Home / Travel Guides - Columbia

Let's Explore

Columbia

Overview

Pacific Northwest

Road Trips

About ColumbiaOriginally 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.

Segra Park is home to a South Atlantic League minor league baseball team, the Columbia Fireflies.

Visitor Centers Experience Columbia SC 1010 Lincoln St. Columbia, SC 29201. Phone:(803)545-0000 or (800)264-4884

Self-guiding ToursBrochures 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.

ShoppingColumbia 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.

Things to Do The Columbia Museum of Art

EdVenture Children's Museum

First Baptist Church

Historic Columbia House Tours

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Mann-Simons Site

Robert Mills House and Gardens

Woodrow Wilson Family Home

McKissick Museum

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Riverfront Park and Historic Columbia Canal

South Carolina Archives & History Center

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum

South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame

South Carolina State House

South Carolina State Museum

Trinity Cathedral

U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum

Read More

Columbia, SC

AAA Inspected & Approved TOP Hotels

In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.

Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Plus Columbia Northeast

7525 Two Notch Rd. Columbia, SC 29223

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save up to 10% and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel Columbia-Greystone

200 Stoneridge Dr. Columbia, SC 29210

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Columbia Marriott

1200 Hampton St. Columbia, SC 29201

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save up to 10% and earn World of Hyatt points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hyatt Place Columbia/Downtown/The Vista

819 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

call or visit a AAA Travel Agent Today!

Find a AAA Office

As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.

Not a Member?

Join Now