Summer days in Columbia

With fewer classes during the summer, there is more time to enjoy what the University of South Carolina and the surrounding areas have to offer. And because of the summer weather, it is a great time to be outdoors and experience Columbia.

Not that far off campus, Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden at 500 Wildlife Parkway just opened a new sea lion exhibit. And only a 20-minute drive from campus, the Cottle Strawberry Farm at 2533 Trotter Road is ready for strawberry-picking season.

While on campus, tennis courts at 1300 Wheat St. and 1703 Blossom St. are open to any student, faculty, staff and alumni with a valid Carolina Card or Blatt PE Center alumni membership card. There are opportunities to use the resources on campus to create an adventure off campus. The Outdoor Recreation rental shop in the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center offers gear that is perfect for camping or kayaking at the nearby Congaree National Park at 100 National Park Road. Outdoor Recreation offers adventure trips for all skill levels. The bike shop is also open for students and faculty to borrow a bike and spend a day riding through Columbia.

Early risers can take advantage of the multiple farmers markets here. On campus, the Healthy Carolina’s Farmers Market is open on Greene Street from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Soda City Market is located on Main Street downtown and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

If weather permits it, McCutchen House Garden Grille is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. The Garden Grille is located at the McCutchen House patio and run by students in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.

Let’s not forget about night owls. Spirit Communications Park is now home to the Columbia Fireflies, the city’s new minor league baseball team, and hosts games throughout the summer. Downtown Columbia also has First Thursday on Main. At the beginning of each month, businesses between 1200 and 1700 Main Street stay open late and offer deals for customers all night. The “5 after 5” is hosted once a month with a concert series held at the fountain at Five Points. The next one is July 28. Also the Melton Observatory holds public viewings of the night sky through the physics and astronomy department’s telescopes from 9 to 11 p.m. on Monday, weather permitting.

Share this Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about