Top 10 Visitor Favorites
Want to feed a giraffe or get cozy with a flamingo? The 170-acre Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 2,000 creatures, with even more fun in a three-story ropes course, four zip-lines, nature trails, pony rides and more.
Art, history, science and discovery collide in Columbia, SC at our many museums. Step back in time at the region’s historic museums, reflect on the finer things in life at an art museum, or find the inner child at the Southeast’s largest children’s museum.
South Carolina’s only national park is the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the Southeast and contains some of the nation’s tallest trees. Experience the park through many opportunities, including an elevated boardwalk, guided canoe trips and even nighttime hikes.
The South Carolina State House overlooks downtown Columbia, SC’s Main Street and is a must-see on any trip. The copper Greek Revival dome and Corinthian columns adorn the structure, while six stars mark where Union cannonballs struck the building during the Civil War.
Located between downtown Columbia and Lake Murray, Saluda Shoals Park offers paved and unpaved hiking trails, kayaking and canoeing on the Saluda River, trout fishing, horseback riding and a splash pad for the little ones.
This 18,000-seat arena is your ticket to popular music and entertainment, hosting names like Taylor Swift, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Billy Joel, performances by Cirque du Soleil, Gamecocks basketball games, the circus and even more.
Learn how to sail, kayak or canoe, scuba dive, water ski or just cruise this watery playground. In late summer, thousands of purple martins converge on Bomb Island, the largest roosting sanctuary in North America.
Whether you’re a Gamecock or an opponent, you’ll enjoy game day in Columbia, SC. Baseball and football fans tailgate in style before heading to the stadium for a frenzied afternoon or evening of jumping to “Sandstorm.”
Locals agree that Columbia's barbecue, smoky pulled pork smothered in our unique mustard-based sauce, is a must-try on any trip to the region. Most “joints” will offer a wide variety of Southern food, including fried chicken, hash and rice, hush puppies and macaroni and cheese.
Boutiques, antique stores, and large malls and shopping villages give visitors the opportunity to snag something Southern as a wearable or local product. Try Devine Street, Five Points, the Congaree Vista, Main Street, Village at Sandhill or other hot spots throughout the region.
Shopping DistrictsSpend some time in any of Columbia, SC's shopping districts, and you can pick up anything from Southern fashions at local boutiques, treasures from one of the region's antique malls or something truly unique with a locally-made item or piece of art. Each pocket has a unique personality, with a range of offerings, from the trendiest shops to old-time general stores.
At the city center and Columbia's Main Street discrict, art galleries, shops and studios with art from local and national artists fill the restored and rising historic district. You'll be able to grab some nature gear, old-timey gifts and unique men's clothing and bow ties along this shopping district, anchored by the South Carolina State House.
A Columbia, SC village, Five Poitns boasts an eclectic mix of quirky to upscale shops. Here, you can snag trendy fashions or vintage items from boutiques, or find the perfect knick-knack or artwork or even tunes on vinyl in the disctrict loved by present and former students, just steps from the University of South Carolina campus.
The Congaree Vista is a renovated textile mill and trainyard district turned a one-stop hub of antique stores, national chain clothing stores, outdoor outfitters and more, many lined along brick streets and all surrounded by downtown eateries and historic landmarks.
Just a stroll from the Five Points district, Columbia's Devine Street is a 'famously hot' version of Madison Avenue. Here, you'll find chic shoes, jewelry and clothing, from locally-made, custom dresses to today's upscale designers. Fellas can pick up a seersucker suit and bow tie, whether a Southern gent by birth or choice.
West Columbia and Cayce:
The West Columbia and Cayce shopping districts are anchored by antique shops, where you'll find books, furniture and china. Also in the area, you'll find furniture and gardening shops to add a little Columbia detail to your home.
Village at Sandhill:
Columbia's largest open-air mall, Village at Sandhill puts local shops and retailers, mixed with national name brands and deparment stores in one place for a fun and convenient shopping experience in the northeast area of Columbia.
A bustling shopping district, Harbison Boulevard holds Columbiana Mall, full of national retailers in fashion, makeup and more. Along the Harbison shopping strip, you'll find miles of other popular chains and restaurants.
Lexington's Main Street is lined with quaint shops with crafts, books, clothing and art. Other nearby shopping centeres on Sunset Boulevard hosue boutiques and national brands.