The heritage-filled capital city of South Carolina, Columbia personifies New South living with revitalised manor homes, cultivated public gardens and thriving urban culture. From Greek Revival architecture to presidential homes, Columbia features Southern cuisine, impressive museum collections and riverfront walking paths.
Things to do in Columbia
Reflecting the architectural styles of post-Civil War reconstruction, the South Carolina Statehouse offers free tours beneath its copper dome and expansive complex of historical monuments. Walk the exterior to spot five stars marking where Union cannonballs landed during the war. Other landmarks to visit include the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and the Robert Mills House and Gardens, which features a history museum.
For family fun in Columbia, start with Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, home to at least 2,000 creatures in the Reptile House, Petting Zoo and Bird Complex. At EdVenture children’s museum, kids can engage in pet care at the Wags and Whisker lab and use kid-friendly tools to make their own inventions in Marketworks.
With deep roots in the African American community, the Historic Waverly neighbourhood thrives with eclectic art galleries, eateries and the lively campuses of Benedict College and Allen University. Take a self-guided tour to see iconic structures, such as the 1885 Bishop's Memorial AME Church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Head over to the Columbia Museum of Art for a look at international treasures, including Monet’s “View of the Seine” and Botticelli’s “Nativity Fresco”. You can get some exercise on urban paths within the Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park and go kayaking, canoeing and hiking amongst towering forests in Congaree National Park.
Getting around Columbia
Buses, taxis and ride-share companies operate throughout Columbia, with frequent service in major urban centres. Columbia Metropolitan Airport offers rental cars as well as shuttles to the downtown area.