The holiday season is here, meaning the weeks ahead are full of light displaysthemed pop-up bars and more markets than we can count, plus art, history and plenty of opportunities to support local businesses. Check out some of our suggestions below to get the most out of this special time of year and make memories with loved ones in the Heart of SC.

South Carolina Gingerbread House Competition & Exhibition at NoMa Warehouse | Dec. 1 – 2

Marvel at the extraordinary sugared and spiced architectural confections on display at NoMa Warehouse, carefully considering each one before voting for your favorite. Then, come back out the next night to find out who the winners are at the Competition Cocktail Party at Davis Architecture. 

Christmas Light Boat Parade on Lake Murray at Lake Murray Dam Public Park | Dec. 2

Start your day with the 70th annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade in the morning, but then come nightfall, stake out a spot along Lake Murray’s shore as decked-out boats float by, gleaming and glistening amidst the gentle waves. Stick around for a fireworks finale you won’t want to miss.

6 Year Anniversary Party at Columbia Craft Brewing Party | Dec. 2 

In between all the parades, carnivals and other festive events happening on this jam-packed Saturday, take a break to refuel over a cold pint. Enjoy live music, raffles, special beer releases and more in celebration of Columbia Craft’s six years in business. 

Melrose Art in the Yard at Melrose Heights | Dec. 3

Shop original works from nearly 100 artists and artisans against the historic backdrop of the Melrose Heights neighborhood. 

5 Year Anniversary Party at Steel Hands Brewing | Dec. 9

Another brewery milestone this month takes us over to Cayce, where Steel Hands is doing it up big with a full musical lineup across two stages, five new beer releases, a cookout and perhaps even a visit from ‘ol Kris Kringle himself.

Candlelight Tours at the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion | Dec. 9

Immerse yourself in the décor and historic traditions of holidays past, made all the more magical with a special evening tour illuminated by candlelight. A holiday market, live music authentic to the time period and children’s activities round out the experience. Be sure to catch a regularly scheduled Holiday House Tour before the end of the month, too!

The Champagne Bash at The Gourmet Shop | Dec. 9

Get gussied up and prepare for a positively effervescent evening spent sampling six different champagnes thoughtfully paired with specialty hors d’oeuvres and elevated stations like caviar, sushi, charcuterie, cheese and more. Clink, clink!

South American Wine Tasting at Hampton Street Vineyard | Dec. 9

Why should France, Italy, Spain and California get all the recognition when it comes to wine? Head over to Hampton Street Vineyard to learn about and familiarize yourself with the wines of South America during an experience led by advanced sommelier Jonathan Lopez. 

Holiday Parade of Lights at 12th Street | Dec. 9

Hop aboard the Holiday Business Shuttle and spend the afternoon supporting local establishments before settling in to watch the region’s largest holiday nighttime parade. The mile-long route begins on the Cayce side of 12th Street and moves right through to West Columbia. 

4th Annual Light Up NOMA Cookie Crawl at varying locations | Dec. 9

Bounce around between businesses along North Main and its adjacent streets, filling your cookie tin to the brim with freshly baked treats from each. Cap it all off with the NOMA Tree Lighting. And milk. You’re definitely going to need some milk. 

FA LA LA LA LA LA in Five Points | Dec. 10

November saw Devine Night Out and Vista Lights, so December is Five Points’ turn to twinkle. Pop on down to Columbia’s original village neighborhood for a family-friendly afternoon of horse-drawn carriage rides, sidewalk sales, pictures with Santa, a hot chocolate bar and live caroling performances. 

Snowball Festival Carnival at Icehouse Amphitheater | Dec. 16 

This festive affair is fun for the whole family. Spend the day enjoying carnival rides, face painting, balloon artists and food options from local vendors as you imagine yourself amidst a winter wonderland. Then come back again later in the week for special screenings of The Grinch and The Santa Clause.

Jazz with Mark Rapp: Swing, Santa, Swing at Columbia Museum of Art | Dec. 17

Sip on some beer, wine or a specialty holiday cocktail, sit back and enjoy as Mark Rapp and his fellow musicians put their signature jazzy spin on classic Christmas songs. 

Shoutout to Swingin’ Holidays at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College | Dec. 17

For more finger-snapping, toe-tapping tunes, the SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble is presenting a big band holiday performance that’s sure to get you into the snazzy spirit. 

Home for the Holidays at Koger Center for the Arts | Dec. 21

A delight for the senses, this show features a harmonious blend of music and theatre as the SC Philharmonic, four guest vocalists and The Columbia Repertory Dance Co. come together to celebrate the season and create a new holiday tradition for you to enjoy. 

Chaye Alexander Presents A Soulful New Year’s Eve Party at Chayz Lounge | Dec. 31

Close out the year at the type of soiree as only Chayz Lounge knows how to throw. Now in its sixth year, ChaVonne Campbell & Tre’Sounds band will be there to play all your favorite hits and have you dancing long after the ball drops.

This is just a sampling of the many festive events coming your way. If you’d like to have your holiday event listed on our calendar of events, please complete this form.