Traveling to Columbia SC for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this March? Make the most of your weekend and the down time in between games as local entities show their spirit with a slew of basketball-themed events and specials being organized around town. Start forming your plans with our roundup below, but also be sure to check out for even more that’s going on in the real Southern hot spot all weekend long.

Cantina 76 | Carolina Ale House | Casual Pint | Columbia Craft | Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center | Columbia Museum of Art | Columbia SC Visitors Center | The Grand | Historic Columbia | Hunter-Gatherer | Liberty Taproom | Main Street | Nickelodeon Theatre | Pawleys Front Porch | Pearlz Upstairz | Publico | Riverbanks Zoo & Garden | River Rat Brewery | Robert Mills House & Gardens | Segra Park | The Senate | Steel Hands Brewing | Tin Roof | West Columbia Riverwalk 

Food & Beverage

Halftime Shootout at Pawley’s Front Porch 

March 19 – 24, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Come in and see if you have what it takes to earn a free appetizer for your table. During halftime of each game, one person will be selected from each table to participate in a shootout to win!

“Alley-Oop” Drink Special at Cantina 76

 March 20 – 24, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

A house margarita sets this cocktail up while a Corona topper finishes it off. And for only $6.25? Yeah, we call that a win.

Steel Hands Shootout at Steel Hands Brewery

March 21, 4 – 8 p.m. and March 23, 12 – 6 p.m.

Stop in to the area’s newest brewery for Free Throw Thursday and Deep Shot Saturday to show off your skills and potentially win some prizes.

Taco Tipoff & Bracket Buster Sunday Brunch at Publico

March 21, 22 & 24, 11 a.m.

There’s no such thing as too many tacos, so get your fill with special deals on two, five or ten tacos, plus sides, at Publico in Five Points. Bring it on back here for brunch on Sunday. You won’t be sorry!

Hoops & Hops at Liberty Taproom

March 21 – 24, 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Stay close to the action and head to Liberty for basketball food features, 72 different craft beers on tap and plenty of TVs for when you need to refuel. The party gets kicked up a notch on Saturday night with a DJ. 

Slam Dunk Craft Beers at The Casual Pint in the Vista

March 21 – 24, 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.

A bottle shop located within walking distance of Colonial Life Arena with 30 craft beers on tap for only $5 each? A slam dunk, indeed.

Single Elimination Tournament at Columbia Craft

March 21 – 24, 12 p.m.

Try some great local beer and vote on your favorite in a beer bracket tournament for a chance to win gift cards and brewery swag.

Tailgate at the Rat Cave at River Rat Brewery

March 20 – 24, 12 – 9 p.m.

Kick the whole weekend off with Wing Wednesday and Trivia Thursday, then keep coming back all weekend long with additional activities like outdoor inflatable basketball games, a River Rat beer bracket including a special release brewed specifically for the tournament, a one-on-one shootout challenge and a cornhole tournament.

Basketballs & Brews at Hunter-Gatherer Brewery at The Curtiss-Wright Hangar

March 21 - 24

Enjoy specials like “The Pick and Roll” – any pint or flight with a pizza for $12, “The Give and Go” – ½ off a growler of beer or “The Monster Dunk” – a flight, a pint AND a pizza for $15 at this local brewery nestled inside a revitalized historic airplane hangar. 

Play Hookie Thursday and Friday at Carolina Ale House

March 21 & 22, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Join 107.5 The Game at this sports bar in the Vista for their live remote show, plus all the food, drinks, TVs and rooftop views your heart desires.


Vista After Five at Tin Roof and The Senate

March 21, 5 p.m.

What’s better than a free outdoor concert? A free outdoor concert that’s just three blocks from the arena, of course. Get a taste of local life with this seasonal series that starts the whole weekend off right.

FREE Segra Fan Fest Experience at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

March 21, 12 – 8 p.m. and March 22, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Why contain a party into one day when you can keep it going into two? Located about as close to the games as you can get without actually being inside the arena, the CMCC will house games, a biergarten, live entertainment, food and more being presented by Segra all day(s) long. 

Basketball Beatz at Pearlz Upstairz Lounge

March 22, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Unwind from the action of the games with a handcrafted cocktail and live music.

Tip-Off Block Party at Tin Roof and The Senate

March 22 – 24, 11 a.m.

Feel right at home with this three-day-long block party. Live music on two stages pair with a tented Outdoor Basketball Village, as well as plenty of seating and games inside. Drop in whenever and as often as you can!

Boutique Bowling at The Grand

March 21 – 24, 11 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Spend time at The Grand, a boutique bowling alley on Main Street, throughout the weekend for special activities like sports trivia on Thursday, dueling pianos on Saturday and more.

Capital City Hoops and Music Fest at the corner of Main and Gervais Streets

March 23, 1 – 11 p.m.

Gather in front of the South Carolina State House for a free music festival featuring pop, hip-hop, country and rock artists. Participate in basketball-related games and activities, plus watch the tournament games being played elsewhere via video boards that will be onsite. What more could you want?

Hoops Fan Day on Main at Main Street

March 23, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Follow the energy to Main Street for a full day featuring Soda City Market, live music and special appearances from the Gamecock cheerleaders, Cocky and the pep band to keep you hyped.

WILD About Basketball at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

March 22 – 24, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Even the animals at Riverbanks Zoo are excited for the tournament! Come see special demonstrations, conservation efforts and more, all with a fun basketball spin.

Bluegrass, Bidding & BBQ at Robert Mills House & Garden

March 21, 7 – 10 p.m.

Spend the evening out in the spring air, sipping on specialty drinks, digging into some good ol’ Southern barbeque, listening to live music and scoring some silent auction items all on the grounds of one of Columbia’s historic houses. Pro tip – use code “bballCOLA” for $10 off the admission price. 

Arts & Culture

Inside the Paint at Columbia Museum of Art

March 21, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

It doesn’t have to be all bars and breweries this weekend! Change up the scenery at the newly-renovated Columbia Museum of Art, where you can partake in food, beer, live music and big screens boasting the games being played in other cities. Bonus – come back the next night for Arts & Draughts, the museum’s signature quarterly bash!

Historic House Tours – BOGO at Historic Columbia

March 21 – 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn a little about our city and its history with a historic house tour – or two! Present your tournament ticket stub and score a second tour at equal or lesser value for free.

Vista and Main Street Walking Tours at Columbia SC Visitors Center

March 22 – 24, varying start times

Join Historic Columbia for a walking history tour of the Vista and Main Street districts. Tours originate from the Columbia SC Visitors Center on the corner of Lincoln and Gervais Streets (hello, cool Columbia SC merch!) and tickets are BOGO with proof of a basketball ticket stub. 

Love & Basketball at Nickelodeon Theatre

March 23, 1 and 3 p.m.

You know it. You love it. You get sucked into it every time it’s on t.v. Now get swept up in the athleticism and romance of this film favorite with a couple special screenings at The Nick.

Tip-Off Movie in the Park Featuring “Hoosiers” at West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater

March 21, 7:45 – 10 p.m.

Catch this tale of redemption on a big screen set against the backdrop of the Congaree River and Columbia skyline.