Looking to fly solo in the capital city? Well, this trip itinerary is for you. From outdoor adventure to a buzzing culinary scene and vibrant public art, there’s plenty for the solo traveler to explore and enjoy. Keep reading to start planning your weekend getaway for one in Columbia, SC.
Check into your home away from home at Holiday Inn Columbia Downtown in the Main Street district. This new, retro-inspired hotel puts you in the heart of all the action, with buzz-worthy bites and must-see attractions just steps away.
After your journey, your stomach might be growling, so take a quick walk down to Spotted Salamander. Local for almost 15 years, this menu rotates daily with specials thought of in-house. Get there early to grab a special - they'll sell out before you know it.
Once you can’t eat another bite, it’s time to explore Columbia’s art scene. It's the perfect solo-traveler activity because there’s no need to feel out of place milling around big art galleries by yourself. Start with the Columbia Museum of Art – A 21st-century museum that boasts one of the largest international collections in the Southeast. Take delight in the permanent collection and the one-of-a-kind traveling exhibits like Jackson Pollock and Van Gogh that find their way to this renowned museum.
Next stop, Immersion SC. Have you ever wanted to step inside an artist’s painting? Well, you can do just that here. This unique experience allows you to explore artist-designed rooms that are perfect for solo perusing and a selfie or two.
After freshening up for the evening, and maybe squeezing in a quick nap, it’s time to explore the rich history of the capital city. Make your way to the historic house and garden district and take an outdoor multi-site tour of Robert Mills House and Gardens and Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens with Historic Columbia. Connect to the history of 19th century Columbia by learning about architecture, the planter class, enslaved individuals, and the evolution of these historic sites. Prefer to explore at your own pace? Walk or ride through one of the many garden and neighborhood self-guided tours they offer.
When dinner calls, head back to Main Street. Tonight, you’ll dine at Market on Main, and you may just catch some live entertainment while you’re there. Treat yourself to a hand-crafted cocktail and a gourmet dish like the oh-so-popular M.O.M Burger. Whatever dish you fancy, be sure to order a side of the truffle frites (you can thank us later).
If you’re not quite ready for the night to end, you can grab a nightcap at The Whig, seated right across from the South Carolina State House. The craft beer list is always on point at this cozy enclave below Main Street, and you can explore the State House grounds before heading back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Time to conquer the day! But first, coffee. Grab a pour-over coffee from Drip on Main, and then hit the street and while away a couple of hours at Soda City Market. Stretching from one to three blocks depending on the season, the market draws people from all walks of life to enjoy time in the hub of the city. This producer-only market is where you can soak up all of the tastes and cultures on tap here in the capital city. Over a hundred vendors line Main Street each Saturday, and you grab a bite to eat and browse and shop all things SC hand-crafted and grown.
Drop off any souvenirs you picked up at Soda City Market, and then grab some comfortable shoes. This afternoon calls for getting some fresh air and experiencing this gritty city’s outdoor offerings. Drive away from the buzz of the city to Congaree National Park, the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the Southeastern United States, or stay closer to downtown by strolling the pathways along Three Rivers Greenway.
You’ll probably work up an appetite while getting those steps in, so make time to have a picnic along the way. Pick up some lunch from Spotted Salamander before you head out. We recommend their Spotted Salad and deviled eggs. If you're in search of a plant-based option, grab an out-of-this-world “chicken” sandwich with a side of mac & “cheese” from Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen.
Want to do some reading while you’re out on your adventure but forgot to pack a book? No problem! Stop by Ed’s Editions or Odd Bird Books to grab your next favorite read.
After an eventful afternoon, it’s time for a laid-back evening starting at The Aristocrat. This cozy-chic spot knows how to make a top-notch cocktail, and their Southern heritage-inspired dishes will have you wanting to try everything on the menu. Kick-off your food coma with an app or two, and order one of their flatbread pizzas as your main.
If you have room for dessert, you’d be remiss in not making a stop at Kaminsky’s in The Vista. The robust selection of sugary creations and alcohol-infused milkshakes will be the cherry on top of your whirlwind weekend.
Before you say goodbye to the heart of SC, have one more unforgettable meal at The Gourmet Shop in Five Points. Sit on the patio with a cup of coffee and a breakfast panini, and then explore their extensive gift shop and deep selection of wines, cheeses, and pastries to bring home with you.
We hope you enjoyed your solo stay in Columbia, SC! Until next time, keep up with the latest happenings in the capital city with our blog and follow us on social.