As National Travel and Tourism Week continues today, we encourage you to celebrate the tourism industry, its dedicated workers and the impact travel has on our community. The travel effect proves the travel industry has a measurable and purposeful impact on our lives, businesses and the nation's economy as a whole. For the Columbia region, the tourism industry brings in 4 million visitors for a $1 billion impact on the local economy.

As a part of National Travel & Tourism Week, we'd like you to be a "tourist in your own town" and explore all of Columbia, SC's hot spots this week! We'll be highlighting things to do and places to go, so stay tuned to our blog, Facebook or Twitter pages for more details.

Today, embrace some of the aspects that make Columbia, SC The New Southern Hot Spot!

a taste of the south
Nothing says Southern cuisine like some good 'ole fashioned barbecue. Go hog wild at Palmetto Pig, Hudson's Smokehouse, Shealy's or The Southern Belly BBQ to get your fill! Swing by Pawley's Front Porch for a fried green tomato napoleon or a gourmet burger topped with pimento cheese. Blue Marlin Steaks & Seafood has you covered for shrimp and grits with a side of collards, while Mr. Friendly's New Southern Café will serve up a delectable slice of bourbon pecan pie! Peruse our extensive list of Columbia, SC's restaurants for even more quintessential Southern suggestions!

southern style
Pearls, bow ties and pastels, oh my! If there's one thing Southerners know how to do, it's how to look their best for any occasion. From dressing up to the nines for football games to getting fancy for a night out on the town, those of us in Columbia, SC never miss an opportunity to pull out all the stops. Thanks to local retailers such as Brittons, LaRoque and Copper Penny, as well as the many other excellent stores sprinkled throughout the Columbia region, our men can remain dapper and our lovely Southern belles can stay on top of the latest trends.



stop and smell the flowers
With so many beautiful gardens and green spaces, it may seem as if all Southerners are born with two green thumbs and it doesn't hurt that the Columbia region has such a great climate for a large variety of plants. Be sure to visit the Botanical Garden at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and the antique gardens of Historic Columbia Homes and Gardens for inspiration.



roadside produce and boiled peanuts
A Southern dinner table wouldn't be complete without fresh picked flowers from the garden and local produce, both in large abundance in the Columbia region. Farmer's markets, roadside produce and boiled peanut stands are Southern icons. There's just something about being able to meet and directly support the farmers who harvest an assortment of locally produced goods from milk and honey to collards and corn. For a list of roadside markets near you, visit agriculture.sc.gov. Stop by City Roots In-Town Sustainable Farm and get inspired to create an urban garden of your own. Pick strawberries at Cottle Strawberry Farm and James R. Sease Farms.  


kick back and relax
Whether basking in the sun on The Horseshoe or the banks of one of our three rivers, sitting in the shade of your front porch with an ice-cold sweet tea in hand or going for a leisurely stroll down the block, take some time today to slow down and appreciate the easygoing pace of the South!

Be sure to check back in with us tomorrow for a salute to the offerings of The New Military Hot Spot!

Share your hometown tourist moments by posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #nttw14, #famouslyhot and #traveleffect. We might just show off your pictures on our social media!