Aiken Luxury Furnished Rentals ~ Call 803-648-2804
Local, artisanal restaurants, music festivals, historic hotels, interesting museums, gardens, hiking trails and horses. Lots and lots of horses: for people who love them, ride them, and just plain love being around them!
Here are some of the things to do in Aiken SC:
Aiken is known as the America’s Polo Capital. Take in a match at the Aiken Polo Club on historic Whitney Field. Sponsors set up their white tents around the field to tailgate. For those without a parking spot, you can pay a five dollar general admission or for a larger investment sit in the grandstand where the party includes food and drinks. Had we not been heading back to Atlanta right afterward, the grandstand would definitely have been the way to go.
Beautiful Horse Show grounds in the center of Aiken featuring first class national and international equestrian competitions in all disciplines. Watch and admire the beautifully trained horses and their exceptional riders. Spectate, shop, and enjoy!
The Aiken Training Track Watch young Thoroughbreds beginning to train. Maybe even spot the next Kentucky Derby winner!
Aiken’s largest sporting event. Stay tuned for the new venue and 2022 Spring Steeplechase information.
The Home of Aiken’s Racing Champions.
Aiken SC in known for thoroughbred racing in addition to polo. Not up to speed on this sport? Visit the for a quick history lesson and to learn more about the horses, the jockeys and the families. Kids will have fun meeting Hitch, who may look like a toy horse, but was actually used to rehabilitate injured jockeys.
NATURE AND GARDENS
In the late 1800’s Aiken became the winter colony for elite families from the Northeast. It all started when Thomas Hitchcock and Thomas Whitney convinced friends to join them in the mild climate. The avid sportsman owned 8,000 acres where they put on fox hunts. Today 2,100 acres of that land, about three times the size of Central Park in New York, has been put aside to preserve the forest. There are 70 miles of sandy trails for horse riding, hikers and dog walkers.
Get a map or take a picture with your phone. Not only will it help you navigate the trails, but there are several ‘attractions’ in the forest like the Ridge Mile Track which was built by Thomas Hitchcock in the heart of the Woods to train his race horses in the 20’s and 30s.
This splendid woodland sanctuary is only a five minute drive from Whiskey Road (Aiken’s main street). What a town!
Location: 135 Dupree Pl Phone: 803-642-7650
Description: The wealthy colonists brought their love of gardens and green space to Aiken. This 14 acre park was the former estate of Mr. and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin. The 14 acre estate is now a tranquil public garden with children’s story time, a performance stage where free concerts are held. Features include a wetlands area, an arboretum trail with cell phone tour, a labyrinth and a performing arts stage. Events include Story Time in the Gardens, the Summer Concert Series and Christmas in Hopelands. Hopelands is open year round, 10 am-sunset. The Dollhouse, also located on the property, is open Sun 2-5 pm. Admission is free.
Description: Located on the campus of the University of South Carolina Aiken. The 45 seat planetarium is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects systems and is augmented by sundials and telescopes. Various shows are available throughout the year. Reservations recommended. Phone: 803-641-3654
HISTORY AND CULTURE
Set within one of Aiken's famed "Winter Colony" cottages, the Aiken County Historical Museum, also known as "Banksia" after the Banksia Rose, will enthrall visitors with Aiken's past, present and future. Unlike many musuems, the ACHM is a living museum with exhibits changing frequently and often consisting of items residents bring in for that special exhibit. Items that are privately owned, but a part of our shared history.
The Center for African American History, Art and Culture is housed in the historic Immanuel Institute, located on the corner of York Street and Richland Avenue. Reverend W.R. Coles, an African American Presbyterian missionary, moved to Aiken in 1881 and established a church and school for freed enslaved people. CAAHAC is delighted to host lecture series, art shows, traveling exhibits, special events, concert series and more in the community.
Aiken SC Historic Downtown Phone: 803-649-2221
Description: Surrounded by a one-of-a kind parkway system and bordered by beautiful beds of flowers, historic downtown Aiken offers unique dining and shopping choices including art galleries, antiques, gift shops, a brew pub and a wide variety of restaurants. Several horses are on display as part of a public art project.
On the tour, you'll see and hear about historic homes and churches; equestrian sites; the Civil War's Battle of Aiken; the live oak canopy on South Boundary and the Winter Colony residents. You'll also enjoy a guided walk through Hopelands Gardens and the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum (weather permitting). The tour is offered Saturdays from 10 am until 12 pm. Tours depart from the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum. Customized tours available.
PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS
Location: 126 Newberry St SW Phone: 803-648-1438
Description: This state-of-the-art theater is home to the Aiken Community Theatre (ACT) which has recorded over 50 seasons and the Aiken Performing Arts (APA). The theater seats approximately 300 in addition to the 32 seat Hospitality Suite/Balcony. ACP offers a full season of comedy, drama and musical plays. APA presents national and international professional shows through the season. www.apagonline.org. Office hours Mon-Fri 9am-4pm (closed 12pm-1pm lunch).
The Etherredge Center Cultural Series presents the best international performing artists in Aiken's only All-Inclusive arts center. The annual Cultural Series is a 9-performance event that takes place between October and May, and showcases notable artists such as the Four Tops, Shoshana Bean, American Ballet Theater and so much more. The Etherredge Center also boasts a professionally curated Art Gallery, and other sensational events and performances throughout the year.
The Center features regular gallery exhibits by local, state, regional and national artists. A variety of artists display works for sale year-round in the Gallery Store. The Center also hosts programs and events throughout the year, offers art education classes for all ages in a variety of mediums. The Center has 5 galleries as well as 7 classrooms for programs and a 180 seat performance pavilion. Open Mon-Sat 10 am-5 pm.
Take art classes with exceptional teachers and artists.