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Columbia, South Carolina

Local Details

Learn more about Columbia, South Carolina using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Columbia, South Carolina so great!

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City Guide

Columbia is both the capital city and largest city in South Carolina. It is located in the approximate geographic center of the state, and is one of the first planned cities of the United States. Located between the corridors of two forever growing metros, Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia still has a while to go before quite reaching max metro status, but the city's recent rapid growth indicates South Carolina's capital city is beginning to blossom as other Southern cities have in the past decade. As of 2006, estimates for the population of the city proper is 122,819.

Get in

By car

Columbia is easily reached by Interstate 20, Interstate 26 and Interstate 77, or by U.S. Highway 1.

By air

Columbia is served by the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

By train

An Amtrak station is located at 850 Pulaski Street in the Vista. Columbia sits on the main north-south line on the East Coast. Trains depart daily for Miami and New York; however, most of the trains pass though Columbia at night, and are frequently delayed.

See

  • The South Carolina Statehouse. With a copper dome and bronze stars marking places where Sherman's cannon blasts landed, the Statehouse is well worth the trip for fans of history and architecture alike. Though the Confederate flag no longer flies on the top of the dome, it stands atop a memorial directly in front of the building at the intersection of Gervais and Main. The grounds include an African-American history monument, a small Italianate rose garden, and a monument to, inexplicably enough, the founder of modern gynecology. This monument does not mention, however, that the founder came to his knowledge through nonconsensual examination of his slave women.
  • Riverbanks Zoo. Located about a mile outside of the downtown, and easily accessible by interstate, Riverbanks Zoo has grown tremendously in the past decade. Recent additions include a gorilla habitat and koala bears donated from their native Queensland. Though conservationists may look askance at the size of the elephant pen, children will enjoy the petting zoo, pony rides, and demonstrations. Check the admission stands for times.
  • South Carolina State Museum. On the corner of Huger and Blossom, this museum is beloved by South Carolina school groups. Children will enjoy the hands-on exhibits, but parents may note that this place is long on reproductions and short on some history. A fun afternoon for a geography, industry, and economics lesson, the museum is interesting, but not exceedingly informative.
  • Columbia Museum of Art. Smack in the middle of Main Street, the Columbia Museum of Art has several small, but interesting collections. Their much-bragged about Monet is unimpressive, but the blown-glass and medieval works are worth the price of admission. The museum often brings in traveling exhibits; some of them are wonderful, some unimpressive.
  • Edventure Children's Museum. Located right near the State Museum, it opened in 2004. Lots of fun for those with small children.
  • Congaree National Park. Located about twenty miles south of the city, the nation's newest national park doesn't even have admission gates yet, leaving you the pleasure of federally-protected landscape without the price. One of the last old-growth forests in the southeast, the swamp actually isn't a swamp at all, but a floodplain of the nearby Congaree River. Wild pigs, deer, turkey, alligators, and other wildlife abound; the largest cypresses in the world are located here. The cypress knees and tupelo trees create something that looks like a set of Lord of the Rings. The boardwalk is several miles long and handicapped accessible; the park contains great hiking trails and even the opportunity for canoeing (rent in Columbia). The visitor's center has useful information and a helpful staff, but if you're planning on returning to your car after five, be sure to leave it in the overnight parking lot near the entrance of the park.

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Goods & Services in Columbia, South Carolina.

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