Nat and I were strolling down Main Street coming from the State House, when we saw this local market at the corner of Main and Hampton.
The market was just getting underway, but starting in late March through the end of May it's known as the Spring Magnolia Market and is held every Saturday. The Fall Magnolia Market runs on Saturdays in September and October.
Both attract locals buying and selling handicrafts, produce, fine arts and much more. The best part is that it's free and right in the heart of downtown in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.
If you enjoy history (as I do) and spending money (Which I do not) you may want to spend some time at Dutch Square Mall. I was told that it is the oldest mall in SC and that it is also the most popular. It was very busy the Saturday that I was there but after having been told that it was the most popular, I would have expected more crowds. "All roads lead" there because it is centrally located between I-20, I-26, and I-126. The anchors are a Belk's Department Store and a Burlington Coat Factory, but there are over 40 specialty and boutique shops, as well as a 14-screen movie complex.
What to buy: Just about anything
What to pay: About average
You may have heard Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy talk in his acts about shopping at Piggly Wiggly. Well, there really is such a grocery store. In fact, there is a whole chain in the Southeast.
What to buy: Anything that won't eat you first AND they are not caving into pressure by certain groups to remove Maurice's Barbecue Sauce from the shelves.
What to pay: Piggly Wiggly isn't the kind of snooty grocery store you would find in Charlotte's Ballantyne of Richmond's West End.
The State House gift shop is located strategically as tourists exit the State House. I bought a postcard for Alex (an Argentine friend of Mark's and mine), a commemorative ornament for Mama, and a shot glass for Daddy who collects them.
I'm not a big shopper, but I've been to this market which is actually made up of multiple shops inside a large complex. It's a fun place to browse and who knows, you might just find a gem. The location is great. Even if you're just visiting Columbia for the day, it's located just a five minute walk down the hill on Gervais Street from the State House grounds.