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8 Fun Things to Do in Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC isn’t just for Gamecocks, although you’ll be hard pressed to take to the town without coming across the signature black and garnet. Graduate Columbia sits right on the University of South Carolina campus, blending Gamecock spirit with small town South Carolina. 

Whether you’re an alumni ready to relive their glory days or a Columbia newcomer, you’ll find something to love within steps of Graduate Columbia. Explore our town’s best and brightest local attractions, starting with these eight things to do, see, and eat.

1

Tasty as Fit

Dig into salads, smoothies, pasta bowls, and sweet treats, all of which are so good you won’t believe they’re plant based. Opened in 2018 by a Columbia local and former fitness trainer with a passion for eating the rainbow, Tasty as Fit aims to change people’s perceptions of what it really means to eat healthy.

Keep it clean without sacrificing flavor through Tasty as Fit favorites like curry chickpea salad, PB&J smoothie, spicy “tuna” carrot roll, and tasty truffles. They recently opened a second location in Greenville so you can get your fix in more than one place.

Insider Tip

Long night? Stop by and grab a Hydration Station smoothie.

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2

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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3

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company prides itself on having beer that pleases the palette, no matter what your tastes may be. From white IPAs to American-style ambers and blondes, you’ll find it all on tap at Swamp Cabbage. Tour their Columbia tap room to get up close to the beer making process, then stick around for a tasting or jump straight into a pint of your favorite brew style. 

Their newly-remodeled tap room is as much of a draw as the beer. Settle in for a long conversation with old friends or stop by for a raucous game day with fellow Gamecocks.

Insider Tip

If you’re coming to Columbia in the summertime, beat the heat with a Sabal Palm Blonde ale.

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4

The War Mouth

Mouthwatering meals are always on the menu at The War Mouth, but perhaps their biggest claim to fame is their whole-hog barbecue. With decades of practice cooking barbecue and a culinary education from Le Cordon Bleu’s Western Culinary Institute, Chef Rhett Elliott dreams up dishes that are well-balanced yet dangerously delicious. 

Try the Chicken Bog with sides of Carolina gold rice, homemade onion sausage, and scallions, or keep it classic with a full rack of ribs. You can even take The War Mouth home with you, as they bottle their one-of-a-kind BBQ sauce and Pepper Mash Aioli.

Insider Tip

Get a deviled egg on the side – just like Grandma used to make.

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5

Home Team BBQ

Keep it classic with Home Team BBQ, serving up some of the best Carolina bbq in Columbia. They pair classic cooking techniques with simple comfort food favorites, creating cuisine you won’t want to miss. 

Sit in the spacious bar, open air patio, or sprawling dining room and dig into salads, sandwiches, and platters made from locally-sourced ingredients. Stop by their five other locations, one of which is all the way in Aspen, Colorado, to get your Home Team fix even when you’re not in Columbia. 

Insider Tip

The Home Team Frozen Gamechanger is sure to get you gameday-ready in no time.

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6

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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7

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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8

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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