You can find everything you need in Columbia—and enjoy plenty of southern hospitality in the process. Whether you’ve come to town for a day of shopping, socializing, and dining or you just need to run a few errands and find one perfect gift for someone special, you can count on this vibrant city. And it helps to know the lay of the land before you arrive. Columbia has several shopping districts, each with its own personality.
Devine Street has been called Columbia’s answer to Madison Avenue, and for good reason. Lined with chic shops selling everything from loads of Lilly Pulitzer and crystal wedding gifts to bow ties and kayaks, Devine Street is a great place to go to treat yourself. And when you’ve gotten everything you came for, pop into one of Devine’s restaurants for refreshments.
Just down the hill, historic Five Points beckons. Though it’s within walking distance of USC and popular with students, the funky village offers something for everyone. You’ll find local art, contemporary clothing, barber shops, home goods, and quirky décor. Make a day of it and enjoy lunch at a sidewalk café or stick around for happy hour when your day is done. Five Points is its own community and you’re welcome to join!
The Vista has always boasted art galleries, upscale restaurants, and antiques stores. Today the destination has even more to offer. You’ll find national retailers and restaurants, with dining options from casual to elegant, as well as local shops that have been there for years, offering art, jewelry, antiques and home furnishings. Adluh Flour and other mill buildings offer a glimpse into the Vista’s history. The area is also host to the South Carolina State Museum (with its own fun gift shop) and EdVenture, a great stop for kids who need a break from shopping.
Nearby Main Street is bustling during the week, when people who work downtown walk to lunch or coffee at all hours. And they can pick up gifts, pastries, and clothing for the weekend ahead. There are clothing boutiques for men and women, a general store, gift shops, and more. Then Main Street changes its tune on Saturday, when local, outdoor market Soda City takes over the blocks near the Columbia Museum of Art. Locals and savvy visitors alike enjoy the market, where they can find everything from beautiful hand-made cutting boards and pottery to eggplant and locally-raised chicken.
North Main Street is Columbia’s latest up and coming district. With coffee shops, a wine shop, and several restaurants, with lots of new development on the horizon, this area is an exciting place to be. Don’t miss Carolina Imports if you’re in the market for furniture. Housed in an old warehouse, their showroom is filled with gorgeous handmade wood furniture at reasonable prices. Nearby historic neighborhoods Earlewood, Elmwood Park and Cottontown are full of beautiful old homes, worth a walk-through if you’d like to take a break with a shady stroll.
Downtown isn’t the only place to shop. Cross the Gervais Street bridge, lined with lanterns and reminiscent of one of Paris’ many bridges, and you’ll find yourself on Columbia’s own “Left Bank,” home to an eclectic group of local businesses, restaurants, antique shops, and music venues. When you’re finished browsing, cross State Street for a walk along the river and eoy the breeze.
Head southeast and you’ll find the Rosewood neighborhood, bordered by Rosewood Drive. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with a neighbor here, your own or someone else’s. Shoppers will find healthy food, including an in-town farm that hosts a weeknight farmers’ market, as well as an arts academy, day spas, a florist, photographers, and several locally-owned casual dining spots. The friendly neighborhood really gets hopping in the spring during the Crawfish Festival and in the fall, when they host the Rosewood Arts and Music Festival.
Farther south, as you head toward Fort Jackson, you’ll find Cross Hill Market, with restaurants, local boutiques, Whole Foods, and more. Local stores mix with national retailers to make this an easy area to find everything you need. Head down Garners Ferry and you’ll find a host of national retailers and plenty of home goods. If your weekend includes home improvement, inside and out, this is the direction to go. And we won’t judge if you stop by Krispy Kreme for a little fuel for your projects.
In Forest Acres and east Columbia, you'll find local boutiques and restaurants alongside national chains. Spend a few hours at Trenholm Plaza and leave with a new wardrobe for the whole family, and a few new friends. The shops are upscale but you’ll be treated like a neighbor, encountering gracious charm everywhere you turn.
Heading farther afield? On opposite sides of town, you’ll find northeast Columbia and Irmo, toward Lake Murray. In northeast Columbia, the Village at Sandhill—an outdoor plaza lined with wide sidewalks—offers shoppers loads of options, from national retailers and a regional department store to small, locally-owned purveyors of art, jewelry, and clothing. Columbiana Centre, Columbia’s largest mall, is in Irmo, a reasonably quick drive up Interstate 26 and, well worth it for shoppers on a mission who want to get it all in one place. In addition to the mall, the Harbison area boasts a large number of stores, where you can find everything from sporting goods and camping gear to clothing, food, cosmetics, and, well, everything else!
We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you to spend some time in Lexington. Main Street in Lexington has a small-town feel, where shoppers can find what they need and enjoy the warm weather as they window shop. Follow the locals to Lexington’s Old Mill, built more than a century ago, now home to restaurants, shops, and offices.
Wherever you decide to spend your day shopping in Columbia, you’ll enjoy the southern hospitality and the easy pace. Who says shopping can’t be fun? With so many choices and friendly faces, you’ll enjoy your day, no matter what you need to find.