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Your ultimate guide to tours of Columbia

Explore the Soda City through its history, food, drink, and art on these tours.

Sally Salamander walking tour Columbia SC

Sally Salamander stop five. | photo courtesy of Columbia Chamber

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Whether you’re a lifelong Columbia longing to embrace your inner tourist, or you have a limited amount of time in the Soda City, here are 20+ tours guaranteed to show you the sights you want to see.

Note: Price estimates are based on individual adult rates available at the time of publishing. Check each company’s website to see current pricing.

Top Tours

Columbia Museum of Art | $8 | Available year round | Save $2 on admission when you book a tour and get insight from a docent on a guided tour of featured exhibitions or the CMA Collection.

Historic Columbia Foundation Tours | Garden tours are free + house tours are $12 | Available year round | Explore Columbia and Richland County’s intriguing past- through its houses, gardens, along streets, and through the people that shaped who we are today.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (West Columbia side) | $24.99 | The botanical gardens portion of this renowned zoo and garden is located on the West Columbia side of the river and offers a self-guided exploration of a wide range of plant collections.

Sally Salamander: Columbia’s amphibian-led walking tour | Free and self-guided | Available year round | Sally Salamander’s purpose is to guide visitors through famous Cola landmarks. If you follow each statue’s number, Sally will lead you through Soda City’s history + give you some good photo-ops along the way.

South Carolina Governor’s Mansion | Registration required | Available year round | Explore the rich history and southern elegance of South Carolina’s Governor’s Mansion, an estate that was once a military academy, now home to the Governor, adorned with donated state treasures and cherished memories of notable guests and significant events.

South Carolina State House Tour | Free | Available year round | Free guided and self-guided tours of the State House are available Monday-Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m.

University of South Carolina Campus Tours | Free | Available year round | The historic campus of the University of South Carolina offers guided tours that showcase the university’s history, architecture, and role in the city.

Eat and drink

Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours | $50 per person | Available year round | Gloria and Janet launched the food tour in 2014 and offer custom food tours exploring Columbia, Newberry, and Lexington’s finest dining establishments.


Anne Frank Center - A History for Today Exhibit | Free | Available year round | The exhibit explores the life and legacy of Anne Frank by sharing quotes, photos, videos, and original artifacts to represent the experience of Anne’s family as they hid in the Secret Annex.

Cayce Historical Museum | $3 | Available year round | Chronicles the history of the first European settlement in the Midlands of South Carolina, the Granby, Cayce, and West Columbia area. Guided tours are available.

Historic Camden’s Folklore & Legends Lantern Tour | $10 | Available year round | Historic Camden offers self-guided tours allowing one to tour the property at their own pace while enjoying not just the outside of our seven historic homes but also walking through them.

Lexington County Museum | $5 | Available year round | Available year round | This seven-acre complex includes 36 historic structures which interpret the agrarian lifestyle of Lexington County from 1770 until 1925.

South Carolina Military Museum Tour | Free | Available year round | One of the largest National Guard museums in the nation, this museum offers self-guided tours of military history exhibits from the Revolutionary War to the present day.


Carolina Adventures are one of a few companies permitted to operate in Congaree National Park and offer a guided trip along Cedar Creek. | Photo via Carolina Adventures


Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park | Free | Available year round | This park offers a self-guided walking tour along the historic Columbia Canal, with interpretive signs detailing the history of the canal and the city.

Carolina Outdoor Adventures | 40+ | Seasonal | Take a guided kayak, canoe, and tubing trips on our local lakes and waterways.

Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve | Available year round | A magical place for a hike, this 627-acre preserve features trails that take you past historical canals and earthworks from the Civil War.

Congaree National Park | Free | Available year round | Located just outside of Columbia, this national park offers self-guided walks and occasional ranger-guided tours through an old-growth bottomland hardwood forest.

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve | Free | Available year round | This nature preserve is a geologic wonder and is home to several endemic plant species. There are several miles of trails to explore, but there are no guided tours, so you’ll be on your own.

Purple Martin Tours | $50 per person | July + August | Join Wingard’s Naturalist and USCG Captain Zach Steinhauser for a pontoon tour of the largest purple martin roost in North America on Lake Murray.

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden | Registration available online | Available year round | Backstage tours offer an inside look at animal care, meet some of your favorite animals, and learn about the zoo’s efforts to protect endangered species.

West Columbia Riverwalk | Free | Available year round | This beautiful boardwalk along the Congaree River offers spectacular views. Though not a guided tour, it’s a lovely place to visit for a stroll or a picnic.

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