MAR 2012

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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The Southern City With Major Metropolitan Flair Planner Resources Home Planning Directory SPECI AL ADVER T I SI NG & I NF O RMAT I O N SECT I O N With a perfect balance of sophistication and Southern charm, Columbia is a capital city that has it all. Nestled in the heart of South Carolina, Columbia offers world class attractions such as EdVenture Children's Museum, Columbia Mu- seum of Art, South Carolina State Museum, South Carolina State House and, the number one attraction in the state, Riverbank Zoo and Garden. With three major interstates crossing the city, traveling to Columbia is an easy trip from any direction. Flying in? The Columbia Metropolitan Airport is roughly seven miles from downtown Columbia; a perk not typically found in most metropolitan cities. With over 500,000 square feet of meeting space in the region and having the state's only downtown convention center, this city has much to boast about, including art, history, shopping and local flair. Known for its 300 days of sunshine a year, Columbia offers the perfect opportunity to tube, kayak or canoe down one of three rivers in the spring, summer and fall. During this time of year, the Broad, Saluda and Congaree Rivers are pep- pered with sunbathers and water lovers enjoying the pristine waters and lush greenery along the rivers. A short drive from the city center is Lake Murray, located in Lexington County. This lake is the perfect year round retreat and is the official designated Purple Martin sanctuary; one of the largest roosting sites in North America that sees in the range of 750,000 Purple Martins return each, late summer afternoon. Lively and ever changing, Columbia's art scene is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. With countless galleries, art studios, pottery showrooms and museums, this city is the perfect fit for art en- thusiasts, collectors, painters and admirers. As if painted on a canvas, Columbia's historical elements are found throughout the city. With the help of Historic Columbia Founda- tion, which aims to showcase the outstanding his- tory found throughout the city, visitors can take a step back in time and learn of homes and monu- ments that tell stories of times past. Locals and visitors alike flock to Columbia year round to participate in various festivals that pop up nearly every weekend. From strolling the streets and enjoying local restaurants' cuisines during Viva La Vista, to admiring local artists' talents during Artista Vista, dancing to authentic tunes during the Latin Festival, taking in inde- pendent films during the Indie Grits Festival or wearing the most green possible during St. Pat's in Five Points, Columbia's social scene has something for everyone. If shopping is on the agenda, Columbia's many shopping districts will keep guests busy for hours. From the quaint boutiques on Devine and Main Streets, to the bustling Historic Five Points and hip Congaree Vista, there is virtually something for every shopper within a four mile radius. Once the bags are filled, pull up a seat at one of Colum- bia's fine dining restaurants, like Terra, Rosso Trattoria Italia or Saluda's, or enjoy a casual din- ner with local flair at Motor Supply Company Meeting Site Showcase Bistro, 116 Espresso and Wine Bar, Blue Marlin Steaks & Seafood or Mr. Friendly's New South- ern Cafe. When the sun goes down, things in Columbia tend to heat up! Whether visitors are enjoying concerts underground at The Whig, enjoying the view at the Sheraton Rooftop Bar or taking in a play at Trustus Theatre, the nightlife in Columbia is something to experience. Unique to Columbia, SC are two establish- ments that have quickly become local favorites. Hunter Gatherer Brewery and Ale House is the first brew pub in Columbia, SC and have spe- cialty brews that draw crowds every weekend. In addition to their various elixirs, the brew pub boasts non traditional pub foods including mus- sels, blackened shrimp po' boys and three differ- ent types of gyros. Down the street is the only non profit art house movie theatre in South Car- olina, The Nickelodeon. Showing independent films to roughly 25,000 movie goers a year, this quaint theatre has become a popular and loved landmark in Columbia. From every facet, the Columbia region is 'Famously Hot' for being a wonderful place to meet, play, explore and enjoy. ■ Jason Outman, Director of Sales, Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism Jason works to bring groups & conventions to the 'Famously Hot' Columbia region. (803) 545-0108 42 ConventionSouth MARCH 2012 www.con v DESTINATION SHOWCASE

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