What To Do When You're in Columbia!
The Capital City of South Carolina, Columbia is a happening city in the Palmetto State. Also known simply as Cola and the Capital of Southern Hospitality, Columbia is busting with cultural attractions, historic sites, outdoor activities, and so much more.
A major metropolitan area, Columbia is busting with cultural sites across town. Obvious itinerary toppers include the Columbia Museum of Art, the Columbia City Ballet, and the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra.
Theater buffs may want to get a pen. Check out Columbia arts and culture with Town Theatre, Trustus Theatre, the Workshop Theatre of South Carolina, and The South Carolina Shakespeare Company. And for more performing arts in Cola, discover the Columbia City Jazz Dance Company and the Palmetto Opera, and check the event calendar at the Koger Center for the Arts.
For those traveling with kids, it’s important to find family-friendly activities when exploring a new city. Cola features kid-approved stops like the EdVenture Children's Museum – offering 67,000 square feet of interactive exhibits across eight galleries.
Other spots to check out include the Richland County Public Library (offering an impressive children's collection), the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, and shopping and dining in the Five Points neighborhood.
South Carolina State House
Several museums and historic sites serve the Columbia metro area. The first stop? The South Carolina State House.
Home to the South Carolina government, this Greek revival structure was constructed in 1855, and today is a U.S. National Historic Landmark found the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The SC State House offers guided tours throughout the year, and a 15-minute film on the history and architecture of the building.
Another important stop for history fans in Columbia is the South Carolina State Museum – established in 1893 and is the largest museum in the southeastern part of the nation. Other historic attractions include the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, the Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum, and the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.
Columbia knows how to party, and it’s no wonder a packed event schedule meets any visitor to town. October brings the massive South Carolina State Fair to Cola, while other major events include Riverfest Celebration, the Columbia International Festival, and Finlay Park Summer Concert Series.
Don’t miss unique festivals like the Indie Grits Festival, a film festival at Nickelodeon Theater, the Irmo Okra Strut, the Eau Claire Renaissance Faire, the Southeastern Piano Festival, and the Jubilee: Festival of Heritage.
Finlay Park Fountain
Columbia’s most iconic outdoor attraction is the fountain at Finlay Park. Found downtown on 18 acres, Finlay Park offers a plethora of outdoor activity, as well as outdoor concerts, a lake, and plenty of picnic spots. Other great Columbia City Parks include the four-acre Memorial Park, the 24-acre Granby Park, and Riverfront Park on the Columbia Canal.
The city also neighbors a number of fun state and national parks. Explore the 1,500-acre Sesquicentennial State Park in northeast Columbia, or the 22,200-acre Congaree National Park just 25 miles southeast of town in Hopkins.
Columbia does not leave sports fans wanting. Catch a baseball game with the Columbia Blowfish at Capital City Stadium, or see the Columbia Olde Grey rugby team hit the field at Patton Stadium.
Of course, Columbia is also home to the University of South Carolina, where you can catch the USC Gamecocks at venues like Williams-Brice Stadium, Colonial Life Arena, and Carolina Stadium.