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    The Ultimate Guide to Game Days in Cola

    As the autumn breeze ushers in the football season, Columbia transforms into a vibrant hub of sporting passion and community camaraderie. Whether you’re a visitor or a Soda Citizen, game days in Columbia are a quintessential Southern tradition. No matter which team you cheer on this fall, everyone here loves to gather ’round the tailgate table and celebrate with the snacks and sips that make this city come alive. As scents of barbecue and sounds of cheer fill the air, check out the many local spots that fuel this community’s unique game day spirit.




    Bars & Breweries
    Our bars and breweries offer the finest craft beer and cocktails. If you don’t have a ticket for the game, no worries; these local spots are the favorites of all sports fans.


    River Rat Brewery In the shadows of Williams-Brice Stadium, River Rat Brewery offers a range of refreshing ales and lagers. Their “Astronaut Sauce” is a favorite among fans, boasting a game-winning balance of hops and citrus flavors.


    Steel Hands Brewing A short drive from the stadium, Steel Hands Brewing is a hot spot for post-game celebrations. Enjoy their signature “Coffee Lager” or “Tropical IPA” while reliving the game’s highlights.


    Southern-style eats
    The capital city is famous not only for its heat but for its fan-favorite eateries, too. Although a variety of cuisines can be found here, there’s nothing like a spread of Southern comforts for game day in the South.


    Home Team BBQ Located in Columbia’s charming Five Points, this local spot is a hub to families, friends, college students, and most importantly, football fans. A host of southern delicacies to choose from and TVs to watch the game make dining on game day a no-brainer.


    Doc’s BBQ Just a few minutes’ walk from Willy B, you’ll find this popular eatery for those who love tender, fall-off-the-bone meats. Find paintings by Ernest Lee, AKA “The Chicken Man,” here as you fill your plate with all the fixins to fuel your game day.


    Tailgate Traditions
    Tailgating is the ultimate pre-game ritual, bringing together friends, family and even rivals. The capital city is a hotbed for tailgating spots, but none compare to the vibrant energy surrounding Williams-Brice Stadium. These game day traditions add an extra layer of excitement and electricity in the air. The Gamecock Walk is a must-see, where fans line the streets to cheer on the mighty Gamecocks as they make their way to the stadium. The “Cockaboose Railroad” is another longstanding tradition, where fans gather in refurbished train cars near the stadium for an unforgettable and luxurious tailgating experience.


    Photos by Brett Flashnick and Forrest Clonts