Need to get away from the hustle and bustle? In Columbia SC, it doesn’t take long to get from the middle of town to what feels like the middle of nowhere. With local restaurants and breweries around every corner, and the serenity of nature just minutes away, what more could you ask for?
We know you’ll be eager to stretch those legs, and we won’t hold you back. At Aloft Columbia Downtown, your weekend getaway hangout, you’ll find yourself in the middle of all the action. Simply walk out the front doors and let your adventure begin.
Start at 929 Kitchen & Bar in The Vista for a quick lunch and take bliss in their fresh take on Korean cuisine. Once you can’t stomach one more bite, it’s time to walk off the food coma with a self-guided public art tour.
If you look around, it won’t take long to notice the vibrant colors and artwork that are weaved in throughout the city. In The Vista, you’ll find the welcoming Lady Vista mural, and toward Main Street, you may sense someone watching you, that would be the Windows to the Soul mural. Venture down Main Street some more and you'll be surprised by what you find hiding in plain sight.
After you’ve taken in the sights and sounds of downtown, it’s time to experience a taste of Columbia SC. Your evening begins at Hendrix's rooftop bar for signature cocktails (summertime calls for a refreshing spritz), and Raciones, which are shareable bites like Broiled Oysters or Whipped Ricotta. Once you’re ready for your main course, be seated for a one-of-a-kind dish made from sustainable, locally and ethically sourced ingredients.
Not ready to call it a night? Stroll downtown to Market on Main and enjoy a nightcap on their patio before heading back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Time to fuel up, and it’s only fitting that you go to Café Strudel, a local favorite in West Columbia. “The Pre-game” breakfast with some Hangover Hash Browns will give you the energy boost you need to kick-start the day.
The cool water and calm currents of the Saluda River make for the perfect escape on a hot day. At Palmetto Outdoors, you can rent tubes for a laidback float. Guided and self-guided kayak tours are also offered for those who like a game plan and the thrill of whitewater rapids.
After working up an appetite on the water, head to WECO Bottle & Biergarten and experience for yourself their highly praised brews and grab a bite to eat from a locally owned food truck.
Once you’ve cleaned up and taken a nap (you earned it), it’s time for dinner with a view. On the shores of Lake Murray, you’ll find Liberty on the Lake, where you can savor a traditional American dish with a modern twist as you watch boats float by. End the evening with a treat at Kaminsky's back in The Vista near your hotel. This sweet spot has desserts for all ages (like alcohol-infused milkshakes).
Rise and shine. It’s time to seize the final day of your trip. Grab a pour-over coffee and a bite to eat from Drip on Main, and then lace up your hiking shoes. 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. Whether you stroll the 2.4-mile Boardwalk loop or decide to take on the 25 miles worth of marked trails, be sure to take a moment and look up at some of the tallest trees in Eastern North America and keep an eye out for the woodland creatures that call Congaree home.
Goodbyes are always bittersweet, but we won’t let you leave with an empty stomach. Stop by Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Ale House at the historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar, and cheers to a great weekend spent in the heart of SC with classic ales and small bites, before hitting the road. Don’t worry! We’ll be ready to welcome you back when your next adventure calls.