In case you haven’t heard, Columbia SC is the place to be this April. The magical return of warm, Spring weather brings with it a full schedule of festivals, concerts and outdoor activities. Check out our roundup below, click through our calendar of events and come experience the real Southern hot spot for yourself!
Fest 👏 i 👏 vals
Buckle up, folks – we’re not joking when we say that Festival Fever strikes Columbia each April. The 2018 Indie Grits Festival is back and bigger than ever with more than 30 concerts spread out over the 4-day event and 53% of this year’s film submissions coming from female filmmakers. Don’t miss Friday and Saturday Night Music, Sunday Dinner: Indie Grits Festival Finale or Love, Grits & Hip-Hop in conjunction with the Love, Peace & Hip-Hop Festival. Speaking of which, 2018 World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day will hail the queens of hip-hop with female performers and headliner MC Lyte. Keep the music going with a roster of live music from Southeastern bands performing on the banks of the Congaree River at the eighth annual River Rocks Festival. Then, take home everything from classics to collectibles at the 11th Annual Greater Columbia Record Fair.
Welcome a couple new festivals to the scene this year. Our very own Columbia Food and Wine Festival makes its debut with samples from more than 40 area restaurants (plus various breweries and wineries, too!), chef showdowns, cooking demonstrations and more. Additionally, the Back to the Roots Festival at City Roots is the first of its kind in Columbia. Partake in cooking classes and yoga, shop for crafts, learn more about heirloom agriculture and sip on some craft beer or wine.
Explore new cultures at the Columbia International Festival and Taste of Africa Festival. Get your fill of food truck fare at the 4th Annual South Carolina Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival. Take a seat at a table set up right in the middle of Main Street and dine on a meal prepared by some of Columbia’s top culinary talent at the Main Street Harvest Dinner.
Hop on a free, self-guided tour of more than 70 artists’ workspaces and studios during the eighth annual 701 CCA Presents: Columbia Open Studios (be sure to check out the Preview Party, too). Crawl from gallery to gallery and enjoy the whimsy of the Light & Lantern Parade through the Lincoln Street Tunnel for Artista Vista. The second annual Soiree on State has joined forces with the Cayce Festival of the Arts to bring an expanded selection of featured artists, musicians, food and more!
Saturdays are for the dogs at Bark to the Park 2018 – and don’t forget to unleash some fun at Dog’s Night Out at Mast General Store the night before! Connect with strong women during the ultimate “Girls Day Out” at the Capital City Women’s Expo.
Pop over to Lexington for the It’s All About Herbs Annual Herb Festival, where you can partake in a plant sale while enjoying samples and snagging recipes for later. Then, the Northeast is calling with a weekend full of family fun by way of a parade, rides, games, exhibits and even a cow milking contest at the Sparkleberry Country Fair.
Fresh Air and Fitness
Get to work on that summer bod with Bubbles and Bungee at FIT Columbia, the See Spot Run 5K, Yoga & Beer at Conquest Brewery or the Spring Into Sesqui 5K. Rule the roads on Devine Street for Open Streets Columbia – an afternoon promoting physical activity and connecting with the community. Or, if you just want to get out and enjoy the sunshine, kick back with America’s favorite pastime with some Gamecock Baseball at Founders Park or the return of Columbia Fireflies Baseball. #swingbatterbatter
These recurring events are local favorites and provide the perfect snapshot of life in Columbia SC to visitors. Kick things off with First Thursday on Main for an enchanting evening of food, music and shopping specials in the bustling downtown district. Thursdays also bring the City Roots Farmers Market, where local produce and craft beer are plentiful. Speaking of farmers markets, be sure to stop by Soda City Market each Saturday on Main Street for a morning full of buskers, food vendors, handmade products and all the cute dogs. Don’t let the Monday Blues impede on your Sunday – get your brunch on while taking in breathtaking river views at Brookland Brunch, then clink your glasses to another great weekend during Sunday Funday at River Rat Brewery. Head to City Roots for the April Harvest Dinner – the monthly, four-course, family style meal prepared and served right on the farm. Spring also means the return of a couple of our favorite (and free!) concert series – CMC Rhythm on the River and Vista After Five.
Catch a Show
Much like our festival lineup, there’s nary a day in April that isn’t filled with a live performance of some kind. Let’s talk concerts. Acts this month include Drake Bell & Tryon, The Avett Brothers, Men of Distinction and Finesse, Spring Fest 2K18: Yo Gotti, Plies & Jacquees, Satisfaction, and Symphonic Winds Concert: “Stage and Screen.” Fancy a trip to the theatre? Catch “Motown the Musical", Fun Home at Trustus Theatre, The Neighborhood Barbershop Live, Sense and Sensibility at Drayton Hall Theatre, “RENT”, and the World Famous Popovich PET Theatre. Get ready to laugh – Colonial Life Arena will welcome both Martin Lawrence and Jeff Dunham this month. Dance it out with the 13th Annual Ballet Stars of New York Gala Performance and Cinderella (Ballet). Earn brownie points with the kiddos at Disney on Ice Presents Dream Big.
The More You Know
Grab your walking shoes and get to learning with the Historic USC Walking Tour, Moonlight Cemetery & Secrets from the Grave Tours or a South Carolina State House Tour. Check out a couple new exhibits around town this month – Fletcher Williams III: Traces and Keith Tolen Presents “MaskorRaid” at Anastasia & Friends Gallery. Well Suited: The Costumes of Alonso V. Wilson for HBO’s Treme is still going strong at McKissick Museum, so stop in and appreciate the gorgeous costumes, sketches and behind-the-scenes photography. Create your own exhibit space at home by picking up some props and graphics from past exhibits at the Museum Yard Sale at South Carolina State Museum.