You can’t visit the University of South Carolina without visiting the city that we call home. Our city is made for exploration. From delicious food to invigorating activities in a city that inspires, Columbia, South Carolina has something for everyone.
While we could make an entire list of noteworthy places to visit when you come to Columbia, we’ve made it a little easier for you. This one is for our art-loving, music listening, coffee shop-sitting Gamecocks. Here is a list of things to do and see when you visit Columbia, South Carolina.
Liberty Tap Room & Grill
Located in the heart of Columbia, Liberty Tap Room & Grill has something for everyone. From good ol’ southern shrimp n’ grits to delicious steak tacos (a fan favorite), you’ll want to try it all. The restaurant has a modern, warm atmosphere – easy for anyone to enjoy after a day of city exploring!
The Corner Blend
The Corner Blend is within walking distance of campus and is the cutest little corner meet-up spot. Here, you can order yogurt bowls, smoothies and bubble tea!
McMaster Gallery is home to the School of Visual Art and Design. With fascinating sculptures sitting in the greenery, you can’t miss this building. There will often be an on-campus exhibit going on here! It’s a great space to view art and to see the exquisite designs your fellow Gamecocks are creating.
From traveling exhibitions to artwork by local artists, the different art museums and studios in Columbia offer a variety of beautiful pieces to view. Columbia Museum of Art, Tapp’s Outpost and Stormwater Studio are just a few of many places in Columbia to view art.
If you enjoy and appreciate local music as much as we do here in Columbia, you’ll definitely want to check out a local show – we have crazy good talent hidden away in our city! With great music venues such as The Senate, you can easily research what local shows are playing before visiting town and often buy tickets at the door!
Chicken Man’s Art
We know you’re probably thinking, “who on earth is the Chicken Man?”. Well, he’s a trademark in Columbia! While his real name is Ernest Lee, he is known as the Chicken Man for his well-known paintings of, you guessed it, chickens! Additionally, he is known for his “folk art.” You can usually find him in different areas around Columbia, like Main or Harden Streets, selling local art from his truck. If you request a painting, he will paint it on-the-spot.
Papa Jazz Record Shoppe
This is the cutest local record shop you ever did see! They sell a variety of records, from new to old and all kinds of genres, as well as movies, CDs and more! You can’t visit Columbia without stopping by their shop. Also, the staff is comprised of music experts – if you have a question, they have the answer.
While Drip is known as a local coffee shop (and they’re delicious, might we add), they second as a record and art shop! You can find records in their back seating area and often local art for sale on the walls.
Just a couple of stops down from Drip, you’ll find a small venue space that houses 12 local artists. From acrylic paintings to jewelry made from recycled plastic, the art here is beautiful and every artist's work is different.
West Columbia Art Park
Located off State Street, you can find this gem tucked away behind a little historic strip mall. What is it you ask? Well, it’s a little park of interactive art pieces and beautiful murals created by a few of Columbia’s local artists. It’s the perfect place to take photos, view art and then walk across the street to West Columbia Riverwalk to end your day!
Everyone loves a good open-mic night! From spoken word and slam poetry to soft, acoustic tunes, open-mic nights are a great way to unravel while stimulating your mind. Cool Beans and Drip are two locations in Columbia that participate in this (calm) festivity.
Mural hop around Columbia
Let’s go on an adventure! What better way to spend a day than to go on an art hunt. Our city has tons of beautiful murals, statues and sculptures, but you won’t find them in just one place. Explore the city deeper by searching for different murals and sculptures, and be sure to take fun photos when you find them! You can find a list of artwork throughout the city here: https://publicart.onecolumbiasc.com/pieces/list
Graduate Columbia Hotel
You have to book the perfect place to stay when you visit Columbia – the Graduate Columbia Hotel is just that! Just steps from the Horseshoe, this hotel is in the heart of the city. It is filled with southern charm offering unique, cozy rooms and amenities such as wi-fi. Be sure to check out the cute little café right within the hotel.