South Carolina

What can you do in the Midlands when it pours? Here are 7 indoor activities

The rain just won’t seem to go away in Columbia.

The forecast for the rest of this week isn’t looking too good for locals and visitors in the city. There’s a chance of rain nearly every day this week, according to the National Weather Service.

The following week doesn’t look much better with the hottest day being Saturday at 61 degrees, according to The Weather Channel’s forecast. But the rest of the week stays in the high 40s and low 50s.

That means if you’re on spring break or just visiting South Carolina’s capital for fun, you’re going to need a back-up plan (or five), depending on how the weather goes.

Don’t fret because we’ve taken a look at some fun indoor activities in and around the Midlands as the rain pours:

Wine, Dine & Paint

If you haven’t heard of the newest happy hour trend, then you’re missing out.

There are a number of studios across the states where you and your friends can learn how to paint, all while sipping on a glass of wine (or two).

Columbia has quite a few options for these wine + painting bars, too:

Studio Cellar — 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Mon. through Thurs.; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fri.; 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sat.; 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sun.

Wine & Design — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mon. through Sat.; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun.

Grapes & Gallery — Find class schedule here.

Painting with a Twist — Find class schedule here. Studio opens 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tues. through Fri.; 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sat.

See if a bit of sweet, bubbly wine can heighten whatever creative talents you and your crew might have.

Create an “Escape Plan”

Just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t flex your creative and investigative brain muscles.

Here are few places known as “escape rooms” where you and your group must solve puzzles and mysteries in order to escape the game room:

1. Escape Plan

Known as Columbia’s largest escape room, Escape Plan is perfect for both small and large groups. The escape room has different themes depending on what kind of adventure you want to go on.

You can be Merlin’s apprentice trying to find his lost wand in “The Wizard” room, become a pirate and take over a captain’s ship, or become an undercover CIA agent and capture a spy in “Espionage.”

2. The Final Door

This Columbia escape room was rated among the top best escape rooms in America, according to TripAdvisor.

You can escape Wonderland just like Alice. Or you can even try to escape a cult before you become a human sacrifice, according to the site.

3. Escapology

Similar to the first two, there are a number of mysteries and adventures to try to solve and escape.

Room themes include: Mansion Murder, Th3 Code, Budapest Express, Antidote, and Mayday.


Another, arguably strange, bar trend that’s popping up in American cities are bars where you can drink and throw an ax (hopefully responsibly).

Craft Axe Throwing just opened in downtown Columbia late January, so it’s perfect for those who want to tell someone to “hold their beer” while performing this task.

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It’s best to book a spot in advance as most ax-throwing bars have a limited amount of “ax alleys” for groups to throw. However, you can walk in if it turns out to be a last-minute decision among your group on a night out.

You definitely can’t — probably won’t even want to — bring the little ones to this outing. Only kids and 10 or older can participate, but at least the adults can have fun.


Get ready to throw on some bowling shoes and practice your Flintstones’ tiptoe walk to the lane if it’s pouring.

Bowling is a great alternative to braving the elements. Everyone in the family or your group of friends can see who can score the most spares and strikes.

You could go to AMF Columbia Lanes where you can also play a few arcade games and chow down on some food.

Northeast there’s Royal Z Lanes for a more old-school feel to bowling.

Beltline Lanes doubles as a travel center and also a bowling and arcade paradise. Oddly enough making it the perfect spot for tourists to have a bit of fun before they possibly hit the road again.

Then, there’s The Grand, a bowling alley off Main Street where you can compete with friends or co-workers You’ll have to come back, though, when the weather is nicer to enjoy the bowling alley + bar’s plaza area.

Visit the museum

Want to learn a bit more about S.C. history or view some of the most beautiful pieces of art?

When it’s raining outside, arguably the best way to pass the time is to wander through exhibits and galleries. You’ll never know what you can learn as you walk through the South Carolina State Museum or the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum.

Here’s a list of all the places you can go to (including their hours):

See a show (or three)

Columbia also has a bustling art scene where there are a ton of historic theaters and performing arts centers.

Columbia’s historic Town Theatre is celebrating its centennial year this season with shows such as “Newsies“ and “Mamma Mia.”

If you visit the Koger Center for the Arts in March, you can see Columbia’s version of the hit Broadway show Chicago along with other events — you can find the full calendar here.

For those who love films that spark a discussion, you’ll want to the visit the Nickelodeon — no, not like the kid’s network. The Nickelodeon shows independent films that are usually run as part of a series to spark dialogue within the community.

Then, there’s always the option to hit up one of the Regal Cinemas or AMC Theaters in the area to watch some of the biggest Blockbuster hits.

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Briana Saunders answers questions about culture, food, and the environment as the Curious S.C. Reporter for McClatchy’s newspapers. She moved to the Lowcountry after studying Journalism at the University of Missouri, where she led a team reporting the arts and culture of Columbia, Mo. at VOX Magazine.