Columbia Travel Guide

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by melanief
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by melanief
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by melanief

Columbia Highlights

  • Pro
    b1bob profile photo

    b1bob says…

     The locals bend over backwards to be nice to strangers. 

  • Con
    shohman profile photo

    shohman says…

     If you don't like waffles.... 

  • In a nutshell
    Simplysal profile photo

    Simplysal says…

     When in Columbia make sure you have plenty of aspirin. 

Columbia Things to Do

  • strom thurmond statue

    located on the grounds of the south carolina state house is the strom thurmond statue. strom thurmond (1902-2003) was a south carolina governor and u.s. senator. thurmond served in the u.s. senate from 1954 to 2003 and retired when he reached 100 years in age. in 1948 thurmond ran for president on the states rights democratic party ticket which had...

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  • hampton-preston house

    the hampton-preston house was built by ainsley hall in 1818. it was bought by wade hampton in 1823. later wade hampton became a famous confederate civil war general and south carolina statesman. this house was the headquarters of union general j.a. logan during the occupation of columbia in 1865. later the hampton-preston house became a college for...

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  • mills house

    the robert mills house was built in 1823 for the wealthy merchant ainsley hall. robert mills was a famous columbia architect who designed the washington monument in washington D.C. in 1831 the home was sold to the presbyterian theological society of columbia. joseph wilson, the father of president woodrow wilson was a minister there between 1872...

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  • university of south carolina

    the university of south carolina is a very nice place to visit for those interested in antebellum architecture and history. the usc campus has an excellent collection of greek revival, low country plantation style, and neo classical buildings. for more examples of usc campus architecture see my usc travelogue.

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  • mc kissic museum

    the mc kissick museum is located on the "horseshoe" on the campus of the university of south carolina. the beginnings of the mc kissick collection dates back to 1823 when the university purchased the mineral collection of naturalist thomas cooper. by the 20 th century the museums collections had expanded to include fine, folk, and decorative arts....

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  • koger center

    the koger center for the arts is the cultural hub of columbia. the koger center hosts the USC dance company, the USC symphony and the South Carolina symphony. the world renown violist frank killian is a frequent performer at the koger center. check out the koger center website for schedule of events.

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Columbia Hotels

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Columbia Restaurants

  • italian

    al's upstairs is a very good italian restaurant in west columbia. other than the food the main attraction is their upstairs window tables with a great view of the vista and downtown columbia skyline. al's upstairs offers steak, seafood, and northern italian cuisine. one of the better restaurants in the columbia area.

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  • barbecue

    in my opinion hudson's smokehouse is the best bar-b-que restaurant in the columbia area. they offer a excellent buffet that includes pulled pork, chicken, and catfish. the sides are too numerous to mention. the buffet costs around $ 10 for unlimited servings. hudson's has three locations in the columbia area. far and away the best dining value in...

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  • low country cuisine

    the blue marlin is located in downtown columbia. the restaurant is in a building which was once columbia's train station. the blue marlin specializes in carolina low country cuisine. the menu is varied offering seafood, chicken, and steaks. i suggest the low country seafood dishes that are unique to the region. one of the better restaurants in...

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  • steakhouse

    the longhorn steakhouse is a chain restaurant located in a historic wharehouse on gervais street. the longhorn offers steaks moderately priced. i usually don't write tips on chain restaurants but the longhorn is better than average. also the columbia longhorn has an excellent location in the heart of columbia's downtown restaurant and entertainment...

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  • great patio, huge restaurant

    We stopped here for lunch during a crazy day of marketing. What a great, relaxing place. They have several international beers on tap. We ate on the outdoor patio on a perfect day and it was very relaxing, good service and a nice atmosphere. I just had a burger. The Guinness sure looked good.

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  • Eat in historic Union Train Depot

    We have eaten at California Dreaming in Columbia, SC many, many times. We always enjoy visiting the former historic Union Train station with its beautiful architecture and interior design. This place is always busy and very popular. We have never been disappointed with anything we have had there and the service is always top notch. They are open 7...

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Columbia Nightlife

  • daiquiri bar

    wet willie's is a fun daiquiri bar on gervais street in the downtown entertainment district. they offer a huge selection of frozen daiquiris. if you like daiquiris this is the place to go in downtown columbia. casual.

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  • eating & drinking

    the liberty taproom & grill is located on gervais street in the heart of columbia's restaurant and entertainment district. the liberty taproom and grill is a combination restaurant and bar. i personally have not dined here but they have an excellent beer selection. a great place to have an after work drink in downtown columbia. casual.

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  • Dancing at a classy spot, for ladies and...

    The best place for Latin Music and dancing anywhere near Columbia. Friendly crowd, lively atmosphere and great dancers. This as a great place to watch, even if you don't dance. Salsa, merengue, house music and more. A place ladies can feel comfortable. A mixed age crowd, always packed, and not smoky. Open Fridays and Saturdays at 9pm. The ragular...

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Columbia Transportation

  • Dollar/Thrifty @ CAE Airport - DO NOT...

    Hi all, just wanted to post a warning to anyone traveling in the Columbia, SC area. Do not rent from GSP Transportation (which runs Dollar and Thirfty out of the Columbia airport). I traveled here in July 2011 and rented a car from them for one day. I did not opt to take insurance, and long story short, they claimed I scratched their car (which I...

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  • Rental car

    We rented a car through Enterprise as that was the cheapest rate on Expedia, I kept on eye on Hotwire but the rates never went any lower than what I reserved the car for. The daily rate was $30.65, the total with taxes $176.57 for 4 days. There are several other national companies that rent cars from the Columbia airport, the desks are all in...

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  • Flying into Columbia

    We flew into Columbia for our 4 day driving trip to Charleston-Savannah-Hickory because it was in between the cities we were visiting and I could use my United miles otherwise the ticket from Chicago would have been very expensive. The airport is very small and only has around 40 flights per day so getting to the airport 90 minutes before your...

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Columbia Shopping

  • Local market

    Nat and I were strolling down Main Street coming from the State House, when we saw this local market at the corner of Main and Hampton. The market was just getting underway, but starting in late March through the end of May it's known as the Spring Magnolia Market and is held every Saturday. The Fall Magnolia Market runs on Saturdays in September...

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  • All roads lead to...

    If you enjoy history (as I do) and spending money (Which I do not) you may want to spend some time at Dutch Square Mall. I was told that it is the oldest mall in SC and that it is also the most popular. It was very busy the Saturday that I was there but after having been told that it was the most popular, I would have expected more crowds. "All...

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  • I'm not making this up

    You may have heard Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy talk in his acts about shopping at Piggly Wiggly. Well, there really is such a grocery store. In fact, there is a whole chain in the Southeast. Anything that won't eat you first AND they are not caving into pressure by certain groups to remove Maurice's Barbecue Sauce from the shelves. Piggly...

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Columbia Local Customs

  • Bar regulations

    South Carolina is a very culturally conservative state. It is so much that way that liquor served at bars has to be used only from small glasses, rather like those on the buggy the stewardess rolls through the cabin in flight. This law was imposed in order to more tightly regulate and tax liquor sold in bars. That way, it is harder for bars to...

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  • "Hot" Sauce

    No, Maurice's Original Barbecue Sauce is not hot with spice or fire, but rather with controversy. All controversy aside, let me say that it is a good mustard-based barbecue sauce that offers a hint of sweetness to offset the pungency of mustard. From a culinary standpoint, it is a perfectly good sauce. As I alluded to in my restaurant tip on...

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  • South Carolina State Fairgrounds

    The state fairgrounds hosts the state fair every October. Between fairs, it sees a variety of trade and public shows, meetings and conventions with a combined exhibition space of 125.000 square feet (38110 square meters). It is at the corner of Assembly Street and Rosewood Drive.

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Columbia Warnings and Dangers

  • Sunday is not a good day to visit

    Sunday is not a good day to visit Columbia or really anywhere in South Carolina, as we were driving back from Hickory, NC to Columbia, SC we tried to stop in historic York, everything there was closed. We stopped in Rock Hill to see if we could find some lunch, the 1st BBQ place was closed on Sunday, we thought about trying Chick-a-fil since we...

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  • Where not to venture in Columbia

    Columbia is safer than it gets credit for. The crime here is mainly focused around gang violence which shouldn't affect anyone visiting here. There are really no places in the city that are dangerous during the day. There are places to avoid either day or night simply because you have no business there unless your looking for drugs. These areas...

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  • Nat is on the loose . . .

    Nat, better known as b1bob, was definitely on the loose and in rare form on our trip to Columbia. He loved the State House grounds and had a great time mimicking the statues around the area. Here he is posing like the father of our country, George Washington. Scary stuff.

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Columbia Off The Beaten Path

  • Congaree National Park

    Congaree National Park is a 26,546 acre park which is a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. There is an elevated boardwalk trail that winds through swampy forest from the visitor center to Weston Lake. The park offers a variety of outlets for you to explore nature. There are numerous hiking trails as well as places to paddle your canoe or...

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  • kensington plantation

    the kensington plantation is located in eastover south carolina about twenty miles east of downtown columbia. the kensington mansion was built in 1854 in the italianate revival style. kensington plantation was founded by matthew singleton in 1787. kensington was a working plantation that produced cotton and indigo until 1941. in 1981 the property...

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  • congaree swamp national park

    congaree swamp national park is located about 30 miles east of columbia. this 27,000 acre park is a flood plain of the congaree river. the park offers camping, canoeing, hiking and nature trails. the congaree swamp is the oldest old growth flood plain forest in the united states. at the visitor center you can take a 2.4 mile boardwalk which gives...

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Columbia Sports & Outdoors

  • Colonial Centre

    The Fighting Gamecocks men's and women's basketball teams play here. In the off season, the Colonial Centre is used for all sorts of concerts and other entertainment.

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  • Williams-Brice Stadium

    This 85000 seat stadium is the homefield of the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks (I'm not making that up). They haven't been doing well of late, but, like the NFL's Carolina Panthers, there is always hope.

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  • Football

    The best part of the day, winning the game. South Carolina kept it close the first half, but they couldn't beat UT. Poor Lou Holtz, of course now that Spurrier's the new head coach, I'm sure it will get a little rougher.

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Columbia Favorites

  • Finally a shuttle between Columbia and...

    Ft. Jackson's Basic Training Graduation every Friday. Columbia Charlotte Shuttle is becoming increasingly popular. It's a van service that will pick you up at your house and bring you straight to the Charlotte Airport. It only costs $49 per person, each way. Kids are half price. With the price of gas, this service makes it much easier to get...

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  • The Confederate Flag

    On April 12, 2000, the South Carolina state senate passed a bill to remove the flag of the former Confederate States of America from the top of the statehouse dome by a majority vote of 36 to 7. Placed there in 1962, according to one local news report[3], "the new bill specified that a more traditional version of the battle flag would be flown in...

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  • South Carolina flag

    The South Carolina state flag, together with the one from Maryland, are my favourites of the lot. It has white emblems of a half moon and a palmetto tree on a dark blue background. You may have seen the Palmetto and moon emblem on the unwashed cap of a certain ClarkRB.

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Explore Deeper into Columbia
Hampton-Preston House
Things to Do
McKissick Museum
Things to Do
McKissick Museum
Things to Do
confederate relic room
Things to Do
Capitol building
Things to Do
Main Street
Things to Do
Great Latin American Food
Restaurants
general wade hampton statue
Things to Do
south carolina confederate memorial
Things to Do
columbia museum of art
Things to Do
mann simons house
Things to Do
seibels house
Things to Do
governor's mansion
Things to Do
maine gun
Things to Do
revoluntionary war monument
Things to Do
site of the old state house
Things to Do
Congaree National Park
Things to Do
Riverbanks Zoo
Things to Do
Carrabba's
Restaurants
south carolina state house
Things to Do
trinity episcopal church
Things to Do
Finally a shuttle between Columbia and Charlotte
Transportation
South Carolina Statehouse
Things to Do
The Confederate Monument
Things to Do
African-American History Mounment
Things to Do
lexington county museum
Off The Beaten Path
boat on Lake Murray
Things to Do
trinity churchyard
Things to Do
woodrow wilson home
Things to Do
great experience
Restaurants
Horrible, Horrible service
Restaurants
barbecue
Restaurants
gervais street
Nightlife
five points
Nightlife
fine dinning in columbia
Restaurants
riverbanks zoo
Things to Do
Waffle anyone?
Restaurants
Excellent Menu!!
Restaurants
Casual or Fine dining?
Restaurants
Almost perfect
Restaurants
Map of Columbia

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