Columbia Neighborhood Guide To

Downtown Columbia

The city's most popular places to stroll, dine and sightsee

What It's Like

Professional · Historic · Big City Feel

Known For

Restaurants · State House · USC


City Center

About Downtown Columbia

Downtown Columbia, SC is broken into a few different neighborhoods and districts. This guide to downtown Columbia highlights a bit about each area that combine to form the area and will give you a basic understanding of downtown Columbia.

City center (in front of the State House)

Home to the majestic South Carolina State House and several local restaurants and shops.

Main Street and the surrounding area is typically the first thing that comes to mind when we hear ‘downtown Columbia.’

Here you’ll find Main Street, the State House, and taller buildings of Columbia’s skyline. There are several banks, law firms, other professional offices, hotels and residential buildings.

The Main Street area serves as the central business district. It’s also home to a gourmet culinary scene and vibrant night life.

On Saturday mornings, Main Street is transformed into Soda City Market. You’ll find food trucks, artists, produce and much more. It’s a blast and the whole city seems to show up.

West of Main Street and the State House

The Vista is home to several restaurants and hotels, as well as the Convention Center, the Colonial Center and the USC Alumni Association

The Vista is just one street over from Main Street and the State House. But it’s a four-lane road so there’s a very clear division between two areas.

The Vista is a great place to grab a bite to eat and explore a few local shops. You could definitely visit both Main Street and the Vista in one day. You can read more about this area, including our favorite places to eat, in our guide to The Vista.

Southeast of Main Street + Near USC

A local favorite spot for shopping and dining in Columbia.

Five Points is another hub in the downtown Columbia, SC area for shopping and dining. While it’s not necessarily the first place we think of when we hear ‘downtown’, it’s close enough to mention it in this guide.

Five Points is known for local shops and restaurants and an absurd amount of bars. It can get pretty crazy on weekend nights when the University is in session. Especially during football season!!

It’s definitely one of the best areas in town for strolling along coffee in hand, though. We particularly love Drip Coffee, All Good Books and The Gourmet Shop.

University of South Carolina

Five Points mural in Columbia, SC

Carolina’s campus is located in downtown Columbia, between Five Points and the Vista.

The University of South Carolina’s campus comprises a large part of downtown Columbia. The majority is located in an area between Five Points and The Vista.

The campus is somewhat spread out around town, with Williams Brice Stadium just a bit south of the main area.

Hotels Near USC

Restaurants In Downtown Columbia

There are several great restaurants in downtown Columbia, serving up everything from awesome fried chicken to decadent steak.

You’ll find a bowling alley with delicious fooda wine bar with charcuterie options and even a restaurant that has a whole flounder on the menu. That last one is Cola’s, by the way, and it’s awesome!

See below for a few of our favorite eateries in downtown Columbia, from steakhouses to coffee shops!

Exterior of Hall's Chophouse on Main Street in Columbia, SC

Halls Chophouse

Award-winning steakhouse with a menu full of locally sourced steak and seafood. Fine dining at its best.

Exterior of Bourbon on Main Street in Columbia, SC


A cajun-creole restaurant and bar in downtown Columbia. It’s a cool place with an awesome whiskey selection (over 500!)

Hampton Street Vineyard patio seating in Columbia's Main Street District.

Hampton Street Vineyard

A charming, intimate restaurant in downtown Columbia. They have perfect sidewalk seating and great weekend brunch.

Counter to order at smallSUGAR in Columbia, SC


Coffee shop and cafe in the Vista with gourmet food. Try an almond croissant.

Exterior of Transmission Arcade in Columbia, SC

Transmission Arcade

Arcade and eatery on Main Street. Craft beer, great food and arcade games!

Interior of The Hollow in Columbia, SC

The Hollow

Forest-to-table restaurant in the Vista. One of the newest restaurants in Columbia!

Exterior of Motor Supply Bistro in Columbia's Vista

Motor Supply Company Bistro

Date night restaurant in the Vista with farm-to-table fare.

Exterior of Lula Drake in Columbia, SC

Lula Drake Wine Parlour

Upscale wine bar on Main Street.

Exterior of Oliver Gospel Roastery in Columbia's Main Street District

Oliver Gospel Roastery

Local coffee shop and roaster with a do-good mission to end homelessness in Columbia.

If you are looking for a certain kind of dish, check out our food and drink page for an overview of the Columbia dining scene. And don’t miss our list of the best restaurants in Columbia for our ultimate recommendations.

Things To Do In Downtown Columbia

Downtown Columbia is a hub for so many of Columbia’s attractions. There are several museums in the area, the State House and the weekly farmers market. You’ll also find the Colonial Center downtown, as well as the Koger Center.

Soda City market shoppers with the State House in the background

Soda City Market

Rain or shine, Main Street is transformed into the charming, family-friendly Soda City Market complete with local artists, bakers, food trucks, coffee, music and more.
Guide To Soda City
Toddler Pollywog Pond play area at Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia, SC

EdVenture Children’s Museum

Columbia’s EdVenture is a magical destination for kids of all ages. Our guide shares everything to know before your next visit.
All About EdVenture
The South Carolina State Museum Entrance in Columbia, SC

SC State Museum

From a Megalodon replica and a dinosaur gallery to a full-size train replica, you’ll love exploring and learning about the history of our state.
More On The State Museum

If you are looking for things to do in downtown Columbia on a Saturday morning, check out the Soda City Market! Main Street is transformed into a street market with local food trucks, coffee shops, bakers, makers and buskers. Soda City Market is such a fun way to spend a morning!

Another fun activity in downtown Columbia is to take a self-tour of the historic horseshoe on the University of South Carolina’s campus.

If you are looking for a movie theater in downtown Columbia, the independent Nickelodeon Theater is perfect. The Nick typically has up to 3 movies scheduled Thursday through Sunday. They sell soft drinks, snacks, beer and wine at concessions.

If you are looking for fun and games in downtown Columbia, Main Street is home to an upscale bowling alley + restaurant (The Grand on Main) and an old-school arcade (Transmission Arcade.)