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!
This article includes:
Winter Sky- Planetarium Shows
Snow tubing Columbia, SC: Find the snow day trips
Winter Things to Do Inside
Outdoor Things to Do in Winter: Columbia, SC
Free Things to Do in Winter
Winter Events 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 winter 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 mid-February. Book your planetarium tickets Live Sky Tour online in advance if you want to be sure to get in at your chosen time!
Also in January, look for the Penguins 4D show in the planetarium at the SC State Museum. Nothing says winter like waddling penguins.
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?
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 St., Columbia, SC 2920 Hours: Daily from 11 am – 12 am (midnight)
- 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 St., Columbia, SC 29205
- Hours: Sunday and Monday from 11 am – 9 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 am – 9:30 pm, Thursday – Saturday from 11 am – 10 pm
- River Rat Brewery The outdoor space at River Rat has heaters, so you can enjoy your beer of choice plus tacos, salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas together outside. If the weather is warm the kids can plan on the greenspace, too!
- Location: 1231 Shop Rd., Columbia, SC 29201
- Hours: Monday and Tuesday – Closed, Wednesday from 4 pm – 9 pm, Thursday from 4 pm – 10 pm, Friday from 3 pm – 10 pm, Saturday from 12 pm – 10 pm, Sunday from 11 am – 6 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 St., Cayce, SC 29033
- Hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 pm – 8 pm, Thursday from 4 pm – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 12 pm – 11 pm, Sunday from 10 am – 8 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!
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.
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:
- Skating: Whether you want to ice skate or roller skate you can do it in Columbia. Here’s where to skate in Columbia, SC.
- Bowling: It’s old-fashioned family fun and you can’t go wrong. Try one of these bowling alleys in Columbia, SC.
- See what’s happening at Richland County Libraries for families and kids! Try some crafts, story times, or maybe a game night!
- Go to the movies! Here are the 7 best movie theaters in Columbia, SC. Plus, we have some tips to save you money!
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. 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.
- Visit Riverbanks Zoo: The animals are likely to be more active in the cooler temperatures, and so are you.
- Go for a hike around the lake at Sesquicentennial State Park and breathe in that crisp fresh air.
- Toss the wagon in your trunk and bring the kids to one of Columbia’s Riverwalks to enjoy nature by the river.
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. January’s project is particularly perfect for winter!
January 7th, 2023: Snowball Game
February 4th, 2023: Valentine’s Vase
March 4th, 2023: Pinball Game
Or, head to Lowe’s Home Improvement Store for their free kids’ kits. They have an equally wintery project in January!
- January 21, 2023, Snowman Picture Frame
- February 11, 2023, Swan Note Holder (Valentine’s)
- March 18, 2023, Cardinal Garden Ornament
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.
Winter Break from School
Our winter break bucket list will fill that school break with lots of family fun.