We know that not all girls’ weekends are created equal. Perhaps you are looking to line up an extravaganza of late nights and urban delights for a friend who is about to say her “I Do’s”. Or maybe you need to cultivate a cerebral stay worthy of your book club buds. Here are a few of our top-requested itineraries worthy of you and your besties and whatever type of adventure you need to plan in #RealColumbiaSC.
Real Southern Send-Off
When you are responsible for planning the bachelorette bash for your best friend since Sesame Street, you need to create a weekend worthy of her by sending her into the next phase of her life with memories of all her favorite things. Start by booking hotel rooms for your group at Hyatt Place, right smack dab in the middle of the Vista. Since it’s right next door to Pura, you can literally roll out of bed and down to the spa for some serious relaxation, beautification, and bonding. Browse nearby boutiques like Entourage to add to your outfit for the evening. Kick off your night on the town with dinner at Main Street Public House then book a ride (literally) with SC Pedal Parlor. You will visit several of Columbia’s nightlife hot spots on a giant bicycle built for 12 before you decide to plant yourselves at the best possible location for the balance of the evening. And, if you want to surprise the bride-to-be with a little something special, browse Uptown on Main for a selection of personalized items and South Carolina specialty foods and gifts.
Mom’s the Word
You love traveling with your littles, but let’s face it – sometimes you need to get away from the fam to truly unwind. Book the stay for you and your mom squad at Aloft in the Vista. With a hopping hotel bar and outdoor patio, you can grab a glass of vino upon check-in and start the relaxation process immediately to maximize every kid-free moment. Try dinner at Blue Marlin – just steps away from the hotel. Sit outside underneath the string lights on a cool evening, or grab a cozy booth inside. Start with their famous she-crab soup followed by shrimp and grits or one of their other fresh seafood specials and do not leave until you order the Key Lime Pie. Bonus – the only food you have to cut is your own. The Vista has dozens of great spots for a nightcap, but we won’t judge if you just want to sink into those luxurious hotel linens and enjoy eight (or ten!) hours of uninterrupted sleep after dinner. Upon waking, visit Occo Luxury Spa and Salon for a day of pampering in a serene setting followed by salads (or giant burgers) from Spotted Salamander in the Historic House & Garden District. Explore boutiques like Bohemian and Copper Penny in Five Points. When you start passing moms with their kids heading to Cupcake in the Vista, you just might start missing your little ones. Grab a few cupcakes for the road or some treats from The Peanut Man and be welcomed back into the fold of your crazy life with open arms.
Whether it’s your book club, art class or yoga crew, you need to impress with some cultural offerings and show off your refined culinary prowess. Stay at the Columbia Marriott, located on Columbia’s Main Street. Kick off your Friday night with an indie film at The Nick followed by appetizers and drinks at Lula Drake.
After brunch at Michael’s or Good Life Café, enjoy a morning at Soda City Market then take your time perusing the permanent collections and current exhibitions at Columbia Museum of Art. Ask for the private room for dinner at Hampton Street Vineyard (right across the street from the Marriott) and you and your girlfriends can dish and laugh to your heart’s content. Before leaving town, enjoy some Hangover Hashbrowns and a legendary Bloody Mary at Café Strudel before stopping in several antique shops that are open on Sundays, like Old Mill Antique Mall and 763 Antique Mall.
If your girls’ group is into the great outdoors, opt for camping or stay in one of five lakeside cabins at Dreher Island State Park (now equipped with complimentary wifi) where you can wake up to views of Lake Murray and enjoy a morning hike on the 2.1 mile Little Gap Trail. After your hike, head to Libby’s of Lexington for a satisfying lunch (try the Carolina Ruben Sandwich or BBQ Shrimp Wrap) before zipping over to Saluda Shoals Park for some afternoon tubing ($10 rental per tube to float downstream on a hot day = count us in) or checking out Congaree National Park (South Carolina’s only national park) for some canoeing down Cedar Creek. Hit River Rat Brewery (call 24-48 hours in advance for a brewery tour) to sample some of Columbia’s local beers and Instagram-worthy bites. And it wouldn’t be a girls’ weekend without finishing off the meal with a round of Prosecco Pops. Don’t forget to carve out some time during your getaway to shop at The Backpacker or Half Moon Outfitters for any gear you need, or River Runner Outdoor Center for kayak and canoe rentals. End the weekend by exploring Columbia’s Main Street and enjoying a sweet treat from Sweet Cream Co. Ask for the Secret Handshake flavor.
Multi-Gen – We’re In!
When you’re planning a getaway for multiple generations of fabulous women in your family, start by booking your hotel rooms in a property with history and intrigue. The Inn at USC Wyndham Garden is situated near the picturesque campus of The University of South Carolina and boasts suites, including a well-appointed 1-king bed Presidential Suite (better save that one for the matriarch of the bunch!) located in the historic 1910 house on the hotel property. Take advantage of a complimentary State House Tour of South Carolina’s Capitol Building, then walk across Main Street for dinner at The Oak Table - where you can dine al fresco with a killer view. Spend your Saturday on Devine Street browsing boutiques, like Pink Sorbet for Lilly Pulitzer, non(e)such for timeless home accessories and Just the Thing for modern, stylish clothing and footwear. Stop for lunch at Tallulah or Mediterranean Tea Room before continuing your retail therapy. Book dinner reservations at Saluda’s, where you can overlook the buzz of Five Points from a quiet and elegant upstairs patio.
Yes, we understand that girls’ weekends are precious and don’t come around nearly as often as you’d like, so make them count! Rally your troops and rely on Columbia SC to provide the perfect backdrop for your slate of activities. We won’t even call the front desk on you for laughing and talking well into the wee hours of the morning.