Anyone who has left their hometown has struggled with where their perfect new city might be. Should you go west to San Francisco? North to Boston? If you ask us, you should head south to Columbia, South Carolina. It’s a small Southern town with a lot to offer.
Columbia is an old, historic town and its residents cherish its history. There’s no better example than the city’s Main Street. The area is currently undergoing a revitalization effort to preserve as much of its historic architecture as possible. Today, you’ll find trendy shops tucked away in 110-year-old buildings and modern street art next to beautifully crafted building facades. It’s not just on Main Street, either–the city’s old warehouse district has been revitalized into a charming shopping district over the years, and some of the old factories and warehouses nearby have been turned into vibrant apartment buildings throughout town.
Columbia was built on three rivers: the Broad, the Saluda, and the Congaree. That means residents have great access to wading, fishing, and boating opportunities. Most choose to enjoy the rivers at the city’s Three River Greenway, an 8.5-mile trail that takes users under Spanish moss-covered trees while offering a beautiful view of the water. The trail is well lit and you’ll find people walking, biking, and jogging during all hours of the day. If that doesn’t satisfy the outdoorswoman in you, residents have the opportunity to get even closer to nature. The city is just a short drive from Congaree National Park, South Carolina’s only state park. Here you can come face-to-face with wild boar, alligators, birds, and the park’s most famous attraction, the synchronized fireflies.
The family-friendly attractions
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that your family never has to be bored in Columbia. There’s always something to do, between the multitude of parks, regular festivals downtown, and the general family-friendly atmosphere in the city’s many restaurants and shops. We recommend starting your first weekend at Soda City, the downtown farmers’ market. It’s known for its artists, food vendors, and musicians, and will give you the perfect window into the energy and excitement of the city. Soda City’s festival atmosphere is familiar in Columbia. Head downtown just about any weekend when the weather is nice and you’ll be treated to festivals celebrating arts and cultures from around the world.
Even the city’s breweries are family friendly. You’ll find kids running around the grassy outdoor space at River Rat Brewery, playing games at Conquest Brewing, and making new friends at Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company. If you’re looking for something a little wilder, the city is home to Riverbanks Zoo, a contender for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums 2017 Best U.S. Zoo Award.
Charleston and Greenville may have gotten more headlines as food Meccas in South Carolina, but Columbia has been quietly making strides in the foodie front. It’s no surprise, either. The city has a strong focus on Southern food done right, thanks in no small part to old standbys like Mr. Friendly’s, Motor Supply, and Bourbon. This city certainly isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to food: you can find Italian at Il Giorgione and Rosso Trattoria, Thai at Baan Sawan and Basil, and good old-fashioned burgers at Pawley’s Front Porch and the Whig.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your next move!
This article was originally published on Mortgages.com.