No matter what team you're cheering for, here in Columbia SC you'll be treated to good old-fashioned kindness and outstanding tailgates. While it may seem like football and basketball take the front seat, Columbia is made for game days of all kinds. Check out these insider tips for a rollicking good time. 

Mustard-Based Barbecue

If it's your first visit to Columbia, our distinctive barbecue is a must for your trip. Pork smoked low and slow gets topped with our signature mustard-based sauce for a vinegary, sweet taste. This classic Southern fare can be found downtown at Doc's Barbeque, Bone-In Barbeque, and The Pot Smoker BBQ - just to name a few. If you're willing to travel just a bit, you can snag a plate at these local institutions: Farmboy's Barbeque in Chapin or Hudson's Smokehouse in Lexington, among others. For a twist on barbecue, try Southern Belly, a hideaway spot in Five Points serving barbecue sandwiches with unique toppings and sauces.


A healthy dose of homegrown breweries scatter Columbia's entertainment districts. Even though River Rat Brewery beer has become popular across the Southeast, they haven't forgotten where their roots are. Sit back and relax on their shaded patio, or grab a view of Williams-Brice Stadium from their rooftop. New to Columbia's brewery scene, Columbia Craft Brewing Co. and CottonTown BrewLab have quickly created a name for themselves among locals. If you don't have time to visit the taprooms (although we highly encourage it), you can find all of these in local restaurants scattered across the region. That's not all -- take in our full list of breweries here.

Pimento Cheeseburger

You may have tried a pimento cheeseburger somewhere else, but its creation comes from Columbia. The original Dairy Bar where the burger originated no longer exists, but it inspired must-try versions at Pawley's Front Porch (as featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives), Rockaway Athletic Club, and Henry's Grill and Bar


Did Someone Say Brunch?

For a hearty breakfast or a boozy brunch, start your day with these local hidden secrets: The Gourmet Shop (order up the chicken salad and you'll fit right in), Za's on Devine ($12 bottle of champagne with your juice of choice), and Yesterday's Restaurant & Tavern (look for the cowboy in the bathtub).


With so many places to choose from, the best wing place in Columbia is an ongoing battle. Publick House, D's Wings, The Pizza Joint - the list could go on. Whether you're a local, a competitor, or just along for the ride, all have a perfectly eclectic vibe that will make you feel like you're at home. Cozy up to the bars with a craft brew and a wing basket, or call ahead for an impressive tailgate addition. 

Farm-to-Table Dining

Dig into local ingredients for a fancier night out before the big game. Some favorites are Motor Supply Co. Bistro and Cola's Restaurant -- reservations highly suggested! Equally delicious are Bourbon and Mr. Friendly's New Southern Café (get to these early as they are first come, first served).

Award-winning attractions

If you have some extra time on your gameday getaway, while away a few hours at one of our award-winning attractions. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden and EdVenture Children's Museum are handy ways to get some energy out of the little ones. Impress your friends (or significant other) with your knowledge of art and history at Columbia Museum of Art or South Carolina State Museum. If you're a real history buff, take a self-guided tour of the South Carolina State House, or stop by Historic Columbia for a guided tour of Columbia's historic homes and gardens.