Whether you're visiting Columbia to see the Gamecocks win, celebrating a soldier graduating from Basic Training at Fort Jackson, or any other reason under the (famously hot) sun, there are lots of great lodging options in South Carolina's capital city. From sleek modern hotels to cozy bed-and-breakfasts to charming inns housed in historic buildings, you'll find the perfect place to call your home-away-from-home in Columbia.
The Congaree Vista is the heart of Columbia's burgeoning restaurant and entertainment scene. The main thoroughfare through the area is Gervais Street, lined with galleries, music venues, specialty shops and more than 60 restaurants. The SC State House is a stone's throw away and the University of South Carolina's sprawling campus sidles right up next to it. The beautiful Broad, Saluda and Congaree rivers anchor the district at one end, where both EdVenture Children's Museum and the South Carolina State Museum overlook the Three Rivers Greenway walking trails. It's a great place to make your home base while here in Columbia, no matter your reason for visiting.
Luckily, the Vista is also home to several modern hotels. The Hilton Columbia Center, Hampton Inn Downtown Historic District, and Hyatt Place Hotel are all right in the heart of the Vista and steps away from the fun.
Once the domain of law firms, banks and lobbyists, leafy Main Street is no longer just the home of business and government. It's also home to the Columbia Museum of Art, the Nickelodeon Theatre, and the Soda City Market, as well as frequent festivals and street fairs. Dozens of restaurants and shops have opened in the last few years. The recent addition of private student housing has brought a youthful energy and vibrancy to the area.
Still, it seems fitting that if you want to stay on Main Street, you can do so in a building that so clearly was built to be a bank. The Sheraton Columbia Downtown is located in the gorgeous, historic Palmetto Bank Building. When it was built in 1913, it was the tallest building in the city. The wooden and mosaic floors of its 15 stories show the wear and patina of more than 100 years. Today, you can have drinks right inside the massive steel vault in the lobby. If that's a little too claustrophobic, the rooftop bar might be a better fit, especially on a soft, balmy South Carolina night.
New to the scene is Hotel Trundle, a 41-room boutique hotel located in three half-century-old Main Street area landmarks -- the Rose Talbert paint store, Powell Furniture Company and Western Auto. Rooms in the hotel have modern furnishings, but retain elements of its historical origins, from pressed tin ceilings to exposed brick walls adorned with graffiti.
The Sheraton and Hotel Trundle aren't the only hotels housed in buildings that were once something else entirely. The Inn at Claussens is a charming boutique hotel that began life as a bread bakery. It's original name is still etched across the brick facade. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and you can feel the history throughout the inn. Located in Five Points, a funky little area full of bars, boutiques and restaurants beloved by college students, the Inn is close to University of South Carolina. Also close to USC, The Inn at USC Wyndham Garden is a restored (and greatly expanded) Italianate house from 1910 right in the middle of the university campus.
If the historic inns still just aren't quite homey enough for your tastes, try one of Columbia's lovely bed-and-breakfasts. There is no way to get to know Columbia better than by staying on one of these gracious and gorgeous homes. Try the 1425 Inn, Chestnut Cottage, or Rose Hall Bed and Breakfast, all in historic areas downtown, for a true taste of southern hospitality.
If you’d like to stay on lovely Lake Murray, just outside of Columbia, Spinners Resort offers lakeside cottages for rent by the week or for the weekend, about an hour from downtown.
So whether you prefer the comforts of modern hotels and excitement of downtown, or the charm of old inns and slow pace of historic neighborhoods, you'll find your place in Columbia.