The Ultimate Guide to Experiencing Polo in Aiken, South Carolina

Polo, also known as the 'sport of kings', is a thrilling and elegant game that has been enjoyed for centuries. Originating in Persia, it has now become a popular sport around the world, including in the United States. One of the top destinations for polo enthusiasts in Aiken, South Carolina, is known as the 'Polo Capital of the World'.

The History of Polo in Aiken

Aiken's love affair with polo began in the late 1800s when wealthy northerners started flocking to the city for its mild climate and equestrian culture. In 1882, Thomas Hitchcock Sr., a prominent polo player from New York, brought his team to Aiken for a winter season.

This marked the beginning of Aiken's reputation as a premier polo destination. Over the years, Aiken has hosted numerous high-profile polo events, including the US Open Polo Championship and the USPA Gold Cup. The city's rich history and love for the sport have made it a must-visit destination for polo enthusiasts.

The Cost of Attending a Polo Event in Aiken

Attending a polo event in Aiken can be an unforgettable experience, but it does come at a cost. The price of admission varies depending on the event and seating options. Generally, tickets can range from $20 for general admission to $150 for VIP seating. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, some events offer exclusive VIP packages that include access to private tents, gourmet food and drinks, and even meet-and-greets with players.

These packages can cost upwards of $500 per person. In addition to ticket prices, there are other expenses to consider when attending a polo event in Aiken. These include parking fees, food and drinks, and souvenirs. It's important to budget accordingly to ensure you have a stress-free and enjoyable experience.

Where to Stay

Aiken offers a variety of accommodation options for visitors, from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxurious resorts. For those attending a polo event, it's recommended to stay in the downtown area, as most events take place at the Aiken Polo Club or Whitney Field, both located in the heart of the city. Some popular hotels near these venues include The Willcox, a historic hotel known for its southern charm and elegance, and The Inn at Houndslake, which offers affordable yet comfortable accommodations.

Other Activities in Aiken

While polo may be the main attraction in Aiken, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy during your visit.

The city is home to numerous equestrian facilities, including the Aiken Training Track, where visitors can watch racehorses train in the early morning hours. Aiken is also known for its beautiful parks and gardens, such as Hopelands Gardens and Hitchcock Woods. These are perfect places to relax and take in the natural beauty of the city. If you're a history buff, be sure to visit the Aiken County Historical Museum or take a guided tour of the historic homes in the downtown area.

Tips for Attending a Polo Event

Attending a polo event in Aiken can be an exciting and unique experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit:

  • Arrive early: Polo events can get crowded, so it's best to arrive early to secure a good spot and avoid long lines.
  • Dress appropriately: Polo is a sophisticated sport, so it's recommended to dress in smart casual attire. Ladies can opt for sundresses or skirts, while men can wear collared shirts and khakis.
  • Bring cash: While some vendors may accept credit cards, it's always a good idea to have cash on hand for food, drinks, and souvenirs.
  • Be respectful: Polo is a fast-paced and intense game, so be sure to stay behind the sidelines and avoid distracting the players.

In Conclusion

Aiken, South Carolina, is a must-visit destination for polo enthusiasts.

With its rich history, beautiful venues, and exciting events, it's no wonder why it's known as the 'Polo Capital of the World'. While attending a polo event in Aiken may come at a cost, the experience is truly priceless.

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Lucille Putty
Lucille Putty

Freelance travel geek. Friendly tv enthusiast. Subtly charming internet junkie. Freelance pop culture evangelist. Evil music fanatic.