Originally Posted by Nureye
Columbia is strange in that we don't have any food icons. You should come and tour the campus for sure. The Horseshoe and the area behind the Horseshoe are a must. You can park anywhere on campus and walk.
Since you have kids, I would suggest having dinner at Carolina Ale House (Sports Pub) in the Vista or Village Idiot (Pizza) in 5 Points.
You should also check out the State Museum, State House, and EdVenture for the kids. All of this is very close to the University and Vista areas.
On Saturday, just park as close to the stadium as you can get. I prefer the Shop Rd area and then walk around to the Gamecock Village on Bluff Rd. The Cockabooses are behind the stadium. Maybe pick up some biscuits and fried chicken at BoJangles.
I think Columbia has a lot of food icons, actually. As a Yankee who was a carpet bagger in college and now living back north, I got to say one the top things I miss most about Columbia was the amazing food. :)
Most of the rest of your post I agree with but I disagree on village idiot big time, kids or not. If you are a tourist and your only exposure to five points is eating crappy imitation ny-style pizza that is only best to be inhaled with your pitcher of beer - you are going to be quite disappointed!
I second the suggestion of Yesterdays that others have stated. GREAT unique southern fare.
I also definitely suggest Palmetto Pig, which has great carolina BBQ, but it is so so worth it for the experience alone :) Maybe it's not that unique to Southerners but that place was unlike any place I had ever been to. My mind was blown. When your only drink option is the pitcher of Sweet Tea on your table, you know you have arrived in a unique southern place.
I also suggest Lizards Thicket for breakfast in the morning. The kids will like it. Good breakfast food, fun name and fun place. Local diner style. I wish I was at "Liiizzzzzard's Thiiiicccket"