New to the Columbia Area? What We Love About Our Town…

Our Vibe: Ask anybody. We’re FRIENDLY. And I mean, award-winning friendly. Friendliest-city-in-the-nation-friendly. Now that we’re slowly but surely shedding those dreadful masks, our old state’s motto is visible EVERYwhere you look – SMILING FACES, BEAUTIFUL PLACES!

Our Rivers: The Broad River and Saluda River, both with origins north of Columbia, converge at the fall line in downtown Columbia and then flow together in a turbulent rush over river rocks as the Congaree River. The rivers are popular for fishing, paddling and tubing. Best way to see them? The Riverwalk! This wildly popular set of trails run along both sides of the rivers and give you a great vantage point from where you can appreciate the beauty. Most convenient parking lots include one at 312 Laurel Street, Columbia and one off Axtell Drive on Naples Avenue, Cayce. More here.

The Congaree River and Gervais Street Bridge from the West Columbia Riverwalk

Urban Columbia: Columbia has been undergoing a huge revitalization over the past 20 years, and nowhere is this more evident than in its urban core. From downtown’s Main Street to the North Main Street corridor and Bull Street District, to West Columbia-Cayce’s (the River District) emergence as trendy a hotspot, to the Vista, Five Points, and Devine Street corridors, you’ll find world-class museums, fabulous restaurants, lots of nightclubs and music venues, boutique shopping, and entertainment. Craft breweries are immensely popular in each of these areas. Homes in these neighborhoods are sought-after, with high walkability scores. Bike racks are located throughout downtown.

Columbia is the State Capital

Our Lakes: South Carolina is a water lover’s wonderland, with fast-moving rivers that flow from the mountains of the Upstate down to the Lowcountry, where they are swept into the Atlantic Ocean. In-between, you’ll find lots of sparkling freshwater lakes, both shark-free and salt-free! Two large recreational lakes are located in the Midlands (what we call our region in South Carolina) – Lake Murray is located just northwest of downtown Columbia with its 52,000 acres, clearly the biggest playground in these parts. Pleasure boats, sailboats, ski boats, bass boats, and jet-skis are popular here, as well as kayaks, canoes, and SUP’s, which ply the vast number of coves that you’ll find along Lake Murray’s 500+ mile shoreline. Best place to take a look: from the Lake Murray Dam Walkway. Park at 2101 North Lake Drive Columbia, SC 29212. Lake Wateree is located north of Camden, SC, and is a great place to fish, have a picnic, or camp for the weekend. Its 13,800 acres are best appreciated aboard a small vessel, like a kayak or fishing boat. Or take a hike using the 2.3 Desportes Island Loop Trail in Lake Wateree State Park, which is also the best place to appreciate the lake.

Publico Kitchen + Tap located in Five Points

Our Location: We love the Midlands, and there are so many things to do and places to discover right in our own backyard. But if you yearn for a mountain hike in the middle of a hot summer, you can reach the highest peak in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain (3554 ft), is just 143 miles away. Or if you love the feeling of sand between your toes, head to the nearest public beach (Isle of Palms) just 125 miles away. Big cities? We’re less than 100 miles from Charlotte, NC and less than 200 miles from Atlanta.

Top photo: Congaree National Park, South Carolina’s only national park, is just 25 miles south of downtown Columbia!