5 things to know ahead of March Madness games coming to Columbia

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – For the first time in 40 years the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be played in Columbia.

With that in mind, “Experience Columbia” released five things you need to know before next week’s games:

  • There are many convenient parking options to help basketball fans participate in the festivities with ease. Free Park & Ride is available with satellite parking and shuttles; use ride sharing services with drop off lanes close to the arena; catch the Soda Cap Connector or the Comet; or use two wheels to get around and hop on a bus using Blue Bike SC. Parking garages near CLA are free on Thursday, March 21, during Open Practice. For a complete list and instructions, visit https://www.columbiascsports.com/parking-transportation.
  • Can’t attend the games? You can still see every team participating in the first and second rounds in Columbia SC at Open Practice. Free and open to the media and public, Open Practice on Thursday, March 21, gives basketball fans the opportunity to watch the teams go through a 40-minute practice at Colonial Life Arena. Practices will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude at 6:20 p.m. The team practice schedule will be announced following Selection Sunday on March 17.
  • The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, located next to the basketball action in the Colonial Life Arena, will be the site for the Segra Fan Fest Experience! This FREE two-day event will feature food, beverages, games, camaraderie and competition for fans of all eight teams, as well as locals, looking to get in on the basketball action. Tournament games will be streamed on a jumbo LED wall, and there will be live performances and a kid zone. Visit www.columbiaconventioncenter.com/segra-fan-fest-experience.
  • Thursday and Friday all-day street closures will be the same as during a USC basketball game. Greene Street will be closed from Lincoln Street to Gadson Street, and Lincoln Street will be closed from College Street to Greene Street. Residents and visitors will need to find an alternate route, and any deliveries should be routed around the closures.
  • For information on all things basketball during the tournament – from schedules to parking information to events and things to do around the city – visit https://basketball.columbiascsports.com.  Don’t forget to use our hashtag #RealColumbiaSC to show and tell us about your experiences!
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