5 Reasons to Meet in Columbia, SC

In Columbia, South Carolina, tradition and tomorrow pair perfectly. As a creative hub that's fed by university and capital city communities, there is an uncanny spirit and vibrant energy that can be felt all around. It's a city where stately buildings buzz with new businesses and centuries-old sites give rise to fresh perspectives—all of this in the midst of surrounding natural beauty.

With an unexpectedly rich and diverse food and drink scene, festivals year-round, and plenty of local shopping, Columbia will leave you looking forward to what’s next—but only after your group has an experience that it will not soon forget. Fueled by grit, our city combines the best of old-fashioned Southern hospitality with modern amenities you’ve come to expect in this new era of doing business.

Discover the many hotels and unique venues that complement the 142,500-sq.-ft. Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. We know convenience counts, and you’ll find everything you and your attendees need, from technology to top service, in the heart of South Carolina. Come learn why our destination will fit your event’s needs.

1. Accessible & Affordable

Some things have changed over the past 18 months, but the desire for convenience is not one of them. We make things easy here, starting with interstates 77, 20, and 26 that run straight through downtown. There’s no need to worry about long commutes after flying in, either. Columbia Metropolitan Airport is a mere 15 minutes from the heart of the city.

Once attendees check in, they will love how easily they can access our attractions and amenities. Many restaurants, retail stores, and venues can be reached on foot. Guests can also catch a ride on the free Soda Cap Connector. The prices can’t be beat, and the connectivity in Columbia makes it a breeze to navigate the city.

2. Fit for Foodies

One thing is certain: Attendees will leave Columbia fuller than when they arrived. The Columbia food scene is buzzing with new and exciting restaurants popping up all the time, while seasoned chefs continue to marvel diners with their culinary creations. We cook up Southern comfort, but not only in the way you might expect. From pulled pork barbecue to pimento cheeseburgers to fine dining and authentic international cuisine, there’s an offering that’s sure to satisfy any attendee’s taste buds.

If you're in the capital city looking for unforgettable barbecue, you'd be remiss if you didn't stop by Home Team BBQ in Five Points. The War Mouth is another local favorite, mixing brews with ’cue. River Rat Brewery, Steel Hands Brewing, Lula Drake Wine Parlour, and Bourbon are great spots to unwind after long days of meetings.

3. Capital Attractions

Whether you are looking to while away a few hours at a museum or have your group get back to nature, it's hard to be bored in a city brimming with things to do (and at affordable prices to boot).

Enjoy a local Minor League Baseball game with the Columbia Fireflies; book an animal and zip lining adventure at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden; or give attendees a true sense of our city’s storied history and culture by visiting the historic house and garden district with guided tours from Historic Columbia.

Along the banks of the Congaree River, the South Carolina State Museum houses treasures from near and far, with something new to discover around every corner of the state-of-the-art facility. Boasting the largest and most comprehensive museum in the state, and the largest in the Southeast, the SCSM experience is one that will ignite your curiosity and leave you inspired.

Outdoor recreation is definitely in these days. Congaree National Park, Lake Murraykayaking and canoeing, and the Three Rivers Greenway will surely make a splash with those who love to fish, row, swim, or just lounge by the water. We all work too hard, so build in some team-building activities to rejuvenate your crew.

4. Classic Meeting Venues

Conventions and meetings will likely turn to the 142,000-sq.-ft. Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, which offers flexible meeting space and is within walking distance of more than 2,000 hotel rooms, including at Hilton Columbia CenterHyatt Place Columbia/Downtown/The Vista, and Aloft Columbia Downtown; more than 60 restaurants and nightlife options; shopping; and more.

Marriott Columbia, within walking distance of many downtown attractions and the University of South Carolina, is ideal for businesses and other meeting organizations. With 23,000 sq. ft. of flexible event space, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Columbia is the largest hotel event venue in the city. It has the adaptability to host intimate conferences in its executive boardroom or large receptions for up to 1,500 in the Congaree Ballroom. Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbia Greystone has 18,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a perfect size for corporate groups that will also be interested in boutique properties such as Graduate Columbia and Hotel Trundle.

5. Unexpected Venues

From rooftop bars to historic homes, Columbia has an array of venues that will surprise and delight meetings of every size.

Central Energy is one of Columbia’s most vibrant and versatile downtown event spaces, featuring more than 8,000 sq. ft., a modern aesthetic, and unique indoor-outdoor social areas. Formerly the central power plant for the old South Carolina State Hospital, this historic building has been carefully restored to be a thriving community hub and venue for a wide range of occasions. The industrial accents lend ambiance to corporate meetings, fundraisers and galas, rehearsal dinners, special events, and other gatherings.

Designed for baseball, concerts, soccer, football, and a host of other activities, Segra Park can seat 7,501 and hold 10,000 people for sporting events, and up to 15,000 for major outdoor concerts. With 16 luxury suites and a 7,000-sq.-ft. Club Lounge, Segra Park can host business meetings and off-site events. The venue is open 365 days a year and serves as a public park.

Savage Craft Ale Works is a veteran-owned beverage company that is committed to providing the highest quality products and an unparalleled experience. More than a landmark, the taproom is a unique gathering place featuring three distinct spaces.

Historic 701 Whaley Street offers several options and combinations of space to accommodate a crowd of 1,000 or an intimate group of 20. It is particularly popular for fundraisers, receptions, and galas.

Known for the exquisite ironwork adorning its exterior double piazzas and its intricate interior molding, The Lace House has become a site for meetings, weddings, parties, and gala events.

Columbia is brimming with reasons to bring your group to town. The unique experiences, Southern hospitality, and food are just a taste of what awaits you. But don’t take our word for it. See it for yourself!