We’ve all been there: Someone’s trying to give you directions by describing 10 lefts, 20 rights, and a jumble of cardinal directions. Isn’t it easier to just point out a landmark?
That’s exactly what we’re doing. We have a list of 15 of the most recognizable Soda City landmarks — from the AT&T microwave tower to USC’s Horseshoe. Not only are these local icons easy to remember, but they’ll also get you where you need to go in a jiffy.
Address: 804 Gervais St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: The Vista, Gervais Street Bridge
Adluh Flour Mill has been a staple of Cola’s skyline since it was completed in 1920. This operational, historic mill is a unique feature of downtown Columbia and is famed for its Southern breakfast stapes.
Address: Near Hampton St., Columbia
Nearby: Robert Mills House, USC
This is a towering piece of mid-20th-century telecom history featuring distinctive microwave cone antennas. Once part of a nationwide network for long-distance communication, it’s now a part of the Cola skyline that leaves people curious.
Address: 2100 Bull St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: BullStreet District, Segra Park
The Babcock Building, part of the former South Carolina State Hospital, is known for its distinctive cupola. The historic structure was integral to the BullStreet District’s redevelopment and was replaced after years of work in a ceremony, attended by local leaders and Gov. Henry McMaster.
Address: 898 Barnwell St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: Five Points, USC Campus
Capstone is a landmark building on the USC campus, often lighting up garnet to signal Gamecock victories. It serves as a beacon for freshmen learning their way around campus.
Address: 930 Laurel St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: Arsenal Hill, Governors Mansion
Named after former mayor Kirkman Finlay, Finlay Park Fountain was once the crown jewel spot of the city that fell into disrepair. It’s currently under construction and is a part of a ~$23 million park revitalization.
Address: 728 Harden St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: Five Points, Martin Luther King Jr. Park
The fountain at Five Points is a central feature of the village district and a centerpiece of local festivals like St. Pat’s in Five Points and Jerry Fest. It glows when lit up at night and is dyed various colors throughout the year.
Address: Gervais St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: Riverfront Park, The Vista, EdVenture Children’s Museum
This historic bridge has been part of Columbia’s infrastructure since 1928 and was once the only way to cross the Congaree River to West Columbia.
Address: State Rd. S-36-587, Columbia, SC
Nearby: Dreher Island State Park, Lake Murray Country Visitor Center
Lake Murray and its Hydroelectric Intake Towers are not just functional structures but symbols of the Midlands, offering a scenic spot for sunset walks, boat rides, and picturesque views.
Address: 1100 Gervais St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: USC’ Horseshoe, Main Street District
Built in 1855, the South Carolina State House is the capital building of the state and a central landmark in downtown Columbia. It’s not only the legislative hub but a historic site open to visitors year-round.
Address: North Entrance, South Carolina State Fairgrounds, Columbia
Nearby: Williams-Brice Stadium
A historic missile-turned-landmark, the iconic rocket has graced the SC State Fair since the 1960s. Standing 70 feet tall, it’s a nostalgic meeting point for generations of fairgoers.
Address: 1000 Hampton St., Columbia
Nearby: Richland County Library,
Originally built in 1915 as the House of Peace Synagogue, this building was transformed into the Big Apple Night Club in 1936, a prime African-American club of its time. It’s famously known as the birthplace of the dance craze “The Big Apple” in 1937, a significant piece of American dance history.
Address: 1514 Marion St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: Main Street District, Prisma Health Baptist Hospital
The Tunnelvision Mural, painted by renowned local artist Blue Sky, offers an illusion of driving into a sunset. It’s a beloved piece of public art that adds character to the cityscape.
Address: Sumter St., Columbia, SC
Nearby: McKissick Museum, Longstreet Theatre, Russell House
The Historic Horseshoe at USC is rich in history and is home to the South Caroliniana Library, the nation’s oldest freestanding college library. A gathering place for students to sprawl out on the lawn, the Horseshoe has hosted notable guests like President William Howard Taft and Pope John Paul II.
Address: 1527 Gervais St., Columbia
Nearby: USC Law School, Main Street District
Renowned for its Queen Anne architecture, the Whaley Residence was designed and built between 1892 and 1893 by W.B. Smith Whaley as his private home. Whaley, a prominent figure in the industrial expansion of Columbia, was best known for designing cotton mills throughout the city. In 1924, the house transitioned into the Dunbar Funeral Home and is now home to Knowledge Perk after a 2022 renovation.
Address: George Rogers Blvd., Columbia
Nearby: State Fairgrounds, SC State Armory
Opened in 1934, Williams-Brice Stadium is the heart of USC sports, hosting Gamecock Football games and significant events like concerts. It’s a place of intense emotion, from the highs of victory to the lows of defeat.