students enjoying a group canoe trip on a sunny day

Explore Columbia

Our charming city is a place to explore, grow, revel and learn among modern businesses, welcoming communities and centuries-strong tradition. See what makes our hometown such a cool Southern hot spot.

Inn at USC

Places to Stay

The Graduate Columbia lets you stay right on campus just a block from the Visitor Center, and there are a number of Columbia hotels convenient to downtown and our campus that have demonstrated a high level of service. For a comprehensive list of hotels in the greater Columbia area, check out a listing at the Experience Columbia SC website. For locations closest to campus, set location to "Columbia City Center." Be sure to mention UofSC when making your reservation to see if the hotel offers a special rate.

Kayaking on the Congaree River

Things to Do

Explore Columbia’s natural beauty at the Congaree National Park, or stroll along one of the city’s three rivers. Learn about our wild neighbors at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden or soak up some history at the State Museum. Check out a full listing of attractions with directions at the Experience Columbia SC website. You can choose your activity by type (outdoors, shopping, etc.) or check out the districts listing to choose by location. 

Places to Eat

Places to Eat

Columbia cuisine ranges from raw vegetarian fare to good old Southern comfort food — sometimes at the same restaurant. Check out the Explore Columbia SC listing of the best eating in town. You can choose by type of food or by location and narrow your search based on cost and what meal you are looking for (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert). We recommend going to Cupcake DownSouth and East Bay Deli.


Nearby Airports

The closest airport to the University of South Carolina is the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), which is approximately 15-20 minutes (by car) from our campus. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is in Charlotte, NC and is approximately 1.5 hours (by car) from our campus. The Columbia Charlotte Shuttle is the leading provider of transportation between UofSC and the Charlotte Airport.