Books About The
State House is
the seat of
the building and
building for six
which mark the
Engage the mind
– enrich the
of Art ranks
the U.S. and
still plenty of
connects you to
the here and
Come on in, the
The public beach
at Lake Murray,
offers access to
a day of
time with family
With 600+ miles
no wonder the
lake is one good
reason folks are
drawn to this
for a vacation
Oh, the canvas
sailing and with
the sport gets a
round. Give it a
try and let it
take you (and
water, oceans of
fun. Columbia is
rivers, many of
them with little
rent, or bring
your own and put
in at one of the
sites. Take a
friend or two
and get your
rejoice. On the
pause to drink
while taking a
from the old
yourself to a
far, far away.
Or watch the
their way to and
Take a Road Trip:
To Famously Hot –
Surprisingly Cool – Columbia
The arts are driving many good things happening in South Carolina’s Capital city. Downtown museums and theatres, live performance venues, a rush back to urban living in the middle of all the action, and a strong emphasis on sustainable, healthy lifestyles that include walking trails, farmers’ markets, bike rides and pocket parks.
Columbia isn’t experiencing the hyper growth of some major southern cities, and that’s a good thing. Careful, thoughtful planning is the order of the day. Along the way, visitors will find a million reasons to visit the Midlands for fun, recreation, education, shopping and fabulous dining.
Check it out – Main Street, with the new Mast General Store, Five Points, the Vista, Harbison, Lake Carolina and more. So much to do. So many ways to enjoy this seat of government, learning and fun!
First, find a good hotel
in the middle of things.
The Hilton Columbia
Center is an excellent
choice. Located in the
heart of Columbia’s
festive Congaree Vista,
within walking distance
of the University of
South Carolina and
Main Street. You will
find the Ruth Chris
hotel bar hoppin' and
their chef specialties
worthy of celebration.
Now comes decision time.
Museums? Consider the SC State Museum, housed in a huge old mill on the Congaree River.
You’ll discover all about the state’s storied past, and learn about some of its stars,
including a remarkable ironwork gate by Philip Simmons, an African-American artist,
who was born in 1912 and still teaches young apprentices the art of ironwork.
The museum is fun for all ages, and just next door to
the South’s largest children’s museum that teaches and delights kids of all ages.
Downtown, the Columbia Museum of Art is filled with wonderful exhibits. A brand new custom Dale Chihuly art acquisition chandelier masterpiece in glass hangs in the atrium.
You can spend all day in these three museums (and enjoy their gift shops, as well). For those with a
bent toward the military, the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is a must-visit.
Located adjacent to the SC State Museum, it is the state’s oldest museum, filled with
artifacts that will amaze and remind of the sacrifices made by the military and their families.
Fort Jackson is in Columbia, too,
and is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, training
50 percent of all Soldiers and 80 percent of the women entering the Army each year.
Check the Website for special events and requirements to visit.
Lunchtime is an opportunity to rest and regroup, while sampling one of the Midlands excellent
restaurants. Too many to mention here, we offer a small
but be sure to note which ones serve
lunch only, or dinner only.
Don’t forget local shopping, too.
OK. You don’t want to shop, you’ve gotten all the culture you can, and you’d like to get outside.
No better place than nearby Lake Murray, with its 600+ miles of shoreline and many islands
(including Bomb Island, which was used for target practice by Jimmy Doolittle’s Raiders,
and now serves as a sanctuary for almost a million Purple Martins who spend their summers here.
Lake Murray and its surrounding rivers offer miles of boating pleasure for all types of boaters.
Whether you enjoy canoeing or kayaking in calm waters or rapids, navigating your sails
through cutting winds or leisurely cruising, Capital City/Lake Murray Country is the place for you.
For pontoon, jet ski, canoe, kayak or vacation home rentals call 1-866- SC JEWEL or (803) 781-5940.
No interest in boating? No problem. Find
Island State Park
and seek out a peaceful
waterfront corner for a picnic and an afternoon’s swim – but don’t forget the sunscreen.
To get there, just take
Exit 91 off I-26 near Chapin in Newberry County. Open daily. Phone: 803.364.4152
Once back to your hotel, you’re ready for the evening’s entertainment.
Enjoy a before dinner libation down in the Congaree Vista, where the professional
crowd mingles with politicians and visitors. Just wander this fun, 600-acre area –
you’ll find watering holes for every taste. Or, dine at Mr. Friendly’s, near the Claussnen’s Inn.
Their wine list is astounding and award-winning.
If you end up in the Vista, after
drinks you can choose from Tapas (Gervais and Vine), creative cuisine and vegetarian options (Motor Supply),
A night on the town? Start with Trustus
, the Theater in the heart of the Vista that
includes a bar. It’s edgy, fun, eclectic, casual, amazing and the popcorn is free! And then there’s
Workshop Theatre and Town Theatre – venerable institutions that also entertain and have unique followings.
The Nick, as locals affectionately call The Nickelodeon, shows foreign films, independent releases and more
right on Main Street. Check with the Koger Center
to see if a Broadway production
is in town, or perhaps a performance by your favorite super star.
If it’s a football weekend, all bets are off on Saturday night. The town swells
by thousands to cheer on their beloved Gamecocks. Otherwise, you’ll have plenty to
do and see. Come to think of it, 36 hours isn’t nearly enough …
Shopping in Columbia, SC
Dining in Columbia, SC
Sightseeing & Things to Do in Columbia, SC
For more information, visit the Columbia
Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
or, while in town, stop in the Visitors
Center located downtown inside the Convention Center.
About the AuthorKatherine O. Pettit
has worked as a writer,
magazine editor, printer
and public relations
consultant. The Columbia
resident has published
more than 250 articles
in magazines and
newspapers. Her writing
explores a variety of
business and management.