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Nearby Attractions in Columbia

From intriguing museums, to art experiences and lush gardens, one thing Columbia South Carolina knows is a good time. While cheering on the Gamecocks is a favorite past-time for locals and alums, it’s not the only fun thing to do in town.  

Got a few hours to kill? Roam through works of ancient and modern art at the Columbia Museum of Art in the center of town. Looking for something more hands on? The Mad Platter is a creative heaven, where you can make pottery come to life with your very own painting and designs. More of a sports person? Cheer on the Fireflies, Kansas City’s local baseball team, for some prime entertainment.  

 Whatever sparks your interest, here’s seven fun and unique museums and attractions to explore in Columbia.  


Columbia Museum of Art

Exciting exhibits, community outreach and outstanding programming is at the heart of Columbia Museum of Art. Make your way over to the CMA to view the internationally renowned collection, traveling shows and interactive activity spaces highlighting both ancient and modern art. The thematically organized museum aims to inspire and welcome everyone who enters, promoting a sense of playful exploration.  

 The museum opens Tuesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. Adult general admission will cost you $10, while children under 6 enter free.  

Insider Tip

Free admission for everyone on First Thursday of the month!

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Jamie Scott Fitness

Work up a sweat at Jamie Scott Fitness, a Columbia-favorite for full-body workouts. Jamie Scott reimagines wellness by being not just a trainer but a motivator, inviting gym-goers to reach new levels in their daily workouts. All are welcome here, whether you attend a single class or make Jamie Scott part of your day-to-day. 

Drop in for TRX, cycling, yoga, pilates, and more. First time classes are just $10 so you can get in a vacation workout without breaking your budget.

Insider Tip

In town for the week? Visit their website and sign up for a Pilates class – drop ins are welcome!

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The Mad Platter

Get those creative juices flowing at The Mad Platter, Columbia’s very own pottery painting studio. With over 500 items in stock at all times, something’s sure to call your name. Find your piece, pick some paints and prepare to make a masterpiece. The perfect activity for groups or a quiet solo afternoon, you can make a reservation ahead of time or walk-in and grab a spot. 

Insider Tip

Check out their class schedule to see what’s happening while you’re in town.

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Fireflies Baseball

Swing by the ballpark for an all-American good time – peanuts and cracker jacks highly recommended. The Columbia Fireflies, Kansas City Royals’ Single-A Affiliate team, play at Segra Park in the center of Columbia’s Bull Street District. With all kinds of giveaways and special theme nights, Fireflies home games are always a great time.  

Insider Tip

Have your pup in tow? Bring ‘em with you every Wednesday for The Dog Days of Summer.

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Soda City Market

If you’re in search of a uniquely Columbia experience, this is it! All vendors at Soda City Market must make or grow their own products—you won’t find anything here but local produce, antiques, vintage items, art, and more. Over 150 vendors set up shop each week, with over 400 vendors making an appearance every year. 

This weekly market takes over Main Street every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., inviting you to immerse yourself in the culture of Columbia.

Insider Tip

Come hungry and experience food from over two dozen nationalities at the market!

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South Carolina State Museum

Prepare to be entertained and inspired by the South Carolina State Museum. Their educational and immersive exhibits span cultures and topics, from a planetarium to an observatory to permanent exhibits featuring prehistoric fossils and local art. The world is truly on display at the museum, inviting all of Columbia to experience art, history, and the natural world from a new point of view. 

Step into the Revolutionary War or Civil War, learn more about African American history, get up close to dinosaurs and even pore over South Carolina art. Tickets start at just $8.95 for adults, but you can add on admission to one of their shows.

Insider Tip

Learn all about this history of South Carolina and get your educational kick while you travel.

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Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens

Walk on the wild side at Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens, Columbia’s go-to spot for wildlife sightings. African, Asian, Australian, and North American animals call the zoo home, ranging from giraffes and zebras to tigers and Komodo dragons. As exciting as the mammals are, the zoo also features a 20,000-square-foot reptile complex, teeming with amphibians, reptiles, fish, and invertebrates. 

After meeting the animals, stroll through the peaceful botanical gardens, which feature 4,200 species of native and exotic plants spread across nearly 70 vibrant acres. If there’s a place in Columbia to stop and smell the roses, it’s here.

Insider Tip

Stop by the Aquarium Reptile Complex at 12:30pm every day for a diving demonstration – fun for the whole family!

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