Shops in the vista in Columbia, SC
Exterior of Di Prato's Deli in downtown Columbia, SC
Five Points mural in Columbia, SC's Five Points
Exterior of Groucho's in Columbia, SC's Five Points
Colorful buildings along Saluda Ave in Columbia, SC's Five Points
Brick entrance to Graduate Hotel Inn at UofSC hotel on University of South Carolina's campus

Ultimate guide to planning a trip to Columbia, SC

Ultimate guide to planning a trip to Columbia, SC

If you are planning a trip to Columbia and don’t know where to start, welcome!

Whether you are visiting Columbia for a UofSC event (like a campus tour, graduation or football game!), a ceremony at Fort Jackson, government business or maybe you can’t get enough of the capital city, we hope you find this guide useful!

We put this resource guide together for you to help point you in the right direction with everything from which neighborhoods to visit, where to stay and what to eat.

The best place to start for planning a trip to Columbia is our itinerary for a perfect weekend.

In it we share our must-do recommendations for visitors, our favorite restaurants and how to live like a local in Columbia. It covers a typical Friday to Sunday visit, but you can do most of the ideas mentioned any day of the week. Except Soda City– that’s a Saturday only thing.

We also made it more of a choose your adventure style itinerary so that you can do the type of things that you really love.

It should be a great jumping off point for planning a trip to Columbia.

But we also know that our perfect weekend may not be yours!

So, to help plan your perfect trip, we have a ton of resources to guide you in the right direction.

Cover to the Columbia, SC first time visitor's guide

First trip to Columbia?

Start with our city guide for visitors!

Our visitors’ guide shares details about the city, from various neighborhoods to restaurants, breweries and attractions.

Cover to the best things to do in Columbia, SC post

Things to do in Columbia

Want to know about the top attractions?

We have a list of the top things in Columbia that includes our award-winning museums, the best Saturday morning market, ballgames to attend and more!

Kids at a playground with text "guide to Columbia, SC with kids"

Traveling with kids?

We have the perfect guide for you.

With two kids of our own, pretty much everything we do in Columbia is kid-friendly! We love sharing our favorite kid-friendly restaurants, the best playgrounds and the top things to do with kids in Columbia.

Five Points Shops with text "Columbia, SC Neighborhood Guides"

Meet our neighborhoods.

Get the lay of the land with our neighborhood guides.

We have detailed guides to Columbia’s best entertainment districts. Find out what to do and were to shop + eat in each neighborhood!

Fall colored leaves with text "Columbia's weather and seasons:

Pick the best time to visit.

Check out our guide to Columbia’s weather and seasons.

Want to know the best time to visit Columbia (or how long the Famously Hot heat lasts!?) We have a guide for that!

Graduate Hotel sign on UofSC Campus with text "a guide to hotels in Columbia, SC"

Find a place to stay.

STart with our list of recommended spots.

A list of preferred hotels in the downtown Columbia, SC area with details on nearby restaurants and shops. You’ll find everything from the Instagram-worthy Graduate Hotel Inn at UofSC to local favorite Trundle Hotel on the list.

We hope you found our guide to plan a trip to Columbia useful!

Disclaimer: Hours, pricing, menus, etc. may have changed since we last updated this post, so make sure to confirm all of this directly prior to visiting any business or attraction listed on our site. When In Columbia does not accept sponsored posts. All opinions are our own. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.