Discover the Five Best Spots in Columbia to View the Capital City Skyline

By:Marie McAden

Date:2/27/2017

To appreciate the beautiful architectural detail of downtown Columbia’s historic buildings and the polished design of its modern towers, you only need to walk along Main Street and look up.


But from the vantage point of the street, you won’t get the classic view of the city skyline. To enjoy a panorama of the urban center, you’ll need to go up or get out.


Here are five sweet spots to get the best view of the capital city:


1. Sheraton Hotel Rooftop Lounge


Built in 1913, the historic Main Street landmark, formerly known as the Palmetto Building, is the city’s oldest high-rise. In 2008, it was fully restored and reopened as a luxury hotel with a 17th-floor lounge offering a fantastic view down Main Street to the State House. The casual, friendly bar is also a popular place to watch one of Columbia’s stunning sunsets.


2. Top of Carolina


Located on the 18th floor of the University of South Carolina’s Capstone House, this revolving restaurant takes about an hour to make a full 360-degree rotation, giving you plenty of time to savor your meal and take in the view of the surrounding university campus, famed Five Points entertainment district and downtown Columbia. The restaurant is open only during the fall and spring semesters on Fridays for a barbecue lunch buffet, Sundays for brunch and on handful of special occasions.


3. Finlay Park


This beautiful 18-acre city park has one of the most photographed views of downtown Columbia. Located in the Vista entertainment district, the park sits just a few blocks from the Capitol and across from the Governor’s Mansion. From its highest point above the fountain you can see the skyline rising over the park’s lush green landscape and signature lake. Grab a seat on one of the swings and enjoy the view—day or night.


4. Al’s Upstairs Italian Restaurant


Don’t let the simple brick facade fool you. The view from the second floor of this West Columbia restaurant will take your breath away. The main dining room features a wall of large windows overlooking the Congaree River and downtown Columbia. You won’t find a more romantic setting to drink in the lights of the city.


5. Gervais Street Bridge


Park your car in the Vista and walk across the historic Gervais Street bridge to take in the panorama of the cityscape. From the West Columbia side of the Congaree River you’ll be looking up at the iconic bridge with its dramatic arches and cast iron light posts. The city lights and warm glow of the setting sun reflect off the water, making this one of the prettiest spots to view the capital city skyline.

Related Content

Upstairs, Downstairs: SC’s Best Rooftop and Basement Bars
Whether looking for a gorgeous view or escaping the daily grind, there’s a wealth of dining and drinking choices from the coast to the Upstate.
Must Eats in Columbia
What restaurants are hot in Columbia? Check out our list of where to eat and what not to miss.
Don't Miss These Hidden Gems on a Visit to Columbia
Discover some of the lesser-known places, people and foods that make Columbia special.

Featured Products

City of Columbia
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Columbia combines all the graces of the rich past with the vibrance of the emerging Sun Belt. It's the state capital and home to a major university. One of America's out ...
Three Rivers Greenway
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Cutting through the heart of the Columbia Riverbanks region, the Saluda and the Broad Rivers meet to form the Congaree River. Enjoy the beauty of the area by walking alon ...
South Carolina State House
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The history of South Carolina's State House is as colorful as the state itself. Begun in 1851, the original architect was dismissed for fraud and dereliction of duty and ...
Finlay Park
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
One of the best known parks in the state, Finlay has hosted just about everything from festivals and political rallies to road races and Easter Sunrise services. It serve ...
City of West Columbia
Midlands

Cayce

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
West Columbia is located in the eastern portion of Lexington County, along the Congaree and Saluda rivers. It was originally incorporated as the town of Brookland, named ...
Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant
Midlands

West Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Since 1979, Al's has been serving fine italian cuisince. Al's was also voted most romantic restaurant and best Italian restaurant in Columbia. Entrees include the freshes ...

Featured products and attractions in "Discover the Five Best Spots in Columbia to View the Capital City Skyline"

Nearby Attractions

  • {{item.name}}