If you take the time to stop for just a moment + look around while exploring Columbia SC, you will find that the capital city of South Carolina is bursting at the seams with unexpected energy and beauty on every corner. We know you’ll want to document every magical moment of your trip (it is 2017, after all), so let’s cut to the chase. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Instagram-worthy spots and sites in town—guaranteed to give you all the feels + all the likes. #Winning
Perhaps the most well-known of Columbia landmarks, the SC State House sits glowing with elegance at the peak of Main Street. The colorful surrounding landscaping, vast columns and iconic dome all add to the building’s splendor. We encourage you to explore the building from all angles—even bird’s eye view if you can get your hands on a drone—to fully take in the expert architecture. Want to be especially blown away? Stand on Main Street at dusk and watch the State House slowly light up as the sun sets.
Feel like taking a riverside stroll? The West Columbia Riverwalk, 4.5 Acres of the Three Rivers Greenway, boasts an easy, half-mile path that can accommodate visitors of all abilities—and your pup can tag along, too! Bring a picnic basket filled with local cheese, artisan bread + colorful fruits and vegetables for the riverside, al fresco lunch of your Instagram dreams.
Recently, locals of Columbia SC have been quite literally painting the town—covering the sides of buildings and alleyways with electric, vibrant murals. Each mural is uniquely distinct from the next—from an old-fashioned diner setting, filled with animals like polar bears and horses as patrons, to a geometric painting with one of SC’s mottos engraved. So, put on your favorite outfit and go exploring, because all the murals in town are sure to impress (as the backdrop for your photo, of course).
Each Saturday morning, Main Street comes alive with the smells, sites + bites of the beloved Soda City Market. Handcrafted treasures, artisan food products and produce of every variety and color fill booths lining the street—and Columbia locals + visitors alike can’t get enough. Snap a photo of a cute puppy (trust us, they’re everywhere), a busker making beautiful music in the traffic median or your delicious food-truck treat held in the air for the perfect photo of your Soda City Saturday.
For many locals, the Gervais Street Bridge is the landmark they look for before saying “I’m home” after a long trip. Take a run across the bridge to watch the sky turn to strawberry sorbet at sunset. Float down the Congaree and admire the details of the bridge up close. Or just sit on the riverbank and snap pictures of the Columbia skyline on the horizon. Regardless if you’re on the bridge, under it or simply admiring it from afar, the sites are guaranteed to be breathtaking.
What’s worthier of your Instagram feed than sailboats on the Lake at sunset? We’ll wait. Vast and striking Lake Murray is consistently picturesque—whether you’re under the bright South Carolina sun or the glow of a full moon. Oh, and did you know that Lake Murray actually has a Love-Lock bridge (yes, like in Paris) on the dam? Well, what are you waiting for?
Wide-eyed river otters, exotic elephants and gorillas basking in the sun all add to the delight of a day spent at Riverbanks Zoo. Our absolute favorite part? Feeding the painfully adorable giraffes their lunch of romaine lettuce leaves. These cuties are not camera shy in the slightest, and will surely stick their tongues out for the perfect shot. Make sure to stop by the botanical gardens, too, for even more color and beauty.
The Congaree, Broad and Saluda rivers all intersect in Columbia SC—where all things urban meets the great outdoors. Cool off on a summer day + head to the river with a packed cooler and paddle in hand. If you’re feelin’ lazy, opt for a tube instead of a kayak and float your way down the river. Bring a bag to protect your phone—for the photo, of course!
South Carolina’s only national park is an easy 30-minute drive from downtown Columbia. Congaree National Park has the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the Southeast. Quaint bridges, winding trails and seemingly mile-long trees surround you—all adding to the experience + practically begging to be your subject.
From crawfish boils and a rosé festival to harvest dinners and pig roasts, attending Farm-To-Table events at South Carolina’s first urban farm, City Roots, is sure to make your Instagram feed #goals. Handcrafted place settings at the community tables adds to the nigh, with fields of seasonal harvests as your backdrop.
Looking for more #RealColumbiaSC travel inspo? Check out our Instagram.