With three rivers, a national park, Lake Murray, an abundance of neighborhood parks and walking/hiking trails galore, there’s no shortage of outdoor fun in Columbia SC. But some days, there aren't enough raincoats in the world to get you to hang outside (we see you, afternoon showers ☔️)... and we feel you. Relax and enjoy some good old-fashioned kindness from the company you came with + the company you’re sure to meet with these seven indoor activities in Columbia SC.
A little precipitation doesn’t have to cancel your Friday night plans, bring your competitive spirit and duke it out at this gem on Main Street. A seven-lane, boutique bowling alley equipped with lush couches for you and your squad to relax between rolls. Don’t fret, they have the ability to put bumpers up for those individuals that warmed up with some liquid courage or just need a little moral support.
Pro tip: Reserve a lane online before you go. After basking in your victory, try something a little more low-key like Jenga, checkers or shuffle board.
Celebrate your win and head downstairs to the Robinson Room. Desserts and craft cocktails await in this cozy lounge.
Just a skip down from The Grand sits Nickelodeon Theatre. This old-fashioned, art house movie theatre, affectionately called 'The Nick' by locals, maintains its classic Hollywood glamour with updated amenities and contemporary art. An epicenter for indie films, big picture hits and special events, this local favorite is shaking up the traditional catch-a-flick experience. With two small theatres, you get a more intimate experience with better prices. Indulge in a glass of vino, a beer, or a soda + some popcorn and candy to make this experience extra special.
Also on bustling Main Street, the Columbia Museum of Art often serves as the headquarters for the creative set. Leave the rain behind and explore the countryside of Giverny, France when you witness the work of Monet, part of the museum’s permanent collection. When here, you’ll be transfixed by the eclectic collections and can’t help but spend a few hours perusing the rotating national exhibits and community gallery. Past exhibits have included works from Andy Warhol to Salvador Dali to life-size sculptures from Auguste Rodin. Be sure to check the museum's events calendar before you go if you want to catch a gallery tour for some behind-the-scenes intel. Selfie with the can’t-miss Chihuly chandelier or it didn’t happen.
Steeped in history and character, the South Carolina State Museum is located in an old textile mill, cozied up next to the river, and on the edge of The Vista. It’s hard to be bored with four floors of interactive exhibits that are dedicated to the history of South Carolina, art, science and technology. Soak up the learning in the Boeing Observatory or Planetarium, then sit back and enjoy a 4-D short movie that’s sure to throw in a dash of excitement. Before you go, make a pit stop at Cotton Mill Exchange—a gift store that holds everything from home décor, to jewelry, to gourmet food. Be sure to keep an eye out for rotating events, one of our personal favorites? Having a thrilling good time at Friday Night Laser Lights: Michael Jackson.
If you have a few kiddos on your hands, pop across the parking lot from the South Carolina State Museum and take your crew to EdVenture, the largest children’s museum in the Southeast. Here you’ll run into Eddie, “the world’s largest 10-year-old boy.” Eddie serves as a 40-ft. tall educational jungle gym for the little ones. Climb inside to see how his heart works and see if you can catch what he had for lunch. Among other exhibits, the whole family can learn how to cook with a real chef, practice as a newscaster or meteorologist, and take control of the captain’s seat in a flight simulator. Now, go home and put the youngsters (and yourself!) to rest. Trust us, you will all be tuckered out by the end of this jam-packed trip.
You’ll find all manner of characters at Trustus Theatre in The Vista. This award-winning professional theatre has a laid-back attitude with a show lineup that looms large, ranging from comedy to thought-provoking productions. Cozy up in this intimate setting with complimentary popcorn and a bar. Make a mental note to check their upcoming shows and plan a date night, a night with your besties, or an artsy night to yourself.
Beer tour anyone? While many of the stops on Columbia’s beer scene are known for their patios, sometimes it’s best to stay closer to the bar for convenience and cool air. After all of your travels in The Vista, duck into Twisted Spur Brewing where you can see the beer being brewed behind the bar. Since you’re already in the area take a visit to Columbia Craft Brewing Co. Its insides are donned with local artwork, and its beer glasses are totally Insta-worthy. If you can’t tell by now, we feel that a little inclement weather doesn’t have to ruin that Friday-night fun. Take a free tour of the brewhouse, production facility, and learn about the story that is Steel Hands Brewing. Weekend tours are first-come-first served with a maximum of 12 people. So, get your friend who is always fashionably late to put a little pep in their step. Check out a whole list of beer stops in our Bites + Brews guide—guaranteed to make any rainy weekend a little sunnier.
Stay indoors show your kids your skills and teach them the ropes of some classic games at Transmission Arcade on Main Street. With vintage versions of Ms. Pacman and Mortal Kombat, everyone will be high score obsessed. If pinball is your game, make your way to Five Points for an evening of fun at Bang Back Pinball.