not only beautiful, but have also become a rather popular picnic spot this year. Spread out a blanket in the sun, pick up where you left off in your current read and stay a while. 

Take in the academia around you and find a perfectly shady spot under a tree on the sprawling lawn of The Horseshoe on the University of South Carolina campus.