Columbia, SC

Travel Guide
Robert Mills Historic House and Park
Wander the wide boulevards of this graceful city to discover stately homes, galleries, museums, entertainment venues, recreational parks and a zoo with a botanical garden.

Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, sits at the confluence of three rivers. An orderly city made up of tree-lined streets and broad boulevards, the city’s attractions include antebellum homes, art galleries and museums with exhibits to suit all ages. Relax at riverside parks and explore one of the nation’s most renowned zoos as you make your way around the city. Founded in 1786 and all but flattened during the Civil War, today Columbia combines the elegance of a state capital with the youthfulness of a university town.

Start your visit with a tour of the South Carolina State House, which marks the heart of the city. Outside is the African-American History Monument, a commemoration of African-American contributions to South Carolina. From this point in the center of Columbia, streets lead in all directions to major attractions and historic landmarks. Peek inside the rooms of the Governor’s Mansion, one of the few buildings to survivor Civil War destruction.

Browse a comprehensive display of art, natural history, science and technology exhibits at South Carolina State Museum. See work by American and European artists at the Columbia Museum of Art and take the family to enjoy the hands-on and educational exhibits at the EdVenture Children’s Museum. Learn about South Carolina’s military history at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

Take advantage of the city’s extensive collection of green spaces. Spot colorful wildlife and plant species at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden. Stroll along the banks of three rivers at the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park. Find picnic sites, sports fields and walking trails at Earlewood Park. Mingle with students on the lawns of Gibbes Green, at the University of South Carolina.

Columbia is a city that loves its sports. Experience some of this passion while watching basketball at the Colonial Life Arena, baseball at Founders Park or football at Williams-Brice Stadium. For a change of pace, take in some of the city’s cultural offerings at venues such as the Columbia Marionette Theatre or the Workshop Theatre. Spend an evening bar hopping in the neighborhoods of Congaree Vista and Five Points.

Reach the Columbia from other major U.S. cities via the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Amtrak train arrive from all corners of the state. With mild winters, hot summers and downtown attractions confined to a small area, Columbia is an ideal city to traverse on foot.

Where to stay in Columbia

Columbia

Downtown Columbia

Travelers come to Downtown Columbia for its lively bars, and you can see top attractions like South Carolina State House and Columbia Museum of Art while you're in town.

Downtown Columbia
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Rosewood

If you're looking for some top things to see and do in Rosewood and surrounding area, you can visit South Carolina State Fairgrounds and Williams Brice Stadium.

Rosewood
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University Hill

4.5/5(129 area reviews)

University Hill is well-liked for its restaurants. You can also take some time to explore sights in the surrounding area like South Carolina State House and Township Auditorium.

University Hill
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Shandon

While Shandon might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Township Auditorium and South Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Shandon
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Lake Carolina