Welcome to Cvent’s Columbia meeting planning guide – a city guide for Columbia meeting planning professionals. Set in the center of the state at the convergence of three rivers, Columbia's blend of high-tech start-up companies, entertainment districts with outdoor cafes and art galleries and special Columbia event venues like historic homes and antebellum mansions, offers groups a meeting destination oozing with Southern ambiance. Home to the University of South Carolina, Columbia, the state's capital, has a college town atmosphere, a well-developed cultural scene and a variety of recreation pursuits.
Columbia's ground transportation is served by three major interstates (I-77, I-26 and I-20), and its central business district is situated six miles northeast of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The airport is served by American, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways and Vision with nonstop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, New York, Washington Dulles and Washington National.
Hotel venues in Columbia include high-profile properties like the 300-room Columbia Marriott, with 25,000 square feet of meeting space; the 222-room Hilton Columbia Center, with 6,000 square feet of meeting space; and the 135-room Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel, with 8,000 square feet of meeting space.
Near Columbia's downtown hotels, the 142,500-square-foot Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center has a 17,135-square-foot ballroom, 15,145 square feet of meeting space and a 24,700-square-foot exhibit hall. Other large-scale facilities include the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena, with 41 suites and the McGuire Room, a full-service hospitality room suitable for up to 300 people, and the 12,000-seat Carolina Coliseum on the campus of the University of South Carolina.
To add sizzle to a special event, the city has several impressive venues on its menu. The Capital City Club, offering a panoramic view of the State Capitol Building and the University of South Carolina, features a library lounge, main dining room, eight private dining rooms and a ballroom for private functions of up to 600 attendees. For a quintessential Southern setting, the 200-year old Seibels House and Garden in downtown can accommodate up to 150 for a cocktail party and 250 for a garden reception.
For relaxation and recreation before and after meetings, outdoor venues in Columbia comprise more than 35 parks and Gardens providing numerous eco-activities. Popular group-oriented attractions include the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, a complex encompassing a zoo, aquarium and 70-acre botanical garden, South Carolina State House Capitol Building, which is loaded with portraits, plaques and other works of art and Columbia Museum of Art, which has masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque from the Samuel H. Kress Collection.
With more than 450 restaurants in the area, Columbia offers a wide range of dining experiences highlighted by group-friendly restaurants like Bonefish Grill, Jillian's Columbia and Ruth's Chris Steak House.