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First Time Visitor to Columbia - Any Suggestions?

Jun 10, 2018
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3
LA (Lower Alabama)
The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

king ward

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Aug 10, 1999
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Lancaster, SC
The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I wish I had a ready answer. My wife - our group, actually - enjoyed our trip to Tuscaloosa when Holtz was coaching here. I wish I could point you to something as outstanding as the Bryant museum, but I cannot. I would say make it a point to eat someplace in the Vista area, which is interesting. I'll defer to others on the football part.
 

MIghtee

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Aug 9, 2019
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Riverbanks is a pretty nice zoo, actually. Not too much fun when it's 90+ degrees though. And not football-related.
 
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be cocky

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Jan 29, 2019
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Mount Pleasant
The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

this be honest, the vista is nice and downtown is right there. there’s a nice art museum. i would make a day trip to charleston.
 
Jun 10, 2018
11
24
3
LA (Lower Alabama)
Thanks for replies. We are looking forward to the visit. I hear the Cockabooses are worth seeing. I also hear your 2001 pre-game intro is pretty cool.

My tickets arrive tomorrow, so I don't know what section we're in yet. Where are the visitor sections in Williams-Brice?
 
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king ward

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 1999
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Lancaster, SC
Thanks for replies. We are looking forward to the visit. I hear the Cockabooses are worth seeing. I also hear your 2001 pre-game intro is pretty cool.

My tickets arrive tomorrow, so I don't know what section we're in yet. Where are the visitor sections in Williams-Brice?
East Upper and Southeast corner (lower deck).
 
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JohnnySolo

Member
May 6, 2011
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Local Football tradition? Like a winning team? Try a local HS team on Friday night. Or some hokey entrance song or painted train? Yeah we have that. 2001 used to be cool, but the team is worn out after that celebration. Cock-a-boose is cool, but useless in my opinion. I'd leave after halftime and check out the zoo, walk campus near the horseshoe or the state capital
 

ruffledfeathers

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Dec 26, 2000
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South Carolina
As mentioned, Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens are worth a visit: https://www.riverbanks.org/

Nearby is Saluda Shoals State Park: https://www.icrc.net/parks/saluda-shoals-park

The Horseshoe on campus is worth a visit, besides the history and architecture, it is where gameday sets up nowadays: http://www.treessc.org/usc-horseshoe/

Next block over is the state capitol building, worth a visit if you make the horseshoe. https://southcarolinaparks.com/education-and-history/state-house

The State Museum is worth a visit, it is through the Vista (great restaurants), down from the Capitol.
http://scmuseum.org/

Colonial Life Arena concert: Wed, Thur., Friday has Hootie & The Blowfish along with Barenaked Ladies.

Outside of town, check out Congaree National Park, highly rated:
https://www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm

If you have a spare day, and never been, go to Charleston.
 

Rollerdude123

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Apr 8, 2011
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The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


If the hurricane doesn't so damage, visit Charleston, Sc.

Seriously.
 
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GandBinNC

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Jul 12, 2011
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Raleigh, NC (from Columbia, SC)
The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

You'll have to pardon the negativity in most of these responses. This board is generally a negative place in the best of times, but after Saturday its off the charts.

Columbia is a great city and very much underrated. I'd venture to say its probably (a distant) 2nd after Nashville as far as entertainment/dining/lodging options amongst SEC towns. Don't waste your time driving to Charleston - that should be a separate trip of it's own. There is plenty of good stuff to keep you happily occupied in Columbia.

ruffledfeathers had some good suggestions. Hopefully you are staying right downtown. A few more entertainment/dining options worth considering:

  • The Soda City Market: fantastic year-round Saturday market along four or five blocks of Main Street in the heart of downtown. Dozens of vendors, great crowd - a fun time. Runs from 8-12.
  • Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Taproom at Owens Field: Opened last year - an expansion of operations for the original Columbia microbrewery (original location still open on South Main Street, behind the Capital Building). The Owens Field location is in a refurbished 1920's era hanger at Columbia's Municipal airport. Great beer, good food, a fantastic environment. Also, close to the Stadium. The original location has a more expansive menu (and very good).
  • Bourbon: A Main Street staple - great Cajun-inspired food and an excellent selection of bourbons, as you may have gathered from the name.
  • Halls Chophouse: At the corner of Main and Gervais (across from the State Capital) - probably the best meal and dining atmosphere you will find in Columbia.
  • Lula Drake: Great wine bar a few blocks north of the Capital on Main Street.
  • The War Mouth: Outstanding neighborhood eatery a block off of North Main Street.
  • Little Pigs BBQ: A few miles northeast of downtown - if you are looking for authentic Midlands South Carolina mustard bbq, this is your place. Nice buffet. No frills, just as a bbq joint should be.
  • As mentioned by someone else, The Horseshoe is the original campus and is definitely worth a stroll. You have to get out of the car to really appreciate the beauty of USC's campus.
  • Definitely check out the Cock-a-boose Railroad, and plan to be ass-in-seat in time for "2001". It's an amazing experience and unique in all of college football.
Hoping you enjoy your trip to Columbia, and may your trip home be safe, yet somewhat less enjoyable due to the outcome of the game. ;)
 
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uscnoklahoma2

Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2017
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Again, thanks for the feedback. Sounds like a lot to take in. Looking forward to it.
In Atlanta veer off I20 and hit I85. Take I85 to Greenville and check out the Downtown and Reedy Falls. Then take 25 to I26 and go to Asheville. Visit the Biltmore and ride the parkway. Forget Hotlumbia and the game. Going to be a slaughter. Not worth watching.
 
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Aug 13, 2019
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Thanks for replies. We are looking forward to the visit. I hear the Cockabooses are worth seeing. I also hear your 2001 pre-game intro is pretty cool.

My tickets arrive tomorrow, so I don't know what section we're in yet. Where are the visitor sections in Williams-Brice?

Make absolute certain to buy a nice, ice cold drink in a souvenir cup. Williams-Brice Stadium has a very special type of ice that we use that is unlike any found anywhere in the civilized world.
 

Mr_Blutarsky

Member
Sep 26, 2018
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In Atlanta veer off I20 and hit I85. Take I85 to Greenville and check out the Downtown and Reedy Falls. Then take 25 to I26 and go to Asheville. Visit the Biltmore and ride the parkway. Forget Hotlumbia and the game. Going to be a slaughter. Not worth watching.
Dude, he’s obviously a Tide fan. A slaughter is what he’s coming into town for...:eek:
 

punydevil

Member
Oct 25, 2012
350
279
63
You'll have to pardon the negativity in most of these responses. This board is generally a negative place in the best of times, but after Saturday its off the charts.

Columbia is a great city and very much underrated. I'd venture to say its probably (a distant) 2nd after Nashville as far as entertainment/dining/lodging options amongst SEC towns. Don't waste your time driving to Charleston - that should be a separate trip of it's own. There is plenty of good stuff to keep you occupied in Columbia.

ruffledfeathers had some good suggestions. Hopefully you are staying right downtown. A few more entertainment/dining options worth considering:

  • The Soda City Market: fantastic year-round Saturday market along four or five blocks of Main Street in the heart of downtown. Dozens of vendors, great crowd - a fun time. Runs from 8-12.
  • Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Taproom at Owens Field: Opened last year - an expansion of operations for the original Columbia microbrewery (original location still open on South Main Street, behind the Capital Building). The Owens Field location is in a refurbished 1920's era hanger at Columbia's Municipal airport. Great beer, good food, a fantastic environment. Also, close to the Stadium. The original location has a more expansive menu (and very good).
  • Bourbon: A Main Street staple - great Cajun-inspired food and an excellent selection of bourbons.
  • Halls Chophouse: At the corner of Main and Gervais (across from the State Capital) - probably the best meal and dining atmosphere you will find in Columbia.
  • Lula Drake: Great wine bar a few blocks north of the Capital on Main Street.
  • The War Mouth: Outstanding neighborhood eatery a block off of North Main Street.
  • As mentioned by someone else, The Horseshoe is the original campus and is definitely worth a stroll. You have to get out of the car to really appreciate the beauty of USC's campus.
  • Definitely check out the Cock-a-boose Railroad, and plan to be ass-in-seat in time for "2001". It's an amazing experience and unique in all of college football.
Hoping you enjoy your trip to Columbia, and may your trip home be safe, yet somewhat less enjoyable due to the outcome of the game. ;)
Soda City Market runs 9-1 unless they change it on game day. Lots of great street food options for breakfast or lunch. Hall's is great but I'm fabulously middle class and the prices make even me blanch. Motor Supply, Hampton Street Vineyards and Mr. Friendly's are great dinner options that are a little more reasonable. I hear good things about Hendrix too but haven't been yet. Bourbon is great but small and no reservations. Tough on game weekends. There's also the World's Greatest Dive Bar® called The Whig on Main Street with killer burgers and cold beer. It's underground literally. For wings and beer hit Public House near Five Points. Also, plenty of shopping and food in Five Points but not a good place to be at 2 a.m. There are river walks on both sides of the Gervais Street and Blossom Street bridges. The Columbia side is fine in the evening but hot and not very shady in the morning. In the morning or afternoon, go to the West Columbia/Cayce side. Heavily shaded and a beautiful walk. Timmerman Trail is at the bottom and is the least trafficked section and beautiful. Parking can be tough at the top in West Columbia so just head down south along the river to the next phase or two (or three or four) and there's plenty of parking. Saluda Shoals is also a very nice walk. Columbia Museum of Art and the the South Carolina State Museum are both solid if that's your bag. Art museum is walking distance from Soda City Market. Steel Hands Brewery in Cayce and River Rat Brewing near the stadium have the best beer/space pairing. Simple solid food as well. Hunter Gatherer Brewery at Curtiss Wright is a phenomenal setting but the beer is a work in progress. I'd tell you to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the indie theater The Nickelodeon but I think its run ends Thursday. You can always head to Monetta to catch a double feature at The Big Mo drive-in.
 

MIghtee

Active Member
Aug 9, 2019
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+1 for the Congaree National Swamp. It's rather impressive.

Maybe not a 90+ day though.
 

punydevil

Member
Oct 25, 2012
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+1 for the Congaree National Swamp. It's rather impressive.

Maybe not a 90+ day though.
Yeah, not sure how I left that out since I was there Sunday. If you go, get off the boardwalk if you're able and walk a trail that suits your abilities. Sims Trail (#2; 3.2 miles) and Weston Lake Loop Trail (#3; 4.4 miles) are both excellent. Haven't done the longer ones yet (Oakridge, River, Kingsnake).
 

lostcock

Active Member
Sep 28, 2006
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Cola Town
The visitor sections are around 15-18, and I’m not sure if also the corresponding levels above those. But yes, everything people said here. Columbia gets plenty of knocks, even from current residents, but there are lots of attractions, great restaurants, the zoo, etc....second on the War Mouth, and/or Bourbon if it wasn’t mentioned. Fantastic places, and drinks. Also, second Soda City, and you would have time to hit that early, walk the Statehouse grounds, and walk a few more blocks to the USC Horseshoe. If you still have time, the McKissick Museum at the far end of the Horseshoe is great. Hope you have a great trip, and a repeat of 2010 SmokinSmile
 
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cockhornleghorn

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Nov 12, 2001
19,470
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The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Stay in the Vista. Motor Supply Company, Hall’s Chophouse, Bourbon or Blue Marlin for dinner. Lots of drinking establishments, also.
 

GandBinNC

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Gold Member
Jul 12, 2011
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Raleigh, NC (from Columbia, SC)
We are staying downtown at the Hilton. I think that's near a lot of the suggestions you guys are recommending. Really appreciate the insight. Thanks!

Yes, you will be in The Congaree Vista. Motor Supply Co is right there. You're an easy walk to all things along Main Street. Uber to Hunter Gatherer at Owens Field & The War Mouth.
 
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USC3307

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Sep 11, 2009
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The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

You’ve caught us at a somewhat depressing time lol

The Vista in Columbia is great — make sure to check out the horseshoe & our campus, which is usually not shown on tv because the stadium is off campus. 5 Points is cool, but is young & crazy at night. Columbia’s actually a fun town — it gets a bad rap because Charleston is truly an international destination now, with world class beaches, shopping, and dining, 90 minutes away.

In any case: enjoy the trip, and feel free to leave us any players that Saban no longer needs.
 

bostonsc

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Feb 1, 2006
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Make sure you visit five points on Friday night and bring the entire Alabama football team. You should buy them all lots of drinks and make sure they know that Bar None stays open well past when the sun comes up. Definitely something they should all experience the night before the big game.
 

vidaliagamecock

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Nov 20, 2001
4,086
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The wife and I are making our first ever visit to Columbia this year. Any suggestions for things to see / do; must-see's, etc? We enjoy taking in as much of the local football tradition as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Stay in Charleston. 1.5 hours away and not a dump.
 
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cutiger55

Member
Sep 28, 2015
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You'll have to pardon the negativity in most of these responses. This board is generally a negative place in the best of times, but after Saturday its off the charts.

Columbia is a great city and very much underrated. I'd venture to say its probably (a distant) 2nd after Nashville as far as entertainment/dining/lodging options amongst SEC towns. Don't waste your time driving to Charleston - that should be a separate trip of it's own. There is plenty of good stuff to keep you happily occupied in Columbia.

ruffledfeathers had some good suggestions. Hopefully you are staying right downtown. A few more entertainment/dining options worth considering:

  • The Soda City Market: fantastic year-round Saturday market along four or five blocks of Main Street in the heart of downtown. Dozens of vendors, great crowd - a fun time. Runs from 8-12.
  • Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Taproom at Owens Field: Opened last year - an expansion of operations for the original Columbia microbrewery (original location still open on South Main Street, behind the Capital Building). The Owens Field location is in a refurbished 1920's era hanger at Columbia's Municipal airport. Great beer, good food, a fantastic environment. Also, close to the Stadium. The original location has a more expansive menu (and very good).
  • Bourbon: A Main Street staple - great Cajun-inspired food and an excellent selection of bourbons, as you may have gathered from the name.
  • Halls Chophouse: At the corner of Main and Gervais (across from the State Capital) - probably the best meal and dining atmosphere you will find in Columbia.
  • Lula Drake: Great wine bar a few blocks north of the Capital on Main Street.
  • The War Mouth: Outstanding neighborhood eatery a block off of North Main Street.
  • Little Pigs BBQ: A few miles northeast of downtown - if you are looking for authentic Midlands South Carolina mustard bbq, this is your place. Nice buffet. No frills, just as a bbq joint should be.
  • As mentioned by someone else, The Horseshoe is the original campus and is definitely worth a stroll. You have to get out of the car to really appreciate the beauty of USC's campus.
  • Definitely check out the Cock-a-boose Railroad, and plan to be ass-in-seat in time for "2001". It's an amazing experience and unique in all of college football.
Hoping you enjoy your trip to Columbia, and may your trip home be safe, yet somewhat less enjoyable due to the outcome of the game. ;)

2nd behind Nashville is a big stretch. As a Clemson fan, I hate to admit it, but Athens is a very cool town. Terrible fans but great town when there is not a football game.
 
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