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Get Ready for a Fun Halloween Night: Boo at the Zoo in Columbia, SC

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Are you searching for a family-friendly place to trick-or-treat and enjoy the Halloween spirit this year? It’s time to get ready for the wildest trick-or-treating event, Boo at the Zoo in Columbia, SC! Riverbanks Zoo will host its annual “Boo at the Zoo” event from October 20 through October 30, 2023. We have everything you need to know about Boot at the Zoo from a local mom. Your kids will have a blast dressing up in their costumes, trick-or-treating throughout the zoo, and experiencing other spook-tastic Halloween fun! 

5 Riverbanks Boo at the Zoo Top Parent Tips

  • Get Riverbanks Boo at the Zoo Tickets in Advance
  • Don’t forget to bring your own treat bag!
  • Come in costume, but no full face masks or scary costumes for adults.
  • Attend on a weekday if at all possible.
  • Keep it simple and have fun!
Boo at the Zoo, Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia SC.

Don’t miss the Biggest Halloween Guide in Columbia! It’s packed full of Halloween events and activities in Columbia, plus spooky day trips, haunted houses, and much more!


Take Your Family to the 2023 South Carolina State Fair

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Have you ever been to the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, SC? This year, the fair will be in town from October 11th to October 22nd, 2023. The SC State Fair is an exciting fall tradition that dates back over 150 years ago!

Each year, the fair brings in thousands of people from all around the state who enjoy all of the great things it has to offer – games, prizes, rides, food, and animals just to name a few! Whether this is your first year attending or if you’ve been to the State Fair in the past, keep reading as we will walk you through how to save money on tickets, what to expect inside, where to park, what to bring with you, and more! 

SC State Fair rides

This article includes:
About the SC State Fair
When Should I Go to the SC State Fair?

Tickets & Parking at the Fair:
Save Money: Discounted SC State Fair Tickets
What is the State Fair Lunch Bunch Deal?
Where Do I Buy Ride Tickets or Wristbands for the SC State Fair?
SC State Fair Parking

What to Expect at the SC State Fair:
Layout of the Fairgrounds
What to Bring to the SC State Fair
Rent Strollers, Wheelchairs & More
When is Sensory Friendly Morning at the Fair?

State Fair Favorites:
State Fair Rides
State Fair Food
State Fair Concert Schedule
The Circus at the State Fair

Scenes from the South Carolina State Fair


Get Free School Supplies in Columbia, SC (And Have Fun Doing It)

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Are you in need of free school supplies or clothing for your students this upcoming school year in and around Columbia, SC?  With the school year quickly approaching, families could be feeling extra financial pressure and we understand all the supplies, clothing, bookbags, etc. add up quickly! Fortunately local churches, community groups, schools, and organizations are planning quite a few free back-to-school supply events. Whether you’re in need of supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks, or even clothing we’ve got a lengthy list of places for you! 

Back to school free supplies in Columbia, SC

This article includes:
How Can I Get Free School Supplies for My Kids?
Columbia, SC Area Free School Supply Events

How Do I Get Free School Supplies for My Kids?

It is estimated that families will spend, on average, about $750 to get their kids ready to head back to school. While that number is shocking and stressful for so many, our Columbia community has done a fantastic job at putting together back-to-school supply drives and free events for families in need.

These events are fun and often include live music and free cook-out-style lunches in addition to a school supply giveaway. Celebrate back to school! The easiest way to get free school supplies for kids is to look for these community events. Below are several options for your kiddos to get what is on their school list in Columbia, SC.

Free School Supplies Events for Kids Near Columbia, SC

2023 Build a Backpack Event

When: July 15th, 2023 9 am to 2 pm
Where: Greenview Community Center, 6700 David Street, Columbia, SC
Details: Free school supplies from vendors, presented byt he CMMS Foundation
Build a Backpack Event

Back To School Bash Drive Thru – Richland County Recreation Department

Multiple Events!
When and Where:
July 28th, 2023 at 6 pm at North Springs Park, 1320 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC
August 3rd, 2023 at 6 pm at Meadowlake Park, 600 Beckman Road, Columbia, SC
August 4th, 2023 at 6 pm at Friarsgate Park, 1712 Chadford Road, Irmo, SC
August 10th, 2023 at 6 pm at St. Andrews Park, 920 Beatty Road, Columbia
August 11th, 2023 at 6 pm at Hopkins Park,150 Hopkins Park Road, Hopkins, SC
August 12th, 2023 at 11 am at Eastover Park, 1031 Main Street, Eastover, SC

Details: This is a drive-thru event where school supply stations will be set up throughout the parking lot. Students must be present and in the car in order to receive supplies. Supplies are a first come, first serve basis so plan to be there a few minutes early! For more information contact Melanie Comans at 803.741.7272 x 112.
Richland County Back To School Bash Drive Thru

Back to School Bash

When: July 29th, 2023 from 11 am to 3 pm
Where: 550 N. Parason Street, West Columbia
Details: Free school supplies, free food, live music, and fun
Back to School Bash

Community Back to School Bash

When: July 29th, 2023 from 10 am to 1 pm
Where: Church of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ of The Apostolic Faith, 1632 Germany Street, Columbia
Details: Free community event with free school supplies, free food, and community resources. There will be story time and bounce houses!
Community Back to School Bash

Back to School Event: His Hands Family Outreach Services

When: July 29th, 2023 from 9 am to 1 pm (You must register in advance, by July 16th!)
Where: Radius Church, White Knoll Campus
Details: Free school supplies and free activities including haircuts for kids K-8th grade, face painting, bounce houses, lunch, and more!
Back to School Event

Free Bookbag Giveaway

When: July 29th, 2023, 10 am to 11 am
Where: Irmo Community Park, 7505 Eastview Drive Irmo, SC
Details: Arise Church will be giving away bookbags stuffed with school supplies to children (while supplies last). There will be music, bouncy houses, free food, free sports physicals, sno cones and more!
Free Bookbag Giveaway

Back 2 School Calvary Community Church

When: July 29th, 2023 from 3 pm to 5 pm
Where: Calvary Community Church, 4045 Calvary Road, West Columbia
Deatils: Free school supplies and clothing while supplies last
Back 2 School Event at Cavlary Community Church

Back to School Bash- For Children and Adults With Hearing Loss and Their Families

When: July 29th, 2023, from 9 am to 11 am
Where: Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia
Details: Free haircuts, free school supplies, snacks, information on resources, and visits with Juliet the therapy dog. This event is for families impacted by hearing loss.
Register in advance.

TCC Verizon – School Rocks Backpack Giveaway 

When: July 30th, 2023 1 pm
Where: TCC Verizon stores

  • TCC Irmo – 1100 Dutch Fork Rd., Ste G, Irmo, SC 29063
  • TCC Chapin – 1221 Chapin Rd., Ste G, Chapin, SC 29036
  • TCC Lexington – 851 Highway 378, Ste 104, Lexington, SC 29072 

Details: It’s the 11th anniversary of the School Rocks Giveaway and students can receive one backpack stocked with school supplies. This event giveaway is a first come, first serve basis so plan to be there early! 
School Rocks Backpack Giveaway

Back to School Bash: Rhema Word Restoration Ministries

When: July 30th, 2023 from 2 pm to 5 pm
Where: 908 North Brickyard Road, Columbia
Details: Free school supplies for kids K5- college. Free food, waterslide, bounce house, games and more.
Back to School Bash

Richland School District 2 Back to School Bash

When: August 5th, 2023, 10 am to 12 pm
Where: R2I2, 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia
Details: Free backpacks and school supplies (limited quantity) plus children’s activities, vision screenings, sports sign-up, job recruitment, and more!
Richland 2 Back to School Bash

Post 215 Back to School Bash

When: August 9th, 2023, 6 pm to 8 pm
Where: Columbia SC Louis D Simmons American Legion Post 215, 2433 Chappelle Street, Columbia
Details: Free fun and school supplies for kids
Post 215 Back to School Bash

Back 2 School Bash

When: August 12th, 2023, 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Lorick Park, 1600 Lorick Avenue, Columbia
Details: Free food, games and school supplies. This event is put on by Healthy Blue and The City of Columbia Parks.
Back 2 School Bash

Yell Out for Youth

When: August 26th, 2023 from 12 pm to 3 pm
Where: MLK Park, 2300 Greene Street, Columbia
Details: Free food, games, ice cream, school supplies, parent giveaways, and free vendors
Yell Out For Youth

Gamecock School Supplies 

When: Throughout the school year
Where: Student Success Center
Details: This service is ONLY for undergraduates of the University of South Carolina. While this service is a little different than other events listed, we wanted to get the word out to any families that have college students! The Gamecock supply closet is the newest service of the Student Success Center and offers free school supplies such as notebooks, scantrons, dry erase boards, calculators, and much, much more. Students can utilize this service once every two weeks and all undergraduates are eligible with their valid Carolina Card. 
Gamecock School Supplies

Free Things to Do in Columbia, SC

Have a free adventure!

Discover all the free things to do in Columbia, SC

In the Upstate area? Don’t miss free school supplies near Greenville, SC.

Columbia Fireworks! 4th of July, 2023 Celebrations in Columbia, SC

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Have you been on the hunt for ways to celebrate the 4th of July in Columbia, SC? It’s time to bring out the red, white and blue because there are family-friendly events happening all weekend long offering things such as parades, concerts, Columbia fireworks, baseball games, and more!

We’ve gathered a list of these Independence Day events all around Columbia, SC, and know you will find the perfect celebration for you and your family below! 

4th of July in Columbia, SC

Sumter Iris Festival: FREE Family Fun in Sumter, SC

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Have you attended the Sumter Iris Festival? Celebrating the gorgeous Iris flower and the onset of summer, the Sumter Iris Festival brings many opportunities for totally FREE family fun. That’s one reason among many that the Sumter Iris Festival is on our summer bucket list. Is it on yours? It should be! Way more than a flower show, here’s what we love about the Sumter Iris Festival and its home, Swan Lake in Sumter, South Carolina.

Iris Festival in Sumter, SC at Swan Lake

Only about an hour from Columbia, the Sumter Iris Festival is one of my favorite South Carolina festivals. I remember going as a kid and the irises becoming my favorite flower. The park includes peaceful dirt walkways around the lake, shaded by massive trees and Spanish Moss. You’ll find, nature, swans, boat rides, irises, bathrooms, and plenty to do during the Sumter Iris Festival.

Kids enjoy Sumter Iris Festival at Swan Lake

About the Sumter Iris Festival

The Sumter Iris Festival is several days long at the end of May, and it’s a great event for kids since admission and most of the kid stuff is FREE.

When is the Sumter Iris Festival?

This year, it kicks off Memorial Day weekend, on Thursday night May 25th, 2023 with the opening ceremony. The Taste event begins, with music, food vendors, boat rides, and more. Friday though, is when the family time really gears up. In fact, all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday things are happening.

You’ll find a full schedule of events on the Sumter Iris Festival Website.

Free fun for kids at the Sumter Iris Festival

Lots of FREE Things to Do at the Sumter Iris Festival

Not only does the park feature beautiful nature, gorgeous blooms in the Swan Lake Iris Gardens, vendors and performances, and an excellent playground, but it also offers kids’ rides, library story time/theater performances of The Phantom Tollbooth, free goodies, antique and classic car show, and a petting zoo.

Even better, the rides, little petting zoo, admission, and more are completely free. Kids might spot performing dance teams and theater troops, classic cars, Cocky and other mascots, and more.

Here were some of our favorite parts of last year’s Sumter Iris Festival:

  • Free kids rides
  • Free crafts/story time/goodie bags
  • Petting zoo
  • The playground with the firetruck
  • Nature
  • banana split

While all admission to the festival and most kids’ activities are free, you’ll want to bring cash/cards for parking, food, and drinks. Likewise, face painting was offered among a lot of free crafts and activities for kids but was actually very pricey, so keep an eye out for that.

Iris Flowers at Sumter, SC

Expect it to be hot as it’s the end of May (25th-28th, 2023), and expect crowds as this festival is increasingly popular as it’s been featured in Southern Living and others.

Also, expect fun!

7+ Family-Friendly Summer Festivals in Columbia, SC

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Now, the weather has warmed, school is almost over, and already it’s festival season! If you’re looking to get out in Columbia and build memories and experiences this summer, festivals can be a great way to dip your toes in something new. Columbia has festivals year-round, but here are some family-friendly festivals coming up to take in this famously hot season.

First off, get ready to kick things off with some Southern eats!

Summer festivals in Columbia SC

South Carolina Cornbread Festival

Sunday, April 30th, 2023

Right away, this one has everything you’d expect from a festival, from pageants and cooking contests, to eating contests, kids’ play area, vendors, bingo, cornhole, and more! Did you know cornbread is from South Carolina’s indigenous invention? It originated right here in the South and is one of America’s oldest foods.
NOMA Community Garden 2714 River Drive Columbia, SC 29201 (Intersection of North Main, Anthony Ave, Drayton Street, & Newman St.)

11 am – 6 pm
General Admission $10
*For info call 803.404.3602
Get tickets online South Carolina Cornbread Festival

Rosewood Crawfish Festival

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Of course, in typical Rosewood neighborhood fashion, this event promises to be full of live music and local artisans. First up, headliner Edwin McCain whose song “I’ll Be” you might recall belting in the 90s. Also, there will be The Vegabonds, Jupiter Coyote, Cravin’ Melon, and She Might Get Loud (a band from right here)!

Not to mention, it’s family-friendly, with things for kids including rides, face painting, and crawdad races but also because kids 12 and under get in free. This event also includes a 5k, but there are no details. This is the Rosewood Crawfish Festival website.

State Fair Grounds at 1200 Rosewood Drive Columbia, SC 29201.
11 am – 7 pm
Tickets are $10 and parking is $5.
*Wondering about getting a plate of crawfish? $20 gets you 2.5 lbs WITH a corn cob AND a potato.

Pickin’ and Piggin’ at the Park (SCBA)

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Or, if you’re feeling a little more down to earth, enjoy more than 20 BBQ cooks best at this cook-off in the park. Beer will also be available for purchase. The event is all-you-can-eat at Columbia’s most accessible park with music by Randy Lucas Trio. See the Pickin’ and Piggin’ website for more.

Saluda Shoal’s Park, 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212 United States
11 am – 1:30 pm
Adults (13+) $15
Children (12 and Under) $5

ThunderFest ’23

Saturday, May 6, 2023

On the other side of town, check out this local music festival at Midland’s Technical College’s Harbison Theater. There will be an eclectic blend, with Reggie Sullivan, a Lake Murray native Bassist, headlining. More information at the ThunderFest website.

Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College St, Irmo, SC
3 pm – 7 pm
$15 all-day pass

Main Street Caribbean Festival

June 10th, 2023

Next up, another family-friendly, cultural festival. What’s more, it’s free! So, trek right down to Main Street between Richmond and Laurel Streets to experience this big Caribbean Block Party. Find out more about the Main Street Caribbean Festival, part of South Carolina Carnival.

1800 Block Main Street Columbia, SC 29201
12 pm – 8 pm

Juneteenth Festival

June 24, 2023

Earliest, around lunch, it’s time to celebrate freedom, black heritage, and more at this family-friendly event. It offers many activities including food, games, cultural and educational displays, and contests, such as a baking competition and a Queen competition. For more, see the Juneteenth Festival website.

1063 Old Two Notch Rd 1063 Old Two Notch Elgins, SC 29045
1 pm – 4 pm

Columbia’s 8th Annual Shrimp and Grits Festival

June 24, 2023

According to the Shrimp and Grits Festival Facebook, “area restaurants will compete in Columbia’s 8th Shrimp & Grits Fest. One restaurant will be named “Columbia’s Best Shrimp & Grits” by a panel of judges.” Also, there will be a winner in the “People’s Choice” division, and “tickets include unlimited shrimp and grits samples from participating restaurants and live music.” Seawell’s Catering, a local business since 1946, sponsors this event.

Seawell’s Catering, 1125 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201
6 pm- 9 pm
Children $25
Adults (18+) $45

Looking for 4th of July Festivals and Events? We have a whole article about that!

Celebrate the 4th of July in Columbia, SC!

Southeast Crab Festival

July 8, 2023

Obviously, this festival will include crabs, but that’s not all. It actually has all-you-can-eat blue crabs! There will also be fish and chips as well as drinks for sale. You can bring in your own toppings, but please no coolers. This event boasts being both a long-standing state tradition of outdoor seafood cooking and a family-friendly event. Tickets will be limited to reduce crowds. Get tickets online at the Southeast Crab Feast website and collect them at Will Call with ID.

Saluda Shoals Park
5605 Bush River Rd, Columbia, SC
1 pm – 6:30 pm
Tickets $15

Still hungry for more?

Free fun for kids at the Sumter Iris Festival

Bonus: Sumter Iris Festival

May 25th through the 28th, 2023

Iris Festival in Sumter, SC at Swan Lake

Don’t forget the Sumter County Iris Festival is about an hour’s drive on Memorial Day Weekend. It offers lots of FREE fun for the family, so this is one you don’t want to miss!

And, Soda City Comic Con is in August.

There are also car shows, 5ks, and more in Columbia this summer. The Kidding Around Columbia Event Page is where you can find more events.

Let us know about your favorite festivals and summer activities below!

7+ Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebrations: Columbia, SC

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On the hunt for family-friendly ways to ring in the New Year? Columbia, SC is home to several spectacular NYE events and the good news is, several of them are kid-friendly! The majority of these events will be over well before midnight, leaving plenty of time to get home before the bigger celebrations begin. We’ve found events with miniature ball drops, bowling, skating, great prizes, and more!

Happy New Year from the Kidding Around Columbia team! 

Capital City Fireworks

Where: Downtown Columbia, SC
Time: Fireworks are at midnight
Price: Free
Event Details: Replacing the popular Famously Hot New Year’s event in 2022, is the family-friendly event, Capital City Fireworks. Families are invited to spend time in the city and stay for fireworks at midnight. The best places to view the fireworks will be along Gervais Street and Main Street, to the north side of the SC State House.

City parking garages will all be free for this event. In fact, you’ll find free parking at all city-run garages from December 30th, 2022 through January 3rd, 2023.

Capital City Fireworks

Cold Winter’s Day 5K and Family Fun Run 

Where: 4801 Forest Drive 
Time: 5K at 10 am; Snowflake Youth Fun Run at 10:45 am 
Price: From $15 to $50 depending on race and sign-up date
Event Details: Kick-off your celebrations with a 5K and/or family fun run! This is a rain-or-shine event. Runners will receive a t-shirt! 

Cold Winter’s Day 5K and Family Fun Run

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration at Altitude Trampoline Park

Where: Altitude Trampoline Park – 7451 Garners Ferry Road
Time: 10:30 am until 12:30 pm
Price: $16/jumper
Event Details: Join Altitude to celebrate 2023! This includes 2 hours of jump time, a balloon drop, prizes, sparkling cider toast, and more! Be sure to purchase your tickets ASAP as this deal is limited to the first 100 jumpers. Tickets should be purchased on or before December 29th. 

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration – Altitude Trampoline Park

Skateland Fun Center Celebrations 

There are TWO New Year’s Eve events at Skateland Fun Park! 

  • Kids New Year Celebration 
    • Time: 10:30 am until 12:30 pm 
    • Price: $6/skater – rental skates included 
    • Event Details: This event will offer plenty of family fun, prizes, candy scramble, celebratory hats and horns, and so much more! 
  • 2023 New Year Glow Party
    • Time: 6 pm until 10 pm
    • Price: $6 for 5 and younger; $8.50 for ages 6 to 11; $9 for 12 and older 
    • Event Details: This is an event for all ages! Celebrate the New Year with a fun glow party! 

Skateland Fun Center NYE Celebrations

More places to go bowling in Columbia, SC with the kids.

Dave & Buster’s New Year Celebration

Where: Dave & Buster’s – 100 Columbiana Circle, Suite 5
Time: 4 pm until 7 pm 
Price: $36.53/person
Event Details: Celebrate the New Year with your family at Dave & Buster’s. Admission includes an appetizer buffet, unlimited drink options, Ginger Ale toast, $20 power card, party hats, and more! 

Dave & Buster’s New Year Celebration

Fireflies Holiday Lights – NYE Event 

Where: Segra Park – 1640 Freed Street 
Time: 5 pm until 8 pm 
Price: From $9 to $16 
Event Details: This will be your last chance to get a glimpse of the Fireflies Holiday Lights at Segra Park. There will be a kid-friendly NYE ball drop at 7 pm complete with sparkling cider and plenty of fun! 
We visited! Check out the Kidding Around Review of Fireflies Holiday Lights.

Fireflies Holiday Lights – NYE Event

New Year’s Eve Late Night Skate

Where: Three Fountains Recreation Skating Rink and Mini Golf
Time: 7:30 pm to 2 am
Price: $12 in advance, $15 at the dor
Events Details: Advanced sale tickets get to enter early at 7 am. Skate and mini golf and a pair of skates will be given away at the event.

New Year’s Eve Late Night Skate at Three Fountains

New Year’s Eve Bash 2023 

Where: The Grand – 1621 Main Street 
Time: 7:oo pm until 2 am 
Price: No tickets necessary for General Admission 
Event Details: This will be a New Year’s Bash featuring outdoor games, indoor bowling, a DJ, and a countdown to the New Year! 

New Year’s Eve Bash 2023

New Year’s Eve on the Lanes 

Where: AMF Bowling – 900 Axtell Drive 
Time: 9 pm until 1 am 
Price: Depends on package – more info below 
Event Details: Start 2023 off with a strike! There are two different packages to choose from: 

  • NYE Family Package
    • $35.99/person
    • 2 hours of unlimited bowling
    • Multiple time slots are available on both December 31 and January 1, 2023. 
  • NYE Ball Drop 
    • $60.99/person
    • 4 hours of unlimited bowling (9 pm until 1 am) 
    • Sparkling cider and champagne toast 

New Year’s Eve on the Lanes

Start the Year Off Outdoors

Parties and big celebrations not your style? How about starting off the year with some fresh air and exercise? There are several places right in Columbia where you can enjoy a more relaxed New Year’s Day and get in a long walk or a hike.

Holiday Lights

Christmas Light Driving Tour

New Year’s Eve is often the last night to see holiday light displays. If you haven’t had a chance to drive through our Columbia holiday lights driving routes, New Year’s Eve is the night!

Find More Things to Do!

Still need more ideas? We have them!

Winter break camps and things to do in Columbia, SC

How will your family ring in the New Year?

19+ Places to See Santa in Columbia, SC (2022)

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Are you looking for places to see Santa in Columbia, SC this holiday season? Wondering where to see Santa near you? Santa is visiting lots of places around Columbia in 2022. His elves at the North Pole are sending us his appearance list as dates are announced, so bookmark this page and check back regularly. We’ll be updating almost as fast as those elves.

This list will include all kinds of events with Santa on the guest list. Check back soon for more 2022 events!

  • Santa Brunches and Cookies with Santa
  • Parades where Santa is expected to make an appearance
  • Tree Lightings hosted by Santa in Columbia
  • Places to get a picture with Santa
  • Places to visit with Santa near Columbia, SC
  • Holiday markets with Santa
  • Santa’s visit schedule with stops in Columbia, Lexington, West Columbia, and more across the South Carolina Midlands.
Santa in Columbia, SC

This article includes:
Santa Pictures Columbia, SC
Free Photos with Santa
Events with Santa: Santa’s Columbia visit schedule
After Christmas: Things to Do When Santa is Back at the North Pole

Get Pictures with Santa at Columbia Malls & More

Where can I take pictures with Santa in Columbia SC?

Ready for photos with Santa? If you’re looking for a place to visit Santa and get some pictures with the big man in red, this is the list you’re looking for. Find places to get professional photos with Santa in the Columbia area here.

Columbiana Centre

100 Columbiana Circle, Columbia
Reserve your appointment for photos with Santa at Columbiana Centre now. Appointments are available beginning November 17th, 2022.

Junior Leauge of Columbia: Sundaes with Santa

December 4th, 2022 from 12 pm to 4 pm, take photos with Santa and then enjoy a sundae bar! Tickets are $8 at the door.
Sundaes with Santa

Free Photos With Santa in Columbia, SC

Where can I take my own pictures with Santa in Columbia?

Where can I get free pictures with Santa in Columbia, SC?

Santa knows budgets are tight. We so love the totally FREE opportunities to visit with Santa around Columbia, and we love FREE pictures with Santa even more.

Pictures with Santa: State Farm Christmas Party

December 16th, 2022, 11 am to 4 pm: Bring your camera to get some free photos with Santa, and a FREE treat! There will also be snacks provided.

Pictures with Santa: 5370 Sunset Blvd, Lexington, SC 29072

Photos with Santa at Hotel Trundle

Totally free, visit with Santa on November 27th, 2022 1 pm to 3 pm at Hotel Trundle. You’ll get 10 minutes with Santa to take as many photos as you’d like, plus enjoy hot cocoa, games, and other holiday fun while you’re there. The event is first come, first served, so plan to arrive early! FREE admission.
Photos With Santa at Ho-Ho-Hotel Trundle

Free Photos with Santa at Cabela’s

Head up to the road to Greenville or Fort Mill, SC to Cabela’s. Visit with Santa and get a totally FREE photo with Santa at Cabela’s. The photo is a professional, quality printed 4×6 photo. There are additional free activities, a letterbox to mail your list to Santa, and you can enjoy the wildlife and aquarium displays throughout the store.
Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops Free Photos with Santa at Santa’s Wonderland

Events with Santa in and near Columbia, SC

Ready to bring the kids to see the red-suited jolly man and his elves? Here’s where you can see Santa Claus in Columbia, SC in 2022!

Santa’s elves promised to update us as they added new appearances to Santa’s schedule. So, bookmark our list and check back soon.

Track Santa on Christmas Eve

Didn’t see Santa yet this year? Don’t worry! There are a couple of ways for you to track him on his Christmas Eve journey.

NORAD Tracks Santa

In 1955 a young man accidentally called the Continental Air Defense Command asking if they had seen Santa flying through the sky. While the child had meant to call a Santa Hotline, the person who answered the phone that Christmas Eve just happened to be the Commander in Chief, Colonel Harry Shoup. He instructed his team to keep looking for Santa on the radar screens and ever since NORAD has been tracking Santa annually.
The NORAD Santa Tracker 2022 Website is online.

To track Santa on Christmas eve night, join the team at NORAD, and you will be able to watch them track “Big Red 1” in real-time as he makes his way across the world.

I Heart Radio’s North Pole Radio

The I Heart Radio streaming service has a station dedicated to all things Christmas, It includes 24/7 Christmas music, plus Santa will be checking in with listeners on Christmas Eve with updates!

After Christmas! Winter Break and New Year’s

Once Santa has returned to the North Pole, how will you fill the rest of the holiday season? We have some ideas, of course!

Wolf Ridge Tubing

Winter Break is Coming.
Stay busy with activities and camps.
Winter Break Bucket List!

Time to celebrate the start of 2023! How will you celebrate with your family in Columbia this year? We have 7 family-friendly celebrations for New Year’s in Columbia, plus a few more ways you can ring in the New Year!

Holiday border

71+ Christmas Events & Activities in Columbia, SC: Fire Up Your HO HO HO!

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What is there to do in Columbia this holiday season? Where are the holiday events near me? If you’re looking for Christmas events in Columbia, SC, and holiday season activities, you have come to the right place. We’ll be updating this huge list all season long with holiday parades, seasonal live entertainment, theater, live music, crafts, Santa, tree lightings, light displays, Christmas carols, and lots more! Get ready for Christmas Day and celebrate the season with all of these fun, festive holiday events!

So, get that hot cocoa ready and cue up that holiday playlist. Bookmark this list and check back often so you don’t miss out on any of the festive fun this season in the Midlands.

Our guide is broken down into a few categories of holiday favorites, plus a huge, all-inclusive list of holiday events that you can scroll through by date. Use the table of contents below to help you navigate.

This Guide to Holiday Events Around Columbia Includes:
After Christmas! Winter Break and New Year’s Celebrations in Columbia
Christmas Parades Near Columbia
Holiday Shows and Theater
Tree Lighting Ceremonies Near Columbia
Season-long Holiday Events in Columbia, SC
Everything! The Biggest List of Holiday Events in Columbia, SC

Bonus: Our Special Columbia, SC Christmas Things to Do Lists

Season-long Holiday Events in Columbia

See Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D at the South Carolina State Museum. Shows run from November 19th, 2022 through January 1st, 2023. Purchase Rudolph tickets in advance!

South Carolina Railroad Museum Santa Train runs the first 3 Saturdays in December, 2022. Get your tickets online now!

The Biggest List of Christmas Events in Columbia, SC

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Holiday Theater & Performing Arts

So many holiday shows and concerts to choose from! Columbia is fortunate to have the Kroger Center with a wide variety of shows for Christmas ranging from the traditional ballet The Nutcracker to holiday concerts, and more!

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Where is Santa?

If you’re looking for the big man in red, you’ll want to pop over to our exclusive Santa page. The elves gave us the inside scoop on all of Santa’s visits around Columbia, and we’re passing them on to you. So, go visit Santa in Columbia, SC!

Santa in Columbia, SC

Christmas and Holiday Parades Around Columbia

Is there anything better than a Christmas parade when it comes to free, festive fun? Grab some hot chocolate, pack up some Christmas cookies, bring the kids, and enjoy some holiday season fun!

Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade

The 2022 Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade in Downtown Columbia, SC will be held on December 3rd, 2022. The parade begins at the intersection of Sumter Street and Laurel Street at 9:45 am. The parade route ends at Senate Street.

Christmas parade in Columbia SC

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Tree Lightings Around Columbia, SC

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After Christmas! Winter Break and New Year’s

Time to celebrate the start of 2023! How will you celebrate with your family in Columbia this year? We have 7 family-friendly celebrations for New Year’s in Columbia, plus a few more ways you can ring in the New Year!

Winter break camps and things to do in Columbia, SC

Stay Busy! Columbia’s Winter Break Bucket List

Don’t be bored! Columbia’s Winter Break Bucket List

Don’t be bored over winter break! This bucket list has 20 ways to have fun over winter break in Columbia, SC!

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Looking for more this holiday season? Don’t miss the rest of KACOLA’s holiday content!

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Holiday Markets and Christmas Shopping Events Around Columbia, SC

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Ready to shop from small businesses and vendors this holiday season in Columbia? If you’re looking for opportunities to shop local, nothing beats a vendor fair or holiday market full of handmade gifts, crafts, and tasty treats. They are the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list, plus, you know you’ll be supporting local people and your local economy with your holiday purchases.

With that in mind, we made this list of local holiday shopping events in Columbia, SC. We will be updating throughout the 2022 holiday season as more fabulous local shopping events are announced.

Holiday Shopping Events Near Columbia, SC

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