Fall Game Days in Columbia
No matter what school you're cheering for, here in Columbia SC you'll be treated to good old-fashioned kindness. And fall doesn't mean just football around here. Because Columbia is home to multiple universities, we're lucky enough to have our football with a side of soccer, just a few miles away from one another.
With quintessential Southern food and top-notch tailgates, game days become full-fledged weekends for locals and visitors alike. Not sure where to start? We've got you covered with some pro tips and tricks around town to keep you and your loved ones having fun all weekend, especially as you cheer your team onto victory. Visiting a game as an alumni? Don't forget to brush up on your USC knowledge beforehand to show off those tour guide skills with our iconic landmarks blog. Be sure to check Gamecock Sports for timely updates on game day protocol before you throw on your lucky jersey and head to the stadiums.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GAME DAYS IN COLUMBIA SC:
How else can I be a part of the action if I don’t have a ticket to the game?
You don’t need a ticket to the game to experience the energy and spirit that is a Columbia SC game day. From tailgates, to sports bars with endless big screens, to breweries with fans cheering from sunny patio spots, there are countless places around town to catch the big game and grab a bite of something Southern and delicious.
What are some fun things to do in Columbia SC while I'm in town for the game?
With more things to do than hours to do them, there's no shortage of options for how you can spend your time outside of the game. Visit our highly-recognized attractions like Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina State Museum, Historic Columbia and EdVenture or spend an afternoon shopping and exploring our bustling districts. If you're trying to get away from the crowds and cool off, take a float down the Congaree River or get lost in your thoughts hiking through Congaree National Park. You might have come for the game, but with everything else there is to do here, you'll be coming back to visit during the off-season.
What can I bring into Williams-Brice Stadium?
Williams-Brice Stadium follows a clear bag policy and guests are allotted one bag inside the stadium. Permitted bags include, clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and does not exceed 12" x 6" x 12" - a logo no larger than 4.5" x 3.4" can be displayed on one side of a permissible clear bag. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag, such as a Ziploc bag or similar. Small clutch bags, with or without a handle or strap, that do not exceed 4.5" x 6.5," approximately the size of a hand. If a bag is a medical necessity it will need to be reviewed and inspected at West Premium Gate 21, Southeast Gate 55 and East Gate 81.
Outside food, coolers, cups and cans are prohibited inside. Leave them at the tailgate!
What is the weather like in downtown Columbia SC?
Summer in South Carolina can last until mid-October. We're used to warm temperatures here so expect high 80s - low 90s for those August games and mid to low 80s for the September games. We suggest sunscreen, a handheld fan, and to stay hydrated. Before you know it fall will be here and those night games can get pretty chilly. Temperatures are tamer this time of year, get comfortable with temperatures in the 60s. The last few games of the season be sure to pack a scarf and potentially some gloves. Pro tip: grab hot chocolate on the way to your seat.
Are you forever to thee? Pack your schedule full of Gamecocks athletics. Get comfortable at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium to cheer on the men and women's soccer teams, catch a game by viewing the men's schedule here and the women's here. And if you're ready for some Beamer Ball, you'll want to plan your visit to Columbia early, pick which game (or all) you'll be attending by viewing the 2023 football schedule.
The Allen University Yellow Jackets have four home games this season. Start planning your tailgate snacks and follow their 2023 schedule.
Don your purple and catch a game to cheer on the Tigers from Benedict College. Check out their football schedule and make your plans to visit Charles W. Johnson Stadium.
Check Gamecock Sports for any updates and information regarding tailgating for the upcoming 2023 football season.
Parking can be a bit overwhelming if it's your first time in Columbia for a football game. If you don't have an official spot through the University, don't fret. There are several parking lots near Williams-Brice Stadium that are first-come, first-serve and usually range from $20 - $40 per car. Pile in with some friends, but don't forget the breakfast biscuits and sweet tea.
If you're driving you and your buddies to reminisce at a Gamecock soccer game, directly across the street from Eugene E. Stone III Stadium is a free parking garage accompanied by free street parking.
Need a little more guidance? Check out these tips from USC Athletics.
No tickets? No problem. Watch in suspense, celebrate the victory, or mourn the loss with the entire gang at one of our many sports bars. Follow the locals to Thirsty Fellow for pizza and cold beer, or try somewhere walkable from the stadium like J's Corner. They’ve got outdoor games, tons of screens, and can handle a table full of cheering fans - order the Gamecock for good measure. Mosey on over to Main Street for some more options. You’ll find plenty of screens, and arcade games at boutique bowling alley, The Grand.
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. Adding to Columbia's brewery scene, Columbia Craft Brewing Co. and Steel Hands Brewery are some of the most popular among locals. If you don't have time to visit the taprooms (although we highly encourage it), you can find both of these in local restaurants on tap across the region. That's just scratching the surface - take in our full list of breweries here.
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. Try classic plates close to the stadium at Doc's Barbeque or venture out to Farmboy's Barbeque, among others. Grab a table at Home Team BBQ, known not only for having big enough plates to share with the whole team, but for their drink the "game-changer." Trust us, it is a game changer.
With a dip or dish at almost every restaurant in the capital city, pimento cheese is kind of a big deal around here. It's a true taste of the South using a variety of cheeses - each dish with its own secret recipe. The best way to try it? The Pimento Cheese Passport.
Did someone say brunch? Make the day after game day better by picking a spot for a hearty breakfast or a boozy brunch. Some local secrets: The Gourmet Shop (order up the chicken salad and you'll fit right in), Za's on Devine ($12 mimosa kits), and Market on Main (Instagram-worthy outdoor seating).