Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Columbia — a city guide for meeting professionals. Set in the heart of South Carolina and at the convergence of three rivers, Columbia offers a blend of high-tech start-up companies, vibrant entertainment districts, a burgeoning culinary scene, and special event venues including historic homes and local farms, giving groups a meeting destination oozing with Southern ambience. Home to the University of South Carolina and the state's capital, Columbia has a college town atmosphere and a well-developed cultural scene amid a variety of outdoor adventures.
Columbia's ground transportation is served by three major interstates (I-77, I-26, and I-20), and its central business district is situated just 6 miles northeast of Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The airport is served by American Airlines, Delta, and United, with nonstop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, and Washington National.
Hotel venues in Columbia include high-profile properties such as the 300-room Columbia Marriott, with 17,896 square feet of meeting space; the 222-room Hilton Columbia Center, with 6,000 square feet of meeting space; and the 238-room Columbia Doubletree by Hilton, with 22,700 square feet of meeting space.
Near Columbia's downtown hotels, the 142,500-square-foot Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center has a 16,704-square-foot ballroom, 15,145 square feet of meeting space, and a 23,700-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 USC Alumni Center, with more than 60,000 square feet of event space.
To add sizzle to a special event, the city has several impressive venues available. The Capital City Club offers a panoramic view of the State Capitol Building and the University of South Carolina and features a library lounge, a main dining room, eight private dining rooms, and a ballroom for functions of up to 600 attendees. For a quintessential Southern setting, the 200-year-old Seibels House and Garden in the middle of 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 include 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 Italian Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces 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 such as Bonefish Grill, Jillian's Columbia, and Ruth's Chris Steak House.