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Columbia Visitor’s Guide

Vanderbilt v South Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Some of the readers of STL likely know already, but after graduating from UVa I ended up (eventually) in law school at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia. Since graduating four years ago, I’ve made Columbia home and feel #blessed the Virginia Cavaliers are playing in the NCAA Tournament down here.

As the resident (literally) Columbia resident, I wanted to give everyone a little guide for those fortunate enough to make the trip down this weekend!


Like most these days, I’ve grown fond of craft beer. Though the beer scene isn’t as great as Charlottesville yet, Columbia has made strides over the last few years. Here are a few highlights:

River Rat Brewery - One of the first craft breweries in the city, their taproom is in the shadow of Williams Brice Stadium, so if you want to see the stadium, you can get a beer too!

Hunter-Gatherer Brewhouse - They have a brewpub within walking distance of Colonial Life Arena, but about a year ago they opened a full size brewery in an old airport hangar with a great patio area. It’s not at the main Columbia airport, but the local airport and you can watch little planes come in and out.

Columbia Craft Brewery - Within walking distance of Colonial Life is one of the newcomers. They’ve got a great variety and is a great place for a few beers before walking over.

Craft and Draft - Not a brewery, but my favorite beer bar in the city. A great local hangout that we usually go to once a week.

Family Stuff

Riverbanks Zoo - One of the better zoos in the southeast and is very affordable for a family. You can do the whole thing in 2-3 hours, feed some giraffes, and walk with Kangaroos! Just a ten minute drive from downtown.

Soda City Market - Every Saturday, the city shuts off 3 blocks of Main St and local vendors, food trucks, and locals come together for a market. It’s a great time and you can get some pretty cool stuff. Great food too.

EdVenture Children’s Museum - Located downtown, for the little ones in town to see the Hoos too.


Warmouth - Most will listen to Andy Staples and go to Southern Belly for their BBQ, but Warmouth does full on BBQ everyday with local ingredients. They’ve also got great cocktails and are right next to Cottontown Brewlab!

Cola’s Restaurant - Changing menu and delicious food. Centrally located 4 blocks from the arena, Cola’s has delicious food and cocktails that I can’t explain.

Hall’s Chophouse - For you fancy Wahoos that love steaks. Hall’s just opened their third SC location across the street from the capitol. Hall’s isn’t for the cheap, so come to spend, but have a great steak. Hall’s is also in my work building, so if you want to share some time and take a young lawyer to lunch, let me know!


Columbia has two “bar” areas: The Vista and Five Points. If you ever visited Columbia in your early twenties, you went to Five Points. Everclear slushies and undergrads everywhere. This is Columbia’s version of The Corner and the bars are pretty much the same. The Vista is for the adults. Three blocks from the arena, if you’re in town for the games, you’ll likely park in the area. The Vista has good restaurants and bars for you to get food before or after the games and walk to the game.

This is obviously not everything to do in the city. Got more questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do. Or tweet me any question you might have: @willc_45

Have fun this weekend and welcome, ya’ll!