Daytrippin’: Aiken, SC

Many people, when they think of Aiken, tend to think horse country. While it’s true that Aiken hosts world-class equestrian events and is home to several thoroughbred champions, there is much more to be discovered in this quaint southern city, named Best Southern Small Town in 2018 by Southern Living Magazine.

Aiken Trolley Tours:
Experience Aiken by trolley! During the Aiken Visitor Center and Train Museum’s Saturday-only Trolley Tour, you’ll cruise comfortably under a canopy of Live Oaks as you ride and learn about the city’s historic homes and churches, the Battle of Aiken, the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum and the picturesque Hopelands Gardens.

The Arts in Aiken
The Aiken Center for the Arts’ Gallery is a unique gift shop featuring an eclectic collection of local artisan works such as handcrafted jewelry, paintings, pottery, baskets, and clothing. You’re sure to find something you like, and sales support the arts in Aiken! aikencenterforthearts.org
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Aiken County Historical Museum
The museum is located in a former Winter Colony cottage (at 17,000 square feet!). The Winter Colony was the winter home of wealthy folks like the Whitneys, the Astors, the Vanderbilts, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The museum houses a diverse collection of historical exhibits ranging from Natural History to a 1950’s soda fountain to a handmade miniature circus to an 1800’s log cabin. Learn about Aiken, its residents and its interesting beginnings here. Gift shop on site. 803-642-2015. aikenmuseum.us

Lunch | Betsy’s on the Corner
Located downtown, Betsy’s is fine food in a fun, diner atmosphere. Enjoy homemade soups and salads, southern-style favorites like Betsy’s Famous Chicken and Dumplings, handcrafted burgers, hotdogs, specialty sandwiches, and daily Blue Plates. Afterwards, indulge in a frosty shake or ice cream treat from their old-fashioned soda fountain!
159 Laurens St. NW | 803-226-0078
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Dinner | Magnolia
With an emphasis on healthy, organic ingredients, Magnolia has something for everyone! Fresh, house-made soups and salads, like the Mango Shrimp Salad, are available alongside delicious grilled paninis and entrees like a Pork Chop Stuffed with Prosciutto-Wrapped Gorgonzola. A full bar carries a variety of wines, most available by the glass, as well as craft beers, exquisite cocktails and Boylan Craft Sodas. 126 Laurens St, NW | 803.649.3339


Annual Highlights

Aiken’s Makin’
One of the best arts and crafts events in the Southeast! This two-day festival features fine arts, handmade craft exhibits, food, performing artists and more. aikensmakin.net

Aiken Horse Show
This annual equestrian competition is held at the legendary show ring in the Hitchcock Woods. The show is a prestigious and popular event that attracts equestrians and spectators alike. aikenhorseshow.org

Aiken Bluegrass Festival
This festival has become a must-see for music lovers in the southeast! Thousands of bluegrass fans enjoy this weekend of great music, food, vendors, family fun and camping. loveabf.com
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Katydid Combined Driving Event
This unique driving event is a kind of horse-and-carriage triathlon, featuring dressage, cross-country, and obstacle driving, and attracts the best carriage drivers across the country. katydidcde.com

Christmas in Hopelands
An enchanting walk-through exhibit in Aiken’s Hopelands Gardens that features over two miles of lighted pathways and illuminated displays during the holiday season. visitaikensc.com/holiday

 

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