The Mature Traveler’s Guide to Columbia SC
Wednesday, July 6, 2022 12:00 AM by Charlene Slaughter
It’s been a couple decade since I’ve seen my 20’s. The things I do for enjoyment have certainly changed and evolved. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still living my best life, but that looks different for me now than it did before. Luckily, this region is full of fun and activities for every visitor. Here are some ways for the mature traveler to enjoy Columbia SC.
When I’m looking for a place to stay I want all the things. The décor, atmosphere, comfort and, of course, location, location, location. Hotel Trundle in the Main Street District gives me all the feels. From being greeted at the front desk with your choice of wine or craft beer to the decadence of the lobby to the luxury/retro vibe throughout every room, you can’t go wrong with anchoring your trip here. Another one of my favorites is Graduate Columbia which just makes you happy from the moment you enter the doors. With bright colors, deliberate nods to the University of South Carolina, plenty of spaces to relax or have a cocktail, and unexpected surprises in every room, this downtown spot is an ideal mix of style and campus spirit.
Note: If you are into historic, repurposed spaces, then these hotels are definitely for you. Hotel Trundle sits in a three historic buildings that were once a Western Auto building and the core of Graduate Columbia was a former residence built in 1911. When I want to feel fancy, I head over to Lula Drake Wine Parlour on Main Street. I always feel transported to another place. Of course, the wine list is ridiculously glorious, but so too are the food and the welcoming atmosphere. It’s sort of like a fancy Cheers! (Mature travelers will understand that reference.) Ratio in Northeast Columbia is another place that delivers nothing but good vibes. With a tapas menu with a Peruvian flair and cocktails with names like Pink Lady, Nick at Night and Weekend at Tootsies, this is definitely my kind of scene.
Columbia is full of music and there are plenty of places that you can pop into and take in a show, be it a concert or something impromptu. Chayz Lounge has a “grown and sexy” feel with jazz and R&B performances that rival the best there is. At The Joint at 1710 Main, watch local, regional and national live jazz and blues bands or take over the stage yourself during karaoke. In the Vista, the new kids on the block (see what I did there), Silk Restaurant and Lounge caters to the after college crowd (they don’t specify how many years after college, so it’s fair game) and offers upscale dining, atmosphere and cocktails. Whatever you do, take the opportunity to take in all of the art and culture the Columbia Region has to offer. Visit the Columbia Museum of Art or the South Carolina State Museum for renowned exhibits or tour the public art located on just about every corner. Stop by Trustus or Town Theatre for a show or, the Nickelodeon Theatre for a movie or pop into one of the many art galleries in the city. Columbia is also a festival town, so be sure to check to see if there’s one near you while you’re here. To learn more about our history, Historic Columbia and their house, garden, offsite and African-American history tours and is your go to.