The shopping in Columbia, South Carolina, reflects the diversity of people who live in the city. You'll find everything from fine art to funky, handmade crafts. From the staples of the Southern uniform to trappings for the free-est of spirits. From vintage clothing stores to bow ties and people who can teach you how to tie them. Explore one or all of Columbia's shopping districts, each with a personality all its own.
For upscale clothing with a distinctly Southern look, head to Devine Street, just up the hill from Five Points. Devine Street is the home of Brittons, a destination clothing shop made famous by an enormously popular YouTube video on how to properly tie a bow tie.
While most other bow-tying videos clock in at well over five minutes -- in some cases close to 10 minutes -- Brittons' is short and sweet at just 1:10. Yet if the more than 3 million views and thousands of comments are to be believed, it's the most effective one out there. Brittons sells more than just bow ties, of course. The store is filled with gorgeous upscale clothing from exclusive brands. You will walk out looking like a true Southern lady or gentleman.
Pink Sorbet, also on Devine, is the largest Lilly Pulitzer retail outlet in South Carolina, with a wonderful collection of bright and colorful dresses and separates. Stop by Pout, just a few doors down, for the perfect lipstick to complement your new look. If you're more of the outdoors type, Half-Moon Outfitters has everything you need for adventure and travel.
When you're done outfitting yourself as a Southern lady or gentleman, head to Craft and Draft, a comfy spot that sells a dozen fine craft beers fresh from the tap into bottles or growlers. Then, like a true Columbian, find yourself a porch, kick back in your seersucker and Lilly, and enjoy a cold beverage.
The Congaree Vista
Once an area of old warehouses and crumbling buildings, the Congaree Vista is now a vibrant place, with dozens of restaurants, shops and hotels in the century-old brick buildings. It was artists, though, who set this remarkable urban revitalization into play, when they set up their studios and galleries. The Vista remains a fantastic place to look at and buy art. Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 is both a gallery space and studios for working artists. One Eared Cow Glass gives visitors the chance to watch artists blow glass and transform it into art, and to purchase some to bring home. Make sure to check out some of the many other galleries in the area.
The Vista, while transformed, hasn't lost every vestige of its former life. Head to Adluh Flour Mills, where famous Adluh grits are still ground, and pick some up in their shop.
The area is called the Congaree Vista because it overlooks the wide and beautiful Congaree River, the river formed when the Broad and Saluda Rivers merge in Columbia. Congaree National Park, named after that river, is just a short drive out of town. If you want to do more than just look at the river from afar -- if you want to actually get on the river and explore the beauty around it -- you're in luck. The Vista is also home to some great outdoors outfitters. Check out the River Runner Outdoor Center and The Backpacker for equipment, clothing, and advice to get you outside and enjoying Columbia's beautiful rivers and surroundings.
Just a short hop away from the Vista, on Main Street, is the Mast General Store. It's not exactly a general store in the old-timey sense, with bolts of cloth, pick axes and pounds of sugar. It's better. And it certainly has something for everyone in the family: great selection of clothing, shoes, outdoor gear, interesting housewares, and the best part of all, two long aisles lined with barrels and barrels of candy.
If you're in town on a Saturday, don't miss the Soda City Market, which takes over Main Street at the 1500 block with artisans, farmers, food trucks, craft breweries and more.
While Five Points, at the intersection of Santee, Harden and Devine streets, might be famous among University of South Carolina's students and alumni for its collection of college bars, it's during the day that the village's charm really shines. Five Points is an undeniably friendly and quaint place to shop. You just might feel like you're back in college yourself.
Fitting for a place so beloved by students, many of the stores veer toward the funky and bohemian. Papa Jazz Record Shoppe has one of the best vinyl record collections in the Southeast, both new and used, along with CDs and DVDs. Drip Columbia also has great records for sale in the back of its cozy dining room.
Vintage clothing stores and consignment shops, like Sid and Nancy's, 2G's Clothing, Gentleman's Closet and Revente, are intermingled with trendy women's clothing stores, like Wish, Petal and Copper Penny. Don’t miss the great comfort-driven shoe store, Good for the Sole Shoes and Oops, which stocks trendy clothing, jewelry and houseware/gift items at more affordable prices. There's a kooky costume shop called HipWaZee, because what's a college town without one?
The Gourmet Shop has an incredible selection of fine wines, cheeses and hard-to-find ingredients. It's also a great place to get a bite to eat in their cafe.
If you’re looking for a traditional mall and popular national chain stores, head out to Columbiana Centre and the surrounding shopping plazas on Harbison Boulevard, just off Interstate 26. The Village at Sandhill is an outdoor mall, with all your favorite brands, just a bit out of town on Two Notch Road.
While Five Points, the Vista, Devine Street and the malls might be the main shopping districts in Columbia, they certainly aren't the only places to find a treasure or two while in Columbia. Keep your eyes open for beautiful and fun finds from a famously hot capital city.