Best Shopping

From all the shops and stores in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best offerings. We deliver a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Columbia shopping on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Best Shopping list for Columbia. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.


An elegant shop that brings out the gourmand in everyone! You'll find shelves stocked with fine wines, aged cheeses, specialty coffees, gourmet items, made-in-the-South foods, cigars and kitchen accessories. The store also boasts a wonderful little café where you can fill up on creative sandwiches such as a goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto panini, or Black Forest ham on French bread with Nicoise olives, cornichons, Dijon, lettuce and tomato (served with a side like dill potato salad, deviled egg, pasta salad or cole slaw). Not in the mood for a sandwich? Opt for a salad or a cheese and pâté plate. Finish with a house-baked cookie or brownie.

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A sprawling, 300-acre shopping complex, Village at Sandhill is a work in progress with shopping, dining, residential and office space. Divided into three main sections (Marketplace, Forum and Town Center), the attractive complex has department stores and national retailers like World Market, Home Depot and Old Navy, plus a 16-screen cinema and a huge indoor sports facility. Food and beverage options run the gamut from coffee shops and delis to full-service casual and upscale restaurants.

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The Vista

The Congaree Vista is a former warehouse district that got a major facelift when developers re-fashioned it as a trendy shopping and dining district in the 1990s. Today, the area is home to more than 45 restaurants, plus several bars and clubs. There are some 60 art galleries here, along with museums, a grocery store and numerous other retailers providing a plethora of goods and services. Condos, student housing and office space are being added regularly, so the area stays busy and lively all the time. Individual business hours vary.

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Generally regarded as Columbia's nicest mall, Columbiana Centre has four major department stores – Dillard's, Belk, JCPenney, and Sears – and more than 100 additional retailers, including Ann Taylor Loft, Body Shop, New York & Company, bebe, Williams-Sonoma, Yankee Candle Company, J. Jill, Banana Republic, The Limited, Gymboree, Coldwater Creek, Coach, Build-A-Bear-Workshop and Aeropostale. The food court features an antique carousel and free WiFi.

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Started as a stand at the Assembly Street Curb Market in 1935, Cromer's is a real Columbia original. The place is still family-owned and it still offers roasted peanuts, but you can also find boiled peanuts, pistachios, nut brittles, candy apples, popcorn, snacks and other fun items like sno-cone makers and cotton candy wagons. And it's all guaranteed to be "the worst in town!" You can find out about that last part when you visit!

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Shoes, shoes and more shoes! Check out Kicks for the latest footwear, handbags and accessories from fashion-forward designers like Kate Spade, Hollywould, Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, Moschino, Isaac Mizrahi, Ellen Tracy, BCBG and Theodosia. Flats, pumps, sandals, boots, flip-flops, platforms, wedges – from funky to classy, you'll find them all here (and you may want to take home a pair of each!).

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Eye-catching art glass from Mark Woodham and Tom Lockart. Along with traditional vases, bowls and paperweights, the artists create one-of-a-kind perfume bottles, sculptural pieces, and birdfeeders, even functional sinks and light fixtures. The gallery adopted a lighthearted barn motif in remembrance of its original location. Plan to visit during studio hours for a fascinating glimpse of the artists in action.

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Columbia's record expert, Papa Jazz is known around the country for its exceptional jazz collection and uses a stringent system to grade the stock of used LPs and CDs. But they don't limit themselves to jazz, incorporating a host of genres from funk to indie rock to reggae. Hard-to-find records are frequently discovered here, and the wildly knowledgeable staff is more than happy to take special orders. Musician Amos Lee worked here back in the day, too.

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The heart of the Shandon area, Devine Street is an attractive thoroughfare lined with trees and historic buildings. Shopping and dining options are numerous along the ten-block stretch, including unique boutiques specializing in art and antiques, tea, apparel for men and women, jewelry and all manner of gifts. Dianne's on Devine, Jake's Bar & Grill, Mo Mo's Bistro and Za's Brick Oven Pizza are just a few of the options for refreshments; the charming Whitney Hotel is located here as well. Individual business hours vary.

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