Things to do around the holidays in Columbia, SC

A glimpse inside the lobby of Hotel Trundle | Image via @raytay_17 

The holidays are almost here, and if you’re hosting out of town guests in Columbia, but aren’t sure where to take them or what sights to see, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for you to build the perfect itinerary for your visitors.


If your guests are not staying with you, but looking for a hotel recommendations, here are some Cola-approved places to stay:

1425 Inn, 1425 Richland St. | $129+

Along with classic Southern hospitality, this cozy inn offers unique rooms and private, en suite bathrooms. 

Chesnut Cottage Bed & Breakfast, 1718 Hampton St. | $188+

This historic bed and breakfast was built in the 1850s and is located near the State House, Five Points, and Bull Street District. 

Fun fact — When downtown Columbia was set on fire during the Civil War, the blaze stopped just four blocks before it reached the cottage. 

Graduate Columbia, 1619 Pendleton St. | $305+

If you have some Tigers in town, send them to this hotel to experience the beauty + charm of UofSC. Just steps away from campus, this spot will make anyone feel like a Gamecock

Hotel Trundle, 1224 Taylor St. | $264+

Stay in the heart of the Main Street District in Columbia’s first boutique hotel. 

Fun fact — the owners renovated a trio of historic buildings to create this one-of-a-kind business. 

If Airbnbs are more their speed, check out these unique spots in downtown Cola.

Five Points postcard mural | Photo by COLAtoday


Is it even a trip to Columbia without seeing the State House? You can also take your guests to the Five Points Postcard mural for the perfect family photo. If you’ve got any music lovers in the group, head down the street to the Hootie & the Blowfish Monumentthe 1990s pop rock band played their first shows in nearby bars.

If you’re a fan of public art, Columbia has ~200 public art pieces around town. Check out One Columbia’s public art directory for a full list of murals, sculptures + more. 

Food + Bev 

If your guests need coffee to get going in the morning, but you’re not exactly a baristaDrip, Piecewise, and the Hideout in WeCo are all offering a range of seasonal drinks. For a full list, check out our coffee guide

Columbia is home to 10+ breweries. River Rat, Hunter Gatherer, WECO, Steel Hands are some local favorites that also serve lunch + dinner.

Need plans after sunset? See the city from a rooftop bar: Hendrix, Black Rooster, and Savage Craft Ale Works.

As for food — our personal favorites include Bourbon, DiPrato’s, Delucca’s, and brunch at Market on Main

Brunch in Columbia is an absolute must, andIf you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, we recommend Kaminsky’s — order its brownie sundae or an adult dessert drink. 

We’ve also got plenty of articles to help you navigate the local food scene. You can’t miss these classic BBQ spots that are a favorite among locals + visitors alike.

If you’re vegan, we’ve got you covered with this list of 15+ local restaurants with plant-based options. 

For the whole family

Let the kids — or grandkidsrun around + explore Edventure Children’s Museum or plan your escape with the whole family at the Final Door

See a kid friendly show at the Township AuditoriumThe Nutcracker is playing from Nov. 23-28.

Load up the car and spend the afternoon exploring the Riverbanks Zoo, or take the family bowling at the GRAND

Outdoor activities

If your guests are ready for some outdoor fun, we have a variety of parks to explore. Grab some pastries from Cool Beans Coffee Company + head to UofSC’s Horseshoe for a picnic. The West Columbia Riverwalk is the perfect way to get some fresh air while taking in all of the beauty Columbia has to offer. We hear Leo’s Landing Inclusive Playground at Saluda Shoals park is a great place to take the kids, or grandkids. 

One of the best things about our city is our proximity to some amazing hiking spots. Here is our guide to a range of hikes in the area.

Indoor activities

Temps this time of year can get pretty low, so spend a day exploring one of these Columbia museums to stay warm.

Columbia also boasts an excellent theater scene. Catch a touring Broadway show at the Koger Center or check out the upcoming productions at Town Theatre, Trustus, Columbia Marionette Theatre, and Harbison Theatre

If you’ve got any sports fans in the group, here are the Gamecock men’s and women’s basketball winter home game schedules. If they’re in town for Thanksgiving you’ll want to track down the hottest ticket in town for Gamecocks final home game vs. rival Clemson. 

If you’re looking for season-specific activities, be sure to check out our Fall Bucket List. You can also share our PlanAhead events calendar with your guests in advance to get a feel for what they’ll want to see + do while in town. 


Leo’s Landing Saluda Shoals

Congaree national park