The Aiken Escape Guide

The Aiken Escape Guide

by Katherine Parker-Magyar


Forget about Charleston and its Southern Charm, this spring it's all about Aiken. While nearby Augusta (home of the Masters) is golf country, Aiken is horse country. This not-so-hidden gem in South Carolina is renowned for its equestrian events: from carriage driving, to steeplechases, to hunts, to polo matches. Spring and fall are the best times to visit this Southern city, so read on and plan your next trip. 



Put 'Em Back

The Alley Taproom
214 The Alley, Aiken, SC 29801
This place has it all: yoga, kombucha, nitro coffee, and--as if the name didn't make this clear--everything you could possibly want on tap. Also serves a mean brunch, so if you find a way to hang out past close, there's a light (read: eggs) at the end of the tunnel.

Whiskey Alley
227 The Alley, Aiken, SC 29801
Do you love whiskey? Do you love drinking whiskey in the South, in particular? This is your Mecca, right in the heart of downtown.

Aiken Brewing Company
140 Laurens St. SW Aiken, SC 29801
Shop (drink) local and head to Aiken Brewing for happy hour. The vibe is laid back, but the hops are strong.


If You Can Get In

Green Boundary Club
780 Whiskey Rd, Aiken, SC 29801
Aside from golf, the Green Boundary also offers pickleball, and croquet. For those of you who are less athletically inclined, backgammon, bridge, and trivia also abound. Try to earn your keep/guest pass.

Palmetto Golf Club
275 Berrie Rd SW, Aiken, SC 29801
Though the first four holes were built in 1892, this club shares a history with Augusta: Dr. Alistair MacKenzie lengthened the course after his work in Augusta was completed. Masters Week tee times are (unsurprisingly) quite popular.

Augusta National Golf Club
2604 Washington Rd, Augusta, GA 30904
This goes without saying for all the green jacket aficionados out there, but this course is living history. 

Aiken Tennis Club
146 Newberry St SW, Aiken, SC 29801
Head here for the Court Tennis championships or have a member challenge you to the game of kings. Unfamiliar with the sport? Keep that DL.



Local's Picks

Track Kitchen
420 Mead Ave, Aiken, SC 29801
This beloved Southern kitchen is located along a dirt road surrounded by pastures and stables. The view is worth the unpaved drive--the scenery, and the people watching. 

Aiken Hunt
People in Aiken love their horses, and the Aiken Hunt is legendary, as are the parties that accompany the festivities. Simply the best way to appreciate the countryside.


Good Eats

The Willcox
100 Colleton Ave SW, Aiken, SC 29801
This regal and historic restaurant is a must-visit: perfect for morning coffee, or post-dinner cocktails, as well. The hotel also boasts a spa and is a luxurious and welcoming place to stay during your trip. 

120 Laurens St SW, Aiken, SC 29801
This beloved restaurant sources locally whenever possible, and when it isn't, they import salmon from Scotland, or lamb from New Zealand. The best of both worlds.

Prime Steakhouse
316 Richland Ave W, Aiken, SC 29801
The brick walls and classic table settings of this steakhouse sets an old-school NYC vibe. A taste of the Big Apple down South.

Mellow Mushroom
151 Bee Ln, Aiken, SC 29801
Yes, Mellow Mushroom may be a chain, but it's still unbelievably delicious. Trust us. Once you visit, you'll be converted--and probably purchase memorabilia at the House of Shroom on your way out the door.



new moon.jpg

Get Your Fix

New Moon Cafe
116 Laurens St NW, Aiken, SC 29801
Simply the spot to go for breakfast in Aiken. Sit outside under an umbrella and spend your morning people watching (and downing an egg scrambler bowl). 


Good Times

Aiken Steeplechase
528 Two Notch Rd SE, Aiken, SC 29801
The steeplechase is March 23-24 this year, so plan your trip accordingly--and brush up on your history at the museum before heading to the event.

The Masters
Augusta, SC
This requires no explanation. The green jackets will descend upon Augusta from April 5th to 8th. Plan accordingly.

Aiken Polo Club
420 Mead Ave, Aiken, SC 29801
The Aiken polo club has been playing on Whitney Field ever since 1882. This tradition is alive and well today: polo matches are held every Sunday in the spring and fall.

Aiken Driving Club
Aiken, SC
Check out carriage driving events in the Aiken Driving Club schedule. As we said: anything horse-related is a hit in this town.


Off The Grid

Hitchcock Woods
Aiken, SC
Head here for a walk to escape from it all, and relish in the low-country (slash it's on the border, so mid-country?) atmosphere.

Hopelands Gardens
135 Dupree Pl, Aiken, SC 29801
This garden is 14 acres of serenity. It even includes a koi pond.

Thoroughbred Racing Hall Of Fame
135 Dupree Pl, Aiken, SC 29801
When in horse country, read up on the history. The Aiken Museum is also worth checking out.


Fill Your Bag

116 Laurens St SW, Aiken, SC 29801
The go-to spot for chic accessories & decor (for yourself and your abode). Head here on your first day to freshen up your travel attire with a chic scarf, or tunic. Missing Folly when you head home? You're in luck: Folly NY just opened on the Upper East Side. 

Shoes at Surrey
487 Highland Ave, Augusta, GA 30909
Another must-visit over in Augusta. This store has the best selection of footwear of all kinds--every item is super curated, so you can't really go wrong. 

3 Monkeys
141 Laurens St SW, Aiken, SC 29801
They're not monkeying around in here with this jewelry selection. Treat yourself. Guys: treat your girlfriends. 

Aiken Antique Mall
112 Laurens St SW, Aiken, SC 29801
Perfect for finding something elegant to bring back to your apartment, aka a charming token of Southern living in SoHo squalor. 


Hang Your Hat

The Partridge Inn
2110 Walton Way, Augusta, GA 30904
The large porch defines laid back Southern elegance- a perfect spot to spend your nights (and your nightcaps). 

Aiken is an ideal location for Airbnb--rent a house and experience that South Carolina hospitality on your own time 


Anything to add? Let us know in the comment section.


Shoutout to Emily Hottenson and Anne Morgan for the insider tips!