Make the Most Out of Your Days Off with Fun Activities from National Parks to Columbia’s Nightlife and More
Columbia is the capital of South Carolina, and as such, it has plenty of great options of fun things to do over the weekend no matter who you are. But to help you narrow down your options, I have compiled a list of some of the absolute best weekend activities you can find in town. And I’ll give you each place's address and a link to their website so you can check them out for yourself if you want to. On top of giving you my personal review, and another customer's review, I will also provide you with a link so you can quickly grab a digital GiftYa gift card if they accept them.
If you haven’t used a GiftYa yet, they can make a great option anytime you are planning a fun weekend out. Since you can just spend the money in advance by placing it on the gift card, you never have to worry about spending too much when you are enjoying your weekend
But I’ll wrap up the intro here, and get right to that list of great things there are to do in Columbia, South Carolina this weekend!
701 Gervais Street | Columbia | www.vistacolumbia.com
The Vista is located right along the banks of the Congaree River and it really serves as a central hub for some of the best shopping, dining, drinking, art, and entertainment you can hope to find in Columbia. There’s honestly too much to do at The Vista for me to be able to list it all here. But you can check out this hub to get a look at all the dining and nightlife The Vista has to offer. There’s so much that I even took the time to construct a post that includes some of the best restaurants you can find in The Vista. But no matter what you want to get into this weekend The Vista will have more than enough to keep you busy all weekend long.
You can find great bars and music venues along with incredible five star restaurants and fast food places. If you aren’t sure of exactly what you want to do, be sure to check out their visitors guide so you can get a look at everything they have to offer. But no matter if you are hoping for a romantic night out with your significant other, a fun night of drinking with your best friends, or even just a leisurely afternoon with your children, you will be able to find it at The Vista.
100 National Park Rd | Hopkins | nps.gov
If you are hoping to escape all the steel and the concrete of the modern world, then The Vista probably isn’t going to be the place in Columbia for you. But don't worry. There’s plenty of fantastic outdoor activities you can get into that will help you get back with nature and escape some of the chaos of the modern world. And of course, Congaree National Park is going to be the prime location in the area if that is what you are hoping for this weekend.
Congaree National Park is pretty new by national park standards. In fact it was first declared a national park on November 10, 2003. But the nice thing about it is that since it doesn’t have the same notoriety and popularity as some of our other national parks, it doesn’t get nearly as busy. Which means that the park and the trails aren’t going to be obnoxiously crowded by other visitors like you might find at Yellowstone National Park or Acadia National Park. So you can get a lot more connected with the beautiful natural landscape that the park has. In fact, you can enjoy all 22,000 acres (35 square miles) of the park entirely for free. That’s right! They don’t even charge an admissions fee to see this beautifully preserved national park.
The only downside I can really think of is that because there is so much natural water at the park, you will find that there is quite a lot of insect life buzzing around. But as long as you remember to pack some bug spray (and some sunscreen) I can’t see any reason that you won’t have a great day of hiking and exploring South Carolina’s most exquisite national park!
“The boardwalk trail is beautiful and informative with opportunities to veer off on other more rugged trails through the forest. We loved learning the history of Congaree and surrounding areas and all about the unique trees and plants that can be found there! Merchandise options were slim, but we found a few stickers and patches.” - Yelp Review
You can grab a Riverbanks Zoo & Garden gift card by following this link!
500 Wildlife Pkwy | Columbia | riverbanks.org
If hiking around a national park all day doesn’t sound like your ideal weekend activity, but you still want to get reconnected with nature this weekend, then I would highly recommend that you stop in at the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. This zoo has really been a staple of Columbia since it first opened its door in 1974. And in the nearly 50 years since it first opened its doors it has grown into a favorite location in Columbia for locals, travelers, and adventurers alike with over one million visitors attending the park every year.
And it’s easy to see how it has become so popular. The zoo has over 3,000 different types of well taken care of animals. In the past few years they have even done some serious renovations to the aquarium and reptile center to better care for the animals, and provide visitors with an even better view of them.
If you have been to plenty of zoos before and just seeing some animals lounging around doesn’t sound that exciting to you there is also an expansive garden area that you can visit. The garden boasts even more variety than the zoo itself with over 5,700 different species and varieties of plants that you can see.
On top of all of that, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is taking serious steps to become the leading conservation center in the entire state of South Carolina. So you know that they are serious about the wellbeing of their animals and plant life.
“The entrance looked like we were walking into Jurassic Park! The animals looked healthy and each area was very clean. This was our first time visiting and we loved the entire day. The botanical gardens were nice. We will be going back to explore and visit more of the water park.” - Yelp Review
It only takes a few seconds to get a digital Riverbanks Zoo & Garden GiftYa gift card when you use this link!
1710 Main St | Columbia | thejointsc.com
The Joint is going to be a great spot for you if what you are hoping to do this weekend is have some great food, some even better drinks, and enjoy some live music. In fact it’s even been crafted after the traditional jazz halls that were so popular in the country in the 1940s. They have jazz bands and blues bands every week. But they also invite other genres of music to perform. And you can catch live music here Thursday through Sunday night every week.
So you can count on their being a live performance every weekend. But be sure to check out their schedule to find out what special events or performances they have coming up. It might just become your favorite place to visit in Columbia, South Carolina every weekend!
“The entire experience was awesome. Great atmosphere, service and food. Server/bartender was professional and personable. I had a ton of fun.” - Yelp Review
520 Greene St | Columbia | columbiacraft.com
If what you are looking for is more of a traditional bar/restaurant to enjoy yourself this weekend then you should definitely check out Columbia Craft Brewing Company. They are one of the best breweries in Columbia and have become a local favorite since they first opened their doors in 2017. And they make all kinds of great beers that will appeal to anybody. They have an extensive lineup of authentic ales, IPAs, sours, lagers, and even barrel-aged beers. On top of all of that, they are even locally owned and operated. So you know when you stop in here, the dollar that you spend is going to support a local business and help stimulate the local Columbia economy. They have plenty of their beers on tap, and anything they don’t have on tap at the time you can enjoy one poured fresh from their cans into a glass!
“Great local beer spot! Indoor & outdoor seating options, staff was super friendly & the food menu looked yum. Big plus that they offer flight options to taste all their beers!” - Yelp Review
You can get a digital AMC Theater gift card to this location or any other of their locations around the country
122 Afton Ct | Columbia | amctheatres.com
If you aren’t looking for a night out of drinking or dining this weekend, then maybe you would have a better time catching a movie at the local theater. I know that these days a lot of people have a giant tv and pretty solid speakers at home, but let’s face it, streaming the latest blockbuster isn’t quite the same when you watch it at home. There’s a more communal experience you get watching a movie at the theater.
Everybody laughs or gasps at the same time and you feel like you are part of an experience with other people Which is something that has really been missing from the world in the past couple years. So if you are still shaking off some of the post-pandemic fog, do yourself a favor and go watch a movie in a crowded theater that has an enormous screen, a fantastic sound system, and comfortable seats.
“This is one of my favorite theaters. Fresh Popcorn good wine and great seating! I love the Sound!!!” - Yelp Review
Get a digital gift card to any AMC theater location in just seconds when you use the link!
Grab a Dave & Buster’s gift card to prepare for your next big night out by using the link!
100 Columbiana Cir | Columbia | daveandbusters.com
If you have never been to a Dave & Buster’s before, the easiest way I can explain it is that it’s basically like a Chuck E. Cheese for grown ups. No, there's no ball pit that is a breeding ground for every type of germs imaginable, but there are plenty of fun games that you can enjoy in their arcade. And you can even enjoy some fantastic food and cold beer while you are there. Which I think really makes them a great thing to do over the weekend with a group of friends. And honestly, drinking at a table can get a little bit boring. So why not spice it up and enjoy playing some great games with your friends while you enjoy your drinks?
“Fun times, real nice sized spacious location, also surprised of the food options not just regular bar food but real meals...had a great time will visit again the next time we vacation in South Carolina” - Yelp Review
If you are planning a trip to Dave & Buster’s be sure to grab yourself a quick and convenient digital Dave & Buster's gift card!
Grab yourself a convenient digital Bowlero gift card from GiftYa in just seconds!
900 Axtell Dr | Cayce | bowlero.com
If nothing else on the list has stood out to you as something fun to do this weekend, then be sure to check out Bowlero. And as the name might suggest, this is one of the area’s best bowling alleys. They have over 24 bowling lanes, but they do get quite busy on the weekend, so be sure to reserve a lane in advance if you are planning on going on a Friday or Saturday night.
And on top of the great bowling lanes, they also have a full arcade, a sports bar, and a relaxing lounge area you can enjoy. Which makes Bowlero a great weekend option whether you want to spend the afternoon with your kids, play a fun game with your partner, or accidently embarrass all your friends when you beat them by 100 points.
“I love this place and the people. Service is always great and just such a good time. It's my favorite bowling alley and will continue to come.” - Yelp Review
It only takes a moment to grab a convenient digital Bowlero gift card!
And that concludes my post on great things to do in Columbia, South Carolina over the weekend. I tried to get a lot of different options on the list today, so hopefully something stood out to you. But if you are hoping to find a great place to eat this weekend, then be sure to check out my other article on the best restaurants you can find in the area, and even one on the best places to get brunch this Sunday!