Lexington is no longer just a small town located near Columbia and Lake Murray. It’s grown into a destination all its own, and a fine place to hang your hat if you live in the Midlands.
The downtown area has been on the come up for a while, with excellent options for food and drink (Hazelwood Brewing, Keg Cowboy and Bodhi Thai are among the best in the area in their respective categories) and entertainment (that Icehouse Amphitheater gets some solid concerts these days), and the other more established cities in the county — Cayce, West Columbia and Irmo — have gained new breweries and restaurants and other goodies of their own in the past few years.
And as with these amenities, the population is growing. The U.S. The Census Bureau now estimates that the county has topped 300,000 residents, eye-popping growth when you consider that the population in the 1990 Census was 169,000.
For a second straight year, our guide to this exciting area should be approached somewhat differently. While the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be on the wane, it’s still impacting many facets of the county. You should check that the events listed here hold onto their announced dates before making plans to attend. You should investigate whether government meetings are happening virtually rather than utilizing normal in-person procedures. You should check in with the restaurants and bars to see how their regular hours and services might still be altered.
And keep checking the combined Post and Courier Columbia and Free Times in the racks every Wednesday (and postandcourier.com/columbia and free-times.com whenever you want) for updates about local news, events and culture in Lexington and throughout the Midlands.
Cayce has put time and money into its gorgeous riverwalks, and its quaint Avenues neighborhood is an affordable and close-to-Columbia alternative to Rosewood and Shandon.
This prosperous town north of Lake Murray can feel like a world apart. The nearby lake is ringed by marinas and upscale homes.
Gaston and Swansea
In the south part of Lexington County you’ll find the State Farmers Market and industries like Zeus and Eastman. Rolling sandy hills make for some wide-open vistas.
Gilbert, Batesburg-Leesville and Pelion
The western part of the county is home to some serious farmland — and, in Batesburg-Leesville, some serious barbecue.
Irmo and Harbison
The town of Irmo features suburban living, good schools and convenient access to Lake Murray. The Harbison shopping area just off of I-26, with Columbiana Centre mall at its heart, is the Midlands’ main shopping draw when it comes to national retailers.
Town of Lexington
Lexington’s Main Street is buzzing, with craft beer, a coffee shop, restaurants and clothing boutiques. The Icehouse Amphitheater hosts concerts and events.
Central Lexington County
Things are booming in communities like Red Bank, Pine Ridge, South Congaree and Springdale. The Columbia Metropolitan Airport and two major freeways are nearby.
With the Brookland development going up near the Riverwalk Amphitheater, West Columbia is beating Columbia at the riverfront development game. The city is also home to some decent taquerias, a new brewery and more.