Columbia's Top Attractions · 1. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden · 2. South Carolina State House · 3.South Carolina State Museum · 4. University of South Carolina · 5, South Carolina State Museum · Columbia Canal and.
Columbia, a trendy spot in southern South Carolina, brims with history and culture and attracts tourists with heritage-filled neighborhoods, beautiful parks, world-class museums and lots of fun outdoor adventures. Columbia, the capital of South Carolina since 1786, was physically and culturally transformed by the Civil War. More than 2000 creatures make their homes in this 170-acre zoo and garden. Especially suited for family trips, the Riverbanks Zoo has twice received the Governor's Cup award for South Carolina's most outstanding tourist attraction, and attracts more than a million visitors each year.
Be sure to also spend some time exploring the zoo's Riverbanks Botanical Garden. While admission to these beautiful 70-acre gardens is included with admission to the Riverbanks Zoo, it's certainly worth visiting separately if you can spend time exploring everything there is to see here. Located on the south bank of the Saluda River and connected to the zoo by a picturesque pedestrian bridge, the gardens are home to more than 4,200 different species of exotic and native North American plants, along with numerous exotic specimens from abroad. The gardens are easily navigable because they are organized by topic, and there are tours and workshops available.
Visitors interested in the textile history of the area should look for the 0.3-mile self-guided river trail. The trail, which begins at the Saluda Bridge and winds along the river to the Saluda Mills Interpretation Center, offers a close-up view of the first water-powered textile mills in South Carolina. One of the state's most-visited tourist attractions, the South Carolina State House, is a good example of Greek Renaissance architecture that was in vogue during the pre-Civil War period in the South. While construction began in 1851, it wasn't completed until after the war.
The capital, a highly appreciated design work by John Niernsee, rises 180 feet high, with a patinated copper dome. Since its inauguration in 1988, the South Carolina State Museum has established itself as the go-to attraction for those seeking to learn more about the history of this great state. Spread over four floors of a 19th-century mill, there is a combination of exhibits from the museum's own collections, as well as rotating exhibits that focus on important events in the state's history, along with stories of its people through the lens of art, culture, science and technology. There is also a lot of information about natural history.
In addition to the exhibitions, visitors can enjoy shows in the museum's modern planetarium, as well as in its interactive 4D theater. Other highlights include an observatory, the first steam locomotive built in the U.S. Department of State, as well as a first submarine. This 14-acre downtown park is wheelchair-friendly, and here you'll find picnic tables, bathrooms, and tranquil river views.
With more than 25 galleries and a worldwide collection that spans 5000 years of history, the Columbia Museum of Art is one of the most respected institutions of its kind in the Southeast. The museum has won multiple awards and has received prestigious national honors in arts education, the Governor's Award for outstanding contribution to the arts in South Carolina, and the National Park Foundation Award. With a sprawling 359-acre campus located close to vibrant downtown Columbia, the University of South Carolina (USC) should definitely be included in your travel itinerary. Begin your exploration at the university's visitor center.
Located just a short walk from downtown attractions, such as the Columbia Museum of Art, you can gather information not only about the history of the university, but also about fun things to do as you explore. Topping our list is taking a self-guided walking tour of the campus. Along the way, you'll follow a network of old brick trails and paved trails through the historic horseshoe, a park-like environment, and the original 1801 campus, around which some of the university's most important sites are located, including the McCutchen House. The Robert Mills House and Gardens was built in 1825 in classic Renaissance style as a private residence by Robert Mills, the designer of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
Saved from the wrecking ball in 1961, the house reopened its doors as a historical museum and has an extensive collection of period pieces and decorative arts furniture, many of the styles of the Federal Empire of the United States and the French Empire. The gardens were a later addition to restoration in the 1960s and are in classic English style. The Woodrow Wilson family home is the only presidential site in South Carolina. This Italian-villa-style mansion was the childhood home of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States.
The exhibits, vignettes and backstories talk about Tommy, as Wilson was then known, and offer an early narrative (around 187) of the story of this great American. The stadium also regularly hosts rock and pop concerts, with legends such as U2 and Paul McCartney performing here. In the more than 26,000 acres of Congaree National Park, you can enjoy the splendor of outdoor activities in low-lying areas, where the nutrient-rich Congaree and Wateree rivers overflow into the floor of this lush lowland forest. A good first stop here is the Hampton Visitor Center, where you can collect maps of trails, canoes and kayaks, chat with a ranger and learn about the amazing biodiversity of one of the highest deciduous forests in the world.
The average height of the tree canopy is well over 100 feet tall. The center has some small but interesting exhibits, along with models and a youth ranger program to make the visit more fun for children. The nearby 2.5-mile Boardwalk trail will keep your feet clean and dry as you walk through lush forests. The marked rails show the numbers corresponding to your map and provide descriptions of the park's ecology.
You'll want sturdy boots and hiking gear on any of the other trails, as the lowlands can be wet and muddy. Cedar Creek runs through the center of the park and is ideal for canoeing and kayaking. Some historic homes educate visitors about local civil rights movements, others document the work of prominent black figures in Columbia and the South in general, and more. When looking for the best things to do in Columbia, South Carolina, consider taking a tour of the South Carolina State House of Representatives.
For family travelers, the South Carolina State Museum is one of the best things to do in Columbia with kids. A visit to the South Carolina Military Museum is definitely one of the best things to do for free in Columbia for history lovers. Located next to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds, this state-of-the-art, fully renovated stadium hosts a crowd of more than 80,000 fans on match day and usually sells out in advance, so plan ahead if you want to watch a game. Some notable attractions include the South Carolina State Museum, the Riverbanks Zoo, the & Garden, and the Columbia Museum of Art.
It is also the permanent home of the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra and the Columbia City Ballet, both of which have a rich program of performances throughout the year. The Confederate Military Museum Relic Room & in South Carolina is the third oldest museum in South Carolina and tells the state's military history from the Revolutionary War to the current war on terror. Today, the city is the vibrant home of the University of South Carolina; it enjoys a diverse economic landscape driven by high-tech, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries; and it has become a contemporary and brilliant New South city. .