Fun Family Activities to Explore in Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC is a vibrant city with a rich history and a wide range of family-friendly activities to explore. From discovering the city’s historic sites to enjoying outdoor adventures and experiencing the vibrant arts scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Indulge in delicious cuisine, shop at unique boutiques and markets, and explore the outdoors. Don’t miss out on the local music scene and the opportunity to learn something new. Here are the key takeaways from this article:

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the rich history of Columbia by exploring the Historic Columbia Museum, taking a guided tour of the State House, and visiting the South Carolina State Museum.
  • Enjoy outdoor adventures such as hiking at Congaree National Park, renting bikes and exploring the Riverwalk, and trying kayaking on Lake Murray.
  • Experience the vibrant arts scene by attending a performance at the Koger Center for the Arts, visiting the Columbia Museum of Art, and exploring the Vista Arts District.
  • Indulge in delicious cuisine by trying Southern comfort food at Motor Supply Co. Bistro, sampling local craft beer at River Rat Brewery, and savoring authentic Italian dishes at Il Giorgione.
  • Shop at unique boutiques and markets such as Soda City Market, Revente, and Silver Spoon Boutique.

Discover the Rich History of Columbia

Explore the Historic Columbia Museum

The Historic Columbia Museum is a must-visit attraction in Columbia, South Carolina. Located at 301 Gervais Street, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of the city. From interactive exhibits to informative displays, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One highlight of the museum is its collection of artifacts and memorabilia from Columbia’s past. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the city’s early settlers, its role in the Civil War, and its growth over the years.

Another highlight is the museum’s educational programs and events. From guided tours to workshops, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and engage with the history of Columbia.

If you’re planning a visit to Columbia, be sure to include a trip to the Historic Columbia Museum on your itinerary. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s past and gain a deeper appreciation for its rich heritage.

Take a Guided Tour of the State House

Embark on a guided tour of the State House and explore the rich history of Columbia. With a knowledgeable tour guide, you’ll not only get to see the historical landmarks and iconic sites, but also learn interesting facts about the city. The tour guide will be there to provide insights and answer any questions, enhancing the overall experience. This private tour offers a unique opportunity for team building strategies and problem-solving techniques. Engage in mind-boggling missions and discover hidden gems as you navigate through the State House. Don’t miss out on this exciting and interactive way to explore Columbia’s attractions!

Visit the South Carolina State Museum

When visiting Columbia, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the South Carolina State Museum. Located at 301 Gervais Street, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and culture of the state. With exhibits ranging from natural history and art to science and technology, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the highlights of the museum is the 4D theater, where you can immerse yourself in a multisensory experience. Watch educational films and feel like you’re part of the action with special effects like wind, water, and even scents.

If you’re interested in learning more about the state’s history, be sure to check out the exhibit on the Civil War. It provides a comprehensive look at this pivotal period in American history, with artifacts, interactive displays, and informative panels.

Tip: Plan your visit ahead of time to make the most of your experience. Check the museum’s website for current exhibits and special events, and consider purchasing tickets online to avoid long lines.

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures

Go Hiking at Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park offers a beautiful and serene setting for hiking enthusiasts. With its lush forests and diverse wildlife, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature. The park features several well-maintained trails that cater to different skill levels, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find a trail that suits your preferences. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park as you explore its scenic beauty and discover hidden gems along the way.

Rent Bikes and Explore the Riverwalk

Renting bikes is a great way to explore the beautiful Riverwalk in Columbia. Cycling along the scenic path allows you to take in the picturesque views of the river and enjoy the fresh air. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, there are bike rental options available for all skill levels. Pedal at your own pace and discover the hidden gems along the way. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the memorable moments of your bike adventure!

Try Kayaking on Lake Murray

Kayaking on Lake Murray is a must-do activity for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Columbia, SC. With its expansive 50,000-acre Palmetto State fishery, Lake Murray offers a picturesque setting for kayaking adventures. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore the calm waters and take in the beautiful scenery. Experience the tranquility as you paddle along the lake, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning wildlife. Keep an eye out for migratory birds and other fascinating creatures that call Lake Murray home.

Experience the Vibrant Arts Scene

Attend a Performance 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 performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, and dance performances. With its state-of-the-art facilities and stunning architecture, the Koger Center provides an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. Whether you’re a fan of musicals, classical music, or contemporary dance, the Koger Center has something for everyone. Make sure to check their website for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Visit the Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. Located in the heart of Columbia, this museum showcases a diverse collection of artwork from around the world. From classical masterpieces to contemporary installations, there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. Take your time to explore the various galleries and immerse yourself in the beauty and creativity of the art on display.

If you’re interested in learning more about the collection, the museum offers guided tours led by knowledgeable docents. These tours provide valuable insights into the history and significance of the artwork, enhancing your overall experience.

Don’t forget to check the museum’s website for information on current exhibitions and special events. Plan your visit accordingly to make the most of your time at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Explore the Vista Arts District

The Vista Arts District is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood in Columbia, SC that is known for its thriving arts scene. With its unique blend of galleries, studios, and boutiques, the Vista is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and anyone looking to explore the local culture.

One of the highlights of the Vista Arts District is the Meeting Street Artisan Market. This market offers a variety of handmade goods and artisanal products, making it the perfect place to find unique souvenirs or gifts. The market is open on Saturdays from 11 AM to 3 PM, providing ample opportunity to browse and support local artists.

In addition to the market, the Vista Arts District is home to numerous art galleries and studios. Visitors can explore the works of local artists, attend art exhibitions, and even participate in workshops and classes. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or just looking to discover something new, the Vista Arts District has something for everyone.

If you’re feeling inspired, you can even unleash your own creativity at one of the district’s art studios. Many studios offer drop-in sessions where you can create your own masterpiece with provided art supplies. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and tap into your artistic side.

So, make sure to carve out some time to explore the Vista Arts District during your visit to Columbia, SC. You’ll be immersed in a vibrant arts community and have the opportunity to discover unique artwork, support local artists, and maybe even create something of your own.

Indulge in Delicious Cuisine

Try Southern Comfort Food at Motor Supply Co. Bistro

Motor Supply Co. Bistro is a must-visit for those craving Southern comfort food in Columbia. Located in the historic Congaree Vista, this restaurant offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The menu features a variety of dishes that showcase the flavors of the South, with a modern twist. From fried chicken to shrimp and grits, each dish is prepared with care and attention to detail. The restaurant also offers a selection of craft cocktails and local beers to complement your meal. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a meal at Motor Supply Co. Bistro is sure to satisfy your cravings for delicious Southern cuisine.

Sample Local Craft Beer at River Rat Brewery

River Rat Brewery in Columbia is a popular destination for craft beer enthusiasts. With a wide selection of locally brewed beers, visitors can sample a variety of flavors and styles. The brewery offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it a great place to hang out with friends or enjoy a casual date night. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking to try something new, River Rat Brewery is definitely worth a visit.

Savor Authentic Italian Dishes at Il Giorgione

When it comes to authentic Italian cuisine, Il Giorgione is a must-visit restaurant in Columbia. Located in the heart of the city, this charming eatery offers a delightful menu of traditional Italian dishes made with the finest ingredients. From classic pasta dishes like spaghetti carbonara and lasagna al forno to mouthwatering pizzas topped with fresh mozzarella and basil, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make dining at Il Giorgione a truly memorable experience.

If you’re looking to indulge in a variety of Italian flavors, consider ordering the antipasto platter as an appetizer. This delicious assortment of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables is perfect for sharing with friends and family. Pair your meal with a glass of Chianti or Pinot Grigio for the ultimate Italian dining experience.

Here are some popular dishes at Il Giorgione:

Margherita PizzaClassic pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil
Gnocchi alla SorrentinaHomemade potato dumplings served with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella
TiramisuTraditional Italian dessert made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cream

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving authentic Italian flavors, a visit to Il Giorgione is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Buon appetito!

Shop at Unique Boutiques and Markets

Browse Local Artisan Goods at Soda City Market

Soda City Market is Columbia’s weekly Main Street event inspired by traditional European street markets. In partnership with Founders Federal Credit Union, we’re open every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s a magical experience where you can explore a wide variety of artisan goods and local products. From handmade crafts to delicious food, there’s something for everyone at Soda City Market. Take your time strolling through the market, discovering unique treasures and supporting local vendors. It’s a must-visit destination for any shopping enthusiast.

Discover Vintage Treasures at Revente

If you’re a fan of vintage shopping, make sure to visit Revente in Columbia. This charming boutique is a treasure trove of unique and one-of-a-kind items. From vintage clothing and accessories to home decor and furniture, Revente has something for everyone. You’ll be amazed at the quality and craftsmanship of the pieces you’ll find here. Whether you’re looking for a statement piece to add to your wardrobe or a special gift for a loved one, Revente is the place to go. So take a stroll through this vintage paradise and discover the perfect treasure to take home.

Shop for Handmade Jewelry at Silver Spoon Boutique

Silver Spoon Boutique is a must-visit for jewelry enthusiasts. This charming boutique offers a wide selection of handmade jewelry pieces that are unique and beautifully crafted. From delicate necklaces to statement rings, you’ll find something to suit every style and occasion. The boutique also features local artisans, showcasing their talent and creativity. Whether you’re looking for a special gift or want to treat yourself to something special, Silver Spoon Boutique is the perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind piece. Discover the artistry and craftsmanship of handmade jewelry at Silver Spoon Boutique.

Explore the Outdoors

Visit the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is a must-visit attraction in Columbia, SC. It offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals and explore beautiful gardens. The zoo is home to over 2,000 animals, including elephants, giraffes, lions, and more. Visitors can stroll through the zoo and learn about different species through informative exhibits and interactive experiences. The garden, on the other hand, features stunning landscapes, colorful flowers, and tranquil paths where visitors can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Go Fishing at Lake Murray

Lake Murray is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. With its vast expanse of water and diverse fish population, it offers plenty of opportunities for a successful fishing trip. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, you’ll find something to enjoy at Lake Murray. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and crappie. Fishing at Lake Murray is not only a great way to relax and unwind, but it’s also a chance to test your skills and catch some impressive fish. So grab your fishing gear and head out to Lake Murray for a memorable fishing experience!

Take a Stroll in Finlay Park

Finlay Park is a beautiful green space located in the heart of Columbia. It offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, with its lush trees, scenic walking paths, and serene lake. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind or enjoy a picnic with your family, Finlay Park is the perfect spot.

If you’re visiting with kids, they’ll love the playground area, complete with swings, slides, and climbing structures. There’s also a splash pad where they can cool off on hot summer days. And don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the ducks and geese that call the park home.

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Finlay Park has plenty to offer. You can rent paddle boats and explore the lake, or join a game of frisbee or soccer on the open grassy areas. There are also fitness stations scattered throughout the park, so you can get in a workout while enjoying the fresh air.

If you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat, there are several food trucks that park near the entrance of Finlay Park. You can indulge in a variety of delicious cuisines, from tacos to barbecue to ice cream. It’s the perfect way to refuel after a leisurely stroll in the park.

So next time you’re in Columbia, make sure to take a stroll in Finlay Park. It’s a hidden gem that offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking for relaxation, outdoor fun, or a tasty meal.

Discover the Local Music Scene

Catch Live Music at The Senate

The Senate is a popular venue in Columbia for live music performances. With its spacious layout and state-of-the-art sound system, it provides an excellent experience for music lovers. Whether you’re into rock, jazz, or country, The Senate offers a diverse lineup of talented artists. Grab a drink from the bar and enjoy the energetic atmosphere as you listen to your favorite bands and musicians. Check their website or social media pages for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Enjoy Jazz at Pearlz Oyster Bar

Pearlz Oyster Bar is a must-visit spot in Columbia for jazz enthusiasts. Located in the heart of the city, this lively venue offers a vibrant atmosphere and top-notch live jazz performances. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz lover or new to the genre, Pearlz Oyster Bar provides an unforgettable experience. Sit back, relax, and let the smooth melodies transport you to a world of musical bliss.

Dance the Night Away at The Tin Roof

After a fun-filled day exploring Columbia, SC, head over to The Tin Roof for a night of dancing and live music. This popular venue is known for its lively atmosphere and talented local bands. Whether you’re a fan of rock, country, or pop music, you’re sure to find something to groove to at The Tin Roof. Grab a drink from the bar and hit the dance floor with your friends or make new ones as you enjoy the energetic performances. The Tin Roof is the perfect place to let loose and have a memorable night out in Columbia.

Learn Something New

Take a Cooking Class at Let’s Cook Culinary Studio

If you’re looking to enhance your culinary skills and learn new recipes, consider taking a cooking class at Let’s Cook Culinary Studio. Located in Columbia, SC, Let’s Cook offers a variety of classes for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, you’ll find a class that suits your interests and abilities.

During the class, you’ll have the opportunity to work with professional chefs who will guide you through the cooking process. You’ll learn valuable techniques, tips, and tricks that you can apply in your own kitchen. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the delicious dishes you create!

Let’s Cook Culinary Studio also offers private classes for special occasions or group events. It’s a great way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or team-building activities. The studio provides a fun and interactive environment where you can bond with your loved ones while exploring the world of cooking.

So why not spice up your culinary repertoire and join a cooking class at Let’s Cook Culinary Studio? It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn, create, and indulge in the art of cooking.

Attend a Workshop at the Columbia Art Center

The Columbia Art Center offers a variety of workshops for both beginners and experienced artists. Whether you’re interested in painting, pottery, or jewelry making, there’s a workshop for you. Unleash your creativity and learn new techniques from talented instructors. These workshops provide a great opportunity to explore your artistic side and connect with other art enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity, consider attending a workshop at the Columbia Art Center. You’ll have the chance to create something unique and take home a piece of art that you can be proud of. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, the workshops are designed for all skill levels. Discover your hidden talent and have a memorable experience at the Columbia Art Center.

Learn about Local Wildlife at the Riverbanks Conservation Center

The Riverbanks Conservation Center is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers. Located in Columbia, SC, this center is dedicated to the preservation and protection of wildlife and their habitats. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about the diverse species that call this area home and the conservation efforts being made to ensure their survival.

At the Riverbanks Conservation Center, you can participate in educational programs and interactive exhibits that provide insight into the importance of wildlife conservation. From guided tours to hands-on activities, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with the natural world and deepen your understanding of the local ecosystem.

One highlight of the center is the chance to observe and learn about endangered species up close. Through informative displays and knowledgeable staff, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges these animals face and the steps being taken to protect them.

If you’re interested in getting involved, the Riverbanks Conservation Center also offers volunteer opportunities and ways to support their conservation efforts. By contributing your time or resources, you can make a positive impact on the preservation of local wildlife and their habitats.


In conclusion, Columbia, SC offers a wide range of fun family activities for everyone to enjoy. From exploring the beautiful riverwalks to indulging in delicious food at the best restaurants, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, summer camps, or birthday party ideas, Columbia has it all. So gather your family and embark on an exciting journey to create lasting 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 pleasant.

What are some free things to do in Columbia, SC?

There are several free things to do in Columbia, SC, including visiting parks and playgrounds, exploring the Riverwalks, and attending family-friendly events.

Where can I find the best pizza in Columbia, SC?

Motor Supply Co. Bistro is known for serving delicious pizza in Columbia, SC.

What outdoor activities are available in Columbia, SC?

Columbia, SC offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking at Congaree National Park, biking along the Riverwalk, and kayaking on Lake Murray.

What are some popular attractions for families in Columbia, SC?

Families visiting Columbia, SC can enjoy attractions like the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Lake Murray, and Finlay Park.

Where can I experience the vibrant arts scene in Columbia, SC?

The Koger Center for the Arts, Columbia Museum of Art, and the Vista Arts District are great places to experience the vibrant arts scene in Columbia, SC.

What are some popular restaurants in Columbia, SC?

Motor Supply Co. Bistro, River Rat Brewery, and Il Giorgione are popular restaurants in Columbia, SC.

Are there any summer camps for kids in Columbia, SC?

Yes, there are several summer camps for kids in Columbia, SC, including animal-themed camps, art camps, dance camps, music and theater camps, and outdoor and nature camps.

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