Historical Boutique Hotel in the Heart of the Five Points District
High atop The Inn at Claussen's—a boutique hotel in Columbia, South Carolina’s Five Points shopping district—there’s a weathered sign reading "Claussen's Bakery." The sign dates back to 1928, a leftover from the building's former life as a bakery. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the brick building was remodeled as a hotel in the 1980s, but you can still get freshly baked bread here at breakfast in homage to its history. The bread is just one part of the inn’s Southern charm, prompting Frommer’s to call it “the premier inn of Columbia.”
Located at one of the entrances to Columbia’s Five Points district, the boutique hotel retains vestiges of its original construction in the form of hardwood floors and vintage mouldings. All of the 29 guest rooms come with elegant furnishings and understated decor. Each evening, the innkeepers host a wine-and-cheese reception in the expansive lobby.
Columbia, South Carolina: Capital City with Small-Town Charm
Located just 3 miles from South Carolina’s exact geographic center, Columbia was founded as a compromise capital in 1786 to satisfy the state's Lowcountry and upstate factions. Although much of the city was destroyed in 1865 during General Sherman's March to the Sea, Columbia was rebuilt and thrives today as a historic state capital. The wide streets are fringed with abundant greenery, thanks to Columbia's location near the confluence of three rivers and the massive Lake Murray.
In the fashionable Congaree Vista district downtown, warehouses and railroad stations have been repurposed as restaurants, galleries, and boutiques in a thriving arts community centered on the old Adluh Flour Mill.
Take a day trip northwest of the city to explore Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, home to more than 2,000 animals from across the world, including lions, siamang apes, and ring-tailed lemurs. Zebras and giraffes roam across 2 acres of simulated African savannah, and reptiles and sharks live in the 20,000-square-foot Aquarium Reptile Complex. At the kangaroo walkabout, you can observe marsupials and discover the many uses for their pouches besides shoplifting.