20 Fun Things To Do In Columbia South Carolina
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  • Post published:25/05/2021
  • Post last modified:25/05/2021

Stunning parks, top-class museums, serene outdoor beauty, and countless adjectives define the beauty of Columbia. There are so many things to do in Columbia South Carolina.

Columbia is also well known for its hospitality and amazing cuisine. No wonder millions of tourists visit this place every year. Columbia’s zoo, gardens, and national parks are known worldwide.

Let’s look at the

Fun Things To Do In Columbia SC

1.Riverbanks Zoo And Botanical Garden

Things To Do In Columbia South Carolina
Riverbanks Zoo And Botanical Garden

This 170-acre zoo and botanical garden is home to more than 2100 species and more than 4000 exotic plants. A 500-meter long river trail that begins in Saluda Bridge is one of the highlights of this place.

Riverbanks Botanical garden was awarded the top 10 Gardens that inspires the US. It looks spectacular especially the themed rose nursery garden and historic ruins. There are over 4000 different types of plants.

The zoo has a dedicated habitat for all creatures. I loved the Koalas and red Kangaroos the most. For birds there is Birds Complex, there is Reptiles House especially dedicated to reptiles. The interactive programs are done so that visitors get to know about the creatures.

You can even feed some animals there too. If you are planning for fun things to do in Columbia SC with kids this is the perfect place.

Waterfall Junction is a part of Riverbanks Botanical Garden. It is a beautiful water park. Kids will love it.

Visit the website-Riverbanks

2.Nickelodeon Theater

It is a non-profit theater that showcases independent and other foreign movies. It is a great place to get entertained. Once in a while film festivals also take place here.

3.Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

I would suggest you to first visit Hampton Visitors Centre to get an idea about this huge 2600 acre park. The rangers and other members will explain to you about do’s and don’t in the hardwood forest.

The Boardwalk trail which is 2.5 miles long is quite mesmerizing. The park is perfect for kayaking in Cedar Creek. Here people indulge in a lot of outdoor activities like canoeing, hiking, fishing, and camping but you have to get your own gear.

I especially waited till night to see the fireflies. It was worth the wait actually it is one of the best things to do in Columbia, SC at night. For hikers, the place is a mecca. You have a number of options like Longleaf Trail, Bluff Trail, Kingsnake Trail.

The Big Tree hike to see some of the biggest trees was one of my favorite things here. For kids, a 2.4 mile Wilderness loop trail is a great option. It is an easy hike. There is also the Junior Ranger Program for kids.

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Unique Things To Do In Congaree National Park

Synchronized Fireflies In Congaree

Best Hikes-South Carolina

4.Columbia Marionette Theatre

It is a renowned theater of performing arts. You will love the puppet shows here. You can enjoy it every Saturday between 11 am to 3 pm. Kids simply love these shows. I loved the Frog Princess show.

5.South Carolina State Museum

South Carolina State Museum

The largest museum of state South Carolina State Museum has a planetarium, observatory,4D theater, and submarine that provides complete details about science and technology along with important art and historic events.

The exhibits are on display and you will learn about the history related to the museum.

Visit the site


Best things to do in South Carolina

Museums In Columbia SC-The Best

6.Lake Murray

In the late 1920s when the reservoir was made it was the biggest reservoir in the world made by humans. It is a great place for camping, fishing, and boating. A lot of people come here for swimming. Every 4th of July spectacular fireworks in on display.

Don’t miss Dreher Island State Park which is just 40 minutes drive from Lake Murray. Here you will love 2.1 mile Little Gap Trail. Since the hike is easy the kids will also love it.

7.Edventure Children’s Museum

Edventure Children’s Museum source:columbiascevents

The major attraction of the museum is a 40 feet plastic boy named Eddie that weighs more than 17 tons. Kids can touch and climb over his frame. The museum has a hands-on exhibit,200 seat theater. It is the second-largest museum in the world only after the Children’s Museum Of Minneapolis.

There are more than 340 exhibits on display especially targeted at kids but even adults will like them. A few of the interesting exhibits are Wags and Whiskers, Marketworks, World Of Work, and Dalmation Station to name a few.

Wags and Whiskers is a pet care lab where kids are taught how to take care of the animals. Planet Putt and Play is one of the top things to do with kids in Columbia SC as it challenges your geometry and math knowledge. It is a great engaging activity for children.

Carousel Cafe offers kids snacks like mac ‘n’ cheese and hot dogs. There is an inventor lab called Marketworks also where you can work on the project.

Visit the site

Read: Best Museums In The World-Top 40

8.South Carolina Confederate Relic Room And Military Museum

This war museum has historical artifacts. You will learn about Revolutionary War. For people interest in history, you will learn about weapons, guns, flags, swords, manuscripts used in that time.

Visit the site

9.Columbia Museum Of Art

source-Columbia Museum Of Art

One of the unique things to do in Columbia SC is to see art collections here as art collection is shown thematically. It is one of the amazing things to do in Columbia South Carolina as it covers more than 5000 years of history and is also the winner of the National Park Foundation award.

I loved Baroque art, you can find it in the Press Collection. The famous masterpiece Monet’s View Of The Seine is a must-watch. They also organize some great events like art classes and block parties so keep a check on that.

There are 14 galleries on the second floor that showcases the European and American art collection. The sculptures from Renaissance-era are a treat to watch. Don’t miss the furniture and pottery collection especially Bunzlauer pottery from Eastern Germany. This museum also won an award for National Art Education Honors.

Visit the site

Read:South Carolina Best Beaches

10.South Carolina State House

South Carolina State House Gerald Brazell/flickr

If you want to see the finest example of Greek architecture then visit South Carolina State House which is located in downtown Columbia.

One of the free things to do in Columbia SC is to take the free tour to the senate and house chambers. The other best things are the Revolutionary War Generals Monument, Confederate Monument, Law Enforcement Memorial, and American-Mexican War Monument.

Don’t miss the five stars on the building’s exterior where Union cannonballs hit the building in Civil War. I also loved African American History Monument.

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11.Tunnel Vision

It is a huge paint on the wall that looks real created by artist Blue Sky. A great place to get pictures clicked.

12.Saluda Shoals Park

One of the best places to relax and enjoy is Saluda Shoals Park. You can do canoeing, paddle boarding, biking, hiking, kayaking. Not only this the park also offers a river observation deck and a state-of-the-art meeting center. The view from the observation deck is fantastic.

Check out the website to know about events like jazz outdoors on the deck, drive-in movie night, and outdoor movie series.

Visit the site

13.Villa Tronco

Looking for the best Italian cuisine? then you must visit Villa Tronco. They serve some amazing food and wine and is in fact the winner of the Wine Spectator Award Of Excellence. Pollo Parmigiana is the most popular dish here.

The atmosphere is warm and friendly and the service is top-notch.I had their famous cheesecake and it was yummy.I also loved Chicken Villa Tronco and Calamari.It is definitely one of the best restaurants in Columbia,SC

Visit the site

14.Busted Plug Plaza

Busted Plug Plaza Jason/flickr

Made of 675000 pounds of steel Busted Plug Plaza is the world’s largest fire hydrant. It is made by famous artist Blue Sky and is considered one of the most famous sculptures of South Carolina.

15.Waverly Historic District

Waverly is the first suburb of Columbia. It is a national district and one of the most important black communities. The highlights are Bishop’s Memorial AME Church and Daddy’s Grace’s Parsonage. It is included in the prestigious National Register Of Historic Places.

16.Good Life Cafe

It is one of the most famous vegan restaurants in South Carolina that offers organic and vegan dishes along with smoothies and fresh juices. Vegan Burritos and sandwiches are mouthwatering. My favorite dishes were hummus wrap and nitro cleanser.

Visit the site

Read: Best Things To Do In New Orleans

17.Visit Robert Mills Houses, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Woodrow Wilson Family Home

things to do in Columbia South Carolina
Woodrow Wilson family Home tinyfroglet/flickr

These are Columbia’s most iconic historic homes, you must visit these places. If you love history you will cherish the experience. Hampton-Preston Mansion is included in the National Register Of Historic Places. The renowned Hampton family used to live here. The museum showcases the lives during the 1812 war and the American Civil War in 1861.

Roberts Mills House is home to arts of 19th century. Woodrow Wilson Family Home was home to former president Woodrow Wilson.

Visit the Site

18.South Carolina Military Museum

things to do in Columbia South Carolina

The museum gives you the entire history of the state’s military be it guns, uniforms, medals, memorabilia, artillery pieces, manuscripts, and written documentation. The museum is built to honor the national guards.

Visit the site

Read: Columbia Backpacking Travel Tips

19.Sesquicentennial National Park

It is a state park famous among families for a picnic and for reunion and group gathering. Picnic pads are available but you have to make reservations. It has a big lake and surrounded by trails, a perfect place to unwind. You can do boating, kayaking, canoeing. There are four trails and a bike trail too.

20.Mr Friendly’s

The restaurant is famous for its Southern cuisine. The most famous dish is Moon pies which are served every Monday. It is also famous for its seafood and wild game dishes. I loved Low Country Sea Food Cakes.

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Some Other Fun Things To Do In Columbia SC

  • Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park-Good place for jogging, walking. There is an outdoor gym too. Nice place to relax.
  • Dreher Island State Park
  • Main Street
  • Never Bust Chain
  • Soda City Market
  • Frankie’s Fun Park
  • Harbison State Forest-For hiking and biking
  • Mckissick Museum
  • Ra Obelisk– A famous sculpture
  • The Final Door Escape Room Columbia-Escape Room Center
  • Horseshoe Park
  • Palmetto Falls Water park
  • Cayce River Park
  • Congaree Creek– You will love kayaking here.
  • Governor’s Mansion
  • Escapology-Great for kids
  • Melton Memorial Observatory– For people who love astronomy
  • Watch The Columbia Fireflies baseball game with kids
  • Watch orchestra at South Carolina Philharmonic
  • Columbia Food Tours-walking tour


  • Run Hard Columbia Marathon-March
  • Hill City Fest-July
  • Vista Lights-November

Find the best things to do in Columbia South Carolina this weekend.

List Of Complete Events in Columbia,SC

I had a great time visiting Columbia. There are still plenty of things to do in Columbia, South Carolina but I will visit them next time as I was running out of time.

If you have some interesting things to say about your visit there let me know I would love to share with my readers.

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