Starting round two of college search and visit time with my daughter. Kind of a bittersweet time for dad and me, but she is so excited. She wants to visit South Carolina over our spring break which is April 9- 13. We are thinking of driving down from central Virginia- should be about 6.5 hours, so I thought we would check into the hotel and wait to do the tour the next day. I would love to hear of some activities to do around Columbia on that first late afternoon/evening. I know we will be a little tired from the trip, but hopefully will have enough energy to see a bit. When we went with our son in 2007 we didn't have time to see anything but the campus tour, and she remembers virtually nothing from that tag-a-long experience.
Also, I did a search and found a couple of suggestions from last year for the HI Express on Taylor St., the Hampton Inn and the Inn at SC. Are there other hotels that I can look into as well?
The state museum is very close, as is the zoo - either of those would make a nice two or two and a half hour visit. The campus is also adjacent to the statehouse which has a museum in it and some interesting grounds to explore. There is a fairly good size mall on I-26 maybe 5-6 miles away from the campus. You may also want to check and see if there are any college activities going on such as concerts or other productions.
As for something a little "hipper", you could visit "5 points" or the "Vista". the Vista has quite a few trendy restaurants, 5 points is a popular hangout for nightlife, and they both have some interesting shopping with small quirky shops.
Personally I think that just riding around the campus area and all over Columbia is interesting in itself.
There is a Mariotte that is actually inside of the campus - sorta between the School of Music/Koger Center building and the horseshoe (sorry, can't remember the name of the road). I've never stayed in it, but being a Mariotte it should be decent and they have several decks of parking underneath the hotel.
Yeah. I've stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott which is on Assembly St.
It's right across the street from Strom.
I love the zoo. It's pretty close to USC. Five Points and the Vista are pretty good areas just to kind of walk around. Lots of food establishments.
You could walk around the entire USC campus. It's a fairly large campus and you really only see a small part of it on the tour. They've changed it from last year to this year, so I'm not even sure what you see on it now. I know last year we only really saw parts of North campus, and then they took us down to Honors to see a dorm, but now they show Maxcy dorms, so you might not even see that much.
Thanks for the suggestions. The zoo sounds fun; I think the idea of walking around a bit after being in the car would be nice. Don't know if I can get hubby to shop with us
I have a hunch she is going to want to see a lot more of the campus than her brother did, so we may do our own extended tour that day, too. I hope the weather is nice- when we went with him there was a cold front (which caught us totally by surprise) and left us shivering as we walked around. Plan on being a bit more prepared for round 2!
I've never been on an official campus tour, maybe they do this on the tours, but regardless I would take the time to walk around and explore the "horseshoe" area. It's the origional historic campus. I wouldn't exactly describe most of the campus as beatiful, but the horseshoe most definately is. It's also a good opportunity to observe between class student life.
I've done the official campus tour - it's worth it. I also recommend the Courtyard on campus, I found it fairly inexpensive, and the beds are great...clean too. If you book directly via Marriott.com and have AAA, you get a better rate and they were running a comp breakfast deal as well.
We visited last weekend and stayed at the Inn at USC right around the corner from the Visitor's Center. The hotel was wonderful, included free parking and delicious breakfast. I would highly recommend it. Our DD sat in on a class, we met with different faculty and then did the extended tour. We skipped the admissions session as she's already been accepted. Overall, a great experience.
pirouetteparent, great suggestion! We are a sports loving family..Hubby played baseball in college and coached for many years so I know he would love to see a game! I will check the schedule and see which one we can fit in. We have our ressies at the Inn at USC and she is getting her thoughts together about what she wants to do while there. Thanks everyone for all of the advice!
The new Sheraton downtown is supposed to be VERY nice. My D (USC grad in 2010) recently stayed there while visiting for a sorority sister's wedding and she raved about it. It is giving the Hilton competition as the nicest hotel in town.
Inn at USC is very nice and very convenient and they have a USC admissions rate if you call them. It includes parking and a nice buffet breakfast which many others don't so make sure you compare all amenities when comparing prices.
We stayed at the SpringHill Suites in the Vista one time and it was a nice surprise....great location, very modern boutique hotel feel that includes parking and a more typical hotel buffet breakfast no cooked to order eggs but waffles, cereals, fruits etc.
If you want some restaurant suggestions, let me know.
So...if you follow baseball, you probably already know that the Gamecocks were the 2010 and 2011 College World Series champs!
So you have a place to stay. Now for food. Make sure to have a meal at California Dreamin', some coffee at Cool Beans, and just walk around the Vista for all the other great places to eat and shop.
sure eadad, any more restaurant possibilities? We may end up spending more than a day and a half there if given a chance to try some new yummy spots! We are thinking if the weather is nice, we may drive east afterward and stop off at Charleston for a bit. That part is very up in the air, though.
If you like Middle Eastern food, "Al-Amir" on 629 Main Street right across from the Honors Residence is a great, very casual Syrian restaurant. We always get the "Damascus Hummus - Kufta (beef)." I am getting hungry just thinking about it :-)