Sunshine during the day and vibrant nightlife when the evening sets in. What more could you want in a destination? South Carolina is one of those states on the east coast that might be overlooked, but is well worth the time spent there for all it has to offer. As a vacation spot in itself or simply a pit-stop on your road from north to south (like mine!) it’s a blast to explore along the beach-y coast and its eclectic cities. With ample places to stay overnight in Columbia, Myrtle Beach and more, it’s well worth extending your stay for comfort and more fun.
Let’s dive into some perfect, quick and cheerful itineraries for a couple fun nights out in South Carolina’s most swinging cities.
Columbia, South Carolina
Have a look at the grid-like downtown area to get to know Columbia – it’s historic, clean, sophisticated and even a little old school. But this is blended with a trend college vibe from the major campuses within city limits, which keep the atmosphere young and fresh too.
Classic cocktails alert! I was drawn to this watering hole right away because of it’s southern charm and extensive menu of spirits. Along with enough bourbons to drown a cat, the food menu has some bites in ode to home-style cooking- including a killer etouffée. The ambiance is cozy and warm, a great place for a chat early on to kick-off your evening.
9PM: Mellow Mushroom
To stave off some of those strong spirits, have a fresh-made pizza at Mellow Mushroom before continuing on into the night. A favorite among the locals, it’s a simple restaurant with a flavorful menu, focusing on brick oven pies, calzones and craft beer. It’s a chain, but is especially revered in Columbia. Those with celiac disease or who have vegan diet can rejoice too – they offer both gluten-free crust and vegan cheese options that are super tasty.
12AM: Art Bar
As it gets later, things start to get a little wilder. The Art Bar is an institution in Columbia, well loved by hipsters and booze-lovers of the night. There is a wild collection of strange décor, including a large red-eyed robot that may or may not be judging you on how many cheap shots you’ve had. Most nights there is live entertainment, from DJ sets and karaoke to local bands and trivia nights. On the weekend they are open until 2AM.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This is the epitome of Americana wrapped up in 60-miles of coastline. It’s a whirlwind of colors, smells and sights any day of the week. Catch a glimpse roves of (friendly) bikers clad in leather zipping up and down the main drags, or grab a hotdog and people watch down by the pier and massive SkyWheel. Besides simply strolling along the beaches, it’s also a fun place at night to have fruity cocktails in the sea breeze and relax at one of the many classic hotels on the water.
5PM: Second Avenue Pier
Check out what makes the coast famous by the pier in the early evening. You can join casual fisherman to catching some fresh off the dock, as you don’t need a special license (just a rod rental) to have some fun fishing. Then have some dinner at the restaurant overlooking the pier and choose from fresh seafood or steak dishes.
6PM: Ocean Annie’s
Stay on the water at least until the sun goes down so you can enjoy that breeze and last few rays of light Ocean Annie’s is a great spot for this, with a fun happy hour from 4-7PM at the lounge that includes complimentary food. Stay a bit later to hear live music and join the bigger party outside near the beach.
10PM: The Avenue
Newly renamed with a fresh re-design, this swinging part of the main drag in Myrtle Beach is a perfect place to end the evening. There’s countless options for food and entertainment all in one place. Have cocktails at the classics, like Hard Rock Café and Senor Frogs. There’s a fun comedy bar and plenty of dance floors with live music. This is all a part of Broadway at the Beach, which is open all day for shopping, dining and even a zipline over the ocean.
Do you like to stay out late while traveling, or get an early start to sightsee? Have you been to South Carolina?