Columbia may not draw the same number of big acts that Charleston and Charlotte do, but there is live music being played if you want to hear it.
From intimate stages to big auditoriums, here’s a list of places to check out if you’re a music lover in Columbia.
Arguably the best bet for catching a show, the Music Farm has been in Columbia for nearly two years now. It’s a sister venue to Music Farm Charleston, and organizers typically try to get acts booked for both places. In the past few months, Robert Earl Keen and the Ying Yang Twins played there.
1022 Senate St. www.musicfarm.com
Tin Roof is next door to Music Farm, and the two sometimes do joint music events, like the Freeway Music Festival. Tin Roof has the advantage of also being a restaurant, so you can grab dinner while enjoying some tunes.
1022 Senate St. www.tinroofcolumbia.com
With its colorful lights, robot art and wall scribblings, Art Bar is an eclectic spot to catch a show. There’s typically live music by local artists every Saturday. Expect to pay a $5-7 cover.
1211 Park St. www.artbarsc.com
Tapp’s Arts Center
Tapp’s has become the new spot to hear offbeat and outré music, thanks to ventures like Infinite Room and Scenario Collective, which are picking up where the shuttered Condundrum Music Hall left off.
1644 Main St. www.tappsartscenter.com
The Township is sometimes overlooked due to its focus on soul and hip-hop acts, but it’s a solid space that gets surprisingly big grabs on occasion. Who could forget the Avett Brothers’ magical three-night stand there last March?
1703 Taylor St. www.thetownship.org
Koger Center for the Arts
Definitely not a place you can go in ripped jeans and a T-shirt (well, maybe for the Weird Al concert there in September). Typically, the Koger Center, with its mostly glass exterior and velvety seats, is for ballet, S.C. Philharmonic and USC Symphony Orchestra shows. If that doesn’t tempt you, there is usually a student discount.
Colonial Life Arena
Any big-draw act that comes to town likely will play at Colonial Life Arena. The home of USC basketball is also perfect for huge concerts. Pearl Jam played there recently, and Carrie Underwood and Maroon 5 are coming in September.
801 Lincoln St. www.coloniallifearena.com
New Brookland Tavern
NBT is dark and scruffy, a place where no one would bat an eye over a spilled beer or a mosh pit. The stage area is small and intimate. There are plenty of metal shows that come through, but also a slew of regional and local indie acts.
122 State St. www.newbrooklandtavern.com
Bill’s Pickin Parlor
The esteemed bluegrass venue is home to weekly Friday jam sessions and, if you’re game, line dancing.
710 Meeting St. www.billsmusicshop.com
Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is about 15 minutes from downtown Columbia, with a Goldilocks-sized space. It gets a smattering of speakers, dance and music shows each season.
7300 College St. www.harbisontheatre.org