Things to Do in Sumter, SC
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Sumter, SC. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in South Carolina are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
Sumter's residents stay busy thanks to plenty of fun activities that take place throughout the year, as well as engaging attractions located all over the city. Here's a look at some of the venues and activities Sumter has to offer. Art and Theater
The Sumter Iris Festival is a local institution, the oldest continuous event in South Carolina and one of the most popular festivals in the Southeastern U.S. Held every Memorial Day weekend, the three-day event has for generations drawn visitors from around town and around the country.
The O’Donnell House is Sumter’s place to celebrate life’s special events in a historic setting. Calling itself “the premier event venue of Sumter,” The O’Donnell House is available for weddings, banquets, receptions, parties and any other special event you can imagine.
Sumter is a great tourism destination if you are a military buff. After all, both the city and county bear the name of Gen. Thomas Sumter, a patriotic hero nicknamed the “Fighting Gamecock” of the American Revolutionary War. Sumter is also known in Civil War history as the home of Potter’s Raid, which involved a series of battles and skirmishes from April 8-21, 1865.
Racing fans love the Sumter Speedway, a dirt track that hosts racing events every Saturday night during race season. The track has a diverse entertainment lineup, with everything from stock car racing to children’s dirt bikes.
The Sumter-Shaw Street Fest is organized each year by the city of Sumter to salute the men and women stationed at Shaw Air Force Base. The first Street Fest was held in 2002, and the fall event is considered the largest free party in the region. There are musical performances, games and activities for children, military displays, food and lots of fun.
The historic building on North Main Street in downtown Sumter serves as the city's center for the performing arts. The Sumter Opera House hosts several monthly programs and special performances throughout the year, including film, dance, theater, concerts and more. The 100-foot clock tower atop the 1894 Richardson-Romanesque-style building is visible from many parts of downtown, and the performance hall is decorated in authentic art deco.
Drive through Pinewood and you’ll see a snapshot of the quintessential small Southern town. Quiet. Unassuming. Beautiful in a way that’s both endearing and heartbreaking in the same instant. A wide thoroughfare pierces the heart of downtown. Most folks around these parts call it Main Street, but the signs contradict them. This is Clarke Street. There’s a town hall, a smattering of tidy, well-groomed churches, and houses for the nearly 500 souls who call this South Carolina town home. Pinewood People Make the Place
Upscale dining meets Southern cuisine and hospitality at Hamptons, located in downtown Sumter. With its seasonally inspired menus and locally produced ingredients, Hamptons is becoming Sumter's destination for an elegant, delicious meal. Owners Greg and Danielle Thompson got the idea for Hamptons after they ate at The Vintage in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. They believed a fine dining restaurant would be great for downtown Sumter, and Hamptons has been a hit since it opened in 2008.
Tempting culinary choices abound in Sumter’s local restaurant scene. From traditional Southern cuisine to foreign flavors, downtown menus provide a variety that will please any palate. Southern Cuisine Chef Jeff Dennis serves up Southern-style cooking with his own Cajun kick at Simply Southern Bistro. From burgers and fries to prime rib to homemade desserts, there’s something for everyone.
Sumter’s close proximity to the ocean means fresh seafood – and local restaurants serve it up in abundance. The Shrimper is a favorite local eatery known for fresh seafood and lively conversation. The menu includes combination dinners featuring shrimp, flounder, deviled crab, oysters, scallops or chicken with two sides and hushpuppies. International Restaurants
Hungry diners in Sumter don’t need to look far for great food choices. Sumter offers a wide variety of restaurants with something to please every palate. Cafés, Diners and Delis Café on Main features a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. Order Hugh’s shrimp and grits or the grilled pastrami and Swiss melt with a cup of Low Country gumbo. Menus change weekly, so there’s always something new to try.
Since 1999, the Sumter WineFest has given area residents the opportunity to enjoy good wine for a good cause. The yearly event raises thousands of dollars for programs associated with Sumter Senior Services, which provides services and activities for many of Sumter County’s older residents.
Busy bodies can remain active in Sumter thanks to plenty of recreational activities available to residents and visitors. Parks and Trails
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is a 120-acre park that began as an accidental garden.
The joyful cry of “Play ball” has resonated throughout Sumter every summer since 1929. That was the year that the American Legion Baseball program fielded its first team in Sumter, sponsored by Post 15. More than eight decades later, P-15 continues to put together a team every year, making it the second-oldest continuous American Legion Baseball program in the nation.
Discover all Sumter has to offer, from compelling artwork to scenic natural getaways. Have your own memorable experience with these exciting attractions. 1. Improve your golf swing at Crystal Lakes Golf Course or Beech Creek Golf Club. 2. Set up camp in Poinsett State Park for a relaxing natural getway.
There are more things to do in Sumter, SC than you can possibly pack into a weekend.
South Carolina is filled with quality golf courses, and the city of Sumter is in the middle of it all. Located near the geographic center of the state, Sumter has four courses within the city and approximately two dozen more that are less than an hour’s drive away. Beech Creek Golf Club
Sumter, S.C., home to the world-famous Swan Lake Iris Gardens, offers visitors a home-town feel while providing multiple venues for history, culture and shopping.