When it comes to South Carolina, most people think about heading to the beach. Charleston, Beaufort, and Myrtle Beach are all popular vacation spots, with good reason, but what about going inland?

That’s where you’ll find Columbia, South Carolina, that capital of the state and city exploding with things to do and see. As South Carolina becomes a more popular destination, Columbia is a city you don’t want to miss out exploring. 

In this post, we’re going to give you a quick guide to Columbia, SC. You’ll learn about some of our favorite hot spots and must-see attractions, plus how to get there on your next road trip. 

Things To Do in Columbia, South Carolina

You have your pick of activities to enjoy in Columbia. The biggest decision you have to make is how to find the time to squeeze everything in!

Columbia Museum of Art

In Columbia, the artistic community is centered around the Columbia Museum of Art. This museum is a hub for all sorts of activities and events, plus showcases one of the best modern art collections in the country. 

Soda City Market

You can learn so much about a city by straying from the standard tourist’s path and checking out things the locals love to do. So when you’re in Columbia, be sure to spend some time at the Soda City Market. The market shuts down Main Street every Saturday morning. 

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden

three giraffes and one baby giraffe standing in the sunshine at the the Riverbanks Zoo in SC.

The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden are tucked beside the Lower Saluda River. That makes it the perfect spot to wander it’s 170 acres and enjoy everything from over 2,000 animal species at the zoo to an African forest at the garden. 

The Governor’s Mansion

 South Carolina’s governors aren’t the only people who are lucky enough to get inside the beautiful Governor’s Mansion. Much of the house and the 90 acres it sits on is open to the public for tours.

BBQ and Bourbon

In between all that exploring, you’re going to need time to eat, right? We’ve got you covered. 

In South Carolina, BBQ has to be on the menu. And Columbia doesn’t disappoint. Both Southern Belly BBQ and Midwood Smokehouse are great options. Once you have all that great BBQ, don’t forget to wash it down with some local bourbon. Thankfully, there’s a bar for that too, conveniently named Bourbon. You don’t want to miss the cocktails here.

Getting There

Closeup of Columbia South Carolina on a road map of the United States.

Columbia is located just about smack dab in the middle of South Carolina; Which makes it incredibly easy to get to, both with the state and the surrounding areas. In about 2 hours or less, you can reach Columbia from Charleston and Spartanburg, South Carolina as well as Agusta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. 

No matter what you do in Columbia, South Carolina ,you’re going to have a good time. The small city feel and friendly locals means its an awesome place to spend a little bit of time. It’s a perfect stop on any Southern road trip.  If you’re in the area now and need help with last-minute hotel reservations, our sister site, HotelCoupons.com can help you.