All You Need to Know to Kick Off the New Year in Columbia, SC
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 12:05 PM by Dayna Cantelmi
From finding the perfect hotel and picking the right New Year's Eve celebration to spending the rest of the weekend exploring the region's restaurants and attractions, we have everything you need to start 2016 off right in Columbia!
Famously Hot New Year
Welcome to the largest, FREE New Year's Eve celebration in South Carolina! Be one of the tens of thousands of people from all over the world who will ring in the new year at the base of the South Carolina State House. This family-friendly event attracts people of all ages and offers a little something for everyone.
- Rides, games, face painting and more await you and the kids at the WOW New Year's Eve Carnival.
- Work up an appetite gliding around the rink at Main Street Ice set up in Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.
- Vendors will be selling food, soft drinks, beer, wine and champagne. Have a seat in the Comfort Zone to rest your legs and enjoy the scenery as you eat.
- Sports fans will appreciate access to large screen monitors playing the college football bowl games throughout the evening.
- Beginning at 7 p.m., live entertainment will be provided by Dead 27s, ColorBlind and SUSTO leading up to Grammy Award-winning artist Ms. Lauryn Hill taking the stage as our national headliner!
- Our Mayor Steve Benjamin will lead us in the countdown to midnight just before the largest New Year's Eve fireworks display in the Carolinas lights up the night sky behind the State House.
- Bonus! Free WiFi will be available, making it easy to share your memories with loved ones on social media.
Parties for all ages will happen across the region! Stay tuned here for updates as events are announced.
- Bourbon's New Year's Eve Party
- Celebrate New Year's Eve at The Oak Table
- New Year's Eve 2016 at Le Cafe Jazz
- EdVenture Children's Museum's New Year's Eve at Noon
- New Year's Eve Bash at Flying Saucer
- New Year's Eve Bash at Rosso Trattoria Italia
- New Year's Eve Masquerade Party at The Woody
- New Year's Eve Party at Bill's Music Shop & Pickin' Parlor
Things to Do
Now that you've celebrated the dawn of a brand new year, stay through the weekend and get to know Columbia!
Your first meals of the year are sure to be great ones.
• For sophisticated, seasonal fare and creative craft cocktails, stop in to Motor Supply Co. Bistro or Terra for a dining experience you won't soon forget.
• For a more laid back atmosphere and food you'll continue to crave after you've gone back home, check out The Southern Belly BBQ for innovative barbecue sandwiches or Publico Kitchen & Tap for Asian fusion tacos that will invigorate your taste buds.
• What's a weekend getaway without Sunday brunch? DiPrato's, The Gourmet Shop and Café Strudel are just a few of the many exceptional options in Columbia at which to have the most important meal of the week!
• If you're craving something sweet, Silver Spoon Bake Shop is the place for towering cakes and the softest cookies around, while Sweet Cream Co. makes all of their ice creams in house and aren't afraid to push the envelope with flavors you couldn't even imagine in your wildest dreams.
• Wash this all down with an ice cold pint from one of our three breweries - Conquest, River Rat or Swamp Cabbage.
While in town, be sure to visit some of our world class attractions!
• Spend some time marveling at the animals and beautiful botanical gardens at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
• Jump into a day of discovery at the South Carolina State Museum.
• Take a stroll through the galleries at the Columbia Museum of Art, currently displaying a Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit that highlights the time she spent in Columbia in her youth.
• Let the kids explore EDDIE, The World's Largest Child at EdVenture Children's Museum.
• Take a brisk walk through nature at Congaree National Park, open 24/7 with no admission fee!
• On Saturday, learn about Columbia's rich history by taking tours of preserved properties with Historic Columbia or going on a free guided tour of the South Carolina State House.
New year, new look! Hit up some of our local boutiques and start the year in style.
• Brittons has the dapper duds for every sharp-dressed man.
• LaRoque, Scout and Molly's and Pink Sorbet are popular shops for fashion-loving ladies.
• Bring something back for your friends and family! Peruse Soda City Market, Nest or The Cotton Mill Exchange in the South Carolina State Museum for South Carolina goods and products.
A number of Columbia hotels offer hot deals for New Year's, including Famously Hot New Year's official host hotel, the Columbia Marriott. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott Columbia Northeast, Inn at USC and SpringHill Suites are also offering discount packages, so plan ahead to take advantage of these great deals and feel free to stay a while!
Parking and Transportation
Getting around an unfamiliar city can be a stressful task, but have no fear! Here are some options to help make your New Year's Eve travel nice and easy:
- The downtown city parking garages are free of charge after 4 p.m. on Dec. 31st. Spots are limited, so we suggest carpooling, if possible.
- You can purchase a $3 COMET unlimited ride pass. Twelve routes will run throughout the Midlands from 6 a.m. Dec. 31st to 1 a.m. Jan 1st. You can also choose to park and ride from six different locations around town.
- Should you decide to leave your car downtown for the night, get home safely with an Alert Cab. The first $10 of your fare is free of charge!
Want to celebrate 2016 at Famously Hot New Year with the whole family? Enter to win a getaway for four, including hotel, restaurants and coolPass tickets!