What to do, see

ISSUES 2014: What to do, see in the new Columbia

December 31, 2013 

  • What do you think?

    Which attractions, beyond the more obvious ones, are helping to define Columbia as a city?

    Share your thoughts at thestate.com.

Is Columbia developing signature events and destinations as it hones a famously hot reputation?

Consider that as you head to new restaurants downtown, explore the stars at a new observatory, taste-test new beers at one of three craft breweries, or attend one of Columbia’s signature events.

The Columbia music scene also is getting a big boost with an addition of a bona fide music venue, the Tin Roof Columbia restaurant and bar in the Vista.

And a new planetarium, observatory and a 4D theater will open at the S.C. State Museum this summer as part of a 75,000-square-foot expansion.

And don’t forget that Columbia is the place to play on New Year’s Eve, with its Famously Hot event, and St. Patrick’s Day, with its highly popular celebration in Five Points.

Indie Grits, which first arrived in the spring of 2007 as a film festival in Columbia, is growing with the inclusion of a one-day gaming expo. In 2013, it drew thousands of people in a 10-day celebration of independent film, artistry, food and culture. And Viva La Vista in the fall is solidifying the town’s growing foodie scene.

The passage of a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax in Richland County means that recreational paths will be extended and linked, including construction of a 75-acre waterfront park between Huger Street and the Congaree River, connecting two existing riverfront trails. The timetable for those projects should be set this year.

The Columbia Museum of Art continues to grow as a regional destination and broaden its links to the community, with collaborations with the Nickelodeon theatre and the introduction of a new jazz series.

Riverbanks Zoo is beginning its three-year expansion project with the reconfiguration of its parking lots. In the next two years, the zoo will open a sea lion exhibit and revamp its entry plaza.

Columbia is getting more spirited, too. Two new craft breweries – River Rat and Swamp Cabbage – will join Conquest Brewing in Columbia. You’ll be able to sample locally crafted beers and buy them in bottles. And restaurant owner Kristian Niemi plans to open Bourbon Columbia in the next quarter.

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