The fourth incorporated city in Mississippi, Columbia was once the temporary state capital. During the Christmas season the city is a sight to behold.
Time is running out in this Christmas season! Santa’s sleigh will come and go, the lights will dim, the ball will drop, and 2024 will be here.
There’s one last stop to make this weekend for a full taste of Christmas in the Magnolia State— in Columbia, Mississippi.
The fourth incorporated city in Mississippi, Columbia was once the temporary state capital. The city was named for Columbia, South Carolina, due to the many people who migrated from that area to Mississippi. Today the population hoovers around 6,000 residents.
Columbia is located in Marion County, and serves as the county seat. It is about 40 miles west of Hattiesburg and 81 miles south of Jackson. Situated on the east bank of the Pearl River, Columbia is known as “The City of Charm on the Pearl River.” At one time, the river was deeper and wider than it is today, and steamboats were the preferred method of transporting goods into and out of the city.
Another fun fact about Columbia is that Mississippi’s first ever rodeo was held there in 1935. It became the headquarters of the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame when it was founded in 2016.
While the city features a charming Main Street lined with historic buildings, it’s during the Christmas season that Columbia is a sight to behold. Everything is beautifully decorated. Take a walk in the warm glow of Christmas lights and bounce along the town with a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a clear night— it is a whimsical experience.
But Columbia takes it one step further. There’s a live nativity, a ride on the Grinch train, carnival rides, and food trucks every Friday and Saturday of the month, so there’s still a chance to catch it all this weekend. Singing Santas will perform downtown Saturday, from 5-8 pm, to close out the Christmas season. Christmas in Columbia makes for a great night, no matter the age. For more adult holiday cheer, there are Cheers and Beers, the downtown pop-up beer garden, every Friday and Saturday in December.
Christmas in Columbia has a reputation for bringing cheer in a big way. Mississippi Magazine voted Christmas in Columbia as the Best of Mississippi Travel Holiday Attraction in 2022 and is on the ballot again for 2023.