Plus, some traffic changes are headed your way.
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Today’s Forecast

66º | Heavy thunderstorms | 90% chance of rain
Sunrise 7:30 a.m. | Sunset 5:32 p.m.

 
🚗 Get in, we’re going to Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC hit the road
The Queen City’s skyline | Photo via @goodmansnaps
Itching to get out of town, Soda Citizens? Skip those pesky airport security lines and jump in your car for a road trip to Charlotte, NC instead. From roller coaster experiences at Carowinds to rotating menu themes at Counter — we’re spilling all the details on how to have an unforgettable time in Queen City.

📍 Essential info
Drive time: ~1.5 hours
Year city was established: 1768
Est. population: ~880,000

Carowinds, Charlotte NC

Ride the Intimidator roller coaster at Carowinds, inspired by racing legend Dale Earnhardt | Photo via Carowinds

🎟️ Experience

Carowinds
Get ready to twirl and hurl at this 407-acre amusement park, located on the border of North and South Carolina. Tickets start at $30.

Top Golf
This sports entertainment complex features a high-tech golf game played inside climate-controlled hitting bays that can host up to six players. Want to play on a real course? Check out some of Charlotte’s best golf courses.

🍔 Eat

16-Bit Bar + Arcade
Think — a nostalgic arcade experience, featuring 35+ vintage games, but you can play for free. This arcade bar offers everything from bowling, ping pong, and skee ball, to pinball, Donkey Kong, Jenga, and more.

Counter
Counter is designed to be an intimate, full sensory experience featuring themed 10 to 14-course tasting menus curated by Executive Chef and Owner Sam Hart — a 2023 James Beard Award Chef nominee.

Airbnb Charlotte NC

This Airbnb can host up to two guests, featuring one bedroom and one bathroom. | Photo via Airbnb

🏨 Stay

Contemporary 2BR in Uptown Charlotte’s 4th Ward
The two-bed, two-bath rental is located in Uptown Charlotte’s 4th Ward district, known for its charming homes and access to the highway. It’s a short walk from the city and you can book for ~$125 per night.

Frontdesk | Studio Apt near Truist Field
This Airbnb will accommodate two guests in one bed + one bathroom studio for ~$96 a night. This stay comes with one parking spot and a complimentary late check-out if you request it 24 hours in advance.
 
Asked
 
When deciding on a road trip destination, what is the maximum amount of time you want to spend driving?

    A. 1-3 hours
    B. 4-6 hours
    C. 6+ hours
    D. None, I prefer to fly
     
     
    Events
     
    Tuesday, March 21
    • USC Symphony Orchestra - Rising Stars | Tuesday, Mar. 21 | Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St., Columbia | $28 | This performance features winners of the 2022-23 Concerto-Aria Competition: Yuting Chen, piano; Carmen Borregales, clarinet; and Aaron Nealy, bassoon.
    Wednesday, March 22
    • Business Networking Happy Hour | Thursday, Mar. 23 | 5-7 p.m. | Hunter Gatherer at Curtiss Wright Hanger, 1402 Jim Hamilton Blvd., Columbia | Free | Make meaningful connections with other business-minded Soda Citizens at happy hour.
    Thursday, March 23
    • Garden Asana - Grass Roots Yoga | Thursday, Mar. 23, Thursday, Apr. 6 | 8:30-9:30 a.m. | Gardener’s Outpost, 1211 Franklin St., Columbia | $15 | This class is for everyone, focuses on breath, and there will be opportunities for alignment guidance.
    • The ART of Real Estate | Karma Keg Social | Thursday, Mar. 23 | 4:30-7 p.m. | Craft and Draft, 2706 Devine St., Columbia | Free | The ART of Real Estate provides the beer while you supply a donation and enjoy local community.
    Friday, March 24
    • Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic | Friday, Mar. 24 | 12-8 p.m. | SC State Fair Grounds, 1200 Rosewood Dr., Columbia | $10 | With over 350 vendors covering every building and the surrounding outdoor exhibition areas — you’ll find everything from boats to the latest hunting equipment.
    • USC Gamecock Baseball vs. University of Missouri Tigers Baseball | Friday, Mar. 24-Sunday, Mar. 26 | Times vary | Founders Park, 431 Williams St., Columbia | $15-$20 | Root root root for the home team as USC faces the Missouri Tigers.
    Saturday, March 25
    • 2023 Soiree on State | Saturday, Mar. 25 | 2-8 p.m. | Cayce River Arts District, State St., from Poplar St. to Railroad St. , Cayce | Free | This annual event features art, a kids area with inflatables + more, food vendors, and live music — take advantage of free parking at Brooklnd Cayce High School.*
    Tuesday, April 4
    • Aiken Art Walk | Tuesday, Apr. 4 | 5-8 p.m. | Downtown Aiken, Laurens St. & Hayne Ave., Aiken | Free | Celebrate the charm of downtown Aiken and the city’s talented local artists at the annual art walk featuring artisan products for sale, snacks to eat, farm fresh goods + more.*
    We have a calendar filled with events and activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.

    Click here to have your event featured.
     
     
    SPONSORED
    Travel
     
    🐠 There’s a lot to sea and explore this spring break
    South Carolina Aquarium
    There’s fun for the whole family at the South Carolina Aquarium. | Photo provided by the South Carolina Aquarium
    There’s a lot of fish in the sea, and you can see a few of them at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. There are nearly 5,000 animals to encounter, making it the perfect way to spend a day (or more) during spring break.

    Here are a few things you can do during your visit to the aquarium:
    • Take a peek into the Sea Turtle Care Center™ to see current patients and learn incredible stories of rescue, rehabilitation, and release.
    • See animals up close and gently touch critters like snakes and alligators during daily animal encounters.
    • Join the educators for fun programs all about the animals that call the aquarium home.
    • And so much more.*
     
    News Notes
     

    Weather
    • 65º | Sunny | 0% chance of rain
    Development
    • A couple of weeks ago, we shared about South Main Street’s redevelopment plan. Phase one — including the relocation of infrastructure, water improvements, and construction on the western side of South Main Street — began Sunday. Click here to see how traffic patterns will be affected. (Cola Daily)
    Coming Soon
    Concert
    • Foreigner is coming to the Township Auditorium on Monday, Oct. 30 while on their Greatest Hits Tour. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 24 at 10 a.m. Pretty cool, huh? Some would say it’s as “Cold As Ice.”
    Sports
    • Gamecock Baseball swept Georgia over the weekend for the first time since 2010 to kick off their SEC match-ups. Fun Fact — USC currently leads the country in wins. The Gamecocks will play Charlotte tonight at 6:05 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ESPN+. (Gamecocks Online)
    • Ray Tanner — USC’s Athletics Director — received a contract extension of two years and his salary increased from $1 million to $1.175 million. Coach Tanner’s contract was going to expire next July and will now run through 2026. (The Post and Courier)
    Traffic
    • Beginning Friday, parts of I-77 will close as SCDOT performs maintenance on several bridge decks between the I-26 interchange + Bluff Road. The project will be done in two phases, with the northbound lane closing at 9 p.m. on March 24 and opening again on April 2. The second phase will begin in late April. Watch this video to see suggested detours and details about the project. (The State)
    Finance
    • You want the best for your business. And every great business is backed by a strong financial partner. First Bank offers local business owners one-on-one attention + comprehensive support from our entire team of business experts. Pro tip: They offer free consultations for both new and growing businesses.*
    Wellness
    • What’s in: red light therapy. What’s out: forms of treatment that are painful and invasive. Red light therapy is non-invasive and painless, and evidence suggests it may be able to ease body aches, heal sun damage, and build collagen. Brb — we’re adding this easy-to-prop light and this facial massager to our Amazon cart.
     
     
    NEWS
     
    Update on Pine Island
    lake murray
    Photo of Lake Murray | Photo by @realadampowell
    In December 2021, we wrote an article talking about the future of Pine Island. The 27-acre site will soon become SC’s smallest state park.

    Let’s recap

    Fun fact — Pine Island marks the first park the state has opened since 2006 and will provide public access to Lake Murray, which currently only has a handful.

    What’s next?

    The SC department of parks, recreation, and tourism will take notes of the island’s condition and make infrastructural updates as needed before opening. Here’s the good news — Pine Island is already a host to picnic tables, shelters, boat ramps, and more. A full timeline for the project hasn’t been announced.

    Click the button below for more details on the project.
     
    The Wrap
     
    Samantha Robertson in a white shirt and grey vest Today’s Edition By: Sam
    From the Editor
    One more Charlotte recommendation — Charlotte has tons of concerts coming to the Fillmore and I’ve been several times to the venue. If you’re a concert-goer, I recommend checking out its event lineup and buying some tickets before heading to Queen City.
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