If you haven’t been to Main Street in a while – or if it’s all new to you as a freshman just starting classes this month at the University of South Carolina – here’s a tip.
Main Street is one of the best times in Columbia.
The five blocks between the State House and the courthouse are among the most lively in the city right now.
Plan to spend hours – heck, your whole day and night – here in the heart of Columbia.
Here’s a guide to some of our favorite spots.
Soda City Market
If you’re not here on Saturday mornings, you might be the only odd man out in town. With more than 100 food, clothing, craft, accessory and other vendors filling three blocks each week, it’s almost overwhelming – in the best way. One booth you definitely don’t want to miss: Livingston Farms, where you can fill up a box with as much produce as you please for just $10. You. Can. Not. Beat. This. Deal.
Public art and parks
Shake hands with “Lovely Rita the Meter Maid,” bang on steel drums, ponder the heft of “Neverbust” and take a new profile pic in front of one of several colorful murals. An abundance of public art makes the Main Street district beautiful – and makes for legit sightseeing. And when you need a break to upload to Instagram (Be safe! Don’t walk and ’gram!), chill out at Boyd Plaza, the lawn at the corner of Lady Street, or the pocket park next to Tapp’s.
Main Street Public House is the new concert capital on the street (RIP, White Mule). From rock to reggae to jazz, Public House has got the tunes. But wait! There’s more! The monthly First Thursdays on Main event brings live music to various spots along the street, including Mast General Store, Good Life Cafe and the pocket park by Tapp’s. Plus, find a slew of street performers every Saturday at Soda City. And on Saturday, Oct. 14, plan to spend all day rocking at the Jam Room Music Festival.
Cool window displays
And let yourself get lured inside to shop. Ogle at Uptown on Main, Granger Owings, Bespoke, the new Miss Cocky boutique, Something Special Florist, Mast General Store and the infamous wig shops in the 1600 block. How very cosmopolitan!
Arts and Draughts
We think this is one of the best events in all of Columbia. Four times a year, the Columbia Museum of Art hosts a massive party featuring bands, food trucks, drinks, crafts, scavenger hunts and gallery tours. So, basically, every fun thing in one night. Clear your calendars for the next one – Friday, Aug. 18.
Have a craft beer and eat some spiced chocolate while you catch a cool indie flick at the Nick. The nonprofit theater is an anchor of Columbia’s arts scene. It’s responsible for much more than bringing us the coolest movies in town. Enjoy the full fruits of the Nick at the annual Indie Grits Film Festival, occasional talk-backs after movies and special film series like “OUT Here,” a monthly community-curated LGBTQ series.