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Updated: September 2nd, 2020
Below is a list of the best places I would visit on a trip to this location. My picks fit my personality and interest. Everyone has a different interest so you may not like everything I listed which is fine. If you like a place, I recommend saving it to Google Maps for a future trip down the road. I made sure to include the address or GPS to make it easier to find. You can find out more about me in the "About Me" section to see if we share common interests.
In the info below, the yellow cost number is just an estimated amount at the time I checked their website; over time, the amount could change. With the cost of a hotel room, I'm pricing a queen bed for two people for a night on the weekend, and the amount shown is before taxes. These figures are just a rough estimate of what places could cost, so if incorrect, I apologize.
- The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli
2617 Devine St, Columbia, SC 29223
- The Original Pancake House
4840 Forest Dr, Columbia, SC 29206
A great pancake place that has been doing all-day breakfast for over 20 years. Must be doing something right if you are open for that many years. I would order the apple pancake with fresh Granny Smith apples and pure cinnamon glaze and some of their famous bacon.
- South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201
A great museum to learn about local South Carolina history along with traveling exhibits. The South Carolina State Museum features four floors of permanent exhibits on history, art, natural history, and science. Two current exhibits being the feature at the museum is the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes and Apollo 50: Journey to the Moon. The Boeing Observatory which is part of the museum usually has special events Tuesday evening as an added bonus.
Adult General Admission: $8.95
- Columbia Museum of Art
1515 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201
The art museum has an impressive collection of European, American, Asian, and modern and contemporary fine and decorative art. The museum receives more than 150,000 visitors a year. I would be interested in seeing Claude Monet's The Seine at Giverny because I always have an interest in impressionist paintings. If looking for a deal, go on the first Thursday of the month for free admission.
Adult General Admission: $10.00
- South Carolina State House
1100 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29208
The State House was called “one of the most notable buildings in the world” by Charles Wilson, a renowned South Carolina architect responsible for several creations listed in the United States National Register of Historic Places.
- Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29210
Riverbanks Zoo is the largest midsize zoo in the United States with over 2000 animals. They also secretly have tucked away one of the nation’s most beautiful gardens. I visited a few years back and I remember how shock at how good Riverbanks Zoo was, very underrated. The zoo draws about a million visitors a year. A new Southern white rhino exhibit will be opening in the summer of 2020.
Adult General Admission: $19.95
- The Southern Belly BBQ
819 Harden St, Columbia, SC 29205
They serve some incredible creative sandwiches that pack much flavor at Southern Belly BBQ. People say that they have the best BBQ in Columbia. My choice would be Southern Belly Dipper, which is brown sugar rubbed barbecue topped with melted swiss and bacon served on a bakery fresh french roll with Southern Belly white bbq sauce. I appreciate their Star Wars fandom when calling extra meat on their sandwiches “Wookie Size” and one of their sauces the “Dark Side.”
- Sweet Cream Co.
1627 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201
They create the best ice cream in Columbia, and Sweet Cream Co takes that very seriously. They only make small batches of ice cream using the best natural ingredients. The most popular menu item seems to be their ice cream cookie, which is different for each month. September flavor is graham cracker cookie with toasted marshmallow ice cream and fudge drizzle. Two flavors of ice cream that caught my eye were banana pudding and blueberry crumble.
- Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
4623 Forest Dr Ste 4, Columbia, SC 29206
A few good burger joints in Columbia, but my experience with Bad Daddy Burger Bar give it an edge over the others. I visited the Charlotte location year ago, the staff and food there was amazing. I would order the Sam I Am Burger, which is a burger topped with American cheese, rosemary ham, over-easy fried egg, and some fresh pesto. Other good burger joint options would be Pawleys Front Porch and Steve's Classic Burgers.
Places to Stay
- Aloft Columbia Downtown
823 Lady St, Columbia, SC 29201
The location of the hotel makes it very attractive, walking distance to a few places on the list in the downtown Columbia area. I feel the Aloft hotels try to be sleek and modern with their style, bright color scheme, and plenty of clean lines. They call it “Artistic Urban Design.” If thirsty at night and looking for a nightcap try the W XYZ Lounge.
Average cost a night on a weekend in October: $127
- Hotel Trundle
1224 Taylor St, Columbia, SC 29201
I love their concept, take three historic Columbia businesses, combine them to make a boutique hotel that pays homage to the community. Also, in a great location downtown Columbia within walking distance of a lot of exciting places. Southern Living Magazine selected Hotel Trundle as part of its Southern Living Hotel Collection. A shortlist of 24 hotels, this group of hotels showcases some of the South’s most exceptional experiences in hospitality.
Average cost a night on a weekend in October: $214
21 and Up Fun
- Hunter-Gatherer Brewery
1402 Jim Hamilton Blvd, Columbia, SC 29205
The brewery is located in an old airplane hanger near L.B. Owens Airport, which alone makes it interesting to visit. I would try the limited release 24th Anniversary of Ye Olde Bastarde, 7.5% ABV beer brewed with a classic combination of malt and hops from southern England.
- Transmission Arcade
1712 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201
I love arcade bars. They always find a way to tug at my nostalgic heartstrings. Transmission Arcade is no exception with its “Super Mario World” inspired mural inside, classic Donkey Kong, or collection of pinball machines.
- River Rat Brewery
1231 Shop Rd, Columbia, SC 29201
A great local brewery with an excellent rooftop lounge to hang at after a long day exploring Columbia. I would try the Astronaut Sauce, a New England IPA beer (5.4% ABV) brewed with tropical and citrus hops.
Out of Bounds
- Congaree National Park
Parking Lot: 33.83014, -80.82284
The largest river swamp in the southeastern United States, the Congaree National Park, is very underrated when compared to other parks. Not sure if they still offer free canoe tours with a ranger guide, but if they do, take advantage of it because it was a unique experience. Two best trails to hike at Congaree National Park would be the Boardwalk Loop Trail (2.4 miles) and the Oakridge Trail (6.3 miles). Both trails start at the same parking lot which is convenient.
18.9 miles from Columbia
Again these are my picks that fit my personality and interest. If you feel that I left one-off that may interest me or other people, message me on Facebook about the location. I value a person's opinion and never just discard the information. Always looking forward to learning about new places to add to my Google Map. ~ Shawn