Columbia, South Carolina: Gypsy's Guide to Adventures

By Amber Pickler

November 9, 2021



Gypsy’s Guide to Adventures in Columbia, South Carolina

So, you took an assignment in Columbia, South Carolina. While the city is large, it may be difficult to find things to do on your day off. We have put together a few great places to visit while you are on your assignment in Columbia. We have also included a couple of restaurants. Below you will find just a few places to visit and things to do.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has something for everyone. If you enjoy seeing animals, the Zoo is an excellent place for you. According to their website, they are home to more than 2,000 animals that represent more than 350 species from around the world. If the Zoo isn’t your thing, you may enjoy the Garden. According to their website, the Garden blooms year-round, and more than 4,300 species of exotic and native plants bloom. This makes for a perfect living classroom for all visitors. The Garden also offers a 3-acre interactive children’s Garden if you have children traveling with you.

Cayce Riverwalk

If you are an outdoorsy person or like to be outdoors on your day off, the Cayce Riverwalk is a great option. Their website states that the Riverwalk is the ultimate “daycation” spot. It is “easily accessible from anywhere in the Midlands of South Carolina. Spanning 12 miles, it overlooks the beautiful Congaree River, right across from the capital city of Columbia, S.C., and it is a popular destination for walking, jogging, bicycling, birdwatching, picnicking, and taking in the natural beauty of the riverfront.”

The Riverwalk’s bridges, boardwalks, overlooks, and lighted, central path accommodate all levels of physical abilities. Parking is free. The paved paths are lighted and run through the shaded riverine forest. There are benches and picnic tables as well. You can also enjoy wooden boardwalks with great water views.

Folly Beach

While Folly Beach is a city that is about a 2-hour trip but is a highly recommended place to visit when you take an assignment in Columbia, Folly Beach is located between the Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is just 15 minutes from Charleston, so you won’t have to go far if you want to visit a big city while you visit Folly Beach. There are many things to do in Folly Beach.

The Fishing Pier extends more than 1045 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. If you are interested in fishing, you can rent all the equipment you need from the shop on the pier. If you’re a wildlife lover, you will see loggerhead turtles nesting, dolphins playing in the water and even bald eagles soaring in the sky.

Folly Beach has many options when it comes to dining. From gourmet meals and seafood feasts to a quick sandwich, the restaurants in Folly Beach have you covered.

Folly Beach also has many local shops that offer bathing suits, souvenirs, surfboards, and gear. 

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park contains over 20,000 acres of federally designated wilderness that visitors can explore by foot, kayak, or canoe. So, if you enjoy the outdoors, the Congaree National Park is a great place to visit. There are many things to do, including hiking, camping, canoeing & kayaking, fishing, and walking. Please note that you need to bring your canoe or kayak. These can be rented in shops in Columbia. If you enjoy hiking, Congaree National Park offers many trails that vary in level of difficulty from easy to difficult. If you are looking to spend the night camping at the park, make sure to make your reservations ahead of time. Reservations for the frontcountry campgrounds must be made through or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Alodia’s Cucina Italiana

Alodia’s Cucina Italiana is rated very high on Yelp. According to their website, “Alodia’s Cucina Italiana is a restaurant born from the love of an Italian family. Proprietor Adam Huneau’s first restaurant has been wowing taste buds in Irmo with his authentic Italian Cuisine comprised of recipes that have been pulled from the pages of his family’s cookbook.

Named after his Great-Grandmother, Alodia’s fare and ambiance resound with the smells and tastes of Old Italy. Fresh sauces and homemade pastas are the foundation of the menu that brought generations together. Adam is devoted to making his restaurants as inviting and warm as his own family’s kitchen.”

Their menu offers many traditional Italian dishes, from Baked Ziti to Eggplant Parmesan. They offer soups and salads as well as chicken and seafood entrees.

Cola’s Restaurant

According to Cola’s website, the restaurant is “Located in a lovingly restored 1930’s RC Cola bottling plant, Cola’s is a “casual” fine dining bar/restaurant specializing in seafood, steaks and other culinary creations influenced by a broad range of ethnic cooking. There is an emphasis on fresh ingredients and locally grown food where possible. Weather permitting, two garage doors open up the restaurant to views of the Statehouse and allow our guests to enjoy the bustle of downtown Columbia. Cola’s boasts a 40-foot long bar that houses our extensive wine selection. If preferred, try one of our house cocktails or choose a brew from our large selection of bottled beers. Cola’s has ample room to host your private functions in either of the two private dining rooms, seating up to as many as 50. Large booths adorn the main dining room, and table seating for small and large parties.”

Cola offers four different menus: dinner, dessert, and a wine list and bar menu. The dinner menu offers appetizers including oysters Rockefeller, shrimp options, and even a fondue option. The dinner menu also includes salad options, poultry, seafood, and beef options as well.  Their dessert menu has quite a few different options, including cakes, brownies, cheesecake, and tortes, to name a few.

About Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is the state capital and largest city in South Carolina, with a population of 132,000. Columbia is the primary city of the Midlands region of South Carolina. It lies at the confluence of the Saluda River and the Broad River, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River, which is a popular destination for paddlers and kayakers. Columbia is home to the state’s largest university, the University of South Carolina. Columbia features a revitalized downtown area, which contains many art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Rich in cultural and literary arts, Columbia offers theatre, museums, ballet, a philharmonic orchestra, jazz, opera, choral, and a circus. The city sponsors numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Lovers of the outdoors truly appreciate the many scenic parks, lakes, rivers, and creeks in this region. Golf enthusiasts welcome the warm climate, which gives them the opportunity for a year-round play on the excellent local courses!

We hope you found this list of 6 things to do in Columbia, South Carolina, helpful. We will continue to bring you articles with things to do in different cities. Is there a city you would like to see an article on things to do? Comment the city below. If you would like to contribute an article about things to do in a city, please click here to email our Content Strategist.

Are you looking for an assignment in Columbia, South Carolina? Click here to view the assignments on our job board. If you need to housing click here to search our housing page.

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