The Daily Gamecock

Solo Saturdays: How to spend the weekend in Columbia

Tailgating and watching football is a staple of any fall Saturday, but as the season winds down, members of the USC community might find themselves with extra time on their hands. While Saturdays may now be delegated for sleeping in or catching up on work or chores, Columbia offers a wide variety of activities that Gamecocks might be interested in. 

For the outdoorsy

The West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater provide guests with convenient access to experience nature in the midst of the city. For students, it can be a nice resource to escape the bustle of campus and spend time outdoors. 

“I think it’s good to have a place where you can go walk around and not have to worry about the traffic,” second-year biology student Grace Towery said. 

Riverwalk also provides visitors with a “flat, easy-walking, paved trail that follows the old towpath of the Columbia Canal,” according to South Carolina Trails. Moreover, the website says the amphitheater occasionally hosts events such as concerts, theatrical performances, fundraisers and marriage ceremonies. 

Not only can visitors walk through the Riverwalk, but they can also experience nature by floating down the Saluda, Broad or Congaree Rivers, one of the park's lesser known ventures. 

Palmetto Outdoors is another resource that hosts tubing options, guided kayaking tours and white water rafting trips. The cheapest of these options, the “Grab n’ Go” tubing special, is “great for people who want to create their own river adventure,” according to Palmetto Outdoor’s website. With this rental, guests can take tubes wherever public river access is allowed. 

“I enjoy being near the water,” Towery said. “That can be therapeutic and calming.” 

For the artsy

Nonprofit organization One Columbia believes “Public art and design elements that define public space enhance the visual quality of the community by providing color and character,” according to the organization's website. 

One Columbia’s website features a public art directory, a map that marks almost 130 public art pieces around the Midlands and provides pictures and descriptions of the artwork. 

“Our job is really to connect the ones who are doing the creation with people that might want to experience it,” said One Columbia executive director Lee Snelgrove.

Students can use the public art directory to guide themselves around Columbia, hopping from artwork to artwork, or they can request a private walking tour. 

“The ultimate goal is just to bring more attention to Columbia as a hub of arts and culture,” Snelgrove said. 

Snelgrove encourages people to engage in multiple facets of the arts throughout Columbia such as visiting art museums, attending Trustus or Philharmonic performances, trying out First Thursday on Main and experiencing the festivals that visit Columbia each year.  

A little bit for everyone

Soda City Market, which hosts over 150 vendors each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is a “microcosm of Columbia, a melting pot of cultures, and an inviting community experience worth making a part of your regular weekend routine,” according to the official Soda City website. 

Public relations director for the Soda City Market, Heather Curtif, highlighted Petite Floor, Avocado Toast, CLT Boutique, Magnolia Thyme and Roots and Fruits as a few of the vendors that she thinks would especially appeal to college students.  

She said the multitude of cultures represented at Soda City are a means to display the diversity of Columbia. 

“There’s art, and there’s culture, and there’s food and all of those things mixed together are what make Columbia so unique, but often go under the radar,” Curtif said.  

Aside from gaining new perspectives, Curtif said Soda City is a leisurely way to start your Saturday off right, and she sees the market as somewhat of a social pinnacle. 

“You go out there, and you might not have any plans to meet up with friends, but you end up running into people you know and catching up,” she said. “You form a sense of community that builds stronger and stronger each Saturday.”