10 Cool Things to Do in Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC is a vibrant city with a wide range of activities to offer. Whether you’re interested in exploring the rich history, indulging in culinary delights, immersing yourself in nature, discovering vibrant arts and culture, shopping, enjoying outdoor recreation, experiencing the thrill of sports, or unwinding in beautiful parks, Columbia has something for everyone. Here are the key takeaways from our article:

Key Takeaways

  • Visit the South Carolina State House and explore the historic landmarks of Columbia.
  • Try Southern comfort food at Motor Supply Co. Bistro and sample craft beers at River Rat Brewery.
  • Stroll through the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and hike the trails at Congaree National Park.
  • Visit the Columbia Museum of Art and catch a show at the Koger Center for the Arts.
  • Browse local boutiques on Devine Street and find unique treasures at Soda City Market.

Explore the Rich History

Visit the South Carolina State House

The South Carolina State House is a must-visit attraction in Columbia, SC. It is one of the nicest capital buildings and grounds I have visited around the country. The grounds have the feel of a park that despite the busy city streets that surround it. Take a leisurely stroll around the beautiful grounds and admire the stunning architecture of the State House. Don’t forget to snap some photos of this iconic landmark.

Tour the Historic Columbia Foundation

The Historic Columbia Foundation offers a fascinating tour that takes you through the rich history of Columbia, SC. Step back in time as you explore the historic buildings and landmarks that have shaped the city’s identity. Learn about the influential figures and events that have contributed to Columbia’s development. The tour provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into the city’s past and appreciate its cultural heritage. Don’t miss this immersive experience that will transport you to a different era.

Discover the African American History Monument

The African American History Monument in Columbia, SC is a powerful tribute to the rich and diverse history of African Americans in the state. Located in the heart of downtown, the monument stands as a reminder of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans throughout history. The monument features powerful sculptures and plaques that tell the stories of influential African American figures, from civil rights leaders to artists and musicians. It serves as a place of reflection and education, inviting visitors to learn more about the important contributions of African Americans to the fabric of South Carolina.

Indulge in Culinary Delights

Try Southern Comfort Food at Motor Supply Co. Bistro

Motor Supply Co. Bistro is a must-visit for food lovers in Columbia. Located at 920 Gervais Street, this restaurant offers a delightful menu of Southern comfort food with a modern twist. From their famous fried green tomatoes to their mouthwatering shrimp and grits, every dish is prepared with care and attention to detail.

The cozy and inviting atmosphere of Motor Supply Co. Bistro makes it the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal with friends and family. Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch or a special dinner, this restaurant has something for everyone.

Don’t miss their daily specials, which feature seasonal ingredients and innovative flavor combinations. And if you’re a fan of craft cocktails, be sure to check out their impressive drink menu.

If you’re in the mood for a unique dining experience, Motor Supply Co. Bistro is the place to be. With its friendly staff, warm ambiance, and delectable dishes, it’s no wonder why this restaurant is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Sample Craft Beers at River Rat Brewery

River Rat Brewery is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts in Columbia, SC. Located at 123 Main Street, this brewery offers a wide selection of craft beers that are sure to satisfy any palate. From hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The brewery also features a spacious outdoor patio where you can relax and enjoy your beer while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking to try something new, River Rat Brewery is the perfect place to sample some of the best craft beers in town.

Experience Farm-to-Table Dining at Terra

Terra is a farm-to-table restaurant in Columbia that offers a unique dining experience. The restaurant specializes in gourmet Americana cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious and flavorful dishes. With its cozy and inviting atmosphere, Terra is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with family and friends. The outdoor patio provides a charming setting for dining, and they even allow dogs to join in on the fun. Throughout the year, Terra hosts a variety of family-friendly events, making it a great spot for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or a casual lunch, Terra has something for everyone.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Stroll through the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

When visiting Columbia, make sure to take some time to stroll through the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. This popular attraction offers a unique experience where you can get up close and personal with a variety of animals and explore beautiful gardens.

Experience Wildlife: At the Riverbanks Zoo, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife from around the world. From majestic lions to playful otters, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore the Gardens: In addition to the zoo, the Riverbanks Garden is a must-visit. Take a leisurely walk through the stunning botanical gardens and admire the vibrant flowers and lush greenery.

Family-Friendly Activities: The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden offers a range of family-friendly activities. Kids will love the interactive exhibits and educational programs that are designed to entertain and educate.

Tips for Your Visit: Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden:

  • Plan your visit on a weekday to avoid crowds.
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes as there is a lot to explore.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and stay hydrated.

Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a fun day out, the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is a must-visit destination in Columbia.

Hike the Trails at Congaree National Park

After exploring the rich history of Columbia, take some time to immerse yourself in nature at Congaree National Park. With its diverse ecosystem and beautiful trails, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with the outdoors. One of the highly recommended trails is the Boardwalk Loop Trail, which has a 4.5-star rating from 2,195 reviews on AllTrails.com. This trail offers a unique experience as you walk through a forest of towering trees and explore the park’s wetlands. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, Congaree National Park has something for everyone.

Explore the Botanical Gardens at Riverbanks

The Botanical Gardens at Riverbanks is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. With 70 acres of unparalleled beauty, it is considered one of America’s best public gardens. The gardens feature dramatic and themed displays that showcase a wide variety of plant species. From vibrant flower beds to serene water features, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Experience the harmony of colors and scents as you explore this botanical paradise.

Discover Vibrant Arts and Culture

Visit the Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of Art is a must-visit attraction in Columbia, SC. This museum showcases a diverse collection of art from various time periods and cultures. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. The museum offers guided tours and interactive exhibits, making it a great place for both children and adults to explore and learn. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of art at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Catch a Show at the Koger Center for the Arts

The Koger Center for the Arts is a premier performing arts venue in Columbia, SC. It hosts a variety of shows and performances throughout the year, ranging from Broadway musicals to classical concerts. Whether you’re a fan of theater, music, or dance, the Koger Center has something for everyone.

Experience the Magic of Live Performances

At the Koger Center, you can immerse yourself in the magic of live performances. From the moment the curtain rises to the final bow, you’ll be captivated by the talent and artistry on stage. Whether it’s a captivating play, a breathtaking ballet, or a soul-stirring symphony, the Koger Center offers unforgettable experiences.

A Venue for All Ages

The Koger Center is not just for adults. It also offers shows and performances that are perfect for families and children. From children’s theater productions to family-friendly concerts, there are plenty of options for the little ones to enjoy. It’s a great way to introduce them to the world of performing arts and create lasting memories.

Plan Your Visit

When planning your visit to the Koger Center, be sure to check the schedule for upcoming shows and performances. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office. Arrive early to explore the beautiful lobby and grab a snack or drink at the concession stand. And don’t forget to dress up a bit for a special night out at the theater!

Make it a Night to Remember

Attending a show at the Koger Center is more than just a night out. It’s an opportunity to connect with the arts, support local performers, and create lasting memories. So gather your friends or family, get your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable evening of entertainment at the Koger Center for the Arts.

Experience Live Music at The Senate

The Senate is a popular live music venue in Columbia, SC, known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse lineup of artists. Whether you’re a fan of rock, jazz, or country, The Senate has something for everyone. With its state-of-the-art sound system and spacious dance floor, it’s the perfect place to let loose and enjoy a night of live music. Grab a drink from the fully stocked bar and get ready to dance the night away!

Shop ’til You Drop

Browse Local Boutiques on Devine Street

Devine Street in Columbia is a haven for boutique lovers. With its charming atmosphere and unique shops, it’s the perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy. Whether you’re looking for trendy clothing, handmade jewelry, or one-of-a-kind home decor, you’ll find it all on Devine Street. Take a leisurely stroll and explore the various boutiques that line the street. Each shop offers its own distinct style and curated selection, ensuring that you’ll discover something special. From upscale fashion to vintage treasures, Devine Street has it all.

Explore the Shops at Five Points

Five Points is a vibrant shopping district located in Columbia, SC. With a variety of unique boutiques, trendy shops, and local businesses, it’s the perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy. Whether you’re looking for fashionable clothing, handmade jewelry, or one-of-a-kind gifts, you’ll find it all in Five Points. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets and discover hidden gems along the way. Don’t forget to stop by the local cafes and restaurants to refuel and recharge during your shopping adventure.

Find Unique Treasures at Soda City Market

Soda City Market is a must-visit destination for those looking for unique treasures in Columbia, SC. This vibrant market is filled with a diverse array of vendors offering a wide range of products. From handmade crafts to vintage clothing, there is something for everyone at Soda City Market.

One of the highlights of the market is the variety of food options available. Visitors can indulge in delicious treats from local food trucks and vendors. Whether you’re craving savory dishes or sweet desserts, you’ll find it all at Soda City Market.

In addition to shopping and dining, the market also hosts live music performances and other entertainment events. It’s a great place to spend a leisurely weekend morning, browsing through the stalls and enjoying the lively atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in Columbia, make sure to visit Soda City Market. You never know what hidden treasures you might find!

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation

Go Kayaking on the Congaree River

Kayaking on the Congaree River is a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Paddle along the calm waters and immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. As you navigate through the river, keep an eye out for wildlife such as herons, turtles, and maybe even an alligator! The Congaree River offers a unique perspective of Columbia, allowing you to see the city from a different angle. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, there are rental services available that provide equipment and guided tours. So grab a paddle and get ready for an unforgettable kayaking experience on the Congaree River!

Here are some tips for a successful kayaking trip:

  • Wear comfortable and waterproof clothing
  • Bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun
  • Pack snacks and water to stay hydrated
  • Follow safety guidelines and listen to your guide

Remember, kayaking on the Congaree River is not only a thrilling adventure but also a great way to connect with nature and explore the beauty of Columbia, SC.

Play a Round of Golf at Cobblestone Park

After a challenging round of golf at Cobblestone Park, take some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful parks in Columbia, SC. One of the top parks to visit is Finlay Park, where you can unwind and have a picnic surrounded by lush greenery. Another great option is Sesquicentennial State Park, which offers a serene lake and scenic hiking trails. If you prefer to be by the river, Columbia’s Riverwalks provide a peaceful setting to stroll and enjoy nature. For families with young children, there are stroller-friendly parks where you can let your little ones explore and play. Don’t forget to check out the Winter Hiking Guide to Columbia SC for more outdoor adventure ideas. Take advantage of Free Fridays, with free admission for Richland and Lexington County residents in January and February of 2024. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast or just looking for a relaxing day outdoors, Columbia’s parks offer something for everyone.

Take a Bike Ride on the Three Rivers Greenway

The Three Rivers Greenway offers a scenic and enjoyable biking experience in Columbia, SC. With its well-maintained trails and beautiful views of the rivers, it’s the perfect place to go for a bike ride. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, you’ll find a trail that suits your skill level. Explore the different sections of the Greenway, such as the West Columbia Riverwalk, the Cayce Riverwalk, and the Columbia Canal. Each section has its own unique charm and attractions. Take your time to soak in the natural beauty and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as you pedal along the trails.

Experience the Thrill of Sports

Cheer on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks

If you’re a sports fan, don’t miss the opportunity to cheer on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks have a strong athletic program and offer a variety of exciting games throughout the year. One of the highlights is the Gamecocks Basketball season, where you can catch thrilling matchups at the Colonial Life Arena. Here are some upcoming home games in January:

  • December 30, 2023 at 2 pm vs Florida A&M
  • January 6th, 2024 at 12 pm vs Mississippi State
  • January 16th, 2024 at 9 pm vs Georgia
  • January 23rd, 2024 at 7 pm vs Kentucky
  • January 27th, 2024 at 1 pm vs Missouri

Make sure to mark your calendar and experience the electrifying atmosphere of a Gamecocks Basketball game. It’s a fantastic way to support the team and enjoy some high-quality sports action. Go Gamecocks!

Catch a Columbia Fireflies Baseball Game

Attending a Columbia Fireflies baseball game is a must-do activity for sports enthusiasts visiting Columbia, SC. The team’s home games are held at the Spirit Communications Park, a state-of-the-art stadium that offers a fantastic game-day experience. Cheer on the Fireflies as they compete against other teams in the South Atlantic League. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, delicious ballpark food, and the thrill of watching America’s favorite pastime. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or just looking for a fun outing with friends and family, a Fireflies game is sure to be a home run!

Attend a Columbia City FC Soccer Match

If you’re a fan of soccer, attending a Columbia City FC soccer match is a must-do activity in Columbia, SC. The team’s energetic and passionate fans create an electric atmosphere that adds to the excitement of the game. You’ll have the opportunity to watch talented players showcase their skills on the field and cheer for your favorite team. Whether you’re a die-hard soccer fan or just looking for a fun and thrilling experience, a Columbia City FC soccer match is sure to deliver.

Unwind in Beautiful Parks

Relax at Finlay Park

After a day of exploring the vibrant city of Columbia, take some time to relax at Finlay Park. This beautiful park offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, with lush green spaces, scenic walking paths, and a tranquil lake. Whether you want to have a picnic with friends, read a book under a shady tree, or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, Finlay Park is the perfect place to unwind. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this urban park.

Picnic at Sesquicentennial State Park

Sesquicentennial State Park, also known as Sesqui, is a beautiful state park located in the Sandhills region of South Carolina. It offers a serene and picturesque setting for a relaxing picnic with your loved ones. The park features lush greenery, tranquil lakes, and scenic trails, providing the perfect backdrop for a memorable outdoor dining experience.

Whether you’re planning a romantic date or a fun family outing, Sesquicentennial State Park has something for everyone. You can spread out a blanket on the grassy fields, find a shady spot under the trees, or set up at one of the picnic tables available throughout the park.

Here are some highlights of Sesquicentennial State Park:

  • Tranquil Lakes: Enjoy the peaceful ambiance as you dine near the park’s serene lakes.
  • Scenic Trails: Take a leisurely stroll along the park’s well-maintained trails and explore the natural beauty of the surroundings.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the park home, including birds, turtles, and deer.

So pack a delicious picnic basket, grab a blanket, and head to Sesquicentennial State Park for a delightful outdoor dining experience that will create lasting memories.

Enjoy Water Activities at Lake Murray

If you’re looking for some outdoor water activities, Lake Murray is the perfect destination. With its beautiful scenery and crystal-clear waters, it offers a variety of options for fun and relaxation.

Boating and Fishing: Lake Murray is known for its excellent boating and fishing opportunities. Rent a boat and spend the day cruising on the lake or try your luck at catching some fish. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, you’ll find plenty of fish species to target.

Water Sports: If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, or jet skiing. Lake Murray’s calm waters make it an ideal spot for these activities. Rent equipment from one of the local rental shops and enjoy a thrilling day on the water.

Picnicking and Relaxing: Lake Murray has several picnic areas where you can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the scenic views. Pack a picnic basket with your favorite snacks and find a cozy spot by the lake. You can also simply relax on the shore, soak up the sun, and listen to the soothing sounds of nature.

So, whether you’re a water sports enthusiast, an avid angler, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Lake Murray has something for everyone. Plan a visit to this beautiful destination and create unforgettable memories.

In Conclusion

Columbia, SC offers a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the vibrant arts and entertainment scene to indulging in delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone in this charming city. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, family-friendly activities, or a night out on the town, Columbia has it all. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the best of what this city has to offer. Plan your trip today and create unforgettable memories in Columbia, SC!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Columbia, SC?

The best time to visit Columbia, SC is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there are many outdoor events and festivals happening.

What are some popular attractions in Columbia, SC?

Some popular attractions in Columbia, SC include the South Carolina State House, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, and the Columbia Museum of Art.

Are there any outdoor activities in Columbia, SC?

Yes, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Columbia, SC. You can go hiking in Congaree National Park, kayaking on the Congaree River, or take a bike ride on the Three Rivers Greenway.

Where can I find good restaurants in Columbia, SC?

There are many good restaurants in Columbia, SC. Some popular options include Motor Supply Co. Bistro for Southern comfort food, River Rat Brewery for craft beers, and Terra for farm-to-table dining.

What are some family-friendly activities in Columbia, SC?

There are several family-friendly activities in Columbia, SC. You can visit the EdVenture Children’s Museum, go to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, or enjoy outdoor activities at Finlay Park.

What sports teams are in Columbia, SC?

Columbia, SC is home to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, Columbia Fireflies baseball team, and Columbia City FC soccer team.

Are there any parks or gardens in Columbia, SC?

Yes, there are several parks and gardens in Columbia, SC. Some popular options include Finlay Park, Sesquicentennial State Park, and the Botanical Gardens at Riverbanks.

What cultural attractions are there in Columbia, SC?

Columbia, SC has several cultural attractions, including the Columbia Museum of Art, Koger Center for the Arts for live shows, and The Senate for live music performances.

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