These are modern times, y'all, and Columbia SC is redefining Southern for a new era. For the first time since 1970, this capital city will host the men's college basketball tournament in 2019. Proud home to the University of South Carolina and the Colonial Life Arena, collegiate sports have always given the locals something to cheer about. Never been to Columbia, or haven't been in a while? 

It's a modern city where stately buildings buzz with new businesses, and centuries-old sites give rise to fresh perspectives. It's got all the gracious charm you'd expect from a Southern destination - nothing saccharine, just good old-fashioned kindness with dynamite shopping, and a bursting culinary scene. Not convinced? Come see for yourself and discover why Columbia SC is the hippest destination you've yet to discover. 

Tournament schedule: 

March 21- Open Practice at Colonial Life Arena

March 22- First Round Games at Colonial Life Arena

March 23- Experience the bites & sites of Columbia SC

March 24- Second Round Games at Colonial Life Arena


Eat & Drink

Get ready to dig into some seriously Southern cuisine. Try some famous Carolina barbecue with all the sides at classics like Doc's BBQ and Southern Buffet, or try your hand at a specialty barbecue sandwich from The Southern Belly BBQ, equipped with unique sauces made from scratch. In Columbia SC, we recommend anything with a mustard base. If you're looking for a quick bite or drink in between games, look no further than Thirsty Fellow or 1801 Grille, both located right outside the area. If you're looking to explore the region, head to local favorites like The Publick House or Rockaway Athletic Club. These hidden gems are made for sports (and food) enthusiasts. Think fried chicken wings, pimento cheeseburgers, and lots of locals oozing good old-fashioned kindness. If finer-dining or international eats are more your thing, we've got you covered there too.

Brewery Scene

Columbia's brewery scene has been building for some time with staples like River Rat Brewery, Swamp Cabbage Brewery, and Hunter-Gatherer Brewery. All located right around the corner from one another, and all in unique spaces that carry a laid-back attitude. Add in brewpubs like Old Mill Brewpub, Twisted Spur, and Craft & Draft (just to name a few) and there's no shortage of taps and good times in this capital city.

Outdoor Fun

Escape the bustling city and get lost in your thoughts amidst fresh air and cool waters in next to time flat. Downtown lies at the confluence of three rivers and is just minutes from Lake Murray, making the region flush with parks, trails, and gardens. Whether you're kayaking on the river, tubing behind a speed boat, or just taking in the magic of the forest at Congaree National Park, Columbia has an outdoor adventure calling you by name. 


Ranging from weekly, year-round events, like Soda City Market, to special festivals centered around art, music and the bustling culinary scene, things to do in Columbia SC abound. Especially in the spring. Mostly sunny and above average warm days will have you flocking to one of the many events going on across the region during your trip. Check back here closer to the date for a list of events that have been catered to you for this special weekend. 

Stay tuned to this page for updates on game & practice schedules, fan events, restaurant & bar specials, safety & security, parking details, and more.


Here to Help You Plan

Interested in organizing a sporting event in Columbia, SC? Let us make your job easier. We can help you explore venues, price shop hotels, promote your tournament, and more.

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