The Sentinel’s Valentine’s Guide


Are you stressed out about Valentine’s Day? Not sure where to go or what to do to celebrate with your special someone? Well, look no further. When it comes to dates, one size doesn’t fit all. This year, take our advice and follow this guide to Valentine’s Day.

Looking to go on a fun date? Look no farther than Lady Street, right off the Vista, where Escapology is quietly doing God’s work in the form of some of the best entertainment in Columbia. Escapology, an unassuming building from the outside, is actually home to six unique escape rooms, each with an intriguing backstory. Challenge yourself to escape a train car and catch a murderer (Budapest Express, 8.5/10 difficulty), or save the president’s life by safely landing Air Force One after engine failure (Mayday, 8/10 difficulty). You’ll want to escape these rooms almost as badly as you’ll want to escape the awkwardness of your date. After your successful (and daring) escape, reward yourself and your teammate by heading to Quaker Steak & Lube just off of South Beltline Boulevard, where the fun continues! Quaker Steak & Lube, a family-friendly restaurant (boasting 25 different wing sauces) is home to its own bowling alley, so that even if you strike out in love, you can still pick up a spare.

If you want to be THAT couple and go on a totally cliché date, that’s fine too! There’s still tons of options. You could go grab a bucket of popcorn and go to the movie theatre, there’s got to be something romantic playing somewhere. Or you could opt for a nice dinner at one of the restaurants mentioned in this article. Or, if you both like sports, or are Gamecock fans, you could go to a baseball game. The Gamecocks are playing the Holy Cross Crusaders at Founders Park.

If you’re searching for a convenient budget date to celebrate your Valentine’s Day, search no further. Columbia is home to the beautiful Congaree River – and running alongside it, the Riverfront Park. The park is natural, expansive, picturesque, and, most importantly, completely free. And living in South Carolina, even in February, the thermostat is hardly a concern. It just goes to show that romance doesn’t always come with a price tag.

If a romantic date is what you’re looking for, then head down to the vista. You can grab some dessert at Kaminsky’s Bakery or some ice cream at Marble Slab and walk around with your date. Or, you could grab dinner at Cola’s Restaurant or Blue Marlin for great food and ambiance. Not really in the mood for food? That’s fine. You can always find somewhere with some live music or dancing. And hey, here’s an idea: Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, do something over the weekend! Go to the beach or the lake.

Can’t sit still? That’s fine. Columbia is full of spots for those with a taste for the more active date. Start off your night with a trip to Plex HiWire, a sports center on Broad Stone Road. This venue is home to a variety of exciting (and fairly priced) activities perfect for the high-energy couple. Spend the evening ice skating hand-in-hand with your significant other, or challenge them to a thrilling race on the Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course. Not having fun yet? Head over to Plex HiWire’s indoor trampoline park, where the quality of your date is guaranteed to bounce back.

Looking for a more traditional classy date? Columbia does not disappoint there, either. For the classiest eaters, Hall’s Chophouse, a steak and seafood restaurant on Main Street, provides a venue that would put the Royal Family to shame. Perfect for a romantic evening, the restaurant is a classic combination of rich food, ornate decor, and a prime location right in the heart of the city. But those looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option might find a perfect balance at California Dreaming, located further down Main Street. Like Hall’s Chophouse, California Dreaming does offer the classic steak and seafood options, but it also has plenty of sandwich, salad and pasta on the menu which make it slightly less brutal on the wallet. And – most importantly – both restaurants definitely bring the classy factor that you’ve been (California) dreaming about.

Single for Valentine’s day? Don’t worry you’re not alone. You should get all your single friends together and go out. Go to a party. Or get your girlfriends for a great girl’s night in, with snacks, facemasks, and completely trash reality tv shows. Or if you don’t really feel like socializing, just grab a box of chocolates and all the sappy romcoms you can find and pine over Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling all night.