Downtown Shopping District
Favorite thing: Columbia's downtown has potential but lacks the money evident in Charlotte's uptown. There are plenty of vacant slots along Main Street. If the rich folks that live in Charlotte had set up shop here, the downtown would be more gleaming and vital than Charlotte is today, with all the shiny buildings plus the State House, the river, the parks, and deeper sense of history. Columbia still has old-fashioned five and dime stores that one would think would only exist in small rural towns- if even there.
Favorite thing: On a hot day, the falls would certainly be tempting. Oddly enough, the picture was taken in late March when we had temperatures more befitting early June. There were kids who climbed up the steps into the waterfall for a little relief. It should be noted that just two days later, it cooled down dramatically.
- Adventure Travel
Favorite thing: Like all other state capitals, a wide range of advocacy groups strategically position their offices somewhere between the State House and Governor's Mansion. These groups advocate their cause and try to influence the state legislature and the governor to enact laws favourable to it. This featured advocacy group on mental health is located near the governor's mansion, really convenient to South Carolina's previous governor in need of their services. Everybody knows Mark "acemj" is dotty bonkers and this is his advocacy group. Maybe Mark will have better luck with the mental health facilities in South Carolina than he has had in North Carolina.
The second biggest fire hydrant I've ever seen
Favorite thing: If there is a fire hydrant that big, I would hate to see the dog looking to use it! Seriously, I never will understand modern art, but some of it is so humourous that it merits a general tip. For tourist purposes, it can be used as a meeting place or a landmark.
- Arts and Culture
University of South Carolina
Fondest memory: The University of South Carolina has been an institution of higher education for over 200 years. The architecture of the academic and dormitory buildings has more character than at UNCC or my alma mater George Mason University. The University of South Carolina is a member of the Southeastern Conference and the home of the Fighting Gamecocks.
Favorite thing: The skyline of Columbia is not as impressive as that of Charlotte, Richmond, or even Arlington. There are several tall buildings- primarily banks, the State House, and the First Presbyterian Church steeple. The main drags are Main and Gervais Street. Not far from the State House is the University of South Carolina campus.
J. Marion Sims Monument
Fondest memory: Dr. Sims was the founder of gynecological medicine. I approached the monument not knowing this. I wanted to get this monument at a corner of State House grounds for reasons of architectural contrast with the buildings across Gervais Street. On finding out Dr. Sims' field of practice, Mark was laughing like a hysterical hyena wisecracking and teasing me about it halfway down the road.
acemj and me
Fondest memory: Mark and I toured Columbia, South Carolina together on 27 March 2004. The photo was taken by Candice, the waitress at the Liberty Tap Room and Grill. No, Richie hasn't convinced me to become a beer conoisseur. Mark was the only one to have beer. I did, however, have some water. Richie might like this place.
Favorite thing: One would not expect to see too many skywalks in Columbia because the weather is milder here than many cities in the winter. (Minneapolis, noted for its cold weather, is a city literally connected by skywalks.) There are several here, but the one pictured is the longest and most attractive in my opinion.
Favorite thing: Columbia's downtown is well worth a visit, but I couldn't help but think that it has even more potential. While walking along Main Street, it's hard not to imagine what it could be like with a little infusion of money. There are many beautiful, old buildings that are in states of disuse or that are only half filled with what appear to be struggling businesses.
However, if I were to venture a guess, I'd say that within the next few years, more and more of these structures will be revitalized.
Favorite thing: The downtown skyline is not overwhelming and awe-inspiring, like others I've seen, but it does have an interesting mix of older buildings with intricate architectural details, and newer buildings, like the one in the background of this photo, the SouthTrust Bank corporate headquarters, the tallest building in the state.
Strange first photo
Favorite thing: On my most recent trip to Columbia, b1bob and I made our first stop in downtown to snap this photo of . . . well, I don't really know what it is (other than the obvious . . . a giant silver colored leaning fire hydrant)! I guess some might call this modern art. Some might call it a sculpture gone terrible wrong. And still others might call it a dog's fantasy!!
Lovely capital city
Favorite thing: Columbia became the state capital in 1786 and to this day, the State House (that's what they call the capitol building and grounds), is one of the most lovely places in town. I usually park at a meter (free on the weekends) along the Senate Street side of the grounds, where you'll find this sign and many monuments and shady spots to relax.
Favorite thing: I'm not going to claim that Columbia is one of America's great centers of art, but the city does have some surprisingly interesting attractions for anyone interested in the arts.
In addition to the Columbia Museum of Art and the State History Museum, there is the McKissick Museum on the USC campus and other interesting pieces of public art like this one in front of the art museum.
For a list of local art galleries, check this out.
Columbia's social gathering point
Favorite thing: Finlay Park located on the edge of downtown, not only provides excellent views of downtown, it also is a great gathering place for locals. Last time I was there, it was a warm day in early spring. In fact it was the first 80+ degree day of the year, and the sunny skies really brought out the crowds. It was also Kids Day, which had the park packed with little ones and big ones alike all having a great time. Every time I've been in Columbia, Finlay Park has been a rather happening place.