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  • A graphic of coffee and sunglasses reading Visit Guide Series – Trendsetter

Visit Guide Series: The Trendsetter

From the best local food joints to beautiful sunset views, there's always an adventure waiting for you in our city. We've complied a list of some of our favorite spots for you to check out when you visit Columbia, South Carolina.

You can’t visit the University of South Carolina without visiting the city that we call home. Our city is made for exploration. From delicious food to invigorating activities in a city that inspires, Columbia, South Carolina, has something for everyone.


While we could make an entire list of noteworthy places to visit when you come to Columbia, we’ve made it a little easier for you. This one is for our coffee drinking, antique shopping, trend-setter Gamecocks. Here is a list of things to do and see when you visit.


Cupcake DownSouth

Located in an alley on Lincoln street (great photo op!), you’ll find this delicious cupcake bakery. From everyday flavors like red velvet and basic chocolate to a daily specialty cupcake, you’ll have a tough time choosing just one. They even have gluten-free and vegan options!

Di Prato’s Delicatessen

Di Prato’s is the perfect brunch spot. From pancakes and sandwiches, to their famous patty melt and everything in between – tasting their food might be all it takes to convince you Columbia is the place to call home.

Campus Spot

College of Information and Communications – Rooftop Garden

The building that houses the College of Information and Communications, known to many Gamecocks as the J-School, has a beautiful hidden gem. On the third floor, you’ll find a rooftop garden with tables for activities like reading and schoolwork, and of course, stunning plants and flowers. It’s the perfect place to get extra work done between classes. Bonus: you’ll get a great view of central campus!


Coffee Shop Hop

Explore local coffee shops and try different drinks at each shop until you find a favorite (after all, you’ll need a go-to coffee shop when you come to UofSC). Some local favorites are Drip, Cool Beans, Immaculate Consumption, Indah Coffee, Curiosity Coffee and The Local Buzz.

Soda City Market

Soda City Market is the perfect weekend activity. Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Main Street turns into an outdoor market. From vendors selling a variety of items like art and plants to some of Columbia’s best food trucks, this is a great way to support local businesses and to enjoy the Columbia community. Be sure to pick up flowers from the flower truck while you’re there!

Picnic at West Columbia Riverwalk

West Columbia Riverwalk is a beautiful outdoor space. It’s a great place for walking, biking or rollerblading, and you can even tube or kayak down the river. Even more, they have picnic tables and great green space for you to enjoy an afternoon lunch!


Papa Jazz Record Shoppe

This is the cutest local record shop you ever did see! They sell a variety of records, from new to old and all kinds of genres, as well as movies, CDs and more! You can’t visit Columbia without stopping by their shop. Also, the staff is comprised of music experts – if you have a question, they have the answer.

Old Mill Antique Mall

Located on State Street, this three-story antique mall has some of the coolest items dating way back in time! Everything in this antique mall is unique. It’s the perfect place to pick up a vintage gift for yourself or a friend. Be sure to take some fun photos while you’re there, too!

Sid and Nancy

This retro, second-hand shop has some of the coolest modern and vintage clothing. The shop décor makes you feel like you’re in an indie film. Come here to shop for consignment clothing, shoes, jewelry and more. Stop next door for a coffee from Drip while you’re there, too!

Free Options

West Columbia Art Park

Located off State Street, you can find this gem tucked away behind a little historic strip mall. What is it? It’s a little park of interactive art pieces and beautiful murals created by a few of Columbia’s local artists. It’s the perfect place to take photos, view art and then walk across the street to West Columbia Riverwalk to end your day!

Richland County Library

Go to the Richland County Library and read a book! Not only is this a full-sized library with every genre novel you could dream of, but it’s free to explore their shelves and pick out a book to sit and enjoy. The view from this modern, glass building is a plus!

Artsy Photos

Take artsy photos around Columbia! There are tons of cool murals and shops to take photos at, including the antique mall. Horizon Parking Garage is great for getting a photo of Columbia’s beautiful sunset!


Graduate Columbia Hotel

You have to book the perfect place to stay when you visit Columbia –  the Graduate Columbia Hotel is just that! Just steps from the Horseshoe, this hotel is in the heart of the city. It is filled with southern charm offering unique, cozy rooms and amenities such as wi-fi. Be sure to check out the cute little café right within the hotel.  

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.