Columbia SC is excited to welcome the Kentucky Wildcats to town. Whether it’s your first time watching a game at Williams-Brice Stadium or you’ve been making the trek for this SEC matchup for years, we have some old favorites as well as new and notable things to try to maximize your fun and minimize any hassles.
First things first – secure your tailgate spot! The South Carolina State Fairgrounds are located adjacent to Williams-Brice and are the epitome of a tailgate playground. Single game parking passes for the November 18th matchup are on sale now.
Check rates and availability for a wide range of accommodations from boutique inns to full-service downtown properties to economical options with easy access to our interstates. Rooms fill fast on game weekends and some properties require a two-night minimum.
Stock up on local favorites like boiled peanuts and popcorn from Cromer’s, fried chicken from Bernie’s or barbeque from Doc’s to make your tailgate fresh and flavorful. And if you love pimento cheese, you’re in luck. Columbia SC is home to the Pimento Cheese Passport, featuring 16 different restaurants that offer unique pimento cheese dishes. At the tailgate, a tub of pimento cheese from DiPrato’s will not last long paired alongside their homemade pita chips, on burgers or in sandwiches. Or, if you want to make a one-stop-shop of it, preorder a Biscuit Box from Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuits. The package includes 18 total wrapped biscuits – 12 classic bacon, egg and cheese and six brie & fig jam – plus a tray of either blue corn grits topped with chipotle pimento cheese or cheesy hash brown bake. For heartier evening fare, the Party Packs from Midwood Smokehouse are customizable and run the gamut of barbecue, ribs, wings, sliders and more, plus heaping piles of Southern sides. Ordering and pickup is a breeze.
Game Day Gear
With it being a night game, the temperature should be a comfortable mid-70s for afternoon tailgating, but then a bit brisk once the sun dips before kickoff. Whether your style is trendy or classic, ladies will find a host of boutiques on Devine Street including MyKim, Just the Thing (check out their clear bag selection!) and Slate. Brittons, BP Skinner Clothiers and Granger Owings have huge selections of stylish finds for the fellas. Both Mast General Store in the Main Street District or the REI Co-op in the BullStreet District offer a variety of outdoor wear in the event you find yourself in need of rain gear.
Before or After the Game
Besides the game, there are a few other events and happenings going on during your weekend visit that you can work into your schedule. Check out the Columbia Museum of Art’s brand-new, exclusive exhibit, Sergio Hudson: Focused on the Fit, which ties in spectacularly with the Alexander McQueen exhibit that’s still on display. Enjoy some Jewish food favorites before your trip back home at Bubbie’s Jewish Food Festival. It may still be before Thanksgiving, but there are also some holiday light displays already up and running if you’re feeling festive. The revamped Wild Lights at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and the Fireflies Holiday Lights at our Minor League baseball stadium, Segra Park, have their opening weekends just in time for all you visiting fans. Every Saturday morning on Main Street from 9am-1pm, rain or shine, dozens of vendors display art, clothing, and accessories alongside a wide variety of food trucks offering Southern mainstays and multicultural delicacies at Soda City Market. It’s dog-friendly, kid-friendly and gives you a real sense of Columbia’s vibe.
Columbia’s brewery scene is not to be missed. From spots like River Rat Brewery just blocks from the stadium to Savage Craft Ale Works located in West Columbia across the Gervais Street Bridge, you are sure to find a good time and a cold pint at any turn.
Cooling off in the rivers is an iconic local pastime. Rent a tube or kayak from Palmetto Outdoor or Adventure Carolina and get your float on. Or if waterside recreation is more your thing, stretch your legs along the Three Rivers Greenway.
We know y’all know a thing or two about bourbon, so pay a visit to Bourbon and their adjoining Whiskey Lounge on Main Street to check out the largest selection of bourbons and whiskeys in the Southeast.
Columbia SC is most definitely a brunch town, and you will find no shortage of mimosas, Bloody Marys, biscuits (probably with pimento cheese) and grits to bring you back to life after the previous night’s festivities.
One of our favorite things about being in the SEC is the abundance of local traditions and gorgeous campuses. While you’re here, don’t miss sneaking a peek at the famed Cockabooses, a string of elaborately refurbished railroad cars used for tailgating, before you enter the stadium. Also, escape the heat and stroll to see the historic buildings and shady trees of The Horseshoe, our main section of campus. And while we know you may prefer the sounds of My Old Kentucky Home or On, On U of K to Sandstorm, one thing we can agree on in the SEC is Southern hospitality and having a great time, and we hope you enjoy our city and make us your game day home away from home!
As you plan the rest of the season, don’t forget to download the Cities of the SEC Passport to help you navigate the best of every city in the conference.