Consider this: you finish all of your homework and have the entire afternoon to relax and just enjoy the day. What do you do? Hanging out in the residence hall or sitting on the Horseshoe is a great way to unwind, but Columbia has so many spots near campus worth a visit!

If you’re looking for shopping, stop by Mast General Store and check out all of the stuff they’ve got there. My favorite part is the candy! From there, I walk over to the Columbia Museum of Art because there is always a unique exhibit. The Museum of Art is a must-go at some point while you’re in Columbia, and students can get in for only $5! Right now, they’ve got a cool exhibit called CUT!, with period costumes from 26 movies that span over five centuries. In addition to their great featured exhibits, the museum has a huge collection of Asian, European, Modern art and more! I’ll spend a couple of hours in here on a weekend and be reminded of how badly I need to brush up on my art skills again.

When the weather gets a little warmer (or at least consistently so), visit Sweet Cream for some ice cream. I’ve never had an ice cream from Sweet Cream I didn’t love! I’ve never had flavors quite like the ones they offer--even the ones that sound strange always end up being incredible.

If you’ve got a bit of extra time on your hands, you should definitely hit up the Nickelodeon Theater. “The Nick” mainly screens independent films, as well as movies that are relevant to our community. I’ve gotten to see The Lunchbox and The Theory of Everything—amazing movies! Right now, they’re playing La La Land. In April, check out their annual Indie Grits Film Festival, a showcase of some of the best Southern DIY film and culture!

With all these adventures at your fingertips, there’s honestly no way you could ever really get bored. So go forth and explore!

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