Winter weekend guide to Columbia, SC

Vista lig

Even city hall is in the seasonal mood. | Photo by COLAtoday

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Spirits are high and seasons are bright. We’ve put together some local winter activities, restaurants, and experiences to spruce up your winter weekends.

Shine bright with the lights

  • Carolina Lights | Saturday, Dec. 3-Monday, Dec. 26, closed Christmas Day | 6-10 p.m. | South Carolina State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Dr. | $20+ | Drive through over 100 individual LED light displays through the SC Fairgrounds.
  • Holiday Lights on the River | Now-Saturday, Dec. 31 | 6-10 p.m. | Saluda Shoals Park, 6071 St. Andrews Rd. | $25+ | Journey through over three miles of lights featuring colorful, animated light displays of all shapes and sizes
  • Lights before Christmas | Now-Friday, Dec. 30 | 5-9 p.m. | Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, 500 Wildlife Pkwy. | $12+ | Take your photo with Santa, roast marshmallows at the Jingle Bell Bonfire.

Get all fired up 🔥

As the evenings get chillier in the Soda City, we highly suggest grabbing a drink or appetizer and sitting on the patio or rooftop by these outdoor fires.

  • Steel Hands Brewing, 2350 Foreman St. | We love the beer pairings it recommends with its menu offerings — like a Juicy Hazy IPA with your fried shrimp basket.
  • The War Mouth, 1209 Franklin St. | Warm up with a cocktail or try the bartender’s choice mocktail to go with your Carolina Heritage Farm whole hog barbecue.
  • Hendrix, 1649 Main St. | Toast the skyline view with a house-made cocktail and shared plate. We fire it up with pan-blistered shishito peppers.

Winter Activities

  • Catch A Christmas Story at Town Theatre (1012 Sumter St.) from Thursday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 18. This nostalgic show captures all the funny and heartwarming moments from the original holiday film.
  • If you’re catching cabin fever, bundle up and take a hike at Congaree National Park. We recommend the Boardwalk Loop which is lined with loblolly pines.

For more ideas, check out our winter happenings round-up.