Discover Columbia

Explore Columbia

More than 700,000 people live in and around Columbia, but it doesn’t feel like it. The vibe here is more like a small Southern town: friendly and welcoming, much like it was when the future CIU first opened its doors in 1923.

But then again, the city’s motto is “Famously Hot, Surprisingly Cool.” It is hot in the summer, but the winters are mild and Columbia offers up the entertainment, cultural and sporting events you’d expect in a much larger town.

Things To Do in Columbia

There’s plenty to keep CIU students busy when they’re not in class or hitting the books.

For instance, there’s a major university for sporting events and cultural activities, and the nation’s largest Army basic training base. (CIU, in fact, is ranked as one of the most military-friendly educational institutions in the country.)

Shop & Eat

We also have a bustling university neighborhood and former warehouse district with boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops, frequented by students and other young adults and ideal for networking. Suburban shopping centers also abound.

Giraffes at the Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens Photo Credit: Brett Flashnick for Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors BureauVisit Museums

There are several museums in town, including a fine regional art museum, the South Carolina State Museum with its new planetarium, a children’s museum and local history centers in surrounding communities.

Zip the Zoo

Meanwhile, at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden you’ll find more than just plants and animals. Experience Riverbanks’ thrilling zip lines! Surprisingly cool, eh?

Get Out & Play

There are also state and national parks, river trails and lakes big and small to explore.

Columbia also is about to host professional baseball in a new stadium that will anchor a major redevelopment in the city’s resurgent downtown.


Photo Credit: Brett Flashnick for Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau | Riverbanks Zoo image