Greater Lexington’s Top 10 Fun Things To Do
You don’t have to be a millionaire to have fun in Greater Lexington. Here are 10 ideas to get you started, and none will drain your piggybank:
1. Do the Lake Murray Dam. Walk it, run it, stroll your baby, wheel your friend. Besides the view, it offers great exercise –1.7 miles from, as the locals say, “the Lexington side to the Irmo side.” That makes it 3.4 miles round trip. Don’t forget your water!
2. Picnic in the park. Or parks, we should say. We’ve got Gibson Pond Park, with spacious shelters, the remains of a gristmill spillway, the Scenic Overlook that lets you dip your toes in the rapids, and walking trails. Recently restored, it still has the good vibes from its decades as a swimming place; now you can fish or take a boat ride – as long as it’s not motorized. Virginia Hylton Park, behind Lexington Town Hall, has meandering paths, gazebos, a Japanese Koi pond, a special needs children’s playground, streams and gardens. It’s a favorite for summer concerts and small weddings. Meanwhile, Corley Street and Caractor parks are small “pocket parks” with playgrounds for children.
3. Check out Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Nationally recognized, Riverbanks is home to a multitude of animals and a splendid garden. Accessible from its West Columbia entrance, the 70-acre botanical garden boasts 4,200 species of plants and original sculpture. You’ll find some of the area’s most enduring annual events at Riverbanks, including its dazzling holiday lights show, a wine festival, “Brew at the Zoo” for beer lovers and “Boo at the Zoo,” a Halloween event.
4. Rendezvous at the river. The Three Rivers Greenway is a great place to meet a friend – or take your dog – for a walk with woods and water for scenery. Outfitters can provide kayaks, canoes and rafts here where the Broad and Saluda rivers meet to form the Congaree. In the summer, it’s the coolest place to be!
5. Go back a few centuries. Two fine museums honor the hard work and heroism shown by local people in the past. Settled largely by Germans, this “Saxe Gotha” area has been researched, documented, and is on visitor-friendly display at The Lexington County Museum (231 Fox Street in downtown Lexington) and the Cayce Historical Museum (1800 12th Street in Cayce).
6. Take in a show. Talent thrives here, and proves itself with regular productions by the Lexington County Arts Association, Chapin Community Theatre, and the Lexington County Choral Society. Perhaps the largest production is “This Man Called Jesus,” presented by Lake Murray Baptist Church every Christmas.
7. Cheer on the team! Lexington County’s wholesome appeal may seem strongest on football Friday nights. But fans support other sports, with Dixie Youth Baseball drawing enthusiastic support every summer. Meanwhile, The Lexington County Tennis Complex presents 20-plus special events and tournaments.
8. Marvel at the purple martins. The whirring, chattering spectacle of thousands of purple martins descending on Lunch Island in Lake Murray hypnotizes and fascinates. Between 300,000 and 700,000 birds roost every summer on their migration to South America; it’s the first Purple Martin Sanctuary in North America. If you don’t have your own boat (or have a friend with a boat), reserve a place on The Spirit of Lake Murray or The Southern Patriot, two vessels plying the waters. Bring binoculars!
9. Visit the library. There’s more than information at the county’s branches and headquarters (5440 Augusta Road in Lexington). Besides book club gatherings, movie nights and children’s storytimes, there are events for toddlers, teens, and seniors. The Brookland-Cayce branch, located in a renovated department store, even offers a Laughter Club.
10. Eat. Restaurants abound, from down-home country cooking kitchens and barbecue huts to exotic ethnic restaurants and gourmet palaces. Pick up a membership directory at the Greater Lexington Chamber for a listing of places to try. And then, go back to the top of this list.
So, you thought we were finished. Not even close. Our list keeps growing, and you’re welcome to comment and tell us yours.
Until then, we’ll see you in the neighborhood!