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Spring Guide to Columbia, SC

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Spring has arrived! So, what is going on this spring? Columbia, SC is full of springtime fun and ways get out and enjoy some of the most beautiful weather. And, we’re covering it all right here so you don’t miss a thing!

Happy Spring Columbia!

Get Outside: Springtime in Columbia, SC

A paved trail for walking and bike riding? Yes, please! Load up those scooters and helmets or grab that stroller and go enjoy that fresh air. Your to do list can probably wait a couple of hours, right?

The riverwalk trails in Columbia are a great place to enjoy spring.

We know the perfect place to play.

Our guide to the best parks and playgrounds in Columbia, SC.

Parks and Playgrounds in Columbia, SC

Playgrounds and spring go hand in hand. Bring the kids out to enjoy the spring weather with slides, swings, and all kinds of things to climb.

Move those feet and enjoy nature. Pack a bag with water and some trail mix, pull on those sneakers, and go enjoy one of Columbia’s great family hiking trails.

Spring Means Strawberries!

Strawberry PIcking Cottle Strawberry Farm

Pick some strawberries!

Everything you need to know about Cottle Strawberry Farm.

Spring Sports

Head to the ballpark for All-American, traditional baseball fun. You have two fabulous choices in Columbia, SC!

Easter Time

Yep, spring means Easter. This year Easter falls on March 31st, 2024. That means all Easter Egg hunts and community events will be happening soon. We created a Columbia Easter Egg Hunt and Events list so you don’t miss anything!

You’ll want to bookmark this one and check back throughout the Easter season as more events are added.

Go find those Easter Eggs.

The biggest list of 2024 Easter Egg Hunts in Columbia, SC.

Easter Egg Hunts in Columbia, SC

Springtime Showers Bring Indoor Play

Indoor Guide to Columbia, SC

Here’s where to play indoors in Columbia, SC

Spring Break Things to Do

Spring break is coming! Our spring break guide is full of ideas for indoor and outdoor fun, plus day trips, spring break camps, and lots more!

Spring break guide to Columbia, SC

Fill your spring break with lots of fun!

Spring Break Things to Do: Columbia, SC

Find Your Favorite Restaurants: The Best Dining in Columbia, SC

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Looking for the best restaurants in Columbia, SC? We are just beginning our coverage of the best places to eat out for families and children in Columbia. But we already have some pretty amazing ideas, from the best ice cream to favorite coffee shops and our already famous Kids Eat Free list. Discover some of the best places to eat in Columbia, SC right here.

Columbia, SC Restaurants: where to eat out

Kids Eat Free (or Cheap) in Columbia, SC

Kids Eat Free in Columbia, SC

Kids are expensive. Feed them for FREE.

Check out our list of kids eat free and cheap deals! We have restaurants where kids eat free, plus deals where kids’ meals are significantly discounted.

Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Outdoor Dining

Restaurants with outdoor dining in Columbia, SC

Eat Out(side)

It’s your turn to pick a restaurant and you want to eat outdoors. Where do you go?

We know!

And it’s right here in our list of Outdoor Dining in Columbia, SC.

Pizza Restaurants

Best pizza, Columbia, SC

The best pizza in Columbia is on this list.

Locally-Owned: Best Pizza in Columbia, SC

Great BBQ

We Can Taste This Picture

Find really good barbecue in Columbia, SC on our list.

Best BBQ in Columbia, SC

Date Night Dining

Date night restaurants in Columbia, SC

Your Next Date is Happening Here

15+ Romantic Restaurants in Columbia, SC

From fine dining to casual food and drink, date night options abound.

Coffee Shops

You'll love these coffee shops! Columbia, SC has a bunch.

Find your favorite cup of coffee.

Columbia, SC: Best local coffee shops

Meal Deals

Bring home dinner. Spend less for quick and easy.

Family Meal Deals from Restaurants in Columbia, SC

Restaurants with family meals to go in Columbia, SC

Brunch

Enjoy a delicious brunch in Columbia, SC

Who has the best brunch in Columbia, SC?

19+ Brunch Restaurants to Try in Columbia, SC

Ice Cream

What list of awesome restaurants is complete without ice cream? Certainly not this one. Here are the best places for ice cream in Columbia, SC.

Bakeries

If you’re looking for a good bakery, check out this list of bakeries in Columbia, SC.

Frozen Cocktails

Hot outside?

Here’s a list of some of COLA’s favorite frozen cocktails.

Frozen cocktails, Columbia, SC

What’s New?

What have we been talking about lately when it comes to eating and dining in Columbia?

Dining out and things to eat are a big topic. Here’s what we found yummy lately!

Where to Eat: Some of Columbia’s Favorite Restaurants

Lula Drake Wine Parlour

Date night out, or an evening out with friends, you’ll find something fun, cozy and vintage at Lula Drake Wine Parlour in Downtown Columbia.

Find out more in our Kidding Around review of Lula Drake Wine Parlor!

1635 Main Street, Columbia

Lula Drake Wine Bar, Columbia, SC

Cafe Strudel

Find out about Cafe Strudel’s delicious brunch, coffee, and more in our Kidding Around review of Cafe Strudel.

Mainly known for their breakfast and sandwiches, Cafe Strudel also has coffee drinks as well as beer and wine.

300 State Street, West Columbia

Coffee bar at Cafe Strudel in West Columbia

Groucho’s Deli

One of Columbia’s favorite deli’s; there are six locations spread throughout the Columbia area. Find out about Groucho’s, including their kids eat free promotions, in our Kidding Around Review of Groucho’s Deli.

The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli

What’s a cinnamon roll deli? The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli serves breakfast and lunch, though breakfast is available all day. They serve a wide variety of cinnamon roll flavors, including banana foster, strawberry cheesecake, and apple cobbler. In addition to cinnamon rolls, they offer breakfast sandwiches and a wide variety of hot dogs and paninis.

2617 Devine Street, Columbia

Menkoi Ramen House

Menkoi Ramen House offers authentic Japanese ramen noodles in downtown. Dine-in and take-out are available.

1004 Gervais Street, Columbia

Motor Supply Bistro

Motor Supply Company Bistro has a handwritten menu because their offerings are locally sourced, based on what is fresh and local. They are truly a farm-to-table restaurant. The bistro offers lunch and dinner, as well as a weekend brunch.

920 Gervais Street, Columbia

Blythewood, SC Restaurants

Chubby’s Burgers and Brewhouse

Try Chubby’s Burgers and Brewhouse for amazing burgers in a family-friendly atmosphere!

420 McNulty Street, Blythewood

Free Car Seat Safety Check: Columbia, SC

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Need to have your child’s car seat checked in Columbia, SC? It’s true what they say, “You can never be too safe,” especially when it comes to your children! And car seat safety is absolutely no exception!

Columbia, SC Car Seat Inspections

Car Seats in South Carolina: Things to Know

Need help finding the right car seat? Or just need some guidance on getting started? The US Department of Transportation has a great resource to help you choose the right car seat and learn how to install it. (We still recommend having your car seat installation checked.)

If you want to freshen up on South Carolina’s car seat laws, be sure to read South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s guide to Child Passenger Safety. Or check out this helpful video from DHEC.

And, of course, when your child has outgrown their car seat, or when the car seat has expired, you can trade it in at Target. Target will recycle old, expired, or damaged car seats and give you 20% off another car seat, a stroller, or select baby gear. Read more about Target’s Car Seat Trade-In Program.

Statistics shockingly estimate around 80% of car seats are NOT correctly installed. Now is the perfect time to make sure yours isn’t one of them.

Where to Get a Car Seat Installation Check in Columbia, SC

Items needed when getting your car seat installation checked:

  • the owner’s manual for your car (if available)
  • the owner’s manual for the car seat (if available)
  • your vehicle
  • your child

We’ve listed the inspection stations near Columbia by county below.

Where to Get Your Car Seat Installation Checked in Richland County

City of Columbia Police Department
1 Justice Square, Columbia
803.545.3975
By appointment only

Irmo Police Department
1230 Columbia Avenue, Irmo
803.781.8088
By appointment only

Lexington Medical Center (Department of Public Safety)
115 West Hospital Drive, West Columbia
803.791.2373
By appointment only

South Carolina State Fire Office
141 Monticello Trail, Columbia
803.896.9800
By appointment only

SC DHEC
2100 Bull Street, Columbia
803.898.2767
By appointment only

The Therapy Place
3620 Covenant Road, Columbia
803.787.3033
By appointment only

Forest Acres Police Department
5205 North Trenholm Road, Forest Acres
803.782.9444
By appointment only

Richland County Sheriff’s Department
5623 Two Notch Road, Columbia
803.576.3000
*Multilingual

Irmo Fire District
6017 St. Andrews Road, Columbia
803.798.4979
By appointment only

Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Midlands
7 Medical Park Drive, Columbia
803.434.2633
By appointment only

Where to Get Your Car Seat Installation Checked in Lexington County

Lexington Police Department
111 Maiden Lain, Lexington
803.359.6260
By appointment only

Lexington County Health Services District (Department of Public Safety)
115 West Hospital Drive, West Columbia
803.791.2732
By appointment only

Irmo Fire District Northlake
117 Lincreek Road, Columbia
803.781.7178
By appointment only

Cayce Public Safety
2 Lavern Jumper Road, Cayce
803.794.0456
By appointment only

West Columbia Police Department
200 North 12th Street, West Columbia
803.794.0721 ext. 825
By appointment only

Lexington County Sheriff Department
521 Gibson Road, Lexington
803.785.5646
By appointment only

Swansea Police Department
320 West 3rd Street, Swansea
803.568.3366
By appointment only

Batesburg/Leesville Police Department
660 West Columbia Avenue, Batesburg/Leesville
803.532.4408

The SC DHEC website has a list of available car seat inspection stations near Columbia, SC

Parenting in Columbia, SC

See all of Kidding Around’s Parenting Content in one place!

Parenting Guide

Parenting in the Midlands: KA Content for Parents

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Are you a parent in the Midlands of SC? You have a full-time job on your hands. Some days you thrive, while others you simply survive. Many times it takes a little creativity on our part to have a successful day. At Kidding Around, we occasionally have experts in the field who can answer many of your questions. We’re covering topics on sleep, internet safety, meal prep, and lots more! You’ll find all our parenting content right here on this hub. Hopefully, you can find some tips to help you have more thriving days than just surviving ones.

Parenting in Columbia, SC

5 Valentine’s Day Cards Free! Print or Make These EASY cards right now!

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Valentine’s Day cards for kids do not have to be complicated or expensive. No, you don’t have to include candy, stickers, tattoos, or any other little trinket that’s got a pretty good chance of being dropped on the way home anyway. A simple card that says “Hey, thanks for being my friend,” is heartfelt and in keeping everything good about Valentine’s Day. Of course, you can include little gifts if you’d like to and they do make the Valentine’s Day festivities at school a little more sparkly. Either way, here are some ideas for FREE (or very cheap) Valentines.

Free Valentines for School, print now
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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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20+ Ideas: Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Columbia, SC (2024)

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Do you need some ideas for Valentine’s Day in Columbia, SC this year? How will you celebrate with the kids? What about a date night, or a friend’s night out? Whether you’re celebrating love for your family, your friendships, or romantic love for your spouse or significant other, there are so many ways to celebrate the holiday. And of course, at Kidding Around, we have some great ideas!

So, without further comment, here is our guide to celebrating Valentine’s Day in Columbia, SC for everyone!

Valentines Day in Columbia, SC
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Partner with Upstate SC’s Top Family Website

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Kidding Around is my go-to source for all things kids and family. It is an invaluable resource and asset to the community!” ~ Kidding Around Greenville reader

If you’re interested in connecting with local families in the Upstate, showcasing your business, event, or service, you’ve come to the right place. Kidding Around Media is an established entity with a highly engaged audience and readership.

Winner of 2021 Best in the Upstate: Best Social Media Resource

Kidding Around Greenville stands out in the Upstate with its strong social media presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Our pages are known for their strong engagement, creative content, and thriving audiences.

2023 numbers

What Sets Kidding Around Media Apart in the Upstate

Our Content Is Local, Comprehensive, and Unique

Our content is more than lists, reviews, and guides. All our writers are local parents. We write about what we love, what our kids love, and all the wonderful places to make memories together to last a lifetime. We are competitive, knowledgeable, and experienced and love nothing more than to show our readers all the cool things to do in town, write about the unique offerings of local businesses, and pass on our experiences to locals and visitors alike. 

Awesome site for comprehensive information about events, family friendly businesses, and things to do in Greenville.” ~Kidding Around Greenville Reader

Your Ads Directly Reach Parents that Live in Upstate SC

Stretching your dollars matter. And with Kidding Around Media, your ad budget will go further than anywhere else because you’ll be reaching your target customers and making meaningful and lasting connections with them. 

If this sounds like something up your alley, shoot us an email – sales@kiddingaroundgreenville.com. We can customize any of our offerings and create a partner package that works for you and accomplishes the goals you’ve set. 

Is your business regional? We’d love to partner with you as well! We have done dozens of reviews of kid-friendly businesses, including hotels, attractions, and adventures, within driving distance in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. See our Travel page for a sampling of places we like to visit and write about!

We Work with Over 100 Local Partners Every Year with a High Retention Rate

We’ve partnered with dozens of local businesses over the past eight years, including The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, South Carolina Children’s Theatre, YCMA of Greenville, and Christ Church Episcopal School.

Request Our Complete Media Kit

Part of the Minority Business Accelerator 2022 Cohort

16+ Fun & Unique Date Night Ideas: Columbia, SC

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Are you looking for something new and exciting to do with your significant other for date night? There are lots of things to do in Columbia, SC for couples. It can be hard to decide! So, we’re highlighting some awesome and unique ways to spend the day, or even just a few hours, with your loved one right here for a date night, Columbia, SC-style! Whether you’re interested in art, theater, ax throwing, outdoorsy activities, or cooking classes, just to name a few, we’ve got you covered for your next date! Let the date night ideas planning begin!

Unique date night ideas: Columbia, SC

Date Nights Are Important!

We get it, between your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, family get-togethers, and work, it’s so hard to plan a date night with just you and your spouse. Now is a great time to make your significant other feel like a priority.

It can be hard to come up with new and unique date ideas, but we are here to help! We hope you enjoy a little one-on-one time in Columbia using our list of date night ideas!

1. Take a Cooking Class 

Looking for something new to do for date night? One thing’s for sure, taking a cooking class together sounds super fun and unique!  Let’s Cook Culinary Studio offers so many great classes, one being a Friday night class specifically for couples. This class is offered twice a month and you will follow a recipe, and the guidance of a chef, to create your own delicious meal. You are even allowed to bring your own wine to complement your meal! 

These classes have limited availability and usually fill up quickly. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure to book your spot well in advance! 

2. Go Paddle Board!

It’s not as hard as it looks, really! And you rent paddleboards for just $25 at California Republic SUP on Lake Murray. Rentals are for two hours, which is just the right amount of time to enjoy the beautiful Lake Murray on the water. Then you can enjoy a picnic on the grassy lawn by the lake.

Paddleboard on Lake Murray: California Republic SUP

Try something new for your next date! Rent paddleboards on Lake Murray.

3. Make Pottery Together 

There are two great places in Columbia that offer pottery making and painting: HalfMoon Pottery and Mad Platter. Both of these businesses offer classes, walk-ins, and take reservations. You will be able to choose your art piece, design, and decorate, then return to pick up your project after it has been glazed and dried. Talk about a statement, or conversation piece for your home! 

4. Go Ax Throwing 

Not long ago, ax throwing was all the rave, and for good reason! If you haven’t had the chance to go I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try. Craft Axe Throwing is the only business in Columbia that offers this fun activity, but there are two locations: downtown Columbia and Lexington.

Axe-throwing target

My husband and I went for the first time about a year ago and it was so much fun figuring it out together, getting competitive with the games and scorekeeping, and of course, snacking on some delicious food and drinks! They are known to be quite busy on the weekends so it would be a good idea to book a lane online in advance! 

5. Get Artsy at a Paint & Sip Studio 

Put your art skills to the test at a “Paint & Sip” studio! Here are the two canvas painting studios we recommend for a date night: 

  • Painting With a Twist 
  • Studio Cellar – currently in the process of changing locations, but offering pop-up events and travel party services until the move is complete. Stay tuned for updated address and opening information! 

Both of these studios offer classes where an instructor will walk you through each step of painting a pre-chosen picture or freestyle painting where you can choose your own artwork, be given a set of instructions, and work at your own pace. You can even bring your own wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks to munch on as you paint! 

6. Test Your Skills at an Escape Room

If you’re looking to have a group date night with some of your other couple friends, an escape room might be just the place for you! The main idea is that you get 60-minutes to solve a mystery using clues all around you. It really puts your mind to the test and works on your communication and team-work skills.

Most of these escape rooms change out their mysteries frequently so you can always go back more than once. There are several fantastic escape rooms throughout Columbia, here are a few of our favorites: 

7. Enjoy Bowling 

There are several places to go bowling all throughout the Midlands, however The Grand on Main Street is like no other! At The Grand you will find a restaurant in the front of the building and bowling lanes in the back. Enjoy a delicious meal with your spouse then continue the night with a fun game of bowling! 

If you don’t want to have a full meal, you can order small plates and drinks while you bowl and they will be brought right to you. This is much smaller than a traditional bowling alley so the atmosphere is a lot more cozy and intimate.

Top Secret: Dessert Bar

Pssst! Not many people know about it, but there is also an underground cocktail and dessert bar called The Robinson Room found here. You and your spouse can continue your night by enjoying unique cocktails and desserts! 

8. See a Show at the Theaters 

Another great date night idea is to head to a local theater and enjoy a performance, musical, or movie. Columbia is home to many theaters that all have calendars FULL of monthly events: 

The Nickelodeon Theater has been in business for more than 40 years. It offers all the charm and coziness of an old-school movie theater with both matinee and evening showtimes. They usually show about 3 – 4 movies at a time which change as new movies are released. 

The Township Auditorium often hosts up-and-coming musical artists, bands, comedians, and more. Already on the list for this year are performers such as STYX, Kountry Wayne, and Jill Scott. 

Another great place to go to view performances is the Koger Center. You can often find ballets, musicals, orchestras, and more! On the 2023 schedule, you can find Annie, Hairspray, and Romeo and Juliet, just to name a few. 

Best movie theaters in Columbia, SC

Want to see a movie?

Here are your options:
Movie theaters in Columbia, SC

9. Go to a College Sporting Event 

Get out your University of South Carolina gear and cheer on the Gamecocks! While sporting events can double as a fun family activity, they can also be a fantastic date idea! No matter what time of year, there is always some kind of college sporting event happening in Columbia – baseball, basketball, soccer, and football, and more. You can check out the full sports schedule for USC

In the stadium at a Gamecocks Football game

Root for the home team at these Columbia, SC sports teams.

Root for more local home teams!
Baseball, football, basketball, and lots more!

10. Take a Tour of the Columbia Museum of Art 

Do you or your significant other love art? Touring the art galleries at the Columbia Museum of Art could be a fun date! They have rotating exhibits, guided tours, and monthly events that would be perfect for couples. 

Columbia Museum or Art is a great date night idea: Columbia, SC

11. Enjoy a Romantic Evening Outdoors 

Pack up a picnic basket, large blanket, pull out your tennis shoes, and take a romantic stroll with your loved one to see a beautiful Columbia sunset!

There are SO MANY fantastic places to walk and enjoy fresh air, but some of our date night favorites include Saluda Shoals, Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park, West Columbia Riverwalk, and the SC State House grounds. 

Be sure to check out our review of the Riverwalks

Saluda Shoals Park along the river

12. Get Destructive at Trash the Smash Room

Overall the romantic, mushy gushy date night ideas? Here’s one that is quite the opposite! At Trash the Smash Room you will be able to smash, crash, and demolish as many things as your heart desires! There are different sessions and rooms to accommodate the number of people you’re going with, so this one would make a fun group date night out with some other couples. One important thing to note is that closed-toed shoes are REQUIRED!

13. Visit the Melton Observatory

This one is free! On Monday nights with clear skies, the Melton Observatory on the USC campus opens up to the public for free. Learn from the knowledgeable staff and get a chance to look through the observatory’s huge telescope.

14. Visit Riverbanks Zoo

It’s not the usual date idea, we know. But if you have a few daytime hours to spend together, heading to the zoo can be a great way to spend that time. Visiting the Riverbanks Zoo as a couple, sans kids, is a totally different experience. Grab a coffee, stroll, you may even get a chance to actually read the exhibit signs and learn something new since you won’t be chasing around the kiddos.

15. Tube the Saluda River

Ready for a fun, hot-day, water activity? Grab your partner and head down to Palmetto Outdoor for some tubing down the Saluda River. Cost ranges from $15 – $85 depending on the type of tube you choose. They offer this activity May through September as long as the weather and water levels permit. Reservations can be made online the day before. Walk-ups are welcome for cash only. They also offer other activities such as kayaking and canoeing. There are fun rapids to enjoy, but there are also calm spots along the way. So bring a camera and enjoy taking in some of the beautiful scenery. Don’t forget a dry bag and some snacks! Check out their what to bring/not to bring list here.

16. Transmission Arcade & Bar

Class arcade games mix with burgers, salads, wings and adult beverages at Transmission Arcade and Bar on Main Street in Columbia. Relive your youth for a few hours with some classic arcade games and good food.
Transmission Arcade & Bar Menu
1712 Main Street, Columbia

More!

Lula Drake Wine Parlour

BONUS idea! Check out Lula Drake Wine Parlour. It’s the perfect spot for some wine, small plates, and good conversation.

Bring along a favorite game or deck of cards, you won’t be rushed!

Lula Drake Wine Parlour in Columbia, SC

Hot out there?

Here are 5 places to go for frozen cocktails in Columbia, SC

Frozen cocktails, Columbia, SC
Date night restaurants in Columbia, SC

Want Something More Traditional?

If a fine dining experience is more your thing: 16 Romantic Restaurants for Date Night in Columbia, SC

Free & Cheap Date Ideas: Columbia, SC

Looking for something less expensive? We get it. Family budgets are tight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun time out together.

  • The Melton Observatory is free to visit.
  • The South Carolina State Museum offers $1 admission on the first Sunday of every month.
  • The Columbia Museum of Art offers free admission on the first Thursday of every month.
  • In conjunction with the first Thursdays at the Columbia Museum of Art, you can also enjoy live music free at Boyd Plaza. Bring some snacks, or purchase something to eat at the on-site food trucks.
  • You can enjoy live music for free at several places throughout the capital city including parks and breweries. Check out Jazz on the River for free jazz concerts at West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater.
  • Grab a coffee and head out to enjoy the Soda City Market or any of Columbia’s Farmer’s Markets.

Where in Columbia, South Carolina do you like to go for date night?

Want more ideas? Plan a day trip!

It’s Winter! 20+ Things to Do in Columbia, SC

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You’re looking for things to do this winter in Columbia, SC? The holidays have come to an end, and January and February stretch out in front of you long and cold-ish and boring.

But, there’s so much to look forward to! The winter season offers lots of unique opportunities and things to do in Columbia. Plus, there are some seriously epic winter day trips nearby. You can read that as “Yes, there are day trips for snow tubing near Columbia, SC.” So, have no fear. We have loads of ideas to keep your winter lively and put a bounce in your step that’ll last all the way to Spring. The only thing you’ll have to do is figure out which Columbia, SC winter activity you want to do first!

Winter Activities to Do in Columbia, SC

Winter Planetarium Shows at SC State Museum

We love the South Carolina State Museum for its huge amount of exhibits and hands-on learning. In the winter, they offer a live sky planetarium show where your family can learn about the constellations, stars, and planets that make up Columbia’s winter sky. How cool is that!? Shows are about 30 minutes and should run through all of the cold months. Book your planetarium tickets Live Sky Tour online in advance if you want to be sure to get in at your chosen time!

Additional shows currently available at the Planetarium are Arora, Mars, James Webb Space Telescope and We Are Stars. You can book your tickets at the link above.

Dine-Out, Literally: Heated Outdoor Dining in Columbia, SC

We have ideas for great family restaurants in Columbia, and we also have a huge kids eat free list, but what restaurants let us dine outdoors no matter the weather?

Who has a heated outdoor dining space in Columbia, SC?

Restaurants with outdoor dining in Columbia, SC

Check out this list of heated outdoor dining options we found, or, if you’re bringing the kids along, here are a couple of restaurants and breweries from our big Columbia family restaurant list that also have heated outdoor dining!

Family-Friendly Heated Outdoor Dining in Columbia, SC

  • Home Team BBQ Classic BBQ with a kids’ menu, plus a patio with panels that keep it toasty.
    • Location: 700 Harden Street, Columbia, SC 29205 – 803.724.3900
    • Hours: Sunday through Friday from 11 am – 12 am (midnight)
      Saturday from 11 am to 2 am
  • Cantina 76  The Devine Street location offers a heated outdoor dining space and all the delicious Mexican-inspired cuisine you could hope for.
    • Location: 2901 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29205 – 803.708.6004
    • Hours: Sunday from 11 am – 9 pm, Monday – Wednesday from 11 am – 9:30 pm, Thursday – Saturday from 11 am – 10 pm
  • Steel Hands Brewing Co. Load up the kids for pretzels, sandwiches, and nachos around the fire pits outdoors at Steel Hands Brewing Co.
    • Location: 2350 Foreman Street, Cayce, SC 29033 – 803.708.9864
    • Hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 pm – 8 pm, Thursday from 3 pm – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 12 pm – 11 pm, Sunday from 10 am – 8 pm 
  • Upper Crust The Gourmet wood-fired pizza place is in the process of setting up dome dining for these cold winter months. The domes will be heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. They also serve brunch and offer “take and bake” pizzas if you prefer dining at home. Check back for official dome completion update!
    • Location: 843-4 Polo Road, Columbia
    • Hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am – 3 pm, Thursday from 10 am – 8:30 pm, Friday from 10 am – 9 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 8:30 pm and Sunday 10 am – 2:30 pm
  • Backstreets Grill of Columbia Enjoy the beautiful outdoor atmosphere here while dining on soup, salad, choice meats and seafood!
    • Location: 2400 Devine Street, Columbia
    • Hours: Monday – Friday 11 am – 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:30 am – 10 pm
  • Publico Kitchen + Tap Located in Five Points, Publico serves Latin-Asian inspired cuisine, craft beer, margaritas, tacos and Sunday Brunch. They have heaters on the patio as well as heated dome dining available for reservation. They also offer an extensive and festive mocktail menu, vegan menu and most uniquely, a VIP (Very Important Puppy) Menu – Yes, puppy menu! They have a menu specially for dining with your dog! The puppy portion sizes are served based on weight and all profit from the VIP menu go to help a local rescue.
    • Location: 2013 Greene Street, Columbia
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday 11 am – 10 pm
  • Publico at Bullstreet Features Latin-Asian inspired dishes including tacos, ramen, salads and sandwiches. They also offer a vegan and brunch menu plus the VIP Menu (Very Important Puppy) incorporates your dog as part of your family while dining here! They have heaters on their patio to keep you warm in these cold winter months!
    • Location: 2180 Boyce Street Suite A, Columbia
    • Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 am – 11 pm, Friday & Saturday 11 am – 12 am
  • BOKU Kitchen & Saloon Serves Pan-Asian cuisine and uses locally sourced ingredients. They have heaters on their outdoor patio to warm you up while you enjoy outdoor dining.
    • Location: 916 Gervais Street, Columbia
    • Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11 am – 10 pm Kitchen, 11 pm Bar
      Thursday & Friday 11 am – 11 pm Kitchen, 1 am Bar
      Saturday Brunch 11 am – 3 pm, Dinner 4 pm – 11 pm Kitchen, 1 am Bar
      Sunday Brunch 11 am to 3 pm, Dinner 4 pm – 10 pm, Kitchen, 11 pm Bar
  • Market on Main Voted 2023’s Best Place to Dine Outdoors, they have a Jumbotron TV outside, live music and offer dome dining on their outdoor patio! They allow your dog to dine with you on the outdoor patio and offer a variety of family friendly events throughout the year. Specializing in gourmet Americana cuisine, this restaurant provides an atmosphere the whole family, even Fido, will enjoy!
    • Location: 1320 Main Street #150, Columbia
    • Hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday & Wednesday 11 am – 10:30 pm, Thursday through Saturday 11 am – 12 am, Sunday 10:30 am to 9 pm

Parents: don’t forget to keep a close eye on kids around outdoor heaters and fireplaces. Both can get very hot and accidents can happen quickly!

Chase the Snow: Day Trips Snow Tubing and More

I know. We aren’t likely to see many snowflakes in Columbia. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t head out on one (or two) totally epic winter day trips and chase after that snow.

Snow Tubing Near Columbia, SC

Go skiing, go snowboarding, go snow tubing. You can do it all just a couple of hours away in Western North Carolina. You’ll want to start here: 13+ Places to Ski, Snowboard, and Snow Tube: North Carolina & Beyond

If snow tubing is your aim, check out Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC. We just visited and had a blast. It makes an amazing family day trip!

Sliding down in a tube at Black Bear Tubing
Black Bear Snow Tubing

Sledding: Where is there snow?

Last but not least, if you’d rather just go see some snow and maybe find a good hill to sled down, you are in luck. Load up that sled. Here are spots in Western North Carolina where you can sled and go play in the snow! from our sister site, Kidding Around Greenville.

Outdoor Ice Skating

Head up to the Whitewater Center in Charlotte for epic outdoor ice skating. They have several skating spaces and ice trails, it’s much more than an oval rink! Skating is open through mid-February. Find out all about it in our Whitewater Ice Skating Review!

Ice skating at Whitewater Center

Things to Do Inside

Have you seen our Indoor Guide to Columbia? It has all the ideas for family fun indoors.

This winter we recommend:

Children's Area in Richland County Libraries

The Weather is Beautiful: Go Outdoors

So, we may have to travel to see that snow, but that probably means things are looking pretty temperate and sunny out there, perfect for some outdoor winter activities. Columbia, SC has a whole heap. That means you can go for a hike or explore the zoo comfortably and not even break a sweat. Anyone who has been to the zoo in the middle of July knows what we’re talking about.

Free Winter Things to Do in Columbia, SC

Build projects with your kids for free at Home Depot. The Free Kids Workshops at Home Depot are awesome.

February 3rd, 2024: Valentine’s Basket
March 2nd, 2024: Butterfly house

Or, head to Lowe’s Home Improvement Store for their free kids’ kits. Here’s a sneak peek at January’s project. My First DIY Toolbox

Winter Events in Columbia, SC

Check out these winter-themed events happening over the winter months in Columbia. If you’re looking for more activities and events, don’t forget to check out our full Columbia events page.

 
Things to do Columbia, SC

Looking for more?

Don’t miss our huge list of things to do in Columbia, SC

Winter Break from School

Our winter break bucket list will fill that school break with lots of family fun.