Things to do in Columbia, SC

In the last two years, South Carolina has steadily topped the list of destinations people are moving to. The coastal climate, the proximity to beaches and mountains, the culture–you name it, South Carolina has got it! Columbia, the state capital, is full of that small-town feel, yet has the big city vibe. Coming in as SC’s second-largest city, Columbia provides its residents and guests with a wide variety of things to experience, making a trip (or move) worth every moment! With so many opportunities to experience the city, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 things to do while in Columbia!

  1. South Carolina State House – Beginning construction in 1851, the home of the South Carolina State government, took several decades to fully be completed, primarily due to the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era. It wasn’t until 1903 that the building was officially deemed completed (despite the structure itself having been done for almost 30 years). Located at the intersection of Assembly and Gervais Streets (and to the north of the University of South Carolina campus), the Greek-style building attracts thousands of tourists annually, providing guided tours during and after government assembly. Plus, a gift shop is open to purchase momentos from the visit!


  1. Riverfront Park – Also located in downtown Columbia, this free attraction provides a plethora of things to do. Featuring a 2.5-mile walkway to views of the world’s first electric-powered textile mill, the park provides incredible views along the banks of the Congaree River. Riverfront Park separates the river from Columbia Canal, and boasts a beautiful outdoor amphitheater and self-guided walkway by the water plant–plus a unique outdoor gym if you want to add to your daily workout!


  1. Saluda Shoals Park – Located only a few miles from city-center, this park is perfect for a break from the hustle and bustle. Stretching over 400 acres, Saluda Shoals Park provides education and recreation. Through the summer, many events are held, including live music performances and beer and wine tastings. For the more adventurous ones, kayaking and canoeing in the Saluda River, a walkway on the bank, and tubing are all available!


  1. Craft Axe Throwing – Founded in 2018 in Upstate South Carolina, Craft Axe Throwing in downtown Columbia (near the University of South Carolina campus and the State House) features two floors of entertainment: pool table, skeeball, a bar on both floors, and–of course–axe throwing! Give your inner Viking a chance to shine in this controlled environment, where you’ll be taught how to throw properly, and then start throwing the hatchet! Cool off with a variety of craft beers and ciders and one of our two bar areas at the premiere axe house in Columbia!


  1. Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden – Frequently ranked in the top 10 best zoos in the United States, Riverbanks Zoo features immersive attractions and exotic animals from four different continents. Between petting zoos and educational exhibits, you’ll want to plan a day around this attraction! You’ll be able to feed giraffes, explore the park by riding the train, and use the ropes course! After the zoo, head over to the Garden, which spans over 70 acres, encompassing plantlife from all over the world. 

Columbia possesses a culture deeply rooted in history. Whether you are a history buff or an adventure seeker, you won’t have any problems finding things to do in the Soda City (get it? Cola? Soda?). From the outdoors to the in, set your aim on Columbia to make the most of your time in the South Carolina Midlands!