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Escape to Columbia: 7 can’t-miss summer events for a weekend getaway from Atlanta

As summer approaches, Columbia, SC, emerges as an enticing weekend getaway from Atlanta, offering a mix of tradition, modernity and vibrant energy. The city, nestled in the heart of South Carolina, becomes a playground for diverse events that cater to every taste. From celebrating LGBTQ+ pride to floating music festivals on Lake Murray and embracing cultural diversity through Latin festivities, Columbia has a lot to offer. Let’s explore the can’t-miss events happening all throughout the summer!

Outfest Columbia

Kicking off the summer festivities, Outfest Columbia celebrates the local LGBTQ+ community with talent showcases, vendors, businesses and more. Organized by Famously Hot South Carolina Pride, this event is a testament to the city’s commitment to promoting diversity, equality and acceptance.

Location: The Vista - 807 Gervais St.; Website:; Date: Early June; Admission: Free

Reggaetronic Music Festival

On the shores of Lake Murray, the Reggaetronic festival on Spence Island has been a summer staple since 2011. Featuring a unique floating festival experience accessible only by boat, it offers a fusion of reggae, funk, rock and electronic music. With a charitable mission benefiting the Shriners Children’s Hospital, this event combines music, fun and community support.

Location: Lake Murray/Jim Spence Islands; Website:; Date: June 15; Time: 10:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Admission: Free

Juneteenth Freedom Fest

Located at Segra Park, the 8th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival promises a day of family-friendly activities. From bounce houses and games to live music, food trucks and local vendors, this event commemorates Juneteenth with a vibrant celebration of freedom and community spirit.

Location: Segra Park - 1640 Freed St.; Website:; Date: June 15; Admission: Free

Lexington County Peach Festival

On July 4th, Columbia hosts the Lexington County Peach Festival, a family-friendly extravaganza featuring a peach parade, pageants, fresh peaches, arts, crafts, live music and fireworks. The festival captures the essence of Independence Day while paying homage to the “Queen of all fruits,” the peach.

Location: Gilbert Community Park - Rikard Cir.; Website:; Date: Thursday, July 4, 2024; Time: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Admission: Free

Main Street Latin Festival

Endorsed by the City of Columbia, the Main Street Latin Festival transforms downtown into a lively celebration of Latin culture. With music, dance, arts and delicious Latin cuisine, this free admission event fosters unity and showcases the vitality of Columbia’s Latin community.

Location: Downtown Columbia - 1400 Main St.; Website:; Date: August 24 (In case of rain, event will be pushed back to August 31); Time: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Admission: Free

Riverbanks Brew at the Zoo

For a unique experience, the Riverbanks Brew at the Zoo invites guests to sip on a variety of beers while enjoying live entertainment and animal encounters. Proceeds support wildlife conservation, making it a safari with a purpose.

Location: Riverbanks Zoo and Garden - 500 Wildlife Pkwy.; Website:; Date: August 2; Admission: TBD

Soda City Comic Con

Held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, the Soda City Comic Con in August is a haven for pop culture enthusiasts. With over 150 artists, vendors, special guests, and a variety of games and attractions, it offers a diverse and entertaining experience for the entire family.

Location: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Visitor Bureau - 1101 Lincoln St.; Website:; Date: August 24 & 25; Time: Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Admission: 2-Day Ticket - $40, 1-Day Ticket - $20/$30, Kids (ages 6-12) - $5

Columbia truly comes alive in the summer, offering a rich tapestry of events that cater to various interests. From celebrating diversity and freedom to enjoying music festivals, cultural showcases and comic conventions, the city provides a vibrant backdrop for an unforgettable summer getaway. Whether you’re a music lover, a cultural enthusiast or a comic book fanatic, Columbia has something special in store for everyone. Plan ahead, mark your calendars, and immerse yourself in the warmth, energy, and diversity of this thriving Southern city.

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