Columbia is located in the heart of South Carolina, with a population of more than 700,000 and a reputation for being "Famously Hot." Aside from being the state capital, the city is home to several colleges and universities, including the University of South Carolina, and also offers a variety of entertainment and recreation opportunities.
The Columbia Visitor's Bureau has information about the city in general, including a calendar of events, and an electronic guide to dining around town Why not take advantage of the great Southern weather (it's usually in the 60's or 70's in March) to walk or jog along the Riverwalk or visit our Zoo and Botanical Gardens? Columbia's abundance of rivers and parks made it one of the top write-in candidates for Outside magazine's "Best 'Outside' Towns of 2012". Voters in the magazine's competition also mentioned the city's great food and gallery scene, much of which can be found in the Vista.
If you prefer to stay inside, the South Carolina State Museum is only a few short blocks from the convention center, and is the largest museum in the Southeast. Both the State Museum and the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum will be hosting exhibits on the Civil War during the week of the conference.
On Friday or Saturday evening you can head up to Le Cafe Jazz at the edge of Findlay Park to hear live jazz while you dine or dance, or head to Art Bar on Friday night to see a live performance by Columbia's own professional circus Alternacirque.