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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.

The New Romantic Hot Spot

Whether you're planning that first romantic getaway or an anniversary trip, choose Columbia, SC - The New Romantic Hot Spot - where you can enjoy a Southern and gracious region full of 'famously hot' hotelsrestaurants, attractionsshops and more. Here are just a few date ideas for a charming weekend with that special someone.

Looking for Valentine's Day things to do? Search our calendar of events or read a roundup of events on our blog: Famously Hot Valentine's Day 2015 in Columbia, SC.


Want to try what we call 'new Southern' food here? Each meal at Terra and Mr. Friendly's features Southern themes with fresh, local ingredients. A comfy booth or secluded nook can have the right ambiance - try Hunter GathererRosso Trattoria Italia or Solstice Kitchen. For dinner with a view, The Oak Table overlooks the South Carolina State House and Saluda's gazes down on the Five Points district, while the Spirit of Lake Murray serves dinner on a cruise. Love wine and spirits? Motor Supply Company BistroHampton Street VineyardBaan Sawan BistroBourbon and Cellar on Greene have staff who can answer your beverage questions while the area's notable chefs serve up incredible meals. Search all Columbia, SC restaurants for more ideas for your visit. Soda City MarketTwo Gals and a Fork and Columbia Food Tours.


Adventure brings couples together! You can hike the beautiful trails of Congaree National ParkSesquicentennial State ParkHarbison State Forest and Saluda Shoals Park. Enjoy the view and a stroll along the water at Lake Murray, the Cayce RiverwalkWest Columbia Riverwalk or Riverfront Park. Whether in a kayak for one or two, you can paddle down the streams and rivers of Columbia, SC at Congaree National Park, Saluda Shoals Park and the Congaree River. Want to take a walk on the wild side? The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden isn't just for kids!


Delve into the history of the Columbia region! Every visit to Columbia, SC should start with a free tour of the South Carolina State House, where bronze stars mark the places cannonballs struck the State House during the Civil War. Whether exploring the South Carolina State MuseumLexington County Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Family Home: A Museum of Reconstruction, you will learn something new during your stay. Have only an hour or two to spare? One of Columbia, SC's walking tours is a quick way to get an overview of this region's history. Historic Columbia's properties, Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens and Robert Mills House & Garden are some of the oldest in the region. If you call at least a day in advance, you can book a trip in Lower Richland County to explore some of the region's oldest buildings, including Goodwill Plantation and the Harriet Barber House


From the traditional to the eclectic, Columbia, SC has art to inspire romance! Start your artistic journey at the Columbia Museum of Art, featuring traveling exhibts, a permant collection with work from Boticelli and Monet and a stunning Chihuly chandelier. For something contemporary, try one of the many galleries in the historic Vista district. Ready to feel the music? Concerts at Condundrum Music HallThe Music FarmThe Township Auditorium and Colonial Life Arena will entertain, while South Carolina Philharmonic performs classic works at The Koger Center and Rocket Man makes a fun night with a dueling piano bar. Step into Nickelodeon Theater, South Carolina's only art-house movie theater, for the latest indie flick. Broadway in ColumbiaTown TheatreWorkshop Theatre and Trustus Theatre performances are always thrilling performances. The Columbia City Ballet's award-winning productions will impress with talent from across the world and the stunning coreography of Director Willam Starrett. If you're looking for a DIY night, Grapes and Gallery and Studio Cellar offer painting sessions.


Some particularly cozy locations include The Inn at USCThe Inn at Claussen'sThe SheratonThe Hilton and the brand-new Hyatt Place. Want to get away from it all? Book a night at a bed and breakfast in Columbia, SC, like Cucina Casa at Wavering Place Plantation, or reserve a cabin at Dreher Island State Park. Search all hotels in Columbia, SC and book a room at reservations.columbiacvb.com.


Find hotel, restaurant and shopping deals for your trip with our hot deals page. You can search by date or type of offer.

What's Hot Now
What's Hot Now
Here you can browse what visitors and locals think is #RealColumbiaSC. Be sure to tag your photos across social media with #RealColumbiaSC for a chance to be featured.