Why Food Lovers Need to Spend the Weekend in This State Capital

PHOTO: Karen Culp/Shutterstock

Welcome to the Puddle Jumper, our new guide to the best things to do, see, and pack for the best weekend every weekend.

We’ve got our hearts (and stomachs) set on some fried shrimp po’ boys, but first…

What’s Going On

At Home…

Britney Spears is one of the all-time great pop performers with a roster of radio hits, five of which hit number one on the Billboard charts. She also boasts some of the most memorable music videos of the late ’90s/early aughts. And for anyone whoever attempted the “Oops!…I Did It Again” choreography in front of their bathroom mirror, you now have The Zone. Located in Los Angeles for a limited time, fans can explore recreations of some of Britney’s most famous music video moments (school girl outfit and all-body red leather jumpsuit sold separately).

And Abroad…

Singapore’s Chingay Parade is a lavish spectacle that celebrates the Lunar New Year with elaborate floats, dazzling costumes, pyrotechnics, an array of traditional and contemporary musical performances, and, of course, fireworks. Oh, and a literal (remote controlled) flying dragon. The parade also acts as a showcase for the diverse cultures that make this city-state so unique.

(Note: the organizers will be taking enhanced precautions due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, including setting up thermal scanners that will scan performers and spectators for potential fevers.)

Where We Want to Go This Weekend

Columbia’s revitalized main street is just one of the ways South Carolina’s capital is drawing in travelers. The Columbia Museum of Art recently underwent a renovation and The Nickelodeon shows current films as well as special programming, like their Indie Grits Film Festival (this weekend you can catch all of the shorts nominated for this year’s Oscars). But it’s foodies that will likely have the best time exploring Columbia’s culinary scene, from emerging favorites (like Bubba’s Biscuits) to classic stalwarts (like Motor Supply Company Bistro).

Stay: Hotel Trundle, located in the heart of downtown, is a boutique hotel that balances preserving the special details of the historic building it’s located in with creating modern setting and comforts.

Do: Just a hop, skip, and a jump away is Congaree National Park, an incredibly lush and biodiverse old-growth hardwood forest that will dazzle you with some of the tallest trees the east coast has to offer.

Eat: True to its name, Bourbon specializes in whiskey. Any kind you like (bourbon, rye, Tennessee whisky) from anywhere you like (Scotland, Ireland, Japan—and that’s just for starters), but its food menu is not to be overlooked. Sate your appetite with some country fried catfish and grits or a fried shrimp po’ boy.

What We’re Reading on the Plane

In Patricia Lockwood’s 2017 memoir Priestdaddy, the fact that the titular priest and daddy was able to enter the Catholic priesthood despite being a husband and a father via an obscure loophole is perhaps the least peculiar thing about him (he also has a penchant for playing guitar in various states of undress). Lockwood’s chronicle of her time spent moving into her parents’ home (which also happens to be her father’s rectory) with her husband accomplishes the rare and wonderful feat of being as funny as it is lyrically observed.

What We’re Downloading to Watch on the Plane

The tricky thing about Parasite (yet another 2019 that involves an “eat the rich” premise staged in an incredible house) is that you should really go into it knowing as little about its actual plot as possible. So if you’re going to be experiencing Bong Joon-ho’s darkly comedic thriller for the first time, here are some tidbits to entice you to hit that download button: a family (or, really, families) of grifters, the tensest scene involving a coffee table you’ll ever see, a weaponized peach, and an instantly iconic use of a mnemonic device.

What’s in Our Carry-On

Why is it that beverages always taste better through a straw? It’s the same liquid and yet the addition of a simple straw totally changes the equation. And while we all want to be more environmentally conscious no one wants to fish around the bottom of their tote bag for loose straws. That’s why the clippable container that this Reusable Silicone Travel Straw comes with is so handy. Just roll it up when you’re all good and hydrated, then tuck it away in its case where it’s protected from lint, ticket stubs, and anything else you’ve accumulated over the course of your travels.

Related: Why Can’t I Have My Own Can of Coke on the Plane?