Here’s a sample itinerary of some Columbia staples + some new & noteworthy spots that may fit your bill. With tons of local boutiques that mix in with major brands, we couldn't possibly name them all. Read along to plan your next girlfriend's getaway.
Take off a few hours and get an early start on the road to the capital city - you are on vacation, after all. Grab a late lunch at The Gourmet Shop to fuel you up for the afternoon—they’re especially known for their Chicken Salad, Brie and Bacon Croissant and the Mimosa Kit. After lunch, peruse the shop for kitchenware, fine wine and delectable cheeses.
Pop across the street to see some of Columbia’s boutiques on Saluda Avenue. Try Wildflower for the latest in bohemian trends and Revente for designer items on consignment. Vestique, also located in the Five Points district, is another popular boutique that stays on trend.
If you aren’t shopped out, Devine Street has a bevy of locally-owned boutiques with unique finds for anyone in your group. Try My-Kim Collection, Just the Thing, LaRoque, Bohemian Home, or Brittons for the perfect t-shirt or tie for the boys back home.
All of that shopping will make a girl thirsty. Head to Hunter-Gatherer Brewery at Curtiss-Wright Hangar (opening at 4 p.m. on Fridays) for some craft beer or wine and afternoon snacks. Here, you’ll likely see locals (humans + dogs) gearing up for the weekend.
Head back to the Main Street district to check in and freshen up at Hotel Trundle. This boutique gem has an eclectic décor that will have you swooning. Not to mention, their health & safety policies and customer service are top-notch.
Walk to The Vista district for drinks at COA Agaveria y Cocina. They take fresh ingredients to another level with hand-squeezed fruit juices and fresh garnishes that will have you taking an Instagram-worthy shot before your first sip.
A Columbia mainstay, Motor Supply Co. Bistro changes its menu daily according to what local, fresh ingredients the chef has on hand. Think pan roasted scallops, shrimp & grits, bone-in pork chops, and artisan cheese boards. They also boast a farm-to-drink menu by head barman, Josh Streetman. If you don’t see something you like on the menu, you can tell Josh what flavors you like, and he’ll whip up something to fit your taste buds.
Step into what feels like another time zone at Lula Drake Wine Parlour, back on Main Street. A hat shop in its previous life, this cozy spot has a history and a wine list that will leave you wanting more. We recommend it for a night cap or a happy hour, whichever suits your fancy.
Saturday morning calls for Soda City Market, an experience that’s equal parts eating, shopping, and people watching. Locals and visitors alike flood Main Street each week to eat from local food trucks and peruse the dozens of hand-crafted products. A few shopping vendors to look out for - Carolina Clutches specializes in handmade, funky leather earrings + statement clutches that everyone will be jealous of. Also in the must-have accessory category is Nana by Sally's handmade bags made from end-bolts of leather and fabric “seconds” to make bags that are unique to each owner.
*The market is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.*
Take in some of Columbia’s world-class attractions this afternoon for some education (and Insta-worthy photos). Start in the Historic House & Garden District with a self-guided tour of the gardens at the Hampton-Preston Mansion. There's no ticket needed to walk through the gardens and the backdrop includes more flowers and greenery than you can count + a swing.
Back on Main Street, you'll find several murals and public art structures as you make your way to the Columbia Museum of Art. Check their website to find out more about their latest traveling exhibition and their permanent collections.
Head a few minutes down the road to the recently revitalized West Columbia neighborhood and delight in French-ish cuisine at hot spot, Black Rooster. Its bright décor and rooftop bar (and specialty cocktails) will have you wanting to spend the rest of the night overlooking the river and the city lights.
Before you head out, stop at Columbia’s historic Arcade mall for a handcrafted coffee and breakfast at Indah Coffee. We hope we'll see you again soon for another road trip to the real Southern hot spot. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date with new developments and road trip ideas.