Columbia | Marijuana Travel Guide


Where to visit in columbia

Five Points


Home to our favorite local coffee shop, Drip, Five Points is the place for hanging out, shopping, drinking, eating and just chilling. It has everything you could want in a city wrapped up into a single strip. Harden and its branching little streets are lined with small mom-and-pop shops, good eats, and shaded sidewalks. Even though it’s a small neighborhood, you could spend your whole day perusing different stores and stopping in for various snacks and libations. We highly suggest giving the local record shop Papa Jazz a visit, enjoying a drink at Cellar On Greene, and grabbing a bite at Goat’s (voted Best of Columbia in many different categories over the years). If you’re in town and want a chill day out, Five Points is your place.

The Vista


The Vista is a sprawling creative’s haven nestled right alongside the Congaree River. If you’re looking for the art scene or some time in the sun, you should check out The Vista. The river offers fishing and swimming holes, and you can also head over to River Runner Outdoor Center where they’ll hook you up with kayak and canoe rentals. And if you’re going to spend a day on the river, we suggest you end it with a drink over at Twisted Spur Brewing. What The Vista is truly known for, however, is art. There are more art galleries and studios in this district than there are restaurants and bars. If you’ve got time, support the art scene and visit galleries like City Art and Stormwater Studios. The Vista is a place is where southern hospitality and modern culture truly meet.

Main Street


Main Street is Columbia’s urban center. This part of town has had quite a few economic ups-and-downs over the last several decades, but it’s seen a new surge of energy and business in recent years. It’s a melting pot of businessmen, locals, and tourists, and it’s never short of energy or cultural expression. Stopping by Lula Drake is an absolute must – it’s a charming wine parlor with class to spare. We also recommend local favorites like The Nickelodeon, an indie film and art paradise; or, if you’re feeling a little more touristy and historical, the Columbia Museum of Art and South Carolina State House are both great options. When you’re done with Main Street festivities, you also have easy access to Five Points and beautiful green spaces like Finlay Park and Maxcy Gregg Park.

What to do in columbia

Hike Congaree National Park


Technically, Congaree Nation Park is within Hopkins’ city limits, but it’s only a twenty-minute drive from Columbia’s city center and is absolutely worth the drive. This 26,276-acre park is packed with things to do. If you’re a fan of hiking, there are plenty of trails sprawled throughout the park (all well-pathed for running, too). There are several campsites available for a few dollars a night, along with great fishing spots and places to put-in a canoe or kayak for some mid-day watersport. Above all, Congaree is simply gorgeous and well-kempt year-round.

See A Show At The Senate


Right along the Main Street strip is a classic music venue that used to be known as the Music Farm. It has recently been rebranded as The Senate, but the music is just as good as ever. This venue strikes the perfect balance between local indie and larger acts. And if you’re looking for a bite to eat, Tin Roof is right next door and offers a 10% discount to any concert-goers day-of-show. They’ve got some of amazing food and feature tons of deals, trivia events, and additional live music.

Go To Soda City Market


If you ask any local what you should do while visiting Columbia, they’re going to include the Soda City Market on their list. Main Street gets shut down every Saturday morning to host this massive gathering. It’s a year-round event, rain or shine, and successfully recreates a more traditional European market feel. Hundreds of vendors show up every week, and while many of them are regulars, you can always count on there being someone new. Just make sure to come with an empty stomach, because the food at this thing is incredible. You can find anything from classic German and French cuisine to Greek, Indian, and Mexican street food. Soda City Market is simply a great place to go if you want to truly get a sense for the people of Columbia – everyone goes.

Where to Buy Marijuana in columbia

Marijuana in Columbia


Columbia is a great place to live and visit, but it's unfortunately not the best city for cannabis enthusiasts. The state’s laws against marijuana legalization have remained steadfast throughout recent movements – not even medical marijuana has been allowed. Furthermore, new reports have shown South Carolina to have the second-highest marijuana possession arrest rate with alarming racial disparity. While lower than the state average of 3.5x, Columbia’s Richland County still reports black citizens to be 2x more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

However, despite these numbers and current marijuana laws, there are also reports of counties working to decrease the amount of jail time served for possession. This is good news, seeing that South Carolina’s official response to possession is meant to be a little harsher. Officially, a first-time offense for 1 ounce or less will land you a misdemeanor, up to 30 days in jail, and a max $200 fine. Subsequent offenses are still misdemeanors, but jail time can spike to a year and the fine can increase to $2,000. If you’re caught selling or trafficking marijuana in South Carolina, it’s a felony accompanied by several years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Bottom line – don’t get caught with marijuana in South Carolina.

We can be hopeful, however, that some form of legalization (or at least decriminalization) will soon find its way to South Carolina. Despite state law enforcement’s active stance against legalization (recreational and medical), there are continued social efforts to change marijuana laws. Early in 2020, the South Carolina Legislature scheduled hearings for medical marijuana legalization through the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, but these were unfortunately canceled because of COVID-19. However, this does show that South Carolina may be taking steps in the right direction. Additionally, other southern states like Virginia and Mississippi have now decriminalized marijuana in smaller amounts, and states like West Virginia and Florida have legalized medical marijuana. Cities like Columbia have an incredible amount of potential for a thriving cannabis industry, and there are clearly communities that would support a chance to partake in an active cannabis culture.

Where to Shop / Arts in columbia

Cross Hill Market


While this may not be the biggest shopping center in Columbia, it might very well be the cleanest. Cross Hill Market is a slick shopping experience that ascribes to quality over quantity. It’s located about four miles east of Downtown over next to Lake Katherine, and the entire shopping center is an open-concept design. At the heart of the space is Whole Foods, with surrounding shops including Athleta and ULTA Beauty. There are also plenty of places to eat in Cross Hill Market, including Basil Thai Restaurant and Duck Donuts.

Columbiana Centre


As the largest mall in Columbia, we had to put this one on the list. There are over 100 stores to browse, including Belk, Champs, and Journeys, and they also offer big chain restaurants like Red Robin. Two of our favorite attractions include the year-round carousel and the massive Dave & Busters (who doesn’t want to play games?). However, above all the shops, stores, and food, the Columbia Centre does right by the community and offers events, live entertainment, and services such as food drives. In our opinion, a mall that provides food, great shops, and community service opportunities is the best kind of mall.

Trenholm Plaza


Owned by the same company as Cross Hill Market, you can be sure to find class and pedestrian-friendly shopping at Trenholm Plaza. Just ten minutes northwest of Downtown, Trenholm offers plenty of popular shopping destinations like Anthropologie, Chico’s, and Lululemon. Alongside plenty of boutique-style shops, there are also more pragmatic options like Stein Mart. In general, Trenholm Plaza is a pleasant shopping experience in an upscale neighborhood. Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, it’s a great place to browse and walk around.

Where to Eat in columbia

Duke’s Pad Thai


We’re so thankful one of the best places to eat in Columbia also happens to be one of the most affordable. This street food joint offers some of the most delicious noodles you’ll probably ever have. It’s a family-owned business you can feel good supporting, the service is always top-notch, and the general vibe is super relaxed. Pretty much everything on their menu is excellent, but we recommend the Pad Kra Pow, a hot basil dish ideal for anyone that wants a little extra spice. Plus, like most everything else on the menu, it’s only eight bucks!

The Whig


Located in a basement off Main and Gervais, this dive bar is an absolute hidden gem. Sure, they’ve got solid cocktails and a commendable beer selection, but what makes this place really stand out is the stellar food and uniquely eclectic vibe. When you enter this establishment, you can’t help but enjoy how different it is from anywhere else in the city. Also, if you haven’t had The Whig’s smoked gouda mac n’ cheese, you haven’t really lived. The same goes with their pimento cheese fries and feta pesto dip. If you’re in Columbia, please go to The Whig and order a beer and all the cheese you possibly can. You won’t be disappointed.





Since South Carolina is mostly known for classic southern comfort food and lowcountry cuisine, Bourbon is a must for anyone wanting an authentic taste of Columbia. First off, Bourbon is aptly named – they have the single largest whiskey selection in all of South Carolina, and their list changes daily. Fortunately, their food is just as good as their drinks. While it’s not as comprehensive of a list, their Cajun-creole style cuisine is out of this world. Start a meal with their creole pimento cheese and make sure to get a side of bourbon battered onion rings. For the main course, you can’t go wrong with their etouffee – it’s some of the best in the city. 

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