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50 Fun and Exciting Things to Do in Columbia SC

What to Do in Columbia, SC: Exploring the Capital City’s Charm

Columbia, South Carolina, is a vibrant and historic city that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors. From exploring the rich history and culture to enjoying outdoor adventures and indulging in delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone in Columbia. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, here are six top things to do in Columbia, SC.

1. Discovering History at the South Carolina State Museum

When visiting Columbia, a visit to the South Carolina State Museum is a must. This expansive museum showcases the state’s natural history, art, cultural heritage, and more. Explore the interactive exhibits, learn about the region’s flora and fauna, and dive into the fascinating history of South Carolina. Don’t miss the museum’s replica of the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship during the Civil War.

2. Strolling Through the Historic Congaree Vista

Located just west of downtown Columbia, the Historic Congaree Vista is a trendy and lively district filled with shops, galleries, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Take a leisurely stroll along Gervais Street and admire the beautifully restored historic buildings. Browse through art galleries, shop for unique souvenirs, and savor a delicious meal at one of the many dining options available. Make sure to visit during the First Thursday on Main event, where the streets come alive with live music, outdoor vendors, and art displays.

3. Exploring the State Capitol Building and Gardens

No visit to Columbia would be complete without a visit to the State Capitol building. The stunning Greek Revival architecture and striking copper dome make it a sight to behold. Take a guided tour of the building to learn about its history and the legislative process. After exploring the interior, step outside and stroll through the beautiful State House gardens. The gardens are a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city and the perfect spot for a picnic or a peaceful walk.

4. Indulging in Culinary Delights on Devine Street

For food lovers, Devine Street is a culinary haven in Columbia. This bustling street is lined with an array of restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops. From farm-to-table bistros to international cuisine, there is a dining option for every palate. Savor mouth-watering Southern dishes, indulge in gourmet burgers, or enjoy a refreshing craft beer at one of the craft breweries in the area. Don’t forget to try some authentic Southern barbecue for a true taste of the region.

5. Enjoying the Great Outdoors at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Nature enthusiasts will delight in a visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. This award-winning attraction is home to over 2,000 animals from around the world, including elephants, gorillas, kangaroos, and more. Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens, stroll along the scenic riverfront, and take a thrilling ride on the zoo’s zipline. With educational programs, interactive exhibits, and a splash park, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is a fun-filled destination for the whole family.

6. Unwinding in the Congaree National Park

For outdoor adventurers, a trip to Congaree National Park is a must. Located just 20 miles southeast of Columbia, this national park offers a unique wilderness experience. Take a hike along one of the park’s many trails, paddle through the scenic Congaree River, or go bird-watching in the old-growth forest. With its towering trees and diverse ecosystem, Congaree National Park is a natural wonderland that allows visitors to reconnect with nature.


Q: Is Columbia, SC a safe city to visit?

A: Columbia, SC is generally considered a safe city for visitors. However, it is always recommended to exercise general caution and follow basic safety measures like staying in well-lit areas, keeping valuable items secured, and being aware of your surroundings.

Q: What is the best time to visit Columbia, SC?

A: The best time to visit Columbia, SC is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters tend to be mild with occasional cool temperatures.

Q: What other attractions are there in Columbia, SC?

A: In addition to the mentioned attractions, Columbia, SC offers many other notable destinations such as the Columbia Museum of Art, the Historic Columbia Foundation and Gardens, the Robert Mills House and Gardens, and the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park.

Q: Are there any outdoor activities in Columbia, SC?

A: Absolutely! Aside from the Congaree National Park and Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia offers plenty of outdoor activities like kayaking on the Saluda River, biking along the Three Rivers Greenway, and hiking in Harbison State Forest.

Q: Are there any annual festivals or events in Columbia, SC?

A: Yes, Columbia hosts several annual festivals and events, including the Soda City Market, St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Famously Hot New Year, Columbia Food and Wine Festival, and the South Carolina State Fair. Check the local events calendar for specific dates and details.

Q: Can you recommend any nearby day trips from Columbia, SC?

A: Certainly! Some popular day trip destinations near Columbia include Charleston, SC (about a 2-hour drive), Myrtle Beach, SC (about a 2.5-hour drive), and Savannah, GA (about a 2.5-hour drive). Each of these cities offers its own unique attractions and charm.

With its fascinating history, vibrant culinary scene, and abundant outdoor activities, Columbia, SC is a destination that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Columbia is sure to captivate you with its Southern charm and warm hospitality. Plan your visit to this delightful city and prepare to be pleasantly surprised by all that it has to offer.