Homes for Sale in Aiken, SC: What You Need to Know
Aiken, South Carolina was founded in 1835. It was a railroad town that got its name from William Aiken, the railroad company’s first president.
Growing the attention of wealthy northerners, Aiken became a winter vacation hotspot. You can still visit the historical Winter Colony villages in Aiken today. There are 22 buildings in Aiken on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Aiken Mile Track, Dawson-Vanderhorst House, Joye Cottage, and many more.
Aiken has a rich history of horse racing that goes back more than 100 years. The city is home to numerous horse races each year, including the Aiken Triple Crown, Fall Steeplechase, the Whiskey Road Race, and more.
Every year, the Aiken Steeplechase Association hosts two major steeplechase races in Aiken: the Imperial Cup and the Holiday Cup, drawing in over 30,000 spectators. You can learn more about the notable flat racing and steeplechase horses that have trained and raced in Aiken at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.
To learn more about the local history, check out the Aiken County Historical Museum. This living museum is actually housed in one of the historical Winter Colony cottages.
Inside the historic Immanuel Institute Building, you’ll find the Center for African American History, Art and Culture. This museum commemorates the legacy of Rev. W. R. Coles, who founded the institute in 1889 to educate African Americans. Two notable arts centers in Aiken, the Aiken Center for Arts and Juilliard in Aiken, offer classes in various artistic disciplines, as well as live performances and art exhibitions.
For outdoor activities, check out Aiken State Park. At just over 1,000 acres in size, it offers plenty of fishing opportunities in four different lakes and the Edisto River. It’s also home to several miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as campsites, picnic areas, beaches, and boat launches.
Inside the city, you’ll find Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in the country at nearly 2,100 acres in size, which features over 65 miles of sandy multi-use trails for hiking and horseback riding.
For something a bit more laid back, head over to Hopelands Gardens. This 14-acre estate has beautiful gardens and several 100-year-old oaks and deodar cedars. Stone and sand pathways snake through the grounds, so you can always find a quiet place to relax.
Aiken has a great local food scene—you might even say it’s a foodie city. However, the biggest local food attraction is the Aiken County Farmers Market. If you’re looking to sit down for a meal, a local favorite is A Stellar Kitchen, known for its homecooked meals and fresh, natural ingredients.
Check out Aiken Fish House and Oyster Bar for the freshest seafood in town. For fine Italian dishes with a truly elevated dining experience, try Casa Bella. Aiken also offers a variety of restaurants that satisfy cravings for spicy food, Latin cuisine, and Jamaican flavors.