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Columbia, SC – Boutique Hotels & More

South Carolina’s beautiful capital city, Columbia, prides itself on being the perfect mix of Southern traditions with an eye fixed on the future. Its location right in the heart of the Palmetto State means an easy day trip to the beach one day, and a short drive up into the mountains the next. And while those adventures are more than awesome, we wouldn’t blame you if you decide to stay in town and enjoy all the attractions, cool things to do, great shopping, and enjoyed some art and culture topped off with a fabulous meal. Best of all, if you’re looking for some of the best places to stay, be sure to check out some of the great Columbia boutique hotels.

One of the great things about Columbia is that there are plenty of fun things to see and do without getting that “touristy” vibe. That is, this is a welcoming town with friendly locals who’ll likely be enjoying the same activities as you and your travel companions. Pack up the kids and head to the zoo, visit a phenomenal public garden, or hit up any of the city’s great museums. Choose from a dose of art, science, history, culture, local lore, kid-friendly hands-on displays, and much more.

Columbia Travel Guide

When to Go

Mid-March through the beginning of June brings the spring flora and fauna, and is a great time to golf. Summer weather can be hot and humid, but visit the museums and delicious up-and-coming bars and restaurants to beat the heat. Or take the kiddos to the water park, of course. Fall is downright wonderful for most visitors, and is the best time to head upstate to tour the fall foliage. And winter is for you if you want to beat the crowds and get the best deals. It rarely snows in Columbia and you might even see a few 70-degree days!

Festivals & Celebrations

No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll always find something to celebrate in Columbia!

  • January: Columbia Restaurant Week- A week-and-a-half long celebration with deals at hundreds of the city’s best restaurants.
  • March: Run Hard Columbia Marathon- The best city tour happens on foot! 13.1 or 26.2 miles of lovely city and suburban scenery. There’s even a 5k fun run for the whole family.
  • March: St. Pat’s in Five Points- One of the Southeast’s biggest and best St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, featuring live music, a fun run, and something for everyone.
  • March: Indie Grits Film Festival- Multi-day event focusing on indie films, centered in and around the Nickelodeon Theater. Enjoy independent films, live music, and food trucks and more.
  • April: Columbia International Festival- A cultural buffet of music, food, and arts and crafts of the many diverse communities proudly represented in the Midlands.
  • April: Love, Peace, & Hip Hop Festival- A gathering of old and new artists that promotes peace and unity in a family-friendly celebration.
  • May: Rosewood Crawfish Festival- Crawfish galore and loads of other Southern and Cajun foods. Live music, kids’ games, arts and crafts, and even a “Crawdaddy Dash” 5k.
  • May: The Governor’s Cup- A Cola tradition and one of the oldest annual road races in the Southeast. Both the half marathon and 5K courses take you through Columbia’s most beautiful attractions.

  • June: Columbia Shrimp & Grits Fest- Shrimp & Grits is serious business in Columbia and several restaurants compete for the title of “Columbia’s Best Shrimp & Grits”. Unlimited free samples for ticket holders!

  • July: Lexington County Peach Festival- Celebrate July 4th AND one of SC’s top crops with a parade, peach treats galore, live music, crafts, and fireworks.
  • July: Lake Murray Fireworks Celebration on July 4th- Can’t-miss holiday tradition with dazzling fireworks displays that light up the night sky and reflect on the lake. 

  • August: The Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival- Plenty of homegrown family fun celebrating summer’s most-anticipated garden staple.
  • August: Main Street Latin Festival- A celebration of Columbia’s Latin community with music, dancing, food, and crafts, offered up in a family-friendly environment.
  • September: Irmo Okra Strut- Thank this often under-appreciated veggie for loads of family-friendly fun in a carnival-like setting. And more fried okra than you can imagine.
  • October: Famously Hot SC Pride Festival- Amazing entertainment, a parade, street vendors, and more in a positive, uplifting environment in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • October: Jam Room Music Festival- Main St. street fair with live music from many genres, yummy food and beer trucks, and plenty of dancing and laughter.

  • October: The Palmetto Health Foundation’s Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon- Support breast cancer research, treatment, and patients themselves. Distances for beginners and hard core runners alike.
  • October: South Carolina State Fair- A statewide tradition of exhibits, carnival rides, games, live music, food, and much more. Kids and kids at heart will have a blast.
  • November: Devine Night Out- More than 50 stores and restaurants along Devine St. welcome guests for shopping, socializing, and plenty of holiday cheer. Find gifts for friends and family or simply treat yourself.
  • November-December: Holiday Lights on the River- A dazzling drive-through lights show featuring over 400 twinkling displays. Stay warm in the car as you drive through the lovely Saluda Shoals Park.
  • November-December: Lights Before Christmas- A Riverbanks Zoo tradition with a breathtaking display of lights in animal shapes (with over one million sparkling bulbs!) that’ll captivate kids and adults alike.
  • November-December: Lights Before Christmas- A Riverbanks Zoo tradition with a breathtaking display of lights in animal shapes (with over one million sparkling bulbs!) that’ll captivate kids and adults alike. 
  • November: Vista Lights- Over 60 art galleries, restaurants, and shops showcase their best offerings. Mix and mingle, do some holiday shopping, and enjoy plenty of live entertainment.
  • December: Famously Hot New Year- SC’s biggest NYE fireworks event with amazing live bands, big crowds, vendors, and plenty of family-friendly fun.
Instagram-Worthy Spots
  • West Columbia Riverwalk- 4.5 acres of lush greenways, paths, and boardwalks featuring an amphitheater and awesome views of Columbia’s skyline. Bring Fido along!
  • Pine Island on Lake Murray- A popular wedding spot for its sweeping waterfront views, stunning sunsets, and gentle lake breezes.
  • SC State House- Columbia’s most iconic building featuring vast columns, an iconic dome, and an urban oasis of colorful gardens and walking paths.
  • Riverbanks Botanical Gardens- The Riverbanks Zoo’s 70-acre oasis of lush botanical garden with thousands of colorful native and exotic plants. And thousands of Insta-worthy snaps
  • Murals and other public art- In the past few years, Columbia has really stepped up its public art game. Head downtown and look around for colorful wall murals and sculptures of every ilk.

Airport Information
Airport Name City Airport Code Distance from City Airlines
Columbia Metropolitan Airport West Columbia, SC CAE 16.9 mi CAE Airline Directory

Airport Name
Columbia Metropolitan Airport

West Columbia, SC

Airport Code

Distance from City
16.9 mi

CAE Airline Directory


Small town charm and big city sophistication blend seamlessly in Columbia, and Southern hospitality is the name of the game. Take a walking tour of the Historic Homes and Gardens District for a peek into the city’s stately history. Tip: Check out the Robert Mills House and Gardens. While you’re out and about, stroll downtown (don’t miss the public art!) and hit Soda City Market for fresh veggies and fresh live music, too.

Pack up the kids and head to the Riverbanks Zoo or explore the scenic Riverwalk for fun and relaxation. Any foodies out there? Columbia’s got you covered with locally-sourced goodness from BBQ to beer and everything in between. And don’t forget Congaree National Park: hiking, kayaking, catching fireflies… fun for the whole family. Check out some Columbia, SC things to do here

Columbia Blog

 Our Columbia travel blog is where we’ll be talking about what makes the city unique. We’ll cover topics like: Columbia restaurants and bars; things to do in Columbia with kids; best places in Columbia for nature lovers, history buffs, and romantics; how to do Columbia like a local; and a lot of random yet interesting tidbits about the city and its surrounding areas. 

And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, please be patient. We’re growing and working on adding good stuff we think you’ll love. 

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