Columbia is South Carolina’s capital city, and upon visiting the bustling metropolis, it’s easy to see why. Along with being located almost exactly in the center of the state, there’s always plenty to do in this muttropolitan area. Head downtown to explore the Riverwalk, where you can take your leashed pet on a walk while enjoying the beautiful views of the Congaree River. Locals recommend going around sunset; “picturesque” doesn’t even begin to describe how beautiful the setting sun looks reflected on the water.
Not only is there plenty for you to do with your dog in Columbia, there’s also plenty of places to make sure he stays in tip-top health! No matter what neighborhood you’re in – yes, that includes downtown – there’s always a veterinarian office not too far away. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Sesquicentennial State Park on the north side of town and let your dog explore the woods; just make sure he’s on a leash. Whether your pooch is a city dog or a country dog, Columbia has something for everyone!
If you want to have some fun with your dog, and if you’re feeling like grabbing a bite to eat, make sure you check out the heart of Columbia: the Main Street District. This district has plenty for you to do with Fido. Want to do some shopping? Mast General Store allows you to bring your dog in with you while you shop for a cute new outfit or all the candy you can imagine; the store also sells a variety of other items. Feeling hungry? Just across the street, you’ll find Michael’s Café and Catering; Fido can join you on their outdoor patio. Make sure you try one of their delicious sandwiches, and you can ask for some water for your canine companion. Just make sure your best pal is on a leash!
Columbia’s Earlewood neighborhood, located just outside of downtown, is home to the newly restored NOMA Bark Park, and you can be sure your dog will have a ball! NOMA – which is short for North Main – Bark Park has separate areas for differently-sized dogs, allowing your dog to confidently and securely make new friends. Although this park does have a small annual fee, currently $25, there are some bonus perks for what you pay. The park provides tennis balls and a few other toys for your furry friend to play with, and there are also waste disposal stations in the park. For dog parents, there are plenty of benches to sit on. This is an off-leash park.
Columbia’s Five Points neighborhood has a reputation for being the party scene for students attending the state university, but if you’re a dog owner, you should give this neighborhood a chance! Your dog will have a lot of fun playing at Emily Douglas Dog Park. This free, off-leash dog park is known for how large it is, allowing your pawesome dog to run around and make some new friends. Columbia’s also known for how hot it can get, but the park has you covered (literally!); there’s plenty of shaded seating, and there’s also water for your dog. Remember to bring some for yourself, too. This is the city’s only free dog park.
Columbia’s Vista is known for being just off the state university’s campus, but you’ll also find plenty to do with your pet! Want to grab some great grub or just do some sight-seeing? The Gervais Street Bridge has a walking path where you can take in the beautiful views offered by the Congaree River. Cupcake, a nearby local gourmet cupcake shop, serves more types of cupcakes than you thought existed! You can dine on one of their outdoor tables with Fido in tow. If you’re looking for a full meal, check out Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. This local favorite has all your favorite beers on tap, alongside some lesser-known options and delectable classic bar food. Your dog can join you on the spacious porch; just make sure to bring a leash.
Just across the Gervais Street Bridge, and less than a five-minute drive from Columbia, you’ll find the neighborhood of Mill Village. As the name implies, there are plenty of cute, old mill houses to see, but hidden among them is something even better: Café Strudel. This local favorite allows your dog to join you at one of their outdoor tables. Just make sure to bring a leash – and your appetite! The restaurant’s most famous dish is its “Hangover Hashbrowns,” which are covered in cheese, peppers, tomatoes, and more. If you’d rather go with a timeless classic, Café Strudel also serve up delicious wraps and salads. Bone Appetit!