(Word: Some sights could require COVID-19 testing or vaccination proof and capability restrictions could also be in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. Verify straight with the attraction web site earlier than your journey.)

The mid-sized capital metropolis of Columbia, South Carolina, is steeped in historical past and buzzing with exercise, but it’s usually missed as a trip vacation spot in favor of among the state’s extra iconic coastal cities. Because the second-most populous metropolis within the state and residential to the College of South Carolina, Columbia harbors a wide range of vibrant procuring, eating and leisure districts to discover, in addition to many notable historic landmarks from the Civil Warfare period. And because of its location on the confluence of the Saluda and Broad rivers, town has year-round entry to a wide range of out of doors leisure pursuits like climbing, biking, fishing and paddling. This information of enjoyable issues to do in Columbia, SC, has one thing for everybody to take pleasure in and, along with a number of free issues to do, among the sights on this record may also be accessed with low cost cross packages supplied by the Columbia Metropolitan Conference & Guests Bureau.

Mingle on Principal Avenue

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Situated within the coronary heart of downtown Columbia, the not too long ago reimagined Principal Avenue district is filled with outlets just like the vintage-inspired Mast Common Retailer, eating places, authorities buildings and historic websites, making a go to to this city space one of the vital enjoyable issues to do in Columbia, SC. A bevy of occasions and festivals are held right here all year long, like First Thursdays on Principal and the Soda Metropolis Market. The world is surrounded by among the metropolis’s most interesting cultural choices, just like the 240,000-square-foot, architecturally spectacular fundamental department of the Richland Library, the Columbia Museum of Artwork and the South Carolina State Home, the place you possibly can take a free tour of the federal government workplaces and collections of historic artworks (households would possibly wish to strive the on-site scavenger hunt to make their go to extra participating and academic). The Columbia local weather will be identified to carry the warmth, so remember to cease by the flagship retailer of the Candy Cream Firm that can assist you cool off. The regionally owned ice cream store affords 16 totally different flavors, usually made with regionally sourced elements.

Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Backyard

(Courtesy of Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Backyard)

This 170-acre out of doors oasis showcasing greater than 6,000 crops and animals is likely one of the greatest issues to do with children in Columbia, SC. Along with eight distinct animal habitats and 7 award-winning themed gardens, the ability additionally affords adventurous experiences like zip line excursions, a mountaineering wall and intimate animal interactions with the acquisition of an “Discover Extra” card (not included in your entrance price). Guests rave in regards to the seasonal splash park, referred to as Waterfall Junction, for letting children run round and funky off on sizzling summer season days. And do not miss taking a stroll down the secluded, half-mile lengthy River Path to peek at historic websites which earned the Riverbanks property a spot on the revered Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1973, just like the Saluda River Manufacturing facility ruins and interpretive middle. You will additionally see the stays of a lined bridge that was burned in the course of the Civil Warfare in an try to stop Common Sherman from having access to town.

Tackle: 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210

Riverfront Park & Columbia Canal

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Located alongside a canal on the headwaters of the Congaree River, this scenic inexperienced area is surrounded by water and is in style with native and vacationers alike for the numerous free issues to do open air like a paved waterfront path lined with flowering bushes for strolling, jogging or biking and a formidable brick amphitheater the place you would possibly occur upon an out of doors live performance or competition. Folks suggest this park as an awesome place for a picnic and to swim within the river. It’s dwelling to a number of historic landmarks just like the Columbia canal, textile mill and waterworks, which continues to be in operation right now.

Tackle: 4122 River Drive (north entrance); 312 Laurel St., Columbia, SC 29201(south entrance)

Be a Spectator at Colonial Life Enviornment

(Courtesy of Colonial Life Enviornment)

This world class occasion venue is the most important of its sort within the state and attracts every part from worldwide recording artists to company commerce reveals. Its location on the College of South Carolina campus makes it the house base for each males’s and girls’s Gamecock basketball, enjoying host to quite a few sold-out video games in addition to a number of NCAA tournaments. With seating for 18,000 friends, leading edge audiovisual know-how and huge number of meals and beverage choices on-site (alcohol just isn’t served throughout faculty video games), scoring tickets to an occasion here’s a worthwhile endeavor. Situated on the college campus, the encompassing neighborhood is an attraction in itself with loads of motion to maintain you busy earlier than and after occasions, too. Cease by the 1801 Grille for a nibble or an evening cap in its cozy tavern-like lounge, or head to certainly one of many close by dwell music venues like The Senate or Tin Roof, each in style for his or her edgy faculty city vibes.

Tackle: 801 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC 29208

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

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If the partitions of this good-looking dwelling might discuss, they may inform the secrets and techniques of military generals, state governors, enslaved peoples and of the rich Southern households who resided right here over its 200-plus 12 months historical past. In-built 1818 and added to the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1969, this historic website flaunts a set of historic artwork and artifacts and rotating interpretive reveals, however what guests discover most spectacular are the 4 acres of manicured gardens dotted with fountains, gazebos and interpretive signage. The home is positioned within the Robert Mills Historic District together with three different historic websites making it an awesome place to spend a day or a complete weekend. Guided excursions are supplied Wednesday by way of Sunday for a price.

Tackle: 1615 Blanding St., Columbia, SC 29201

Tunnelvision and Busted Plug Plaza

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Blue Sky, a Columbia-born artist and College of South Carolina graduate, has generously created a slew of free issues to do and see round city within the type of zany, larger-than-life public artwork items. A fast go to to see his well-known “Tunnelvision” mural is to not be missed. Painted on the again of a financial institution constructing in a mode referred to as trompe l’oeil, which means “to deceive the attention,” you’ll be amazed at how sensible this picture of a street boring by way of a rocky mountainside seems. Regardless of its lifelike traits, surprisingly no accidents or accidents have been reportedly brought on by collisions with the brick wall that lies simply beneath the floor of the mural’s fabricated façade. Simply across the nook sits the “Busted Plug Plaza,” an outsized rendition of a dilapidated hearth hydrant. Many extra items will be discovered throughout the city and in artwork museums throughout the nation, in addition to within the artist’s personal Blue Sky Gallery positioned within the Arcade Mall in downtown Columbia.

Tackle: 1404 Taylor St., Columbia, SC 29201

EdVenture Kidss Museum

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Undoubtedly one of many high issues to do with children in Columbia, SC, this museum combines schooling with journey with 350 hands-on actions, encouraging playtime as a pathway to studying. Whether or not getting into the sneakers of execs corresponding to hearth fighters, farmers and mechanics throughout position play; creating concoctions within the Bio Lab; or crawling across the innards of EDDIE—a 40-foot tall interactive duplicate of the human physique—children are supplied the possibility to find how enjoyable actual life will be. Mother and father rave in regards to the full-size firetruck, airplane cockpit and different sensible sights that preserve children busy for hours, in addition to the attentive and engaged workers. Devoted toddler areas present secure areas for little ones to discover, too, whereas growing abilities like communication, socialization, creativity and self-confidence. Verify the occasion calendar for seasonal applications and reveals, like Snowville, which brings winter-themed enjoyable indoors.

Tackle: 211 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201

Go to the Vista

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Extra generally known as merely “The Vista” or typically because the “Congaree Vista”, the neighborhood is a sizzling spot for enjoyable issues to do in Columbia, SC. It’s certainly one of simply 9 official “South Carolina Cultural Districts” and can be listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations for its protected architectural options. Not solely is it chock filled with hip eateries, stylish boutiques and an array of vintage outlets, however it’s also dwelling to a slew of notable sights just like the Governor’s Mansion, Columbia Metropolitan Conference Middle, South Carolina Accomplice Relic Room & Army Museum, and the Columbia Customer’s Middle. There’s additionally the enduring Adluh Flour Mill, and the neighborhood is particularly well-known for its assortment of artwork galleries, studios and work areas, the place you possibly can store for the right piece of wall artwork, furnishings to adorn the lobby or create your personal masterpiece at a paint-and-sip session. Night time owls flock to the Vista for its array of entertaining actions like live performance halls, bars, breweries and specialty leisure like axe-throwing halls and an escape room facility. Energizing occasions like gallery crawls and a live performance collection entice neighborhood members to sip, socialize and savor the colourful native inventive choices year-round. Ebook a keep at one of many space’s many resort properties, just like the Hilton Columbia Center, to actually immerse your self within the space’s many choices.

Tackle: 701 Gervais St. 150-118, Columbia, SC 29201

South Carolina State Museum

(Courtesy of South Carolina State Museum)

This distinctive interactive facility homes 70,000 show items all through 4 flooring that educate guests in regards to the artwork, historical past and pure sources of South Carolina from the pre-historic period, by way of instances of conflict and into the current day. Though these are particularly fantastic issues to do with children in Columbia, SC, the adjoining planetarium with rotating applications, observatory with state-of-the-art telescopes and a 4D theater with “scent and really feel” sensations will present infinite leisure and marvel for guests of all ages. The on-site cafe is famous by vacationers as an awesome place for a snack break between reveals. And, when you’re searching for that excellent Southern memento, do not miss the Cotton Mill Alternate, the large museum store that includes distinctive present gadgets from across the state. The close by Hyatt Place Columbia resort affords lodging packages that embody tickets and round-trip transportation to the museum.

Tackle: 301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201

Columbia Meals Excursions

(Courtesy of Columbia Meals Excursions)

It is no secret the South is thought for its scrumptious meals – particularly seafood – and Columbia isn’t any exception. Should you’re a foodie, taking knowledgeable meals tour needs to be on the high of your record of enjoyable issues to do in Columbia, SC. With so many delectable prospects, taking a strolling tour of among the high gourmand outposts with an area professional is a good way to see town and pattern the entire flavors that it has to supply. Columbia Meals Excursions companions with native eating places and cooks in numerous elements of city that present examples of a few of their greatest dishes at every cease, inviting you to expertise town “one chew at a time.” Reviewers suggest arriving with an empty abdomen as they have been supplied beneficiant parts at every cease on the tour, leaving them stuffed full. Alongside the way in which, you could possibly strive menu gadgets like salads, deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, catfish bites and an array of desserts. Native guides will entertain your group with enjoyable info and tales in regards to the surrounding space, buildings and tradition, in the course of the roughly 2 1/2-hour tour, making this way more than only a scrumptious expedition. Excursions run Saturdays for a price.

Tackle: 1100 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201

Congaree Nationwide Park

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This expansive wilderness space is positioned simply 18 miles southeast of downtown Columbia providing guests the possibility to take a glimpse into the pure panorama and ecosystems surrounding town. Hike by way of the most important old-growth bottomland forest within the nation, paddle down the 15-mile Cedar Creek Canoe Path, and search for wildlife corresponding to deer, fox, bats, snakes, otter, bobcat, owls and far, way more (and when you occur to be there at nightfall, the fireflies placed on fairly a present, however watch out for mosquitoes). Begin your go to with a cease into the Harry Hampton Customer Middle to inquire about present circumstances within the park and choose up a brochure detailing the assorted pure and historic options within the space. Guests adore the leisurely 2.6-mile Boardwalk Loop Path, which begins on the customer middle, lined with magnificent cypress bushes and the place wildlife sightings are frequent. Kids can turn into licensed Junior Rangers by acquiring a workbook on the customer’s middle to document what they be taught and discover alongside the way in which.

Tackle: 100 Nationwide Park Street, Hopkins, SC 29061

Three Rivers Greenway 

(Courtesy of the River Alliance)

This rising regional path community stretches greater than 12 miles by way of a number of cities (together with Columbia) and alongside three totally different rivers providing an incredible alternative for fast jaunts out of town streetscape and into nature. The paved path is simply steps away from facilities like picnic tables, playgrounds, restrooms, and even bars and eating places, making it a great city climbing vacation spot. This can be a good spot to go for a stroll, jog or bike experience whereas taking within the spectacular riverfront surroundings. A number of Blue Bike stands will be discovered alongside the way in which providing a easy and handy bike share system, for a modest price. Maintain your eyes peeled for indicators of wildlife, particularly birds and waterfowl, because the rivers are dotted with small islands offering superb nesting habitat. A map of the trail is available from the River Alliance.

Paddle or Float the River

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Columbia is notoriously sizzling and humid, and there is not any higher approach to cool off than to spend time on the water. Fortunately, town boasts three rivers plus a canal offering ample alternatives for swimming, fishing, paddling and floating for all ability ranges. A number of “put in” areas are offered in bordering native parks for folks to entry the water’s edge a couple of native favorites embody Saluda Riverwalk close to the Riverbanks Zoo, the West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Granby Park and a number of other close by outfitters supply guided excursions, shuttle companies and gear leases. Palmetto Out of doors is particularly in style for its handy location beneath the Gervais Avenue bridge, a grab-and-go tube rental station and hourly shuttle service.

Brewery Excursions

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Columbia is dwelling to dozens of craft breweries that provide excursions, tastings and pleasant environments for enjoyable and leisure. Household owned-and-operated Swamp Cabbage Brewery is in style for its pleasant environment and flights of excellent beer. The Columbia Craft Brewing Firm has gained quite a few trade awards for its creations, which you’ll be able to pair with a nibble from a menu of rotating on-site meals vehicles. At River Rat Brewery you possibly can sip your suds on a rooftop patio and revel in a full-service meals menu. Along with superior beer, many of those breweries additionally entertain with actions like free excursions, trivia nights, dwell music and even yoga courses.

Spend a Day on Lake Murray

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About 15 miles northwest of town you may discover Lake Murray, a large human-made reservoir that covers 55,000 acres and has 650 miles of shoreline to discover. You possibly can hire a ship to discover the islands, sunbathe on the seashore or have a picnic at a number of public parks with sweeping views of the water. Fishing is one other favourite previous time right here, with anglers reeling in a wide range of fish like bass and stripers year-round. There’s loads to do for landlubbers, too, with climbing and mountain biking in public parks and on trails across the lake, bars and eating places galore, and neighborhood leisure like fireworks shows over the water on the Fourth of July.

Columbia Museum of Artwork

(Drew Baron/Courtesy of the Columbia Museum of Artwork)

Situated downtown, this two-floor museum includes a trendy design and format to showcase its spectacular collections and reveals. The power’s everlasting collections are uniquely organized into themes – corresponding to “Artwork and Identification” or “Non secular Beings” – versus period or model. Vacationers are amazed by the standard of the momentary reveals, corresponding to Van Gogh and M.C. Escher, saying they rival these present in greater cities. After gaining some inspiration from the museum’s 26 galleries, head over to the Cross Hatch, an interactive area the place you turn into the artist. An activity-packed schedule of occasions, like demonstrations, excursions, lectures and artwork courses for each adults and children alike can be accessible. The constructing overlooks Boyd Plaza, a calming respite with a patio and garden area for mingling after your go to, simply steps from the bustling Principal Avenue district. Entry to the museum is waived in the course of the district’s Free First Thursday occasions.

Tackle: 1515 Principal St., Columbia, SC 29201

Soda Metropolis Market

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This European-style avenue honest attracts an array of growers, makers and performers from across the area to downtown Columbia’s Principal Avenue on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. The market’s motto of “Mind, Physique, Stomach” provides you an concept of what you would possibly encounter on any given weekend. Right here you could find something from flowers and meals vehicles to antiques and accordion gamers on show, with canine and strollers mingling all through. With a mean of 150 distributors and 5,000 guests on the market every week, you may additionally uncover that the people-watching will be simply pretty much as good because the procuring, so plan to get right here early and take your time searching, sampling and relishing the market tradition. Downtown parking is free in the course of the market.

Tackle: 1300-1600 Principal St., Columbia, SC 29201

The Museum of the Reconstruction Period on the Woodrow Wilson Household House

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Take a step again in time with a go to to the childhood dwelling of Woodrow Wilson, the twenty eighth U.S. president who lived in Columbia for a number of years in the course of the early 1870s. His dwelling has since been repurposed into an award-winning museum devoted to the post-Civil Warfare Reconstruction period. Initially constructed in 1871, the home can be revered because the state’s final remaining Presidential website. The house homes historic artifacts in addition to interactive shows addressing vital and typically controversial matters of citizenship and civil rights in America, with an emphasis on the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. It’s surrounded by an expansive shady garden, adorned with pretty landscaping that includes a wide range of native flowers and bushes. Guided excursions of this and different historic landmarks within the surrounding space are offered by educated Historic Columbia docents for a price.

Tackle: 1705 Hampton St., Columbia, SC 29201

Sally Salamander Strolling Tour

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This self-guided strolling tour begins from the Guests Middle within the historic Vista neighborhood and winds its approach to varied sights and oddities round city in about 2 miles. Every vacation spot is indicated with bronze markers formed like Sally, a noticed salamander (South Carolina’s state amphibian). Locations embody among the metropolis’s most notable landmarks (just like the State Home, artwork museum and Richland Library) in addition to some which might be extra obscure (just like the Lincoln Avenue Tunnel, Arcade Mall and a wide range of public artwork items). The very best half about this tour is you possibly can take it at your personal tempo, with time to pop into shops or cease for refreshments as usually as the will strikes.

Tackle: 1120 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC 29201

Catch a flick at The Nick

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The Nickelodeon Theatre is a nonprofit cinema specializing in movies depicting variety, hardships and neighborhood (amongst different matters), but additionally provides new releases and seasonal favorites into its mixture of flicks that rotate on two screens (suppose: “Dune” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”). Vacationers not solely extol the attractive constructing but additionally the nice film choice. The Nickelodeon additionally prides itself on offering considerate and academic programming for the betterment of the neighborhood and to encourage crucial considering. Dialogue and dialogue are inspired earlier than and after (not throughout) the screenings. The event of its signature Indie Grits Movie Pageant occasion attracts deal with Southern movie and tradition to worldwide acclaim, attracting 1000’s of moviegoers to its downtown Principal Avenue location 12 months after 12 months. Very like a standard movie show, you may want tickets to see a movie. Beer, wine, sodas and an array of conventional film snacks are additionally accessible for buy.

Tackle: 1607 Principal St., Columbia, SC 29201

Koger Middle for the Arts

(Courtesy of Koger Middle for the Arts)

The Koger Middle is the premier performing arts facility in Columbia. Additionally it is dwelling to the College of South Carolina Faculty of Music, which affords 20 applications for aspiring skilled musicians. Whereas the primary theater options ticketed occasions like main musicals, ballets and operas, the music faculty additionally has a sturdy schedule of orchestra concert events, choir recitals and jazz ensembles which might be open for public viewing. Plus, lots of the music faculty occasions are free to attend. Spectators point out that the venue typically facilitates interactive actions, like inviting everybody to put on denim to the efficiency of “Blue Denims” and holding a fancy dress contest with money prizes throughout a Halloween present, creating viewers engagement. Though many cultural sights in Columbia are positioned in historic buildings, the Koger Middle flaunts a smooth, trendy design.

Tackle: 1051 Greene St., Columbia, SC 29201

Finlay Park

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Situated within the coronary heart of downtown – and providing among the finest and most iconic views of town skyline – Finlay Park has been the crown jewel of Columbia’s public parks system because the early 1900s. This 18-acre inexperienced area is simply steps from the vigorous Principal Avenue district and contains a serene strolling path encircling a small lake, mature landscaping, playgrounds, a waterfall characteristic and a statue of its namesake, former Columbia mayor, Kirkman Finlay, sitting on a park bench. A well-liked, family-friendly regional path, referred to as the Vista Greenway, cuts by way of the southwest nook of the park transporting recreationists to the neighboring Vista neighborhood alongside a former railroad monitor. A panoramic viewpoint positioned on the north aspect of the park alongside Laurel Avenue overlooks the Governor’s Mansion and serves as a pleasant place to look at the sundown.

Tackle: 930 Laurel St., Columbia, SC 29201

South Carolina State Truthful

(Forrest Clonts/Courtesy of South Carolina State Truthful)

There isn’t any higher approach to expertise the distinctive tradition of a spot than to spend time at a state honest. South Carolina’s honest occurs to be located just some miles south of downtown Columbia, close to the College of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice soccer stadium. A median of greater than 20,000 folks attend the honest every day, flocking for a day of enjoyable with carnival rides, video games, 4-H options and dwell leisure. For many guests, nonetheless, the largest attraction is the array of meals distributors serving every part from funnel desserts to turkey legs. Though the honest itself happens in October, the fairgrounds website hosts a number of different seasonal occasions all year long, corresponding to a vacation gentle present and a meals competition within the spring.

Tackle: 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201

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