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Best restaurants and things to do in Columbia, South Carolina

Updated on July 6, 2016
Photo by: Ron Cogswell
Photo by: Ron Cogswell | Source

While Columbia, South Carolina may not offer the kind of attractions that cities like Paris or Rome do, it's still an excellent place to visit. There are a number of wonderful restaurants, as well as an array of interesting attractions.

Here's an overview of what you can see and do while you're in Columbia:


It can be difficult to find a great restaurant when you're out of town. Some people want to visit restaurants that offer new and exciting dishes. Other people want safe and comfortable dining choices. These seven restaurants have something to offer every diner.

Blue Marlin

If you love southern seafood, Blue Marlin is the place you'll want to be. This casual restaurant has an incredible menu full of seafood dishes. It's an especially nice place to visit on a warm spring or summer day. While you're here, you can dine outdoors and admire the local scenery.

Pawley's Front Porch

There's nothing quite like a great burger. At Pawley's, you can try a variety of custom-designed burgers that are unlike anything else you've ever seen. If you're not in the mood for a burger, you can enjoy a fish taco or one of their many tasty sandwiches instead.


If you're looking for an elegant meal, you'll be blown away by Saluda's. This restaurant has a beautiful decor that is inspired by the restaurants of the 1920s. There are a few genuine antiques to be found here, including a grand piano from 1915.

Naturally, if you decide to dine here, you're going to want to make sure that you come with a big appetite. You will have the chance to enjoy multiple courses and sip on some world-class wines.

Main Dining Room
Main Dining Room | Source

Café Strudel

Are you craving a great breakfast? If so, you'll want to stop by this charming little cafe. Columbia residents swear by their coffee and hashbrowns. They have excellent pancakes, as well as a wide variety of omelettes. Dining at this restaurant is a great way to start off your day.

Blue Cactus Café

Do you love fusion restaurants? If so, this is a place you won't want to miss. It combines classic Tex-Mex cuisine with Korean cooking. The result is unlike anything you've ever tried. From kimchi burritos to spicy pork dishes, this restaurant offers a unique experiences. Picky eaters may be put off by some items on the menu, but most people will be able to find a few dishes that they would like to try.

Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar

If you want a restaurant with great atmosphere, but aren't looking for anything too fancy, you'll definitely want to try this eatery. The decor is extremely attractive, but you don't have to dress up in order to get through the door.

If you're a fan of wine, you'll be able to enjoy some excellent drinks here. This place has received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. You'll be able to find a world-class wine that will pair perfectly with anything that is on the menu.

The menu at this restaurant has a strong southern flair. There are more exotic offerings, like a goat cheese, as well as classic crowd-pleasers, like petit filet mignon. Everyone in your party will be able to find something to order here.

Motor Supply Co Bistro

If everyone in your party is craving something different, you should stop by this charming restaurant. There are all kinds of foods served here, from American cuisine to French dishes. The menu changes all the time, so no one will ever get bored with their offerings.

This restaurant isn't just known for having a great menu. It's also famous for its excellent cocktails. In fact, many people say that is has the best cocktails in all of Columbia! If you want to enjoy some drinks and dinner with your friends, you will want to try to get a table at this restaurant.


If you want to spend a night out on the town, you'll be impressed by the entertainment options in Columbia. This city wasn't built for wallflowers; it's a place for people that love to go out and have fun!

Art Bar

If you want to enjoy some great music and hit the dance floor, you'll want to stop by this popular Columbia bar. It has tasty food, great decor, and it's full of people looking to mingle.


Have you ever wished that you could travel back to the prohibition era? If you're in Columbia, you can! This place brings classic prohibition nightclubs to life. Everything, from the drinks to the decor, contribute to the overall experience.

Myxx Nightlife

Looking for a nightclub with a dress code? Myxx might be the perfect place for you. People won't be able to get into this nightclub unless they're willing to put on their best clothes. This is a great place to enjoy trendy cocktails and get in some dancing.

Tin Roof

This shotgun shack bar is a big hit with Columbia locals. You can enjoy live music here as well as some very delicious drinks.

Other Attractions

While you're in Columbia, you'll want to admire some of the local attractions. There are points of interest that will appeal to the whole family, and attractions that should be uniquely appealing to adults.

Congaree Natural Park

If you want to get a better look at South Carolina's wildlife, you'll definitely want to check out this natural park. There's a hardwood forest, easy-to-follow trails, and even recreational activities, like canoeing.

Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park | Source

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room

If you're a fan of American history, you'll definitely want to stop by this local museum. You'll be able to find all kinds of Civil War memorabilia here. As you tour this museum, you will get a better idea of the impact that the Civil War had on the people of South Carolina.

Riverbanks Zoo

If you're traveling with children, you should make a point of visiting the Riverbanks Zoo. It's considered to be one of the best zoos in the entire country. In addition to a wide selection of animals, this zoo also houses a stunningly beautiful garden.

Finlay Park

If you're looking for a quick place to relax, Finlay Park is the perfect place to go. This beautifully landscaped park has a large lake, lovely benches, and lots of swings. It's also home to a breathtakingly gorgeous fountain.

The Columbia Museum Of Art

If you're a fan of modern art, you'll definitely want to take the time to browse this museum. There are a number of pieces from some of the most acclaimed artists in the entire world.

The South Carolina State Museum

Fans of science, history, and classic art will want to check out this impressive museum. In addition to art exhibits, there are a number of science exhibits, as well as antiques on display. It is also home to a state-of-the-art planetarium.

If you're planning a trip to Columbia, you certainly won't run out of things to do. From the great restaurants to the fantastic bars to the impressive historical sites, this is a town that will keep you busy. You should have a lot of fun on your trip.

Columbia, SC:
Columbia, SC, USA

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