Columbia, South Carolina is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of South Carolina. Columbia is centrally located to the rest of the state.
Autumn, winter and spring are mild, with occasional winter nights below freezing but rarely extended cold. The city is at its most beautiful in the spring when masses of azaleas and other spring flowers bloom. Summers can be very hot.
The Columbia Metropolitan
Area is home to over 200 years of history as well as to Lake Murray, the
University of South Carolina, Riverbanks Zoo, the South Carolina State
government buildings, numerous festivals and recreational opportunities, and Ft.
Jackson, the USA’s largest basic training installation. Columbia sprawls
scenically across county lines and riverbanks.
Columbia is the capital of
South Carolina and was the first city in America named for Christopher Columbus.
The city was founded March 26, 1786, as the center of government, education, and
commerce in the Palmetto State.
From a distance, Columbia
appears to be full of government buildings and financial institutions, but
upon closer inspection, one is able to discern her charming personality. Take a
leisurely walk along one of the many trails in Sesquicentennial State Park, test
your batting skills or ride a go- cart at Frankie’s Fun Park. Make sure to
drive around, not through, “Tunnelvison”, the photo-realist mural on the
wall of the Federal Land Bank Building at Taylor and Marion Streets which
re-creates a tunnel so vivid that it appears to be the real thing.
You’ll find the State
Capitol Building and numerous state agencies clustered downtown along Blanding,
Pendleton, Main Street and Gervais Street. Gervais Street continues into the
grounds of the University of South Carolina whose Gamecocks account for much of
the football season traffic in this tailgating city. The Capital City Bombers, a
minor-league affiliate of the New York Mets, play baseball at Capital City Park.
From there, it’s only a few minutes walk to either the campus or the Capitol
There are two museums on
the University campus: The McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina,
which has a fine collection of gemstones and antique silver, and the South
Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum, which contains military artifacts
from the Civil War and other periods. If you stroll downtown along Gervais
Street, you’ll find the streets lined with antique and decorative arts stores.
The area has developed into a dining and entertainment center: a perfect place
to end a long day.
The South Carolina State
Museum, housed in a former textile mill, has four floors of art, history,
natural history, science and technology. The Columbia Museum of Art is worth a
visit for its superior collection of Renaissance and baroque paintings. Take
young ones to the museum's children's gallery, and check to see if there are any
weekend programs at the connecting Gibbes Planetarium. The Mann-Simons Cottage
Museum of African-American Culture preserves the home of Celia Mann, a slave who
purchased her freedom in the mid 1800s and then walked from Charleston to
Columbia to start her new life.
Riverbanks Zoo is home to
more than 2,000 animals in settings encompassing African plains, a reptile
house, a birdhouse and a farm area. There is even a coral reef! The Riverbank
experience is enhanced for animal lovers because there are no cages or bars, and
the animals dwell in environments as close as possible to their natural
For a breath of fresh air,
stroll through Riverfront Park along a canal that dates to the 1820s. You can
also tour the original hydroelectric plant used by the city in the 1890s.
Visitors with an extra day
and an interest in amusement parks may want to drive to Fort Mill, about 70
miles north of Columbia, to spend the day at the theme park Carowinds. All in
all, Columbia’s a best-of-both-worlds city: one which you may visit for a
business trip, but return home with fond memories, great photographs, and plans
to return with the family for a holiday.
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