This is Thoroughbred country, and Aiken first earned its fame in the 1890s, when wealthy Northerners wintering here built stately mansions and entertained one another with horse shows, hunts, and lavish parties. Many up-to-60-room homes stand as a testament to this era of opulence. The town is still a center for all kinds of outdoor activity, including the equestrian events of the Triple Crown, as well as tennis and golf.
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THINGS YOU CAN’T MISS
Steeple racing takes center stage in Aiken in March during the running of the Imperial Cup, and again in October for the Holiday Cup.
Image Credit: Kim Foster-Tobin/MCT/ Getty Images
Legendary fox hunts and an annual horse show bring crowds to Hitchcock Woods. Or take to the trails by yourself on foot or horseback anytime.
Image Credit: Sara Caldwell/The Augusta Chronicle/Zuma Press/Alamy
Fish for bass and catfish in Aiken State Park's black Edisto River. The park will loan you rods and reels if you have a state fishing license.
Image Credit: Panoramic Images/Getty Images
The DuPont Planetarium takes audiences cruising through space. You can also see a rare camera obscura in action.
Image Credit: Zuma Press/Alamy
Rose Hill Estate's historic Winter Colony mansion is a stylish inn. The dining room serves German and American food and features local musicians.
Image Credit: Augusta Chronicle/Zuma Press/Alamy
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