AAA Travel Guides
Current Search Destination:Columbia, South Carolina
Travel Information for major cities, national parks and other destinations across North America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Description
Originally settled on the opposite bank of the Congaree River, Columbia was created and designated South Carolina's capital by a 1786 act of the legislature, which moved the seat of government from Charleston. On Dec. 17, 1860, a convention met to draw up the Ordinance of Secession, but because of a smallpox epidemic the convention moved to Charleston, where the ordinance was signed.
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman entered Columbia on Feb. 17, 1865, and set a fire the same night that destroyed three-fourths of the city, including every house on Main Street except that of the French consul. The university, public buildings and statehouse also were spared. The South Carolina Governor's Mansion, the surviving structure of a destroyed military school, is open by appointment; phone (803) 737-1710.
Chartered in 1801, the University of South Carolina plays a prominent role in Columbia. The original campus of the university, known as the Horseshoe, contains 10 restored buildings dating to the early 19th century; the buildings are currently used for classrooms, offices and living quarters. The visitor center has displays and interactive exhibits about the university's history and campus. It's located in the McKissick Museum , which is at the top of the Horseshoe. Campus tours are available; phone (803) 777-0169 or (800) 922-9755 for schedule and other information.
Finlay Park, set in downtown Columbia, features lakes, waterfalls, walking trails, a Leyland cypress tree, a playground and patios surrounding a plaza; phone (803) 545-3100.
Visitor Info
Experience Columbia SC 1101 Lincoln St. COLUMBIA, SC 29201. Phone:(803)545-0000 or (800)264-4884
Shopping
Columbia offers three specialty shopping districts. In the Five Points district there are nearly three dozen shops, many of which are on Harden Street and Saluda Avenue. Congaree Vista, a former industrial and warehouse district, is now a 1,200-acre historic district filled with shops and art galleries. Many of the old buildings now house these new establishments. The Doors of Devine features upscale shops along Devine Street. All three districts also include restaurants, and Five Points and Congaree Vista are entertainment and nightlife hubs, too.
For the basics, turn to Columbia Place (7201 Two Notch Rd.), with Macy's and Sears. Columbiana Centre (100 Columbiana Cir.), offers Banana Republic, bebe and Dillard's. Village at Sandhill (481 Towncenter Pl.) has Belk and JCPenney along with an array of other mall stores.
Self-guiding tours
Brochures for self-guiding walking tours of various historic neighborhoods and sites can be picked up from the visitor center and from the Robert Mills House museum shop.
X
Click to View Map
Top Hotels
Current Location: Columbia, South Carolina
1
Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel
1400 Main St. Columbia, SC 29201
Book Now
AAA Inspector Rating
Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Rewards® or SPG® points when booking AAA rates!
2
Best Western Plus Columbia Northeast
7525 Two Notch Rd. Columbia, SC 29223
Book Now
AAA Inspector Rating
Members save 10% or more and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA rates!
3
Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia/SE Fort Jackson
201 E Exchange Blvd. Columbia, SC 29209
Book Now
AAA Inspector Rating
Members save 15% on weekends booked by Sept 4 for stays through Sept 30 and earn Honors points when booking AAA rates!
4
Columbia Marriott
1200 Hampton St. Columbia, SC 29201
Book Now
AAA Inspector Rating
Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Rewards® or SPG® points when booking AAA rates!