. Three Days in Columbia, South Carolina | Successful Meetings

Three Days in Columbia, South Carolina

Great southern food, fascinating history and adventurous activities await.

This dynamic southern city offers a lot to love for those with a few days off, even during a pandemic. Most of Columbia's popular attractions remain open, with Covid-19 safety measures in place. The wealth of outdoor offerings and a walkable downtown are more welcoming than ever to visitors. Here are a few spots to try when the work of the meeting is done and you have some time to spend on your own.

DAY 1 Get Wild

The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is a must-visit destination when in Columbia.
The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is a must-visit destination when in Columbia.

7:00 AM

Set aside a few hours for a visit to Congaree National Park, the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the southeastern United States. The Congaree and Wateree rivers run through the park, which offers outdoor activities of all varieties. Take a trek on the hiking trails, or hop in a canoe or kayak to explore the scenic waterways and glimpse the local wildlife — it's not unusual to spot river otter, deer or even an alligator. 

2:00 PM

Home to more than 2,000 animals and expansive botanical varieties, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is a must-see when in Columbia. Visitors can feed giraffes, mingle with marsupials, or wander through the lush Walled Garden, the Bog Garden or the Old Rose Garden. 

DAY 2 The State's Best

The South Carolina State Museum includes history, art, natural history and more.
The South Carolina State Museum includes history, art, natural history and more.

11:00 AM

The South Carolina State Museum is really four museums in one, covering the state's rich past, artworks and natural history, as well as science and technology. Among the highlights are a 55-foot digital dome planetarium, a giant reproduction of a megalodon shark, a collection of historic telescopes and more than 45,000 objects and images gathered over the years. 

5:00 PM

Columbia is a great city for craft beer, and there are few better ways to end a day here than grabbing a pint at a local brewery such as Steel Hands or River Rat. Or slip onto the patio at Swamp Cabbage, Savage Craft Ale Works or Columbia Craft for a sip. 

DAY 3: Lunch and Learn

The Mann-Simons Site is one of several landmarks overseen by Historic Columbia.
The Mann-Simons Site is one of several landmarks overseen by Historic Columbia.

1:00 PM

Among the best of Columbia's beloved local dish, the pimento cheeseburger, can be found at the Rockaway Athletic Club

3:00 PM

The organizers of Historic Columbia call their collective offerings "a museum under many roofs," describing the beautifully maintained houses and gardens that invite visitors to take a step back in time. These include the Mann-Simons Site, a home owned by the same entrepreneurial Black family for more than 130 years, a view into the journey of the city's African-American community. Though the interiors of Historic Columbia's house museums remain closed temporarily, self-guided outdoor tours, as well as guided (socially distanced) garden tours, are available.