Bus and Walking Tours

Bus and Walking Tours

Driving and Bus Tours

Guided driving tours offer your group insight into the central section of Columbia. For driving tours visitors must provide own transportation. Prices vary according to the driven-tour itinerary. Step-offs at various sites may be arranged.

Historic Heart of Columbia

See the important downtown sites in the central core of Columbia. The tour offers informative and entertaining stories about the Palmetto State's capital. A few of the landmarks on the tour are the Robert Mills Historic District, the State House, the Governor's Mansion, the University of South Carolina's Horseshoe (the original campus), historic churches, Historic Columbia Foundation house museums and the Vista, an area of restored train stations and warehouses. Allow approximately 60 minutes for this tour.

Homeplaces, Workplaces, Resting Places: An African-American Heritage Sites Tour

From the Mann-Simons Site, home of Celia Mann, a free-black mid-wife in antebellum Columbia, to the North Carolina Mutual Building, offices of the largest African-American owned life insurance company in the United States, this tour explores houses, businesses, cemeteries, and other sites important to the African-American community. Largely comprised of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this tour features locations that illustrate important events and little-known facts about Columbia's African-American community. Allow approximately 90 minutes for this tour.

Columbia's Civil War: From Homefront to Battleground Tour

Columbia's antebellum and Reconstruction era structures, including churches, hospitals, armories, governmental buildings and private homes offer testimony to this tumultuous chapter in our nation's history. Learn about Columbia during the early years of the war and about the fateful night of February 17, 1865 when thirty percent of the city's structures were lost to fire. Step-off at the State House and count the iron stars marking where Union cannonballs hit the building. Allow approximately 75 minutes for this tour.

Walking Tours

Main Street Columbia: From the Capitol to the Courthouse

Offering more than one hundred and fifty years' worth of architectural trends, Columbia's Main Street is a physical legacy of its citizens' aspiration and accomplishments. Come see the city's oldest "skyscraper," an IBM-punch-card-inspired office building and the State Capitol. Walk through Columbia's first indoor shopping mall and learn how an old department store became an art museum. Allow approximately 60 minutes for this tour.

Historic Heart of Columbia

This tour begins in the University neighborhood and travels through the University of South Carolina's original campus, the Horseshoe, dating to the first half of the 19th century. Hear about the antics of the students in the early days of the school. Continue your walk to view Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and its historically important cemetery. Learn about the construction of the State House and view the monuments. The tour ends in the Congaree Vista. Allow approximately 75 minutes for this tour.

Sacred Sites

Columbia has a rich religious history with congregations dating from the early nineteenth century. Six historic churches and one former synagogue are featured on this walking tour. Visit the burial sites of six former South Carolina governors and the parents of President Woodrow Wilson. Discover which Columbia church was based upon York Cathedral in England. Allow 90 minutes for this tour.

Happy Hour History Tour

Raise a glass to history while learning about Columbia’s past. Main Street boasts architectural styles spanning three centuries that speak to the tastes, interests, and aspirations of persons living and working in South Carolina’s second state capital. This guided tour offers insight into the history of Columbia focusing on the progress seen through the life of its Main Street and downtown corridor. Participants will stop at historic sites and receive two free beverages and appetizers along the way. Participants must be 21 or older. Price is $20 per participant. Program is approximately 90 minutes. All tours meet on the Gervais Street side of the State House.