What better way is there to close out your year than with a trip to Columbia SC? Soak up all the holiday feels, check out some exhibits or snag tickets to some fun concerts all month long. Keep reading for our roundup below, then click through our calendar of events for everything else going on in the real Southern hot spot!


From big-name artists to student showcases to even getting your own 15 minutes of fame, everyone has a moment in the spotlight this month. Head to Colonial Life Arena to see Ariana Grande put on a show that’s sure to wow on her Sweetener World Tour or warm up your own vocal cords for Karaoke Night at The Main Course. For those about to rock, you must be planning to attend America’s AC/DC Thunderstruck or Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ at The Senate. Croon along to country hits with Colter Wall at The Senate and Caleb Lee Hutchinson at Tin Roof. Calling all Dancing Queens and Super Troupers – The Neon Queen: Alternative ABBA Live takes the stage at New Brookland Tavern. Bring the laughs to Comedy Zone at The Main Course or battle it out at Dueling Pianos. Give a round of applause for UofSC Dance: Student Choreography Showcase or welcome longtime performers at Columbia Baroque Concert: “Lo, How a Rose” at UofSC School of Music. 


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Exhibits and Experiences

Use some of your extra holiday down time this month to explore our various museums. Catch Van Gogh and His Inspirations or plan an outing with the kids for Art Class: 2D Portfolio Building for Teens at the Columbia Museum of Art. Learn about nature and outer space with Reflections on the River and Apollo 50: Journey to the Moon at the South Carolina State Museum. The McKissick Museum on the UofSC Horseshoe offers free admission to see Thank You! Love, McKissick, Abstract Art from the Permanent Collection and Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection, or you can catch Nature of Winter with Rudy Mancke.


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‘Tis the Season

In case you missed our holiday guide, here’s an additional rundown of all the holiday happenings going on in December.

Grab some hot chocolate and gather up your family and friends to stroll or drive through the dazzling installations at Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Sholas Park or Carolina Lights at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds

The celebrations are plentiful this month. Head to Lexington for Snowball Festival 2019 featuring a Christmas Craft Fair, Tree Lighting and Carnival, and Parade. Speaking of parades, you won’t want to miss the 66th Annual Carolina Carillon Parade as it makes its way down Gervais Street or the Cayce-West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights.

It’s not the holidays without food and drinks! Dig in to the After Thanksgiving Crabfest at Swamp Cabbage, have Breakfast with Santa, mix and match at River Rat Brewery’s annual Christmas Cookie and Beer Pairing, sample your way through Tacos, Tequila and Tacky Sweaters 2019, get festive the Five Points way with shopping and dining during A Starry Night or go the distance during the 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl.

Journey to the past with Historic Columbia’s Historic Holiday Tours and Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides.

Let every child have the chance to visit EdVenture during the 5th Annual Night Before Christmas.

Meander through more than 200 different nativity displays alongside live music and refreshments at Sights & Sounds of the Nativity at Reformation Lutheran Church.

Test your knowledge on everything from Scrooge and The Grinch to George Bailey and Ralphie at Holiday Movie Trivia at Tin Roof.

Settle in for a holiday special holiday show or performance! Delight the kids with an outing to see Disney’s Frozen Jr at Town Theatre, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at Icehouse Amphitheater, Columbia Children’s Theatre Presents: Santa Claus The Musical at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College or the Polar Express 4D Experience at the South Carolina State Museum.

See some of your favorite holiday films – White Christmas, This Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Friday After Next, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street – during the Holly Jolly Hollywood Series at Nickelodeon Theatre.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to join Clara on her many adventures this season with Carolina Ballet: The Nutcracker at Township Auditorium or Columbia City Ballet Presents The Nutcracker at Koger Center for the Arts.

Hum along to all your favorite carols performed in a myriad of ways at Sounds of Christmas at Shandon Baptist Church, Jingle Bell Jazz: Boogaloo Christmas at Trustus Theatre, 4th Annual Dysfunctional Family Christmas at New Brookland Tavern, Caribbean Christmas Concert, S.C. Philharmonic Holiday POPS and Jim Brickman – A Christmas Celebration 2019 at Koger Center.

Broadway in Columbia takes the stage for the Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular. Just down the street at Trustus Theatre, a cozy production of Miss Bennet, Christmas at Pemberley will have you filling in the holes after the events of Pride & Prejudice took place. 

Cross everything off your shopping list (and find a little something for yourself, as well!) at the Cayce Arts Guild Holiday Market, Junior League Holiday Market, the 35th Annual Jamil Craft Show or the Sustainable Holiday Market.

Get in a workout amidst all the holiday hubbub. Go for a new PR at the Jingle Bell Run, Ugly Holiday Sweater 5K or Cold Winter’s Day 5K. Or get in a good stretch at Ugly Christmas Sweater Yoga at Columbia Craft.

Start 2020 surrounded by loved ones at Famously Hot New Year featuring headliner Salt-N-Pepa, Gin & Jazz: A Swinging New Year’s Eve at the Arcade Building, the 6th Annual New Year’s Eve Private Party at Bourbon or at an early celebration with the kids at EdVenture’s New Year’s Eve at Noon. 


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Local Favorites

But wait, there’s more! Non-holiday-focused community events this month include First Thursday on Main, Soda City Market, the State Street Art Crawl, a Pacific North West Wine Dinner at City Roots, the Carlisle Street Art Stroll and the One Year Anniversary Party at Steel Hands Brewing. We’ll see you there!