Named after the explorer Christopher Columbus, the capital city of South Carolina is an American historical center brimming with sunshine and southern charm. Offering cool venues and cultural attractions such as the Columbia Museum of Art, the Columbia City Ballet and the world’s largest fire hydrant, Columbia is well worth exploring.
If you’re craving nature but can’t decide between waterfront or green grass, the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park will deliver. With miles of paved paths, it’s perfect for running, hiking, skateboarding, biking and even just walking. It’s also wheelchair-friendly. Those looking to get a workout in should head to the outdoor gym, which has seven pieces of free-to-use equipment including a vertical press, rower, leg press and elliptical machines. There are also picnic tables, restrooms and plenty of river views.
Waverley is Columbia’s first suburb. It’s known as a diverse place that encourages activism, crafts and artistry from people of all sizes and backgrounds. It’s also home to two historical colleges, Benedict College and Allen University, which provided higher education during segregation in the South. You can take a walking tour of the area, highlights of which include Bishop’s Memorial AME Church – built in 1885 and on the National Register of Historic Places – the Waverly Five & Dime and the Carver Theatre.
The ultimate children’s museum, this place is a dream for both big and small. You can climb through Eddie – the world’s largest child, standing at 40ft (12m) and weighing 17.5 tons (16 tonnes) – before starting to interact with the many hands-on exhibits. Make sure to stop by Wags and Whiskers, where kids can learn to take care of our four-legged friends in a simulated way. Young inventors should try out Maker Works, where you can create your own project out of Lego, blocks and other tools.
Additional reporting by Alice Johnston