Best College Sports Getaway: Columbia, South Carolina
The “famously hot” capital city of South Carolina is probably best known as being the hub of the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!), but Soda City has a lot more to offer than just college football. Despite its close proximity, Cola has a completely different feel from Charleston, with its skyscrapers, rolling hills, bustling river, and distinct lack of summertime tourists. Columbia has a little something for everyone: art galleries, music festivals, sports, outdoor adventures, plentiful shopping, and delicious food.
The city is pretty walkable and, if you don’t want to have to worry about finding parking anywhere, downtown is definitely where you should plan to find a hotel or AirBnB. The Hotel Trundle is a self-described “handcrafted hotel” built from a trio of historic buildings, with lots of artistic details throughout the property. Plus, it’s steps away from the Columbia Museum of Art, if you’re into that sort of thing. If you prefer a quieter retreat, The Chestnut Cottage, a historic landmark built in 1850 is a cozy bed and breakfast that offers five historic rooms for stay.
A Gamecock football game at Williams-Brice stadium is definitely worth checking out. If football’s not really your jam, the Riverbanks Zoo is the largest of its kind in South Carolina and a great way to spend a few hours. Depending on the time of year, there are also a number of festivals and special events, like the SC State Fair in October, and the Governor’s Cup race in early Spring. Hungry? The Vista has a ton of great restaurants within a few blocks, like Motor Supply and Menkoi Ramen House. Or head down to Pawley’s Front Porch in Five Points for an award-winning burger.
Distance from Charleston: Just under two hours