While there are plenty of good eats and drinks throughout Columbia’s entertainment districts, you would be remiss to look past some spots tucked into Columbia’s hotels. From fancy to causal, these places can be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Read along for your next meal or nightcap.

Newest on the block, Aloft Columbia Downtown makes us want to take a “staycation” with its pup-friendly amenities, trendy vibe, and of course, the WXYZ bar. The modern lighting and plush couches make you feel less like you’re in a hotel and more like you’re in a swanky lounge. If you’re an outdoor junky, don’t fret. WXYZ has a front porch that looks out into The Vista, and a more intimate back porch equipped with a mural view of the South Carolina State House. Check out this hot spot for a specialty cocktail and a small bite before walking through The Vista for dinner.

 

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Unexpected holds true at the award-winning Midlands’ restaurant located inside the Columbia Marriott on Main Street. Boasting Southern American cuisine and using ingredients from local farms sets this hotel dining apart from its counterparts. Think bacon wrapped scallops, fried green tomatoes, and jumbo crab cakes for starters. For your entrée, may we suggest the shrimp and grits? This signature Midlands’ dish is in the debate for best shrimp and grits in town. If seafood isn’t for you, but you have a Southern craving, try the chicken and waffles, covered with a bourbon maple glaze—how do you say no to that?

 

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Almost everyone has heard of Ruth’s Chis Steak House by now, but you may not know that they serve lunch (and it’s surprisingly affordable). Located in the Hilton Columbia Center, right in the heart of The Vista, this white tablecloth establishment got its start in New Orleans. With everything from crispy lobster tail to french fries, no one in your party will have trouble ordering. Head here for a nice lunch, date night, or private dinner with your team after your meeting.

 

Time for a nightcap and a view of this thriving metropolis. The Rooftop Lounge is located on top of the oldest high-rise in Columbia, the Sheraton on Main Street. Grab a cocktail (or mocktail) and enjoy a summer sunset. Or, gaze among the city lights after dinner. Don’t’ be fooled by the hotel. This is a place where you’re as likely to find a visitor as a bonefide local.

This isn’t all! Many properties throughout the region come with aspects that set them apart. Think free shuttles through the city’s entertainment districts, and proximity to world-class attractions. Case in point, Columbia hotels are more than meets the eye.