From rooftop bars to artisan coffee shops to a vibrant arts scene and more, Columbia SC is bursting with the new and unexpected.
With new rooftop bars, you can take in views of this capital city from all angles. Sip local beers in front of historic buildings transformed on the rooftop at Hendrix or catch the city skyline across the river at Black Rooster while tasting “Italian” dishes.
These mix in with well-known favorites like River Rat Brewery, overlooking Williams-Brice Stadium, the Rooftop at the Sheraton, with sky-high views of the cityscape, and sports-centric staples like Carolina Ale House and Hickory Tavern. Bonus - Be on the lookout for more news on Central Station. Formerly the Columbia Fire Department Headquarters, this two-story spot is a mix of a classic French restaurant, event space, and second story patio.
Artisan Coffee Shops
Artisan coffee shops are offering up peaceful, yet trendy settings where you’ll likely find an influx of college students and young professionals getting work done and sipping on the latest in coffee trends. Blüm Coffee on Devine Street is serving up coffee sodas and treats made by Ally & Eloise, among other things. If you’re in The Vista, pop into Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea and pick up an “Ice Dragon” frozen coffee on those extra sunny summer days.
Just outside of downtown sits Cayce, an up-and-coming neighborhood with local shops like Piecewise Coffee Co. Exposed brick, quiet spaces, and dynamite croissants by smallSUGAR are what makes up this new spot. And in case you missed it, smallSUGAR is a tucked away café in The Vista, still filling up its seats with patrons sipping the “Golden Latte” and taking in anything they can get from the pastry counter – croissants, breads, cookies and more – all made from scratch using whole grain flours.
Arts & Culture
After a major, multi-phase renovation, the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) has become known for hosting events on its outdoor plaza, right in the heart of a revitalized Main Street. You can check out the upgrades at events like Arts & Draughts or First Thursday on Main.
Not to mention they’re bringing in some major exhibitions like the upcoming Van Gogh and His Inspirations. This original exhibition organized by the CMA brings the work of one of the most beloved artists in the world to Columbia SC alongside a variety of handpicked paintings and drawings that shaped his vision. The exhibition will be open October 4 – January 12.
If live performances give you life, check out the Koger Center's list of broadway shows coming to Columbia. From holiday shows to showstoppers like Wicked (big deal alert), there's no shortage of options for you to plan the perfect night on the town. Dinner and a show? How metropolitan.
Looking for something to do for free and at your own pace? The NOMA (North Main) district has launched a robot scavenger hunt and history tour, perfect for when you have cabin fever, but pay day isn’t for another week. Follow this map to find the local businesses where these hand-made ceramic robots are hiding. You’ll even learn a little history on the area while you’re at it.
Lately it seems like public art is popping up everywhere in downtown Columbia. Here, you’ll find it in unexpected spaces, like a revitalized underground tunnel, or moving alongside you in traffic. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of one of The COMET buses riding through town with a bit of a different look than its counterparts. It shows off iconic Columbia sights like the Adluh Flour building and Yesterday’s cowboy in a bathtub – if you know, you know. Find Lady Vista, a vibrant mural in an artistic warehouse district, or the Five Points Postcard mural, for those Insta-worthy shots.
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