From the heart of downtown Columbia to the banks of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree Rivers, to the outermost ends of the city, you can enjoy the beauty and serenity of our wonderful Regional Parks. The provided open space and playgrounds are great for children, while parents can enjoy the walking/jogging trails, swinging in the parks or just relaxing on a blanket while taking in an outdoor concert.
930 Laurel Street
Finlay Park is an oasis in the heart of downtown. You may have driven past it many times on Assembly St. and never knew it was there. It has been the venue of choice for a number of events from festivals and political rallies to road races and Easter sunrise services. This beautiful 18-acre park has had two lives. It was first dedicated in 1859 as Sidney Park, named in honor of Algernon Sidney Johnson, a Columbia city councilman. Sidney Park had a short life as the Civil War broke out soon after. The park fell into disrepair after the Civil War and served as a site for commercial ventures until the late 1900's.
In 1990 the park was reopened and has become a beautiful diamond in the downtown area, offering a green oasis in contrast to the glass, asphalt and concrete in the urban environment. It serves as the site for such events as Columbia Kids Day, Mayfest, The Summer Concert Series, Let's Share, plus many more activities.
In 1992 the park was renamed Finlay Park, in honor of Kirkman Finlay, Mayor of Columbia whose vision to reenergize the area known as the Vista, between Main Street and the river, has been extremely successful. The beautiful site known as Sidney Park was converted to Finlay Park. A statue of Finlay has been placed in the park, showing him sitting on a bench.
Finlay has two playground areas, a man-made lake, waterfalls, a fountain, playing fields, a pergola with swings, and a snack bar that is open in the summer. This is one of the largest handicapped accessible parks in the country. The paved paths are also ideal for strollers. You can easily spend a whole day here with kids of any age.
The park is situated between the streets of Assembly, Taylor, Gadsden and Laurel, and remains one of the treasures of Columbia. It is across the street from the Governor's Mansion and has one of the most photographed views of downtown.
100 Catawba Street
Granby Park, near the historic Granby, Whaley and Olympia Mill Villages, opened in 1998. It is the southernmost segment of the Three Rivers Greenway. This 12-mile river park connects the cities of Columbia, West Columbia, and Cayce as well as Richland and Lexington Counties and provides public access to the Congaree, Saluda and Broad Rivers. Granby Park has wonderful views of the river from deeply shaded paths.
Granby Park offers adventure-seekers and nature-lovers accessible river-related recreation and provides significant green infrastructure that enhances private housing options in the downtown area. A dog friendly park with bridges, boardwalks, overlooks, and a half mile of lighted paved paths that accommodate all levels of physical access, including baby strollers and wheelchairs. Granby Park offers one half mile of off path trails for mountain bikes and runners.
Starting from the park building, you can walk either direction on this easy walking paved trail that passes through a very thick and shady wooded area. Helpful signs identify the various trees and other plants (watch out for the ones labeled "Poison Ivy"), and overlooks at either end provide a place to view the Congaree River. Near the south end, you will pass over what was once part of the old Columbia Canal. The trail is lit for evening walks. Bathroom facilities are available at the parking area in the replica saltbox Mill House that echoes the neighborhood architecture from the 1820's.
700 Hampton Street
Memorial Park is a four-acre tract of land in the Congaree Vista between Main Street and the river. The property is bordered by Hampton, Gadsden, Washington and Wayne Streets and is one block south of Finlay Park.
This park was created to serve as a memorial to those who served their country. It currently has monuments honoring the USS Columbia warship and those that served with her during WWII; the China-Burma-India Theater Veterans of WWII; causalities of the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941, who were from South Carolina; and the State Vietnam War Veterans.
The park was dedicated in November 1986 along with the unveiling of the South Carolina Vietnam Monument. It is the largest monument of its type outside of Washington, D.C., and stands here as a memorial to 980 South Carolinians who died in Vietnam. Plans are ongoing for the future development of the Korean War Memorial as funds are raised.
The park has a water fountain next to the Vietnam Memorial. There are no bathrooms. There is a creek running through the park with a small bridge over it and lots of birds for the kids to chase.
Owens Field Park
1401 Jim Hamilton Boulevard
This outdoor skate park is located at 1351 Jim Hamilton Blvd. next to Owens Field Airport in downtown Columbia. The 15,000 square-foot park features a street plaza, stairs, metal plated rails, and "pool" bowls ranging in depth from 4-to-12 feet.
Pads are required. The skate park is free and open to skateboards, in-line skates and bicycles.
The Owens field park has restrooms and a canteen area. A variety of outdoor sports take place at the park, which includes an 18-hole disc golf course, 12 regulation size soccer fields for all ages, and 3 T- Ball fields for youth play. Other sports that take place at the park consist of rugby, Pop Warner Football, Cross Country Track and Ultimate Frisbee League.
312 Laurel Street
(803) 917-5522 / 733-8613
Riverfront Park opened in 1983 for recreational usage of the land where the original waterworks for the City of Columbia was situated. This was also the site of the world's first electrically operated textile mill, and the hydroelectric plant, the oldest one in the state, is still operating. 140 acres make up Riverfront Park.
The park, which separates the Historic Columbia Canal and the Congaree River, is approximately 167 acres and is just west of Huger Street. A popular jogging/walking trail runs two and one half miles along the linear park and offers wonderful views of the river. There is also a beautiful brick amphitheater as well as a self-guided walkway by the old parts of the water plant. The park has the capability of hosting smaller concerts.
Riverfront Park also includes an outdoor gym which features seven pieces of equipment including a Lat pull down and vertical press, a rower, a 2-person wheelchair accessible chest press, a 4-person leg press, an elliptical cross trainer, 4-person pendulum and 3-person static combo.
In 2015, the South Carolina Memorial Park Commission unveiled a bronze War Dogs Monument at Memorial Park. The monument is a representation of a Vietnam infantryman and his loyal canine companion. The kneeling solider is about seven feet tall and weighs 1,400 pounds. The statue of the dog is four feet tall and weighs 300 pounds.
South East Park
951 Hazelwood Road
The city's newest and largest public outdoor tennis facility is South East Park and Tennis Center. The courts are shaded by thousands of trees that blanket the 62-acre park. Also included is a picnic shelter with restrooms, additional walking trails, a playfield and 14 additional tennis courts.
The park is located approximately two miles east of I-77 in Columbia, South Carolina. Take Garners Ferry Road east past Wal-Mart and turn left at the first flashing traffic signal at Hazelwood Drive. The park will be on the left hand side about a block away.
Columbia Parks & Recreation Department
1111 Recreation Drive, Columbia, SC 29201
P: 803-545-3100 | F: 803-343-8744
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