Explore Columbia: Why South Carolina's Capital City Deserves More Love

Upon entry, visitors coming to the state of South Carolina will feel like they've reached the South. With warm weather and warm greetings from hospitable Southerners, the capital of South Carolina is a destination for surrounding states like North CarolinaGeorgia, and Tennessee.

Additionally, Northerners in places like New York often travel many miles to visit the Palmetto State. South Carolina has a little bit of everything from a long coastline, large metropolitan areas, and expansive options for exploring nature in North America. 

What is the Capital of South Carolina?

The city of Columbia is the state capital of South Carolina. Columbia, situated in The Midlands region of the state, is home to the South Carolina State HouseThe capitol building houses the SC state legislature and serves as a meeting house for other state government officials. This city is the seat of Richland County, although some of the city spills over into Lexington County. The city lies in the middle of South Carolina along the USA East Coast. It was destroyed by a fire in 1865 by General William Tecumseh Sherman's Union troops. Today, Columbia tour guides lead visitors through the path his troops took.

Columbia is just over 134 square miles and sits adjacent to the nearby Lake Murray. The state capital lies in the lowcountry, halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and John Denver's beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. Columbia's city-goers will notice the convergence of two close-by rivers known as the Saluda River and the Broad River. These two bodies of water merge in Columbia to form the Congaree River, the main attraction of Congaree National Park. What's more, Columbia is not far from popular shore communities like Folly Beach and Myrtle Beach. Additionally, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport allows for easier access to this region.

In 2019, the population of this capital city was estimated at more than 130,000 residents. The population count ranks Columbia as the state's second-largest city—falling short only to historic Charleston.

Columbia, South Carolina, is a favorite for residents across the state. Visitors come from local towns like Santee, Piedmont, and Sumter. Individuals, couples, groups of friends, and families from all over America can come to the downtown Columbia metropolitan area and find something to enjoy. Before coming out, visitors should consider the following list.

5 Reasons to Visit Columbia, South Carolina

1.   The University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina draws an eclectic crowd. Young kids come with their parents to check out the college in hopes of attending in the future. College students from across the country (but particularly the southeastern United States) travel to attend classes or parties. Overall, this college's football program draws many viewers to games at Williams-Brice Stadium.

With enrollment sitting at about 34,000 students, this college atmosphere is vibrant enough to entertain anybody willing to make the trip.

2.   Golf Courses

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The warm climate and healthy green fields in this state capital make it an excellent destination for a golf trip. As a whole, the U.S. state of South Carolina has some absolutely breathtaking golf courses. Just in the Columbia area, many receive great reviews from avid golfers.

Even for beginners, the courses here are too lovely to pass up. Visiting golfers should look into courses like Cobblestone Park, Golden Hills Country Club, and Beach Creek Golf Club, according to GolfPass.

3.   South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the country during the Civil War. Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is the oldest history museum in the Palmetto State. This museum focuses on South Carolina's military history from the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War.

Visitors come to this museum to learn about Native American history, South Carolina's part in forming America, the state's secession, and eventual return to the Union as a U.S. state post-wartime.

Similarly, nearby Fort Jackson scratches a similar itch that the Confederate Relic Museum does for tourists. What's more, Columbia is also the site of the South Carolina State Museum and the Columbia Museum of Art for those who'd like to get a broader, more comprehensive educational experience.

We ought to mention you can visit the African American History Monument at the State Capitol Building, as well!

4.   The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden


The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to almost 2,000 animals that make up over 350 species from around the globe. Tourists who visit the zoo can choose to experience ecosystems like the Pacific coral reef or the animals of the Aussie Outback.

What's more, the 70-acre public botanical garden is a beautiful site to go for a stroll or study nature. When guests are in this area, they should also walk along the river for the scenic overlook views. Plus, there are 19th-century relics that still stand and serve to look back to South Carolina's past.

5.   Soda City Market

Columbia is often affectionately called Cola and (for that reason) "Soda City." Thus, the Soda City Market was born. Every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, the market fills with local vendors and hungry shoppers. The market features a wide range of options from fresh fruits and vegetables to traditional, Southern cooking. For every other day of the week, Columbia boasts some great options for food and drink. Look out for local favorite restaurants and breweries on the Cola City main street tour!

Have you ever visited Columbia, South Carolina? Share your adventure at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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