A Girlfriend’s Getaway in Capital City/Lake Murray Country

June 28, 2022

With accolades like “Top Southern Summer Destination,” “10 best spots for a weekend getaway in the South” and “One of America’s Best New Food Destinations,” a girlfriends’ getaway is guaranteed to please shoppers, foodies and spa-fanatics in Capital City/Lake Murray Country in South Carolina.

In Columbia

For outstanding dining, nightlife, a vibrant bar scene and big-city entertainment head to the Capital City of Columbia. Its confluence of rivers, landscaped walking and biking areas offer scenic beauty as well. Home to the Broadway in Columbia, the University of South Carolina’s Koger Center for the Arts also hosts dance, ballet and symphony performances. The newly renovated Township Auditorium hosts a variety of entertainment, comedy, bands and solo artists, including recent entertainment by Bonnie Raitt and Patti LaBelle.

Stay at The Hotel Trundle, a boutique hotel in the heart of Columbia’s Main Street Historic District. It magnificently unites three historic buildings, restored to showcase exposed brick, stamped tin ceiling tiles, deep moldings and custom wood trim. Pick from a selection of wines, beers and unique small plates and make a toast to friendship at Lula Drake Wine Parlour, named for a trailblazing, independently minded woman. For a full-course dinner and cocktails, try Bourbon, a whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant near the South Carolina State House in the 1869 Brennen Building. Bourbon specializes in bourbon, whiskey, craft cocktails and the flavors of the Louisiana Bayou. They currently have the largest whiskey list in South Carolina, with labels like Angels Envy and Van Winkle, as well as Irish, Scotch and Japanese whiskies.

The no-admission, free parking Soda City Market is Columbia’s weekend Main Street event with a dozen food trucks, regional produce and unique, handcrafted and produced-in-South Carolina items. For lunch, try Publico Kitchen & Tap, one of the newest and hottest bars and restaurants in the Five Points neighborhood, with patio dining and Lat-Asian cuisine from tasty tacos to savory salads. Check out their huge selection of local and craft beers on tap, or a specialty margarita like the pineapple margarita, served in a fresh pineapple, of course. For a sampling of the dining scene and a walking tour try the Main Street program by Columbia Food Tours or the Vista area Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours, which also offers tasting tours of Lexington and Newberry.

If a spa day is on the agenda, Columbia has plenty, including Soak Day Spa, offering facials, brow and lash treatments, mani-pedis, body scrubs and self-tanning. For a range of services, from hair to spa packages, OCCO Luxury Spa +Salon has something for every girl in the group. Southeastern Esthetics Institute is a teaching and training school that offers makeup applications, self-tanning, skin care and a vast array of advanced anti-aging services overseen by licensed instructors at affordable rates.

In West Columbia

West Columbia/Cayce is framed by scenic green spaces and gathering spots. Biking is a perfect way to tour them all, including the acclaimed Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Carraway Park and the Interactive Art Park. Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater is part of the Three Rivers Greenway and features views of the Columbia skyline and the Congaree River and don’t miss the Rhythm On the River concert series.

West Columbia is also home to some of the best restaurants and views in all of the Columbia Metro area. For ideas, visit https://www.lakemurraycountry.com/listing-categories/dine-entertain/eat-drink. Breweries add to the vibe: Enjoy the views and a beer or cocktail from the rooftop, grab a snack at the jailhouse or enjoy live music from the beer garden at Savage Craft Ale WorksSteel Hands Brewing has a large outdoor area, a Sunday brunch and offers free pick-up and drop-off from downtown Columbia to the brewery and back.

Shopping in Cayce-West Columbia includes everything from vast antique stores and malls to boutiques and bookstores with curbside parking and an encounter with a personable artist or owner. For a listing of shopping in the entire area, go to https://www.lakemurraycountry.com/listing-categories/dine-entertain/shopping. The Saturday Meeting Street Artisan Market offers fresh foods and produce, original arts and crafts from local artists and food truck fare.

In Lexington

In the growing county seat of Lexington, stroll through a charming historic downtown with a mobile phone walking tour and shop along Main Street. The Icehouse Amphitheater is the region’s newest outdoor venue, providing year-round concerts and events under the stars within walking distance to Main Street’s many delicious restaurants. The Lexington Farmers Market is held at the Market at Icehouse every Saturday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., May 14 through September 24, 2022 (except July 2). In addition to great produce and crafts, there’s live music every week, food trucks and more. With an exotic menu that’s authentic, fresh and presented in a “Modern Thai” style, Bohdi Thai Dining is housed in a former bank where the vault is now a wine cellar. Appetizers include five-hour Braised Baby Pork Ribs with a honey whiskey sauce and Fresh Rolls with shrimp, clear noodles and cilantro served with sweet chili. Main courses include traditional bowls and stir-fry variations and innovative Thai takes on pork chops, salmon and chicken, not necessarily pepper-hot but with interesting spices and sauces like tamarind, chili lime and curry.

Planning your Trip

To find the perfect events for planning a visit scroll the Capital City/Lake Murray Country events page. Every member of the group will find a favorite, from food festivals to arts and entertainment showcases to cultural, historical and contemporary events. Stop by the Lake Murray Country Visitors Center in the historic Lorick Plantation House to discover hidden gems and more trip ideas or, contact the Lake Murray Country staff at [email protected] for personalized service. Visit LakeMurrayCountry.com to book participating hotel specials at www.LakeMurrayCountry.com/stay-and-play.

By: Mary Huff