The Daily Gamecock

Holiday events lined up in Columbia ahead of winter break

With finals week just around the corner and the holiday season upon us, now is the time to get out and enjoy time with one another before winter break. Here are some family-friendly holiday events to enjoy around Columbia this season: 

52nd Annual Governor's Carolighting

On Nov. 26, the governor will kick off the Christmas season at the South Carolina Statehouse with the lighting of the Christmas tree that was recently placed outside of the building. The event will include Christmas carols, a Christmas message from the governor and a countdown to the tree lighting. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. 

When: Nov. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: South Carolina Statehouse

Price: Free

Columbia City Ballet presents "Nutcracker"

On varying dates between Dec. 8 and 16, the Columbia City Ballet will perform "Nutcracker" at the Koger Center for the Arts. The "Nutcracker" is a holiday tradition in the ballet world that follows the adventure of Clara, a young girl who receives a nutcracker doll for Christmas. 


Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.

Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 16 at 3 p.m.

Where: Koger Center for the Arts

Price: Ranges between $20 and $52

Holiday Lights on the River

Saluda Shoals Park showcases over 400 festive Christmas lights. The venue features train rides, a slide and marshmallow roasting. Stroll through a winter wonderland of lights beginning every night from 6 to 10 p.m. until its close on Dec. 31. 

When: Nov. 21 to Dec. 31; 6-10 p.m. every night

Where: Saluda Shoals Park

Price: $20 per car

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden 

Enjoy the magic of Christmas along with some furry friends at the Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens. The event starts every night at 5 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m., featuring a decorated zoo with elaborate Christmas lights, a storytelling Christmas tree and a bonfire for marshmallow roasting.

When: Nov. 18 through Dec. 30; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. every night

Where: Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Price: Free for children under 2, $10 for children between ages 2 and 12 and $12 for adults 

The Polar Express 4D Experience 

At the South Carolina State Museum through Dec. 2, attendees can watch the classic holiday film "The Polar Express" in 4D, complete with 3D visuals and environmental changes such as gusts of wind and vibrating seats that enhance the movie watching experience. See the museum's website for more information. 

When: Nov. 19 through Dec. 2, varying showtimes

Where: South Carolina State Museum

Price: $13.95 (Includes museum general admission)