Historic, lively, and enchanting, Columbia, South Carolina embodies each of these qualities and much more. This southern city offers a relaxing, comfortable pace with an abundance of parks, gardens, museums, shops, and restaurants. As the Palmetto State’s capital and a college town, Columbia has something for everyone at any age.

5...Enjoy the nightlife in the Vista

Whether you are single, attached, looking for someone, or just looking for fun, you will find it in the Vista. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, there is no other place to be in the city. With over 100 watering holes, you are sure to discover your niche. Walk from bar to bar enjoying the local music and taking in the view. During daylight hours, you will find some of the best shopping in Columbia here, as the Vista is packed with Columbia’s finest boutiques. If you see something you like, be sure to buy it on the spot because you would be hard pressed to find it anywhere else.

4. …Attend a USC football game

There is nothing like college football in the south. Led by legendary head coach, Steve Spurrier, the Gamecocks are regular title contenders in the Southeastern Conference. Cheer with over 80,000 other screaming Gamecock fans as they fight to bring home the victory.

3. …Visit the South Carolina's Governor's Mansion

This house has been home to more than thirty governors and their families through the years. Built in 1855 as a residence for officers of the Arsenal Military Academy, the building was spared during the burning of Columbia during the Civil War. It was selected as the official residence for the state's governors in 1868. The public rooms are a repository of treasures - silver and china, furniture, paintings and documents - that remain permanently in the mansion.

2. ... Explore Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden

From elephants to koalas and formal gardens to natural woodlands, Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden promises new discoveries around every corner. Located just 2 miles from downtown Columbia on a scenic spot along the beautiful Saluda River, it is Columbia's top tourist attraction and one of America's top zoos. The zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals that represent more than 350 species from around the world. Popular exhibits include: sharks, tigers, bears, crocodiles, and gorillas.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden not only serves to protect rare and endangered wildlife, but also safeguards a number of South Carolina’s significant historical landmarks. Riverbanks’ 170-acre grounds have a deeply-rooted history dating back to the 1800s with South Carolina’s textile industry and the Civil War. Today visitors can view structural remains that reveal this rich past from several vantage points within the Zoo and Garden.

1…Tour the South Carolina State House

The South Carolina State House is the capitol building for the state of South Carolina. The building Houses the South Carolina General Assembly and the offices of the Governor. The interior of the South Carolina State House is home to many beautiful portraits, plaques and other works of art. These works honor many of the people and events that are an important part of the history of South Carolina and the United States. On a nice day, you walk through the grounds to take in a number of historical monuments. Come when Congress is in session and watch first-hand how the government of South Carolina works of, by and for the people.

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