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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Greenville, SC: Travel With KAG!

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Planning a visit to Greenville, SC? Travel to the area is booming, and we’re so glad you’re here! We love our little city (and so does The New York Times, Forbes, and Southern Living!) because there’s so much for everyone to see, do, and eat.

Art connoisseurs, outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs will all find something to enjoy while visiting Greenville. And, of course, families have an incredible amount of opportunities to make memories here. So, since you’re planning to visit, we wanted to make your planning a little easier by giving you a list of our top recommendations for places to eat, places to stay, and things to do in Greenville… as well as a guide to parking in downtown Greenville.

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Rent ‘Em & Bounce: 5+ Best Bounce Houses Rentals, Columbia, SC

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Looking for the best place to rent a bounce house near Columbia, SC? Whether you call them bouncy houses, inflatables, or blow-up castles, these inflatable bounce houses provide hours of entertainment for birthday parties, school activities, festivals, and church gatherings. Kids love jumping, and mom and dad like when the kids burn all that energy off. So if you’re looking to rent bouncy houses or jump castles near Columbia, SC, we’ve made your search easier by giving you a list of the best places to rent them.

Here’s where to rent bounce houses, inflatables, dry slides, inflatable water slides, combo bounce, and obstacle courses around Columbia, SC.

Where to rent bounce houses Columbia SC
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13 Spooky and Haunted Places to Visit Near Columbia, SC

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Looking for a scare? Discover haunted places in Columbia, SC for some chilling, spine-tingling tales. We went on a hunt for some of the most popular spooky spots around Columbia, along with the legends that surround them. Discover the spirits that many say still lurk as ghosts in Columbia, SC

As the beginning of October rolls around, we usher in the fall season with pumpkin spice treats, colorful foliage, and apple orchards. But wait – are those ghosts lurking around the corner?! If you’re not a fan of the paranormal, then this article may not be for you. However, if you love hearing about ghost stories, Columbia, SC is full of them, and you won’t want to miss this post!

South Carolina is known for its abundance of ghost stories, from Hilton Head to Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Spartanburg. We’ve written about haunted places near Greenville, but this time, we’re focusing on the state’s capital, Columbia. Keep in mind that all claims are just that – claims. Your experiences may differ at any given site, so be sure to follow all local ordinances if you decide to visit.

Lunatic Asylum in Columbia, SC. Is it haunted?

Haunted Places Near Columbia, SC

South Carolina Lunatic Asylum

The South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, also known as “Bull Street,” has a long and chilling history that has made it one of Columbia’s most haunted locations. The asylum was constructed between 1822 and 1827 and was only the second mental health facility in the United States at the time.

Originally consisting of a single building, the asylum grew over time into a village-like compound with separate buildings for male and female patients, as well as one for servants and slaves. During the Civil War, the grounds were transformed into a prison camp, which marked the beginning of a steady decline for the hospital.

Lack of funding, difficulty obtaining necessary supplies, and serious overcrowding led to rumors of mistreatment and barbaric medical practices towards patients. By the 1950s, about 5,000 patients were housed in the asylum, which only worsened the situation.

Lunatic asylum, Columbia

The asylum’s population began to decline in the 1970s until deinstitutionalization was necessary. The hospital was eventually abandoned but is infamous for its use of cruel procedures such as electroshock, lobotomies, and near-starvation, which have contributed to the negative energy and eerie atmosphere of the location. 

Visitors have reported strange shadows, unexplainable sounds, feeling sudden cold spots, and disembodied cries and screams from former patients. 

The South Carolina Lunatic Asylum is also believed to be the burial site of many Civil War casualties, adding to the already haunting history of the location.

Haunted Columbia, SC

University of South Carolina

According to Columbia locals, the University of South Carolina is home to many spirits. Some of these apparitions have even been formally identified over the years. Here are some examples of the eerie happenings around campus:

  • The Longstreet Theatre: This building is rumored to be one of the most haunted on campus. During the Civil War, the theater was used as a hospital, complete with a morgue. Theater guests have reported walking into sudden chilly spots, strange noises, and apparitions. The elevators in the building also have a reputation for opening their doors unexpectedly and moving without being summoned.
  • The South Caroliniana Library: The library is said to be haunted by the ghost of former University President James Rion McKissick. He is rumored to wander around the library at night and students believe that if they see the lights on late at night, it means that McKissick is there, perusing the books. In addition, students have reported experiencing sudden cold spots, witnessing doors opening, and observing objects moving inexplicably. Interestingly, McKissick’s body is actually buried outside the library.
  • The DeSaussure College Building: This building is reportedly haunted by a group of ghostly soldiers and a female apparition with long, dark hair. It is believed that the woman is the daughter of Dr. Black, a military officer who was killed by a group of soldiers. Seeking revenge, she poisoned the soldiers responsible for her father’s death with poisoned wine. However, she accidentally drank some of the tainted beverage herself, so her spirit is also seen floating around.

With a history dating back to 1801, it’s no surprise that USC has more than one haunted location.

Olympia Mills

Beyond its function as a well-known student apartment complex, Olympia Mills is rumored to be home to ghosts of child mill workers who haunt the halls dating back to 1899.

This popular student apartment complex houses more than just the living. Ghosts of child mill workers are said to lurk the circa-1899 halls

Ghosts

South Carolina State Museum

The South Carolina State Museum in Columbia has garnered a reputation for being one of the most haunted locations in the area, based on accounts from both visitors and employees. The building was originally the first electric cotton textile mill in the US, constructed in 1894, and is now believed to be haunted by the ghost of a former mill worker named Bubba.

According to staff, Bubba passed away in an industrial accident when he was decapitated in an elevator shaft, and his apparition is often seen on the fourth floor next to the Old Country Store. He’s usually wearing overalls and is often spotted stepping into the elevator.

Some visitors have even claimed to have ridden in the elevator with him, but upon reaching their destination, he walks down the hall and disappears into a wall! Bubba is said to manifest as a full-body apparition that can be mistaken for a real person, or as a pair of boots and partial legs sticking to the shadows. 

SC State Museum

The Gervais Street Bridge in Columbia

Legend has it that the Gervais Street Bridge in Columbia, South Carolina is home to a ghostly hitchhiker. Many drivers have reported seeing a young girl trying to hitch a ride, and some have even claimed to have offered her one. But here’s where things get eerie – as they approach the girl’s destination, she disappears into thin air.

While it’s never safe to pick up hitchhikers, it’s especially risky on the historic Gervais Street Bridge. If you find yourself driving across it, keep an eye out for the ghostly girl in need of a ride. 

Gervais Street Bridge ghost stories

Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson is an active Army base that pays homage to former US President and General, Andrew Jackson. However, it is also known to be one of the most haunted places in Columbia, owing to the tragic story of a female soldier who ended her life while stationed here. Her ghostly apparition is often seen in the latrine where she took her own life with a bullet hole in her helmet, although some reports suggest that she had hanged herself. 

Witnesses have also reported distant female voices and humming.

But the female soldier is not the only haunting spirit in Fort Jackson. In the B Company 369th AG Barracks, there have been numerous sightings of a shadowy male figure who walks around from room to room, seemingly checking on the soldiers. 

With more than one entity rumored to be haunting this site that trains over 50% of our nation’s army, you can’t help but wonder if the soldiers are ever able to get any sleep with these paranormal beings lurking about.

Old State Road

During the Battle of Congaree Creek in 1865, General Sherman’s troops marched through South Carolina, killing over 1,500 Confederate soldiers on Old State Road. To this day, some say that you can still hear the sounds of people walking and falling into the creek, or catch a glimpse of phantom soldiers carrying lanterns in the darkness.

But that’s not all – the road is also home to another spooky character. Meet “Ole Redeye,” a ghost who’s said to be quite the athlete. Legend has it that if you drive down the road at 50 mph (which we don’t recommend because you’d be breaking the law!), you’ll see this red-eyed ghost keeping pace with your car. So keep your eyes peeled and your speed in check if you want to experience the eerie charm of Old State Road.

Mill Creek Elementary School

Mill Creek Elementary School is at the center of a number of reports of paranormal activity. Residents living behind the school have noticed some bizarre sightings at night over at the school. Some have reported feeling uneasy—as though they were being watched. In such instances, they looked up at the school gym only to see a shadowy figure at the doors… when neither students nor staff would have been in the building.

Although no one knows exactly who is behind the shadowy figure, one thing is certain – they roam the campus.

According to some residents, the shadowy figure has even entered their homes. The figure is described as dark and appearing like a silhouette with no noticeable features on its face.

Elmwood Cemetery
Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery has been a spooky destination for both tourists and locals for over 175 years. The cemetery’s 124 acres are home to over 25,000 graves, including those of 500 Confederate soldiers, notable Southern families, and a young bride who died mysteriously before her wedding. The cemetery’s classic Gothic architecture, including old mausoleums, monuments, and a wrought-iron arch over the entrance, adds to its eerie ambiance. 

In 2014, Elmwood was even named one of the “Spookiest Cemeteries in the U.S.” by Fox News. You can pick up a walking tour map and explore the famous figures resting in the cemetery and who knows, you may even catch a glimpse of something mysterious.

Adluh Flour Mill

For over a century now, Adluh Flour Mill has been a beloved establishment, known for its stone-ground grits and various other products. The mill has also been home to a former employee, Jerome Busbee, who, despite having passed on, has not left the premises.

Rumors of Busbee’s voodoo practices have circulated, and it is said that his soul is attached to his old work cart. Surprisingly, the cart has never been moved from its spot, despite numerous attempts over the years. Not even a disgruntled supervisor was able to budge it, only succeeding in tipping it over. Today, the cart still remains on its side in the warehouse, stuck in place for eternity. 

Airport High School

Airport High School is also believed to be haunted. The ghost of the school’s first principal, George Pair, who died in 1962, reportedly appears every night. Even though the floors are now carpeted, visitors can still hear the sounds of his footsteps on the tile.

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

In Lexington’s the Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop bathroom, many locals have reported seeing ghosts, particularly a young girl in the bathroom mirror.

Cinnamon Hill

Cinnamon Hill is a historic house that was constructed in 1892. It is said that one or two ghosts now reside on the second floor. Interestingly, when the house functioned as a restaurant, a group of diners captured an apparition in one of their photos. The ghostly figure had unexpectedly joined their dinner party.

Again, remember that if you want to check into any of these stories and locations, PLEASE follow all local laws before wandering around.

Halloween in Columbia, SC

Check out our Halloween content:

Where to Buy School Uniforms That Fit Your Kid

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Searching for “school uniforms near me”? If you have a child attending a school that requires school uniforms, finding the best school uniforms can be frustrating and time-consuming. We’re always aiming to help you save time, so we’ve rounded up a list of places to find school uniforms, including a list of where to find school uniforms with specific features such as adjustable waists or uniforms for taller kids. 

We’re answering questions about school uniforms like:

  • Which school uniforms have adjustable waists?
  • Where can I buy sensory-friendly school uniforms?
  • What are the best school uniforms for tall kids?
  • What are the most comfortable school uniforms?
  • Where can I find school uniform deals?

Whether you need a black, blue, pink, or red shirt and navy or khaki bottoms, we’ve got you covered. Luckily, there are plenty of places in Greenville and Spartanburg where you can buy school uniforms. And, of course, you can always buy them online.

the best school uniforms
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Exploring History: A Tour of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home in Columbia, SC

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The Woodrow Wilson Family Home in Columbia, SC offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the Reconstruction Era of American history. As the childhood home of the 28th President of the United States, the Woodrow Wilson House has been meticulously restored to reflect the historical period in which it was built.

Visitors can learn about the Wilson family’s life in Columbia during this time and gain a deeper understanding of the political and social issues that shaped the country in the aftermath of the Civil War. One Kidding Around Columbia reader, Jen H., took her family to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. Here’s what she thought about the tour.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home and Robert Mills House
Robert Mills House, Photo Credit: Jennifer H.

History of the Woodrow Wilson Home

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United State, lived in this home in downtown Columbia as a child. His parents built the house during the height of Reconstruction in 1871.

While the home changed ownership several times since 1874, it currently belongs to Historic Columbia who turned the home into the Museum of the Reconstruction Era. It serves as a reminder of this time and how we can connect it to current events.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home
The Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Photo Credit: Jennifer H.

Mom Review: Bringing Kids to Woodrow Wilson Family Home

KACOLA reader, Jen H. shares her visit to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home

Register for Historic Columbia Tours

I gathered up my family and headed to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home for a tour of the Era of Reconstruction Museum.

We registered for the tour at the Gift Shop at the Robert Mills house. (All Historic Columbia tours begin here). The kids explored and ran around the gardens as we waited for our tour to start. It’s such a beautiful area with a rich history to boot, and it was fun to imagine what certain spaces were once used for.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home Tour and Museum of the Reconstruction Era

The tour begins at the Gift Shop. It’s a walking tour and the Woodrow Wilson House is about a block from the Gift Shop, so be sure everyone in the family wears comfortable shoes. 

The Woodrow Wilson House is beautiful. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the surrounding area and how the Wilsons’ story fits into the history of Columbia.

The interior of the home has been turned into a museum that explains the Era of Reconstruction in the South—the time period after the Civil War ended.

When you head upstairs, you enter Woodrow’s childhood home. Taking a look out the window allows you to imagine how the view has changed over the years.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home
The Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Photo Credits: Jennifer H.

Throughout the entire hour-long tour, you’ll be able to sit on benches located in some of the rooms but be prepared to be on your feet for most of the time.

Who will enjoy the Woodrow Wilson Family Home Tour with Historic Columbia?

The tour is a great outing for older children 6+ years old. Younger children may not find it interesting, but there’s enough for them to look at (don’t touch!) to keep them entertained for a bit. My 9 year old really enjoyed the tour and asked some really thoughtful questions (our tour guide was so happy to answer these!). My 4 year old was a little bored with all the talking but found things to keep her attention.

Overall, touring the Woodrow Wilson House was a great experience and way to spend our morning in Columbia!

Tickets for Historic Columbia Tours

Tickets can be purchased online at the Historic Columbia website or on-site.

Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for youth ages 6 -12. Discounts are available for students, active military and seniors.

More Homes to Explore

Historic Columbia also offers tours of the following historic homes in Columbia, SC:

  • Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens
  • Robert Mills House & Gardens
  • Journey to Freedom Tour- includes the Mann-Simons Site and Modjeska Monteith Simkins House

Free Historic Columbia Tours

If you’re interested in exploring and touring other historical homes and grounds in Columbia, be sure to check out your options. Every 3rd Sunday, they offer free tours of one of the homes!

The Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home
1705 Hampton Street
Columbia, SC 29210

Tours are available Wednesday-Saturday at 10:30 am and Sundays at 1:30 pm.

Columbia, SC

The fun isn’t over yet!

Find more amazing things to do in Columbia, SC! Fun days start here.


Shark at the SC State Museum

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Have you been to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home?

Things to Do for Kids Who Love Cars Across the Carolinas

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Got a kid who loves cars and looking for activities to do around North and South Carolina? Because we’re located in an area where there are many car lovers, there are plenty of things to do and see. From museums to events to drag ways and speedways, your little car enthusiast will have so much oohing and aahing over classic cars, concept cars, race cars, and so much more. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best things to do across the Carolinas for the kid who loves cars.

Things to Do for Kids Who Love Cars

BMW Zentrum Museum

The BMW Zentrum Museum in Greer is a one-of-a-kind experience for any car enthusiast. Visitors get to experience BMW from its beginnings in aviation and motorsports to where it is now on a global scale. You’ll see BMW’s milestones, rare vehicles from the past such as the famous Isetta “Bubblecar”, and restored classics. You’ll also be able to explore current BMW vehicles through modern-day exhibits and displays. For safety purposes, vehicle doors remain locked in the museum. The museum itself is self-guided, but you can book guided tours of the plant and factory if you prefer that. 

BMW Zentrum Museum Visit Details:

  • Hours: Monday – Friday from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
  • Museum, Plant, and Factory close during major holidays. Please refer to the BMW Zentrum website for details.
  • Cost: Free
  • Groups in the same family are limited to 10 or less people.
  • Social Distancing and limited guest capacity are enforced.
  • Masks are optional.
  • The Isetta Café is open and operating at full-service.

1400 Highway 101 S, Greer
864.802.6000

Cars and Coffee Greenville

Cars and Coffee is an Upstate SC gathering for car enthusiasts that takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month. Visitors have the opportunity to see sports cars, exotic cars, classic cars, and more. The gathering takes place in a Michelin parking lot, so the Michelin cafeteria is open for visitors to grab a coffee and various pastries. 

Cars and Coffee Details:

  • When: Every 4th Saturday of the month
  • Hours: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Cost: Free

298 North America Way, Greenville

Read our review of Cars and Coffee.

Things to See at Cars & Coffee

More Car Shows

Local car groups and organizations frequently organize car shows at local venues. They are often free and sometimes include other fun things to do like trunk or treats at Halloween or benefit charities, like toy drives around Christmas.

To find car shows near you, check online and on Facebook. In Upstate, SC, you’ll find a list of some of the upcoming car shows at Upstate Car Shows.

Greer Dragway

The Greer Dragway, established in 1957,  features a 1/8th mile concrete and asphalt strip and has Grudge Racing every Thursday and Bracket Racing every Saturday. There’s a weather radar, a concession stand, and clean restrooms on the premises. 

1792 Dragway Road, Greer
864.879.4634

Greenville-Pickens Speedway

Located in Easley, the Greenville-Pickens Speedway features a half-mile of asphalt to give your entire family an experience they won’t forget. The track hosts weekly NASCAR-sanctioned races, which is bound to give any car enthusiast starry-eyes. In addition to racing, the Speedway offers events throughout the year, including the Upstate Holiday Lights Show.

Greenville-Pickens Speedway Visit Details:

800 Calhoun Memorial Hwy, Easley
864.295.5764

Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, NC, is a motorsport complex featuring a 1.5 mile quad oval track that hosts NASCAR racing. Events include the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, The Bank of America Roval 400 in October, and more. Ticket prices range from event to event, so it’s best to see the Charlotte Motor Speedway website for ticket details.

5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord
800.455.3267

There’s more to explore in Cabarrus County.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

zMAX Dragway

Affectionately known as “The Bellagio of Race Tracks,” the zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC is a venue at Charlotte Motor Speedway featuring the world’s first 4-lane drag strip for NHRA races and other events. Ticket prices range from event to event, so it’s best to see the Charlotte Motor Speedway website for ticket details.

Here’s our review of zMAX Dragway.

6570 Bruton Smith Blvd, Concord, NC
704.455.3200

AutoBarn Classic Cars 

AutoBarn Classic Cars is a 60,000-square-foot indoor showroom located at the Gibson Mill community gathering spot in Concord. It’s just a 10-minute drive away from Charlotte Motor Speedway and is a great place to browse classic and concept cars. And for an added bonus, race cars and classic memorabilia are up for sale.

325 McGill Ave NW, Concord, NC
800.650.1055

Morrison Motor Car Museum 

Morrison Motor Car Musem is full of sports and muscle cars. There are more than 50 cars featured in this exhibit, all from the past century. There’s also a gift shop and opportunities to buy a collector car such as a Mustang or Camaro on the property’s lot.

Morrison Motor Car Museum Details:

  • Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30 am – 4 pm // Saturday 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Ticket Cost: General Admission $8 // Seniors and Children under age 5 $6

4545 Concord Parkway South, Concord, NC
704.788.9500

Streetside Classics

This showroom carries an impressive collection of street classics. Guests can view street rods, muscle cars, vintage cars, and more. The 70,000-square-foot showroom has over 300 classic cars that are up for sale.

Streetside Classics Visit Details:

  • Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9 am – 6 pm // Saturday 9 am – 5 pm

800 Derita Road Suite A, Concord, NC
704.598.2130

Mustang Owner’s Museum

The perfect place for Mustang lovers! Mustangs grace the museum’s displays, with various modified vehicles displayed throughout the year. The museum also hosts car shows and cruise events like the “Best of the Best Car Show’ and the “Mustang Chili & Cornbread Cook-Off.”

Mustang Owner’s Museum Visit Details:

  • Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm // Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm *Closed major holidays
  • Ticket Cost: Adults $10 // Children 12 & under Free

4005 Dearborn Place NW, Concord, NC
980.439.5653

Curb Motorsports Museum

Dale Earnhardt’s No. 2 car can be seen at Curb Motorsports Museum! The Curb Museum features a collection of NASCAR and Indy cars. The museum also holds cars that wrote pages in the motorsport history book including the car that Dale Earnhardt drove when he won his first Winston Cup Championship.

600 Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, Kannapolis, NC
704.938.6121

There more to explore in Kannapolis, NC.

NC Transportation Museum

The NC Transportation Museum, located in the former Southern Railway’s Spencer Shops, is a transportation lover’s dream. The museum features history about all types of transportation: railroads, automotives, aviation, and more. Visitors will see the Barber Junction Depot  (a train station built in 1898), the Bob Julian Roundhouse (the largest remaining roundhouse in North America featuring locomotives, passenger railcars, and a replica of the Wright Flyer), and so much more. The museum offers several seasonal and holiday events, including The Polar Express Train Ride.

NC Transportation Museum Details:

  • Museum Hours:
    • Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
    • Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
    • Beginning November 11, museum hours change to accommodate The Polar Express Train Rides. Please refer to the museum’s website for details.
  • Train Hours:
    • Regular museum train rides do not operate November 7 – December 26 for The Polar Express Train Rides..
    • Please refer to the museum’s website for details.
  • Museum Visit Tickets: Adults: $6 // Seniors and Military: $5 // Children 3-12: $4 // Members and Children Under 3: FREE
  • Museum Visit + Train Ride Tickets: Adults: $12 // Seniors and Military: $10 // Children 3-12: $8 // Members and Children Under 3: FREE

1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, NC
704.636.2889

Did we miss any other car-related activities to do around the Carolinas? Tell us below.