My name is Sarah McNab, I'm 20 years old and currently a fashion merchandising student at USC, as well as an intern for Jasper Magazine, Columbia's flagship art's publication.
Are you from Columbia? How long have you lived in Columbia?
I am from Columbia, lived here my whole life.
What is your background like?
I am a junior at USC, studying Fashion Merchandising and Art History.
Where are you favorite places to shop?
Where to begin! Columbia makes up for what it may be lacking in big name brands with local vintage shops and tucked away thrift stores. I shop most frequently at thrift stores, including Stepping Stones, Revente's Last Call, St. Paws, Palmetto's Thrift and His House. Columbia also has some great antiquing spots, including City Market Antique store and Tri-City Pickers. Bohemian, a boutique in 5 Points, is the best place to shop for brands including Wildfox and Free People, while Sid n Nancy is a Buy-Sell-Trade shop in 5 Points that always has gems hidden in their racks.
Where are you favorite places to eat?
Columbia has an awesome underground foodie scene happening, and my all time favorite restaurant is Cafe Strudel, located in West Columbia. Best brunch spot, hands down! Try the Hangover Hashbrowns, I promise you won't be disappointed. The best burgers in Columbia can be found at Pawley's Front Porch, and the pimento cheeseburger is a southern classic and personal favorite. I also love Menkoi Ramen House, Columbia's only Japanese style Ramen restaurant, which is especially tasty late at night, as it's one of the only places open till 3 AM on weekends.
And finally, the food truck scene in Columbia is legit. My favorite is the 2 Fat 2 Fly wings truck which has a mac n' cheese stuffed chicken wing that IS what dreams are made of.
Best place to people-watch?
Drip Coffee in Five Points is my favorite combo coffee and people-watching spot. It's locally owned and just has good vibes all around. I have to say it's easily one of my favorite places to be in Columbia.
Top five must-see tourist atttractions for those visiting?
1. The River! You can ride a tube down the Saluda River, bring a picnic to the Riverwalk, or venture and find your own hidden away spot located up and down the Saluda and the Congaree rivers.
2. Riverbanks Zoo. Gotta feed the giraffes and see the penguins.
3. The Horseshoe on USC's campus. Filled with lounging students in the fall and spring, the Horseshoe is a beautiful spot for picnics and naps throughout the year.
4. Soda City Farmer's Market, every Saturday morning on Main St. has everything from local produce, artwork, and rhubarb flavored popsicles.
5. The Nickelodeon Theater, an independent movie theater and local institution that always shows off-beat movies that Columbia doesn't always get in the big theaters.
Coolest neighborhood to live in?
5 Points or the Vista.
What's your favorite part about living in Columbia?
Columbia has grown on me. You may have to search a bit for things to do, but they're out there. Whether it be sitting by the river in the summer or ice skating on Main Street in the winter, Soda City has more to offer than meets the eye. I love how Columbia has a tightly knit arts community that is really supportive of local talent. The Student Designer Showcase held each year during USC Fashion Week is a great way for young and aspiring designers to get exposure. Interning for Jasper has opened my eyes to how the arts community in Columbia supports itself, from theater shows produced by USC students to local bands playing shows in resident's houses, Columbia has talent you can't ignore. Because the city is so small it is able to showcase artists in a more intimate and approachable way, which I think makes Columbia a "suburb-city" in the best way possible.