Planning a day or long weekend in Columbia SC doesn’t have to break the bank. We’ve curated eight ways to fill your days in Columbia SC – for free! Combine this list with the multitude of kid-friendly dining in the region and you are set for your next adventure with the fam.  

  1. It doesn’t cost a dime to stroll Columbia’s Main Street and take in the sights of Soda City Market on Saturday mornings from 9am-1pm, where you and the kids are treated to 150 vendors including an array of art, local wares (and oodles of cute dogs walking by with their owners).  

  1. With three rivers running right through the heart the region, it may be a bit overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the region to determine which stretch of greenway will best fit the day’s itinerary. Thankfully the River Alliance offers a handy breakdown of exactly where to park and how to access free riverside recreation so you, your kids and your pets can explore 12 miles of options in the City of Columbia, West Columbia and the City of Cayce

  1. Savvy locals may have already heard that Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is offering free admission to residents in Richland + Lexington counties on Fridays during January and February of 2021. Time slot reservations are required. Not a resident? A couple visits to fall in love and you may be house hunting in the heart of SC before you know it.  

  1. Appeal to the stroller set and Instagram-savvy teens alike by letting them select several stops from One Columbia’s Public Art Directory. From interactive 3-D pieces for hands-on exploration to magnificent murals that make the perfect backdrop for an Insta story, choose from over 230 art pieces to curate your own personal art tour around the region.  

  1. No boat, no problem. A stroll across the Lake Murray Dam while visiting Dominion Energy Lake Murray Public Park offers picturesque lake view and the opportunity to place your own lock on the bridge. Picnic facilities and restrooms are available, too.  

  1. The Columbia Museum of Art offers Free First Thursdays (and extended hours!) from 10am-8pm courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. It’s an artful first stop to kick off a long weekend in the heart of South Carolina. Capacities are limited and reservations are suggested.  

  1. Whether you are on a serious college tour or not, the impressive University of South Carolina Horseshoe will have kids and parents alike dreaming of college days with dozens of gardens, monuments and historic buildings that can be found on this self-guided tour.  

  1. The 2.4 mile boardwalk situated just above the swampy floor of the Congaree National Park is a must-do for families with kids, as it’s stroller-friendly and virtually pout-proof.  The magnificent cypress trees, wildlife and natural setting provide learning – and fun – at every turn.  

What did we miss? Let us know how you and your family enjoy Columbia SC on the cheap!