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South Carolina itinerary: Take in Columbia’s foodie culture and artistry


For an accessible, affordable destination with big-city amenities and a small-town feel, Columbia is the ideal place for group tours.

Columbia, S.C.Photo: Experience Columbia SC

Columbia, S.C.

“The Columbia and Lake Murray region is home to a wide variety of award-winning attractions, outdoor recreational activities and restaurants,” said Amy Alimohamed, director of sales at Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board. “Groups love this region’s tour options and easy interstate access.”

With evidence of renewal everywhere hinting at what’s next, Columbia is a Southern hot spot. Jump in and experience the city with this sample three-day itinerary provided by Experience Columbia SC.

Day One
From artists and musicians to web developers and tech luminaries, many who work in creative industries choose to call Columbia home. Start the day off at the Columbia Museum of Art, known for hosting buzzworthy exhibits like “Salvador Dali’s Fantastical Fairy Tales,” as well as curating exhibits that showcase local talent, like Columbia’s own Tyrone Geter.

South Carolina State House, Columbia, South CarolinaPhoto: Experience Columbia SC

South Carolina State House, Columbia, S.C.

Discover the city bite by bite with Columbia Food Tours. Definitely fit for foodies, Southern staples like shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles are off the charts there. With a climate conducive to year-round farm-fresh ingredients, creative chefs who know just what to do with them have flocked from all over.

Day Two
The region is flush with regional parks and opportunities for outdoor exploration. Escape the bustling city and get lost in thoughts amidst fresh air, cold waters and the old growth hardwood forests of Congaree National Park in no time flat. Although most known for its distinct landscape, the park also has a rich cultural heritage.

Experience the region’s historically significant sites, including the Harriet Barber House, with a guided tour of the Lower Richland Heritage Corridor. The home has been in the same family since 1872 when Samuel and Harriet Barber, both former slaves, purchased the site.

Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Columbia, South CarolinaPhoto: Experience Columbia SC

Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Columbia, S.C.

Day Three
For more than 250 years, Columbia has pushed itself and its people forward. From the Revolutionary War through the civil rights era and beyond, collective struggles and rich history have resulted in a distinct culture.

Take a stroll through time and connect with the city’s shared past with Historic Columbia. Learn about previous incarnations of Columbia with neighborhood tours of Arsenal Hill, Cottontown and Old Shandon, or visit the historic homes and gardens of the city’s earliest families.

Centrally located at the intersection of Gervais and Main streets, the capitol is the quintessential stage for history in the making. See damage caused by artillery shells by troops under Sherman’s command, and do not miss the African-American monument that chronicles African-Americans in South Carolina from arrival to the modern age.

Robert Mills House, Columbia, South CarolinaPhoto: Experience Columbia SC

Robert Mills House, Columbia, S.C.

Then, head to the South Carolina State Museum, itself on the National Register of Historic Places. The state-of-the art facility houses four museums in one: art, history, natural history and science and technology. Be sure to take in a 4-D theater or planetarium show before leaving the museum. 

Experience Columbia SC


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