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Top 40 Things to do in Columbia SC, USA

Top 40 Things to do in Columbia SC, USA

Filled with many beautiful nature parks, entertaining things, adventurous things, world-class museums, historical features, and diverse cultural features, Columbia is South Carolina’s capital. So, definitely, there are plenty of enjoyable things to do in Columbia SC, by any traveler.

This city was named after the world explorer Christopher Columbus. Yes, Columbia has a long history and represents authentic Southern hospitality, charm, and cuisine.

Here’ the list of the top 40 things to do in Columbia SC, that you should not miss on your tour.

Things to do in Columbia SC

1. Free Things to do in Columbia SC: Congaree National Park

Located 30km away from Columbia SC, Congaree National Park is one of the most beautiful parks to visit in the USA. Spread over 26,278 acres, this land has very fertile soil due to the nearby Congaree and Wateree Rivers. 

It offers you lush, beautiful views with exciting trails. Actually, this park contains the country’s largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest tract. And this forest is also considered one of the tallest deciduous forests in the world. 

So, the park is filled with so many exciting things to do, like hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, camping, and watching diverse fauna and flora. 

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park:

Whatever you are aiming to do, you should start from the Hampton Visitor Center. It will provide you maps, information about the park’s biodiversity, and more guidelines for your safety. 

People mostly attract to Congaree National Park for hiking as there is any kind of hiking trail suitable for any skill level. But, do not forget to bring proper boots, attire, and other needed things. 

Congaree National Park Hikes

What is the easiest trail in the park? Obviously, The Boardwalk Trail. It spreads over 2.5 miles through the forest by providing an easy but scenic trail.

For campers, you should head towards the Longleaf Trail as it offers wonderful campgrounds.  On the other hand, if you like to see more large trees, you should try the River Trail and Bluff Trail.   

Usually, the bird watchers try Kingsnake Trail. And if you like to see Cedar Creek, you should try the Weston Lake Loop Trail. 

Apart from those hiking trails, Congaree National Park authority offers some guided tours as well. For example:

The Nature Discovery Walk (shows you more fauna and flora in the park with more details) 

The Big Tree Hike, 3 hours tour, takes you to see the forest’s largest trees. 

On the other hand, they offer exciting Ranger Led Canoe Tours for those who love to walk through water.

Now, you’ll understand that visiting Congaree National Park is one of the best free things to do in Columbia SC, with your family. So, plan it for this weekend. 

Address: 100 Nationa Park Rd, Hopkins, Columbia, SC 29061, United States.  

2. Riverbanks Zoo and Botanic Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanic Garden are among the top Columbia attractions because it is situated along the Lower Saluda River, a stunning environment.

Opened in 1974, this garden features amazing native plants, exotic plants, animals, birds, and many things under various themes. Therefore, 170 acres of this wonderful land has received Governor’s Cup Award twice for being the most attractive tourist destination in South Carolina.

Amazing!!! Isn’t it? Actually, what are the themes?

Columbia Attractions Riverbanks Zoo and Botanic Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanic Garden

Basically, there are two parts, Botanic Garden and Riverbanks Zoo.

Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden spreads over 70 acres plus 0.3 miles of River Trail. It contains over 4000 plant species that represent North America’s native plants and various exotic plants. Therefore, it is filled with various sections like The Asian Garden, Waterfall Junction, Bog Garden, Old Rose Garden, Dry Garden, The Collection Garden, Walled Garden, and Shade Garden.

On the other hand, the River Trail starts from Saluda Bridge and spreads along the stunning Saluda River. Reminding about how the textile industry was in the city, the trail takes you to the Saluda Mills Interpretive Center, Columbia’s historical landmark.

Riverbanks Zoo

The other part is The Riverbanks Zoo, kids’ favorite. Containing multiple sections, the zoo is divided into several sections. They are Bird Complex, Petting Zoo, and Reptile House.

This place’s unique feature allows every visitor to interact with animals, feed them, and really experience them’ habitats. And also, this zoo teaches you beekeeping tactics.

Visit Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden with your family.

Address: 1300, Botanical Pkwy, West Columbia, SC 29169, United States. Phone: +1 803-779-8717

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3. Fun Things to do in Columbia SC: Columbia Museum of Art

Being a hub of the Columbian community, the Columbia Museum of Art is one of the top 10 museums in South Carolina. Locating at the University of South Carolina, this museum has 25 impressive art galleries. So, art lovers should add this to the top of the Columbia SC list. 

Since its exhibits represent over 5000 years of art history, this museum is famous globally. Therefore, it has won some incredible awards like National Park Foundation Award, National Art Education honors, and Governor’s Award. 

There are several impressive collections in this museum. The most highlighted ones are Press Collection, American Art Collection, European Art Collection, Asian Art Collection, Modern Collection, Contemporary Collection, and Vogel Collection. 

Fun Things to do in Columbia SC Columbia Museum of Art

Columbia Museum of Art:

Samuel H. Kress Foundation has donated some wonderful exhibits like Renaissance and Baroque pieces in the Press Collection.

And on the other hand, the European collection contains attractive, diverse artworks. (For example, Italian great painter, Sandro Botticelli’s Nativity Fresco and French great painter Claude Monet’s View of the Seine)   

What are the highlights in the American Art Collection? It has Victor Toothhacker’s famous ceramics, famous sculptor, Hiram Powers’s marble creations, Frederic S Remington’s sculptures,  Duncan Phufe’s decorative furniture arts more. 

Art exhibits, and the Columbia Museum of Art also hosts some fun events for the community. Ex: Kid’s art programs, art concerts, art classes, lectures, and creative street parties. 

Address: 1515 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, Unites States. 

4. Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, The Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens was the home of the prominent political and military family, Hampton.

Built-in 1818, this mansion was first owned by a wealthy merchant named Ainsley Hall. Hamptons changed the mansion into a unique Greek Revival Architecture and used it as their private residence. That’s why the mansion has that family name.

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens: Wikimedia Commons

Then, who’s Preston? 

Well, after Hamptons, this mansion was owned by the Preston family. Then after the Civil War, it was sold to another family. 

After Prestons, the mansion was taken as the Governor’s Mansion of South Carolina. Then, it was used for four large colleges in the state. In 1970, it was used for commercial purposes as a part of the Midlands Tricentennial Exposition Center.  

You can discover all of these historical facts if you visit The Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens. Apart from the historical importance, this mansion offers you a lovely garden filled with various plants, attractive architecture, and four acres of relaxing area to spend some quality time.    

So, do not miss the wonderful Columbia attraction. 

Address: 1615 Blanding St, Columbia, SC 29201, Unites States.     

5. Free Things to do in Columbia SC: Lake Murray Dam 

There are few names for this dam. Saluda Dam, Saluda River Dam, Dresher Soals Dam (official name), and Lake Murray Dam. Commonly referred Lake Murray Dam.

Located on the Saluda River, 10 miles away from Columbia SC, Lake Murray Dam was opened in 1930. Now, it is famous as a romantic spot in Columbia.

Lake Murray Dam 

Lake Murray Dam: Jilantern3|TripAdvisor

Haven’t you heard about it? Usually, love birds visit Lake Murray Dam and put a padlock onto the dam’s gate, wishing a forever relationship.

So, you can see thousands of very colorful, lovely padlocks on the gate. They usually mention their initials on those padlocks.

The pedestrian trail stretches for 1.7 miles, and visitors can see Lake Murray’s shoreline’s scenic views. Actually, visiting Lake Murray Dam is one of the most popular romantic things to do in Columbia, SC, by couples.

On the other hand, you can be adventurous by doing things like kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, and camping near the lake.

This is really a nice vacation spot that you should try with your sweetheart.

Address: 1832, N Lake Dr, Lexington, SC 29072, United States.  

6. Free Things to do in Columbia SC: Art Walk in Downtown

Do you like discovering various street art styles in various cities? Columbia also has plenty of unique street artworks. Just take a walk to Downtown Columbia SC, you’ll surely impress.

Some of the highlighted ones are Tunnelvison, the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant, and the Middle of Nowhere.  (continue reading to know more about these artworks)  

Free Things to do in Columbia SC Art Walk in Downtown

Art Walk in Downtown:

Fortunately, there’s an organization to support the local artists and maintain the artworks.

If you like to discover the city’s artistic aspect, just take a walk Downtown. It is surely one of the most impressive free things to do in Columbia SC. 

Address: 1219, Taylor St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States.

7. Soda City Market, Downtown Columbia SC

Soda City Market is a weekly celebration in Columbia. You can see a lively gathering of homemade food stalls, food trucks, local artworks, fresh products, and more items in tented stalls every Saturday on the city’s Marin Street. 

Also, funny, talented street performers add entertainment to the Soda City Market. 

Soda City Market, Downtown Columbia SC

Initially, the name was Cola City Market, which came from Columbia’s name. But, eventually, it was changed into Soda City Market. 

If you are interested in experiencing the local lifestyle, just visit Soda City Market this Saturday and have fun.     

Address: 1300-1600 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

8. Things to do in Columbia SC with kids: South Carolina State Museum

If you and your kids want to know more about South Carolina’s history, you should visit South Carolina State Museum. Indeed it is one of the best things to do in Columbia SC, with kids. 

Locating along the stunning Congaree River banks, South Carolina State Museum contains four amazing floors with impressive things. Founded in 1988, it was a mill before being a museum. 

South Carolina State Museum

South Carolina State Museum: Rob and Jon Photography

Currently, the four floors of this museum have four various themes. They are a unique historical exhibit area (contain permanent and rotating exhibits), 4D interactive theater, digital dome planetarium, and an observatory. 

The historical exhibits represent the history of the state, culture, art, technology, and people. Your kids will surely impress by seeing things from the past. 

The next biggest draw of this museum is obviously the 4D interactive theater. Aside from that, South Carolina State Museum offers you a chance to see America’s first steam locomotive, a submarine, and an observatory. 

Over 70,000 impressive exhibits are waiting for you. So, hurry up. 

Address: 301 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

9. Free Things to do in Columbia SC: Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park

Welcome to Columbia’s most popular biking, walking, jogging, hiking, and picnicking trail. 

Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park starts at the end of Laurel St. and stretches for 2.5 miles along the Broad River. Since the river banks are lush and stunning, the Riverfront Park offers you scenic views. 

Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park

Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park:

Plenty of locals and tourists attract this lovely 14 acres linear park to spend some relaxing time, to have fun, to workout, and to meditate. 

Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park teach you about the textile industry’s history in the city and the first textile mill in the world run by electric power. Also, the oldest hydroelectric power plant in South Carolina is located in this park, and it still works. 

If you are looking for a place to relax in Columbia, just visit Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park. 

10. Things to do in Columbia SC: Harbison State Forest

Harbison State Forest is located in Richland Country, around 12 km away from Columbia SC. Who is Harbison? Samuel P. Harbison was the person who gave the majority of the funds to buy this forest land. Therefore, it was named in his name.

Harbison State Forest

Harbison State Forest

This is one of the best places in Columbia SC, for nature lovers because it has awesome hiking trails and biking trails through lush pines and hardwoods. Since it is bordering Broad River, you can get scenic views of the river as well.

Spreading over 2137 acres of land, Harbison State Forest is a valuable educational and recreational area in the state.

In some forest areas, the state forest officers do some demonstrations on planned burning, planned thinning, site preparations, and harvesting like forestry-relaxed practices. So, you can join them and learn more.

Address: 5600 Broad River Rd, Columbia, SC 29212, United States. 

11. Things to do in Columbia SC with kids: EdVenture Children’s Museum

The largest children’s museum in the world is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Then, what is the second-largest one in the USA?

It is EdVenture Children’s Museum. So, if you are looking for real fun things to do in Columbia SC, with kids, this is the ideal place.

The most highlighted interactive exhibit in this museum is the giant mascot Eddie statue (called the world’s largest child). It is 40 feet high and 17.5 tons heavy. Kids are allowed to climb onto and into this statue.

But what’s in it?

Things to do in Columbia SC with kids EdVenture Children's Museum

EdVenture Children’s Museum: TripAdvisor

Inside, the statue is filled with knowledge about the body organs. And it is very convincing to the kids as all the body organs are made very attractively. They can touch all the exhibits (over 350) and learn more.

More Exhibits in EdVenture Children’s Museum

Another highlighted exhibit is Wags and Whiskers, a pet care lab that teaches about caring for animals and pets. On the other hand, there’s an inventor’s lab called Marketworks. It allows kids (above 5) to create, work, and innovate on tools and blocks. Don’t worry; it is very safe.

Some other impressive exhibits are World of Work, Dalmation Station, and Planet Putt and Play.

What is in World of Work?? Well, it explains the busy working world of adults. And it teaches about various jobs and careers that exist in the world. So, it is a kind of motivational place for kids to making targets for their future.

For maths and geometry lovers, Planet Putt and Play is there. And the Dalmation Station exhibits a real fire engine to show how it works in an emergency.

Actually, all the exhibits are very interactive and target kids less than 12 years old. Your kids will learn a lot of things from Edventure Children’s Museum. So, plan it for this weekend.

Address: 211 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States.  

12. South Carolina State House

Opened in 1855, South Carolina State House is the major building of South Carolina’s US government. So, it contains significant places like the offices of the Governor, South Carolina General Assembly, and the offices of the Lieutenant Governor of SC. 

Can we visit here? 

Of course, you can. South Carolina State House is one of the most popular places to visit in Columbia. Its impressive Greek Revival design attracts plenty of tourists annually. 

South Carolina State House

South Carolina State House: Mark Collins of Columbia|scpictureproject,org

Since the architecture is more highlighted, I thought to mention more about it. It was started to build in 1851 and designed by John Nearnsee. Reaching 180 feet high in Columbia’s sky, this building faced the Civil War era as well. 

Surprisingly, you can still see signs of cannonballs attack on the exterior of this building. 

On the other hand, the ground of South Carolina State House has some important monuments. For example, Revolutionary War Generals Monument, American-Mexican War Monument, African-American History Monument, and some state officers’ monuments like President George Washington.      

Don’t worry, not only exterior tours; you can join with interior tours as well. (For free of charge)

Address: 1100 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29208, United States. 

13. Things to do in Columbia SC with kids: Saluda Shoals Park

Are you ready for a relaxing day trip?

There’s none other than Saluda Shoals Park. Located just two miles away from Columbia Downtown, Saluda Shoals Park is a lush and peaceful park to spend a relaxing day. 

Since this park is located on the stunning Saluda River banks, it is a natural riverfront park.

Saluda Shoals Park

Saluda Shoals Park

Also, spreading over 400 acres of land offers recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities for visitors. But, how?

Saluda Shoals Park contains an Exhibit Hall, Environmental Education Center, Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission Headquarters, and a State of the Art Meeting and Conference Center. 

On the other hand, the park’s observation deck is famous among visitors as it offers scenic views. Also, there are exciting picnic shelters, hiking trails, biking trails, and horse riding trails. 

And obviously, since the Saluda River is nearby, you can experience water activities like kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, and canoeing.

Isn’t this place perfect for a family day tour?  

Address: 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212, United States. 

14. Robert Mills House and Gardens

Designed by Robert Mills, Robert Mills House and Gardens were built-in 1823. Having an impressive Classical Revival architectural design, it is famous as a sightseeing spot in Columbia.

Normally, it is tough to find a private home design by the prominent architect, Robert Mills. So, this is surely very special and historical. That’s why it was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1973.       

Robert Mills House and Gardens

Robert Mills House and Gardens: Wikimedia commons

This townhouse was built for Ainsley Hall and his wife, Sarah.  Ainsley Hall was a rich merchant who lived in Columbia. After his ownership, the house was converted into a bible college and seminary.

Then, in 1961, it was restored as a historic house museum to the public. Today you can see impressive decorative art in the 19th century all over the museum. Especially, American Federal-era works, English Regency, and French Empire furniture is more highlighted. 

On the other hand, the basement of Robert Mills House and Gardens offers gallery space for any kind of art exhibition. 

Address: 1616 Blanding St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

15. Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe

Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe is obviously one of the best, delicious restaurants in Columbia. They always try to offer new southern flavors to the visitors. 

That means you can get Moonpies, sesame seared tuna with salsa, chicken, grits, fried green tomato, sauteed veggies, wasabi-spiced mashed potatoes, Low Country seafood cakes, and more unique southern flavors.     

Mr. Friendly's New Southern Cafe

Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe: Lunar Pie

If you visit the Five Points Historic District (a commercial area in Downtown Columbia SC), you’ll quickly find Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe as it very famous there. 

Their Moonpie or Lunar Pie is very famous and delicious. Therefore they have won awards for that unique recipe. So, try to visit Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe on Mondays as you can surely try their Moonpies.     

Address: 2001 Greene St A, Columbia, SC 29205, United States. 

16. South Carolina Military Museum

Welcome to the largest military museum in the USA, South Carolina Military Museum. Highlighting the country’s military tradition, this museum aims to honor every soldier and national guards who fought to save the state. 

If you visit this museum, you’ll see authentic firearms, parts of artilleries, armed vehicles, uniforms, and weapons.

south carolina military museum

South Carolina Military Museum

And also, its staff members are always ready to tell you the exciting historical story of fighting against the British army that was tried to catch South Carolina. 

They explain the whole story of how the South Carolina Militia or SC State Guard fought bravely against the British, what happened at the end, and everything until the present day. 

So, visiting South Carolina Military Museum surely will be one of the most unforgettable things to do in Columbia SC. 

Address: 1 National Guard Road, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. Phone: +1 803-299-4440

17. Fun Things to do in Columbia SC: Columbia Food Tours

Travel + Food always boost anybody’s mind.

Columbia was not so famous for food. But, now, it is emerging as a delicious food destination in the Southern region. Tourists love eating innovative, diverse, and tasty southern flavors in Columbia SC.

No need to think too much; just join Columbia Food Tours (a delicious walking tour). They will take you to the best and unique restaurants in the city.

Columbia Food Tours

Columbia Food Tours LLC

Covering around 7 restaurants, you can learn more about southern cuisines, Colombia’s history, architecture, and culture while eating excellent foods. Normally the tour will take 2 to 3 hours and all the restaurants are located very close to each other. So, you can enjoy the tour leisurely.

If you are a foodie, Columbia Food Tour definitely should be on your “things to do in Columbia SC” bucket list.

Phone: +1 803-760-2618

18. Melton Memorial Observatory

Dr. William Davis Melton was the University of South Carolina’s president in 1920. He started a fundraising campaign to build an observatory. As a result, Melton Memorial Observatory was built in 1928. Still, it handles by the University of South Carolina.    

Currently, it is considered one of the top Columbia attractions especially, among astronomy fans. So, stargazers attract here to observe astronomical objects by using advanced equipment.    

Melton Memorial Observatory

Melton Memorial Observatory:

Do not forget to follow the general rules of stargazing before visiting Melton Memorial Observatory. For example, check for the weather forecast of Columbia as you need a clear sky to get the best views. 

If your kid keeps asking more and more questions about the sky, just take him/her to Melton Memorial Observatory in Columbia SC, this weekend. Everything will be solved for sure. 

Address: 1429 Greene St, Columbia, SC 29208, United States.   

19. Top Things to do in Columbia SC: The Columbia Fireflies

Founded in 2016, The Columbia Fireflies are Columbia’s minor league baseball team. They are also part of the Class A South Atlantic League joins for Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball. 

Columbia Fireflies’ home stadium is Segra Park. That means you can go to watch a Fireflies’ baseball game with your family. It will surely be one of the most fun things to do in Columbia SC.

The Columbia Fireflies

The Columbia Fireflies

Even if you are totally new to baseball, you’ll understand everything as their games are not much advance. Also, take your kids with you as there’s a fun Kids Play Zone. They’ll love it.

And if you like to relax on the green grass while watching the game, Segra Park offers a fantastic grass section.  

Address: 1640 Freed Street, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

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20. Waverly Historic District

Do you like to take a walking tour back to the 19th century?? Here we go.  

Spreading over 13 acres of land, Waverly Historic District is a national historic district located in Columbia. It represents the architectural styles of late 19th and early 20th-century Revivals and American Movements. 

It is the first suburb built in Columbia SC. Therefore, it was added t the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Currently, it has a diverse community with artists, professionals, crafters, and social activists. 

Waverly Historic District

Waverly Historic District| Allen University: Wikipedia

Visitors have plenty of things to see and do in the Waverly Historic District.

The most significant places you can see are the two historical black learning universities (Allen University and Benedict College), Bishop’s Memorial AME church built in 1885, Carpenter’s Hall, Carver Theater, Heist-Russel House, Daddy Grace’s Parsonage, and the Waverly Five and Dime. 

So, surely take a walking tour and imagine how things were in the past. Just visit this link to know about Waverly Historic District walking tours. 

Address: 2222, Washington St, Columbia, SC 29204, United States. 

21. South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra

Founded in 1963, South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the best orchestras in the USA. They perform concerts at Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia. If you are looking for an entertaining night in Columbia SC, here’s the ideal place for you.    

South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra

South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra

The famous music performer, Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian, is the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra’s concertmaster. Her team is also highly talented and offers mesmerizing performances all the time. Sometimes, famous musicians also guest appear in these orchestra shows. 

So, do not miss this sensational show when you are in Columbia SC. 

Address: 1051, Greene St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

22. Things to do in Columbia SC: Sesquicentennial State Park 

Sesquicentennial State Park or Sesqui is a very special park because Civilian Conservation Corps built it during the Great Depression. 

If you like nature-loving activities, you should add this park to your bucket list. Spreading over 1400 acres of land, Sesquicentennial State Park offers fun opportunities like plenty of scenic picnic areas, excellent campgrounds, walking and hiking trails around the lake. 

Sesquicentennial State Park 

Sesquicentennial State Park

Since this park is one of the top Columbia SC attractions, you have to reserve campgrounds or picnic areas in advance (click the above link for reservations). But, it is totally worth driving for 20 minutes from downtown Columbia and spend a wonderful day with your family in Sesquicentennial State Park. 

So, plan in for this weekend.  

Address: 9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223, United States. 

23. Things to do in Columbia SC: Nickelodeon Theater

This place is just for real film lovers.

Nickelodeon Theater or “Nick” is a famous non-profit cinema theater that shows awesome independent films and foreign films. So, if you are fed up watching mainstream films, just try this place when you visit Columbia SC.

Nickelodeon Theater

Nickelodeon Theater

Nick shows indie films daily since 1978. So, they have a unique collection of films. Containing 99 seats, this place is just for the film lovers who have great taste. Sometimes it hosts film festivals.

So, visiting Nickelodeon Theater is one of the most entertaining things to do in Columbia SC, for sure.

Address: 1607, Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

24. Columbia SC Attractions: Governor’s Mansion

Opened in 1855, the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion is the state’s governor’s official residence. Locating in Columbia’s Historic District, it is an impressive mansion with nine acres of a stunning garden. 

Can we go inside?

Governor's Mansion

Governor’s Mansion: KudzuVine| Wikimedia Commons

Yes, there are publicly open rooms that allow you to have an idea about the lifestyle of previous and current governors of South Carolina. So, you can see historical paintings, antique furniture, valuable China pieces, and historically important documents. 

South Carolina Governor’s Mansion is one of the best places to experience the regality of the state. So, do not miss that priceless chance. 

25. Things to do in Columbia SC: Tunnelvision Mural 

Have you heard about Blue Sky? He is a famous American painter who lives in South Carolina. He has created plenty of eye-catching, unique artworks in Columbia SC. For example, Tunnelvision Mural. 

Tunnelvision is one of the best creations of him. What is the story behind this excellent modern artwork? Actually, it was just a dream he saw. And he converted that dream into a world-famous masterpiece. 

Tunnelvision Mural 

Tunnelvision Mural: Tina W | TripAdvisor

What does it mean? It shows a gateway to another world through a tunnel. And since it looks so real (just like a 3D drawing), anyone will feel like going through the tunnel—such a lovely illusion.   

It is painted on a large wall of a parking lot, Downtown, its size is 50*70 feet. Yes, it is huge.

If you are looking for impressive things to see in Columbia SC, Tunnelvision Mural is the best thing. 

Address: 1514 Marion St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States

28. Things to do in Columbia SC: Never Bust Chain 

Another creative artwork of Blue Sky. 

Never Bust Chain is a unique artwork that was created between two big office buildings located Downtown. What is it?

It is a huge chain that connects the two buildings. Created in 2000, it highlights the industrial boom of the city.

Never Bust Chain 

Never Bust Chain

It is hung 10 feet above the ground between the two buildings. So, your next question should be, what is its weight, and is it safe?

Blue Sky has used quality professional services to hang it. 2000 pounds of hydraulic pressure was needed for that. Don’t worry, it was welded well, and even the government also approved. 

However, visiting this unique artwork is one of the unique things to do in Columbia SC. If you feel like taking a selfie, just visit here.   

Address: 1502-1508 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

26. Woodrow Wilson Family Home

Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, has spent his childhood in this house. And this is the only presidential site in South Carolina. 

More history lovers and architecture lovers attract this house as it contains more history buffs and attractive Italianate Villa style architecture. 

Woodrow Wilson Family Home

Woodrow Wilson Family Home:

If you like to know more about Woodrow Wilson or Tommy (his nickname at that time), there are all the stories about his life in this house. And also, there are antiques, photographs, and some other exhibits as well. 

So, Woodrow Wilson Family House is definitely one of the top Columbia SC attractions among history lovers. Are you interested? Here’s the address. 

Address: 1705, Hampton St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States.  

27. South Carolina State Farmers Market

Do you like to know more about the Columbian lifestyle? Just visit South Carolina State Farmers Market. Although it is not a top tourist attraction in the city, it offers you fresh products straight from the farm, gardening materials, and home-baked foods every weekend. 

South Carolina State Farmers Market

South Carolina State Farmers Market

You can find special items in various harvest seasons. If you check out the harvest calendar of Columbia, you’ll know about the special things available in the South Carolina State Farmers Market

Address: 3483 Charleston Hwy, West Columbia, SC 29117, United States. 

29. Things to do in Columbia SC: Mast General Store

Mast General Store is one of the most popular stores in the city. Opened in 1883, it is one of the oldest stores in the city as well. 

Mast General Store

Mast General Store:

If you are looking to buy various items in one place, Mast General Store is ideal for you. It contains a wide range of shopping genres like candy times, fashion items, outdoor gear, souvenirs, and more. 

Kids, young boys and girls, older people, couples, and every age group attract this store for their shopping purposes. So, you can also visit there and buy a souvenir.    

Address: 1601, Main At, Columbia, SC 29201, Unites States. 

30. Things to do in Columbia SC: Villa Tronco

Looking for a delicious dinner in Columbia??

Villa Tronco offers you unique, authentic Italian dishes like pasta, pizza, Italian eggrolls, cheesecake, crab cake, and more. And Villa Tronco’s most popular dishes are Cheesecake, Chicken Villa Tronco, Calamari,  and Pollo Parmigiana. 

Also, they have an excellent wine collection as well. Actually, they have won The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. So, no need to mention more about their quality. 

Villa Tronco

Villa Tronco

Apart from the delicious Italian food, Villa Tronco has some special features as well. It is the oldest Italian restaurant in Columbia SC. So, obviously, you can taste authentic Italian food.     

On the other hand, its old looking brown bricked building, comfortable atmosphere with relaxing music attracts more visitors daily. 

Visiting Villa Tronco is one of the best things to do in Columbia SC, at night. Have a delicious dinner!!

Address: 1213 Blanding St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

31. Things to do in Columbia SC: Ra Obelisk

Ra Obelisk in Columbia SC, gives you an Egyptian experience because it is an excellent painting of the Egyptian sun god Ra.

Before this painting, this place had an old railroad. Since it was not operating, authorities tore it down. But, they couldn’t tear one pillar as it was very hard. So, they left it. After several years, excellent Ra Obelisk was created.   

It was painted in 1993 by a famous muralist in South Carolina named Richard Lane. Further, the painting contains some meaningful symbols and hieroglyphs. The glyphs highlight famous songs like “Here Comes the Sun” and “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles.

Ra Obelisk

Ra Obelisk: Allisooonk|

On the other hand, there’s a mysterious ancient massage as well. Even Richard Lane didn’t know the meaning of it. So, he invited people around the world to translate those ancient symbols. A famous newspaper, The State, also supported him by advertising that they were ready to reward the accurate translator. But, nothing worked out. 

After the first painting, Ra Obelisk was repainted by Georgia Lake and Jeff Donovan in 2018. However, thanks to all these artists, travelers can see a unique painting instead of a ruined railroad.         

Address: 900 Heyward St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

32. Things to do in Columbia SC: Busted Plug Plaza

Having 675,000 pounds of weight and 40 feet of height, Busted Plug Plaza is another unique artwork of Blue Sky, a famous local artist in South Carolina. (the artist who made both Tunnelvision and Never Bust Chain)   

Busted Plug Plaza

Busted Plug Plaza:

Made with steel and concrete, this is a huge sculpture that considers the world’s largest fire hydrant. But, it shows as a damaged one. 

Locals like this artwork and consider it as a unique signature to the area. So, you also can visit and take a selfie with Busted Plug Plaza. 

Address: 1404, Taylor St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States.  

33. Fun Things to do in Columbia SC: The Oyster Bar Columbia

The Oyster Bar Columbia is one of the unique Columbia SC attractions because it is a rare, authentic, old-fashioned oyster bar. 

The menu is filled with raw or steamed oysters, gulf oysters, scallops, and shrimps with delicious flavors. Usually, they serve these delicious oyster dishes with craft beer. 

If you are an oyster lover, do not miss this simple but delicious Columbian cuisine. 

Address: 1123, Park St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States.  

34. Good Life Cafe

Are you thirsty? Looking for fresh juice? Good Life Cafe offers the best juices and smoothies in Columbia SC.

But, there’s another special feature of this cafe. This is delicious vegan cuisine. So, if you are a vegan, no need to worry about searching for a good place to eat; Good Life Cafe is waiting for you.

Good Life Cafe Columbia SC

Good Life Cafe: Sally Taylor|

On the other hand, their menus are made with organic food that is totally plant-based. If you concern more about healthy food, there’s no other better Columbia place than Good Life Cafe.

Fresh and healthy smoothies, juices, burgers, salads, sandwiches, burritos, and awesome cold-pressed cocktails are on the menu. All of their dishes are decorative, colorful, and delicious. If you are thirsty after touring around the city for hours, just visit Good Life Cafe and have a nice smoothie.

Address: 1614, Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, Unites States.

Planning to visit Fort Worth?? Here are the best things to do in Fort Worth, Texas. 

35. The Columbia City Ballet

Being one of the best professional ballet companies in the southeast, The Columbia City Ballet offers you more than 80 ballet shows annually. Founded in 1961, they always have the most talented dancers in the state. Columbia City Ballet’s most highlighted shows are The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Dracula, and Peter Pan. Do not forget to catch a show with your kids when you are in Columbia. 

The Columbia City Ballet

The Columbia City Ballet:

And on the other hand, they host some outreach educational programs for kids and adults in the state as well. Just click the above link to know showtimes and outreach programs.   

This is surely one of the best things to do in Columbia SC with kids. 

Address: 1545, Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States. 

36. Fun Things to do in Columbia SC: The Senate in Columbia SC

If you are in Columbia with a group of friends, visiting The Senate should be on your list. It is really a nice place to enjoy live music while having a drink. You can experience live music in various styles like Rock, Jazz, and hip hop. And there’s a full bar filled with any kind of drink as well. 

Fun Things to do in Columbia SC The Senate

The Senate Columbia SC

So, visit The Senate in Columbia SC, with your friends tonight. 

Address: 1022, Senate St, Columbia, SC 20201, United States

37. Things to do in Columbia SC: Dreher Island State Park

Looking for water activities in Columbia SC?? Well, Dreher Island State Park offers you plenty. Having three islands with 348 acres of land, the park is surrounded by Lake Murray. 

It is filled with exciting nature trails and also, it is famous as a fishing spot as well. Therefore National Fishing Tournaments are also held in Dreher Island State Park.    

Dreher Island State Park

Dreher Island State Park:

You can plan for a night camp in this park as there are incredible lakefront campgrounds. If you like to discover more about Columbia’s nature, just visit Dreher Island State Park and feel nature.   

38. Things to do in Columbia SC: Finlay Park 

Spread over 14 acres of land, Finlay Park is the most popular park in downtown Columbia SC. And also it is one of the most photographed places in the city.

Things to do in Columbia SC Finlay Park 

Finlay Park 

Initially, its name was Sidney Park, but in 1994 (after Civil War), it was changed to Finlay, a former Columbia Mayor’s name. (Kirkman Finlay was the mayor who turned this area into the Vista)

Finlay Park hosts many public events like Kids Day, The Summer Concert Series, and more. However, Finaly Park surely takes your attention while passing downtown. So, you can’t avoid visiting. 

Address: 930, Laurel St, Columbia, SC 29201, United States.  

39. Things to do in Columbia SC: Koger Center in Columbia SC

Koger Center for the Arts is located at the University of South Carolina. Built-in 1988, it has a capacity of 2256 seats.

Koger Center in Columbia SC

Koger Center for the Arts

London Philharmonic Orchestra was the first performer of this art center in 1989. After that, James Taylor, Daniel Tosh, The Blue Man Group, The Beach Boys, and many famous icons were performed in Koger Center for the Arts. 

You can also catch an excellent show at Koger Center for the Arts.  

40. Fun Things to do in Columbia SC: Columbia’s Greek Festival

Are you excited to know more about Greek culture?

Columbia's Greek Festival

Columbia’s Greek Festival

Just visit downtown Columbia to enjoy the Greek culture with so many fun things. Live Greek music (both indoor and outdoor), Greek food, presentations that show Greek heritage and culture, and more. So, do not miss this year’s Columbia’s Greek Festival. Just check the date from this link. 

Location, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Columbia, SC, United States. 

Just add all of these things to do in Columbia SC to your list, and have fun.  

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