Wanderlust {Columbia, South Carolina}

Our one travel lacrosse tournament of the year will bring us to Columbia, South Carolina this summer!  Like last year in Charlotte, we hope to extend our visit by a day to see a little more of the city.

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Since y’all are so good at this (truly!! you have no idea how much I always appreciate your input!!) I’d love to hear your suggestions for…

  • where to stay (we will be with the team for two nights but are happy to move the other)
  • where to eat
  • what to see / do

We love any adventure, appreciate history, and are always in search of a good meal so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the best things in Columbia!

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32 thoughts on “Wanderlust {Columbia, South Carolina}

  1. I have no suggestions – but can’t wait to read the tips and tricks from everyone, AND your post about the trip later this summer! xo

  2. The Gourmet Shop in Five Points. The traffic can be horrific but the roasted red pepper soup is well worth the effort.

  3. Food:
    DI Prato’s has the best pimento cheese and has a wonderful pimento cheese burger at lunch time.
    Pawley’s Front Porch – Great burgers
    Shealy’s or Hudsons Smoke House – Best barbecue places hands down!
    Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles is a favorite!
    Cinnamon Roll Deli – Who doesn’t love Cinnamon rolls?? And these are the best! and huge!!

    Places to go:
    Riverbanks Zoo is a favorite! If you decide to go I would happily mail you some guest passes!! We love it and they are constantly adding on and its amazing.
    Riverfront Park – is a nice place to go and walk and tons of great places for pictures.
    The State House – love to walk around the State House grounds. My boys love running up and down the steps. Its such a nice place where visiting is encouraged.
    Fire Flies Game – Our new baseball team that Tim Tebow is going to play for! The park is amazing and gives tons to do not just watching the game.

    I’ll keep thinking!

    1. I was going to suggest both, Pawley’s Front Porch and a Fireflies game!! I also love Tin Lizzy’s if you enjoy “gourmet tacos.”

  4. The zoo! Colombia has one of the best zoos around. It’s super fun for the kids and has great exhibits. You can also visit the botanical gardens with your ticket which is a short trek across the bridge. It’s a beautiful walk.

    Also, the Vista and Five Points ( both downtown) have lots of shopping and restaurants. Blue Marlin is really good.

  5. I just read yesterday that Tim Tebow has been moved to the Mets baseball team in Columbia. While I am NOT a Gators fan (Go Dawgs!), I do love him and would love to see him play!

  6. I live in Columbia and there is so much to see and do while you’re here! There are a handful of nice hotels in a beautiful historic district called The Vista, as well as a TON of restaurants all within walking distance. The downtown/Main St area has been total revitalized so just taking a stroll down Main St (with the beautiful capital building in view at the very end) is fun in itself. On Saturdays, Main St hosts the Soda City Market where tons of local craft and food vendors line the street. Also while you’re here, be sure to roam the beautiful state house grounds or take a tour of one of the numerous historic homes located downtown (Robert Mills, Hampton Preston Mansion, Woodrow Wilson Family Home, just to name a few). You can also take a stroll along one of the 3 rivers in the area (or try tubing, canoeing or kayaking!). Riverfront Park is a great place for a shady riverside walk.
    We also have an excellent children’s museum, Edventure, along with the SC State Museum and the Columbia Art Museum, if you want to stay cool indoors.
    Obviously, I could go on and on! Good luck and enjoy Columbia!

  7. I live in Columbia and there is so much to see and do while you’re here! There are a handful of nice hotels in a beautiful historic district called The Vista, as well as a TON of restaurants all within walking distance. The downtown/Main St area has been total revitalized so just taking a stroll down Main St (with the beautiful capital building in view at the very end) is fun in itself. On Saturdays, Main St hosts the Soda City Market where tons of local craft and food vendors line the street. Also while you’re here, be sure to roam the beautiful state house grounds or take a tour of one of the numerous historic homes located downtown (Robert Mills, Hampton Preston Mansion, Woodrow Wilson Family Home, just to name a few). You can also take a stroll along one of the 3 rivers in the area (or try tubing, canoeing or kayaking!). Riverfront Park is a great place for a shady riverside walk.
    We also have an excellent children’s museum, Edventure, along with the SC State Museum and the Columbia Art Museum, if you want to stay cool indoors.
    Obviously, I could go on and on! Good luck and enjoy Columbia!

  8. Oh my goodness! You are going to be in my neck of the woods! You simply must try the No Name Sandwich Shop, the State Museum (which is in an old mill), our State Children’s museum (which is outstanding) and the Riverbanks Zoo. These are all wonderfully fun family oriented places. There is tons to do in Columbia!!!! Hope you have a great time! (And if you need a little touch of home, head north to a little town just outside of Spartanburg called Woodruff and I’ll be sure to have some sweet tea waiting for you!!!
    Julia from SC

  9. Yay! I live here!

    Here are some recommendations:

    Breakfast/Sweets –
    risebakeshop.com
    https://blueflour.com/ – Amazing cookies, cakes, sandwiches and teas.
    https://www.cromers.com – popcorn, peanuts, candy, snow cones

    Lunch
    http://www.zestowestcolumbia.com – Great fried chicken and burgers. Very casual. Coleslaw is a must, as is their ice cream.

    http://www.villatronco.com – Italian restaurant in an old fire station. Cozy and romantic. I love the Chicken Picata and Peach Bellini.

    things to do:
    firefly baseball game
    riverbanks zoo – they have a newish splash pad and play area that my kids love
    sc state museum – check out the 4D theater, planetarium and observatory
    congaree national park – if you want to hike.

    hotels:
    inn at USC
    hilton columbia center hotel

    I can’t wait to see your post on my hometown!

  10. I agree with all the suggestions from the others about places to eat, see, and do. Just remember our humidity is very heavy and dress accordingly. Bring a fold up hand fan, your Yeti or Tervis Tumbler, and comfortable shoes/sandals. Our zoo is beautiful!
    Zesto’s is a must, too and it’s close to Krispy Kreme (HOT now!) Doughnuts.
    I can’t wait to see your posts and pictures!

  11. Like everyone has mentioned – Riverbanks Zoo is great. We live in Charlotte but have had a membership there for years! Great zoo, lovely arboretum, splash area, zip line courses, etc. price is very reasonable considering how nice it is!

    We often see people tubing down the river between the zoo & arboretum – weather permitting that could be a great adventure!

    Happy travels!

  12. I’m so excited to read about your adventures in my city!
    Around the vista is probably your best bet for a nice place to stay.

    The state museum is excellent if you want something inside.
    For outside, I would do Riverbanks Zoo. http://www.riverbanks.org. There are lots of things for the kids to do on both the garden side and the zoo side. On the garden side there is a water area so bring bathing suits! (They have places to change.)
    Fireflies games are lots of fun and are pretty inexpensive. AND you get to see Tim Tebow ;)
    If you have time to wander around, the state house grounds are nice and right across from the state house is the horseshoe, the historic part of USC’s campus which is also a great place for the kids to run around, throw a frisbee, etc.
    I have guest passes to the zoo…just let me know if you want me to mail them to you!

  13. Everything that they said! I agree with the Hilton or the Inn at USC. A trendy new hotel recently opening called Aloft. I love Mr. Friendly’s for dinner. Great wine menu and food. Try their filet with pimento cheese! Delish. Your boys would enjoy a baseball game. The zoo will be fun but hot. It would be neat to tour The Horseshoe which is the historic part of the campus at The University of South Carolina. It was the only part of the city that remained after the burning of Columbia during the Civil War. The State House is near by and worth a quick tour of the ground too. Lastly, I know that you love antiques and hunting for a great deal. My husband recently opened a 10,000 antique mall right in the heart of downtown. Open seven days a week. Like a mini-Scott’s. There is an auction house attached too! https://www.facebook.com/TheRedLionAntiqueMall/

  14. As a Disney Travel planner, I can’t help but think about your itinerary. 😀 I would definitely do a day at Riverbanks Zoo. Go early in the day while cooler. Have the boys wear their bathing suits and y’all could go over to the botanical garden area and do the big splash pad waterpark stuff last. There is also a zip line that they would enjoy. I think that you have to plan an advance for that. I would make sure that I was in Columbia on a Saturday and enjoy the Soda City Farmers Market on Main Street. This is way more than just a produce market, there are a ton of great food vendors and food trucks, music. Try the honey jalepeno coffee from drip. Also the avocado toast vendor is excellent. All locally owned. You could also explore the Mast General Store. The boys would really enjoy it. Lots of fun trinkets and old fashion candy and such. You could visit the Statehouse grounds during the same morning. The Columbia Museum of Art is also in that same area. (Free admission on some Sundays) However, if time is an issue, I think that you would enjoy the State Museum more with the movies and planetarium. I think your kids are too old for Edventure. I would also check out the fireflies baseball game. For dinner one night you could go to the previous restaurant that I suggested, this is in the five points area. Another good one is Saludas with a view of the fountain in Five Points. On some Thursdays, they have live music outside. There is a nice veranda. I would explore the Horseshoe. Good history lesson. Maybe drive by Williams Brice Stadium. On Sunday, you could go to a locally owned “meat and three” that is similar to a Cracker Barrel. Great breakfasts. It is called Lizard’s Thicket. Another hotel to consider would be the Sheridan. It is right on Main Street. It has a neat rooftop bar and a Starbucks. We have some neat breweries that actually have family friendly activities like corn hole, etc. too. Happy planning!!!!

  15. Ahhh my home for nearly five years when at USC!! Everyone’s right: it’s definitely HOT. “Famously HOT”. All great suggestions though – don’t miss Riverbanks! Hope you guys have a blast and can’t wait to see how you like it. Oh and GO GAMECOCKS!!!! :) xoxo

  16. I’d agree with everyone else… the children’s museum is great & love Riverbanks Zoo + of course, we love the state house – take note of the bronze stars placed on the building and learn about what they represent & George Washington’s cane, too (on the statue out front)…lots of history… Another thing you might like is wandering around the Governors Grounds. I had all 3 of my children’s portraits done there. The Lace House is neat http://www.lacehouse.sc.gov/Pages/default.aspx + the governors mansion… The grounds of that area are just nice to walk through… To eat, I like Bourbon right near the State House… http://www.bourboncolumbia.com/

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