With over 25,000 visitors expected to visit this weekend, downtown Columbia will be hopping! The first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are set to kick off this weekend in Columbia, SC, March 22-24. The State Capital is prepped and ready for the fans and parking. “We’re extremely excited, because we feel like we’re going to get a really good field of teams,” said Bill Ellen, president and CEO of the Experience Columbia SC tourism authority. There are several Free and Paid Parking opportunities in and around the city with shuttle services to the arena.
FREE SATELLITE PARKING AND SHUTTLES
On open practice and game days (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), you can park your car at one of these locations and take a free shuttle to Colonial Life Arena, as parking will be limited around the arena.
▪ Gamecock Park, 76 National Guard Road
▪ 405 Gervais St., at the corner of Gervais and Huger streets
▪ 1308 Rosewood Drive, across from the State Fairgrounds
The shuttles will also pick up outside a dozen downtown hotels.
The shuttles will run from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and will start two hours before the first game begins Sunday and end two hours after the final game ends.
DOWNTOWN PARKING FEES
On-street parking meters cost $0.75 per hour every day except Sunday, when they’re free. Normal city parking garage rates are up to $10 for a full day.
Special event fees will be charged at some garages during the tournament.
On Thursday, the Park Street garage will be free during the open practice sessions.
On Friday, the Park and Lincoln street garages will charge a flat $30 fee.
On Saturday, the Park and Lincoln street garages will charge a flat $10.
And on Sunday, the Park and Lincoln street garages will charge a flat $30.
Select garage parking spaces can be reserved in advance online through Innovista Parking.
Streets around Colonial Life Arena will be closed all day Thursday and Friday in the same patterns as normal USC basketball games.
Greene Street will be closed from Lincoln to Gadsden streets.
Lincoln Street will be closed from College to Greene streets.
FREE SODA CAP CONNECTOR BUS
The SODA CAP buses will be running between West Columbia, the Vista, Main Street and Five Points from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and two hours before the first game Sunday until two hours after the last game.
DEALS ON UBER, LYFT AND BIKE-SHARE
COMET bus rides will give access to special discount codes for ride-shares and BlueBike bicycles, which are stationed around downtown. Information about COMET bus routes and fares is available at www.catchthecomet.com.
To find more details about NCAA tournament parking and transportation visit www.columbiascsports.com/parking-transportation.
IF YOU STILL NEED TICKETS….
Regardless of age, everyone attending will need a ticket. Visit the Official NCAA Championship Event page for more details and tickets.