Experience creative, unexpected energy in the heart of Columbia as well as our most popular neighborhood districts.
You won’t find our unique blend of southern charm, fresh perspectives, and easy-going attitudes in other cities. Here, you’ll find a mix of urban-goers. On weekdays, legislators and professionals swarm the downtown coffee shops and local lunch spots, like Cantina 76 along Main Street or Swanson’s Deli in the Arcade Mall. You’ll also eye college students trudging to class or popping into Main Street Public House. Workout enthusiasts are out at all hours running the State House steps and taking classes at our downtown yoga, cycling, and Pilates studios.
Families and dog-owners plan their Saturdays around the Soda City Market, which features fresh produce, local treasures, and lively community. Don’t forget to stop into the old-timey Mast General Store for anything under the sun. Check out the unique kids’ toys, fun kitchen gadgets, or latest outdoor gear. If you’re shopping with your four-legged friend, be sure to reward good behavior with a dog treat from behind the checkout counter.
No thriving metropolis is complete without a bustling art scene. The Columbia Museum of Art is redefining the modern museum. As a downtown social hub, the museum hosts not only impressive national art exhibitions and out-of-the-box art learning programs, but also “arts and draughts” and community-sponsored block parties.
Another cultural anchor, the Nickelodeon Theatre, an “indie” movie cinema offers an engaging film selection that inspires art and film dialogue. The “Nick” puts on the annual Indie Grits Film Festival – showcasing the best in Southern DIY film and culture.
Speaking of, Columbia is always playing host to fun festivals, events, and concerts. Every first Thursday of the month, Main Street shops, restaurants, and businesses go all out with special promotions, entertainment, and live music. We’re also home to an annual Greek Festival, Tasty Tomato Festival, Oktoberfest, and Gervais Street Bridge dinner party. And if you’re looking to catch a concert, be sure to check out the event calendars at Tin Roof, Music Farm, or New Brookland Tavern.
If you’re planning a date night, stick around downtown and enjoy an upscale dinner with a view at Oak Table, followed by wine at the European-inspired Lula Drake wine bar. Or check out Bourbon for some Cajun-creole cuisine, and then try drinks at the Whig, a subterranean dive bar with a speakeasy sort of vibe.
The Vista District is another great scene for a night on the town. Get dinner at Motor Supply, and be sure to consult with the mixologist for a one-of-a-kind cocktail. Steps away, you’ll find live jazz upstairs at Pearlz Oyster Bar. For a great dance party, shimmy on over to Social Nightclub. Or check out Art Bar for karaoke, dancing, or live music shows, depending on the night. If you’ve got a big group, hangout along the spacious bar at Liberty Tap Room or catch the big game at Carolina Ale House.
The Five Points Neighborhood is another go-to. You’ll find variety of restaurants – from upscale and refined at Saluda’s to casual and lively at Publico. After dinner, check out Bar None for a laid-back vibe and game of shuffleboard. Like many watering holes in the area, as the night grows later, the crowd gets younger. For the latest of nights, follow the locals to Nightcaps on Devine Street.
The Vista and Five Points are equally as vibrant during the day. Grab your friends, and make a day of it in either location. These walkable districts are lined with some of Columbia’s most popular spas, salons, boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and home décor shops. And if you’re in Five Points, don’t forget to venture a half mile up Devine Street for more of the best boutique shopping in Columbia.
Across the Gervais Street bridge, State Street has just as much to offer. Terra and 116 State are top restaurants in the Midlands, and Café Strudel is our not-so-secret brunch hotspot. The shops along the street also put on “First Fridays,” West Columbia’s answer to Columbia’s “First Thursdays.” Check out It’s the Little Things for home décor or Gallery West for art and antiques.
In Columbia, you have a front row seat to several shopping districts, top-notch restaurants, and a vibrant city center. All this comes with manageable traffic and convenient parking – pay your meters with an app or pre-pay for an event at garages like Innovista Parking. It’s really that simple. Experience the ease and affordability of Columbia, SC.