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Things to do in Columbia

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Zoo
“The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens is regularly listed in the top 10 zoo's of America. It houses many species of animals but our favorites are the Gorilla exhibit and the sea lions! The tram will take you to the botanical gardens in a different area of the zoo, but don't miss Zip the Zoo, the kiddie water park and the carousel! If you frequent Columbia frequently, it's cheaper to get an annual pass!”
  • 55 locals recommend
Art Museum
“An excellent art museum in downtown Columbia. Visit their website to see if the Van Gogh exhibit is still being featured.”
  • 24 locals recommend
Museum
“This Museum has one of the country's largest telescopes. A 4D theatre and a planetarium.”
  • 25 locals recommend
Food
“Every Saturday morning downtown Main Street comes alive with the hustle and bustle of local artisans, businesses and theatrics at the Soda City Market. Typically about 3+ blocks long, this market has exploded in popularity and is a great spot to try every type of cuisine imaginable and to get some gift shopping in during your stay. Did we mention people watching? This is the spot to be for cute puppy watching as well as to listen and watch live street performances.”
  • 49 locals recommend
Capitol Building
“Take a tour of the Grounds, then walk down Main Street for food, cocktails and shopping”
  • 22 locals recommend
Museum
“Rain or shine, hot or cold this is a fun place of hands on learning for children. The giant size Eddie is an incredible slide through our bodies your little ones will want to enjoy again and again.”
  • 19 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“Great mall with tons of shops all the way from Dillard’s to Forever 21. Food court and lots of other great shops as well. ”
  • 13 locals recommend
Neighborhood
“Looking for Bars and Foods for a Night out in the Town? Five Points of Downtown Columbia is the place to be! Five Points in Columbia, South Carolina is a shopping, restaurant, and nightlife area that attracts customers from the nearby University of South Carolina and throughout the Columbia metropolitan area. It is the center for the city's annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival.”
  • 25 locals recommend
University
“Founded in 1801, USC's flagship campus sprawls over 300 acres in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House. The campus features the famously historic Horseshoe, where visitors can go for a leisurely stroll under a variety of established old-growth trees.”
  • 16 locals recommend
Cafe
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“We love Cafe Strudel for all meals of the day! Try their hangover hash browns for breakfast or the salmon salad at lunch. Every day they have rotating specials and are equally excellent for a deliciously casual dinner as well. ”
  • 21 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$$
“A long-time local favorite for farm-to-table cuisine, Motor Supply has valet parking and a wait so make sure to call ahead and reserve your spot.”
  • 21 locals recommend
Bar
“Bourbon is a whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant located just steps from the South Carolina State Capitol building at 1214 Main Street in the historic Brennen Building (1869)”
  • 17 locals recommend
Movie Theater
“An amazing indie art house movie theater with 4-6 nightly shows featuring indie-films, local films, and award winning films. Ticket prices are very reasonable and you can purchase at the box-office on the night of the showing in most cases.”
  • 16 locals recommend
Park
“There is a scenic lake, picnic pavilion, shaded trails, and playgrounds in the shade. ”
  • 9 locals recommend
Park
“We love heading over to the Riverfront Park after work and taking a stroll with our baby on the paved 5 mile round trip pathway along the canal and three rivers: Saluda, Congaree and Broad. There is something for everyone, runners, walkers, bikers, roller bladers, skateboarders, readers, relaxers.”
  • 19 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
$$
“We like this place if we are going out for a oyster shot to start the night with. They also have live music plaing upstairs usually! ”
  • 19 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Cafe
“We love Cafe Strudel for all meals of the day! Try their hangover hash browns for breakfast or the salmon salad at lunch. Every day they have rotating specials and are equally excellent for a deliciously casual dinner as well. ”
  • 21 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“A long-time local favorite for farm-to-table cuisine, Motor Supply has valet parking and a wait so make sure to call ahead and reserve your spot.”
  • 21 locals recommend
Bar
“Bourbon is a whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant located just steps from the South Carolina State Capitol building at 1214 Main Street in the historic Brennen Building (1869)”
  • 17 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
“We like this place if we are going out for a oyster shot to start the night with. They also have live music plaing upstairs usually! ”
  • 19 locals recommend
Southern / Soul Food Restaurant
“Mr. Friendly’s calls itself “a new Southern café,” so naturally it serves New Southern Cuisine. What that really means is you of course find chicken and grits and fried green tomatoes on the menu, but the chef also offers his delightful daily special; you will adore his take on Southern Cuisine with dishes like Sesame Seared Yellowfin Tuna with salsa made of granny smith apples and ginger, glazed with yuzu-sweet chile, and served with wasabi-spiced mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Bar
“Excellent food with changing specials, craft beer, good prices and attentive staff. Although in the heart of USofC, this place caters to a young professional and older hip crowd. ”
  • 12 locals recommend
Gastropub
“Our favorite neighborhood restaurant near all that is in Earlewood and Cottontown. Within walking distance of our Cottontown Marion Street properties, we love their ribs, deviled eggs and rotating drink selection - don't forget about their brunch!”
  • 12 locals recommend
Restaurant
“So so good and so so naughty at the same time - for a sweet and filling breakfast head on over to The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli.”
  • 8 locals recommend

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