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Columbia Cityscape

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.


Culture Vultures

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.

Little Learners

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.

Visit Columbia SC

South Carolina State House

History Buffs

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.

Party Goers

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.

Visit Columbia SC

Finlay Park Fountain

Outdoor Types

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.

Sport Fans

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.

Best Western Hotels Along the Way:

1

Best Western Executive Inn & Suites

1720 Bush River Road, Columbia SC 29210-6812
Phone: (803) 561-9027  |  Fax: (803) 561-9887  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

2

Best Western Plus Columbia North East

7525 Two Notch Road, Columbia SC 29223-6219
Phone: (803) 736-6666  |  Fax: (803) 788-6011  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

3

Best Western Inn

1808 W Lucas Street, Florence SC 29501-1230
Phone: (843) 678-9292  |  Fax: (843) 678-9990  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

4

Best Western Plus Santee Inn

I-95 Exit 98, Santee SC 29142
Phone: (803) 854-3089  |  Fax: (803) 854-3093  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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More to See in South Carolina

  • SC State Parks

    SC State Parks

    Explore one or all 47 South Carolina state parks from adventure in Appalachia to lakeside near Columbia and the scenic Coast.

    Explore SC! ►
  • Visit Columbia

    Visit Columbia

    Make your way you Columbia and enjoy a wide range of exciting and eclectic adventures – from the SC Gamecocks to historic landmarks like the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.

    Explore Columbia ►
  • SC Airport Hotels

    SC Airport Hotels

    Find hotels near major SC airports like Charleston International, Columbia Metropolitan, and Myrtle Beach International.

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  • South Carolina College Sports Teams

    South Carolina College Sports Teams

    College sports are alive and well in South Carolina. Check out the host of celebrated teams from the Clemson Tigers to USC Gamecocks.

    Explore the Action! ►
  • South Carolina Parks

    South Carolina Parks

    From canoeing down the Congaree River to hiking the endless trails of the Francis Marion National Forest, spend you summer in South Carolina's parks.

    Explore SC Parks ►
  • South Carolina With the Family

    South Carolina With the Family

    Check out family-friendly options in South Carolina like Ripley's Aquarium, Hollywild Animal Park, and Kings Mountain State Park.

    Take the Kids to SC! ►
  • Universities of SC

    Universities of SC

    Check out the fantastic public and private universities in South Carolina, including USC, MUSC, SCSU, C of C, and Clemson.

    SC Schools! ►
  • South Carolina Coast

    South Carolina Coast

    Your South Carolina Coast travel guide. Visit local beaches, try hand crafted wines and beer, or explore one of the many wildlife refuges.

    Head to the SC Coast ►
  • Cultural South Carolina

    Cultural South Carolina

    Find hotels near South Carolina cultural sites like the Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina State Museum, and Dayton Hall.

    Palmetto State Sites ►
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