Downtown Columbia is one of the South’s most vibrant city centers.
Home to the University of South Carolina, the downtown area contains the 18,000 Colonial Life Arena, which hosts USC Gamecocks basketball games and national, arena-sized concert tours, and the 80,000-seat Williams-Brice stadium, the scene of SEC football and massive tailgates during the fall. Virtually all students live in close proximity to the central campus, helping to create one of the South’s most youthful environments. The Vista and Five Points are regional nightlife destinations, while the neighborhood is anchored by the South Carolina State House, home to the governor and state legislature, and the Horseshoe, the University’s original campus that looks much today as it did in 1801, when the school was founded.
Right across the river to the northwest is the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens, one of the South’s top tourist attractions, as well as the West Columbia Riverwalk, which runs along the Congaree River. South Carolina’s rich, complicated history is embodied in Downtown’s many museums and historic sites, including the South Carolina State Museum and the Columbia Museum of Art.