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Columbia State Historic Park, Columbia

(4.4/5 based on 360+ reviews on the web)
Columbia State Historic Park, also known as Columbia Historic District, is a state park unit and National Historic Landmark District preserving historic downtown Columbia, California, USA. It includes almost 30 buildings built during the California Gold Rush, most of which remain today. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.DescriptionThe site was proclaimed a state historic park in 1946, and the restored buildings are operated as an inhabited, working open-air museum. Individuals in period costumes run a handmade candy store, a Daguerreotype studio, and stagecoach rides, among other stores and restaurants.The Columbia Museum, formerly the Cavalier Museum, is located in the Knapp building.Volunteers with the Friends of Columbia State Historic Park host many special living history programs at the park each year. During Gold Rush Days, held the second Saturday of each month, park docents in period clothing lead programs in the park, and there are special exhibits and hands-on activities. Free tours of the town are offered on weekends year-round and daily in the summer.Media exposureColumbia State Historic Park has been used as a shooting location for many films and television scenes. High Noon includes scenes filmed in 1952 in and around the Wilson House, on Main Street and in front of Engine House #2. The Shadow Riders (1982) was also filmed in and around Columbia.
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Reviews
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  • We really enjoyed wandering through this historical mining town/state park. There were numerous buildings all along Main Street with some housing current businesses, like a general store and blacksmit...  more »
  • Columbia is the best-preserved California Gold Rush town. As part of a State Historic Park, there are many interesting exhibits and displays. As part of a living 1850s town there are merchants selling...  more »
  • Super place saved! Perfect for those who like to get to know different cultures and relive a little of the past.
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  • We really had a great time, would have loved to spend more than an afternoon there. Also would have been great if it wasn't so darn hot, but it made you think more about what it was like for those miners. Just made us want to cool off in shops more than we would have liked. We did walk around quite a bit and see the different historical locations but there was plenty more to see. Fun mix of a historical tourist place and real functioning town. It was fun seeing the locals come in for a beer after work.
  • Awesome state park. Love that people dress up like the 1800's. All the events here are fun and educational. Take a tour and you will have a fantastic time learning all about the history of Columbia. Lots of places to see and go including swimming and fishing only a few miles away. Stop by with an rv or rent and visit one of the privately owned campgrounds here in Columbia that are within walking distance to the state park :) Come see what Columbia has to offer, and you might not want to leave!
  • I love the history, lots for children and adults to explore. I love that the people in the shops dress in era clothing. The stage coach ride is pretty cool! The working blacksmith shop and candy store are great. They have an old bowling lane, That you can actually bowl in. A really cool school house, (that's a good walk up a very steep hill, but worth it.) and an old cemetery behind the school house. Gold panning, soap and candle shop, saloons, as well as a few other great shops and a theater. They have buildings set up (behind glass) to represent what life there was like. For example, an old dentist office that looks as if the dentist had closed up shop and would be returning the next day. They also have a couple of museums with local historical items and information. I've recently discovered that not only do they have a couple of period hotels right in the little town, you can stay in, there are also a couple of cottages in Columbia for very decent prices. I have yet to stay in either. I would imagine you would have to reserve the cottages way in advance. I'm sure the website would have more information. Columbia is open daily. The weekends have quite a few visitors, as expected. During the week is great as well. Although you may encounter a school field trip group, there are usually not as many visitors. It's very close to Sonora and James town, as well as, other great family adventure places like Mercers, California and Moaning caverns.
  • Ok, I liked this place, just walking through the old town, visiting the shops, reading about the history, my wife an kids... not so much. You can take a carriage ride, check out the fire house, even take a walking tour (which I missed so I can't speak to how good it is). The shops are quaint and the people working them are friendly. We went on a weekday and it was not very busy but I suspect weekends are because of all the available parking. My wife an daughters did start liking it more when they found some of the shopping :D
  • Stayed at both Hotels....Fallon and City Hotel...both we enjoyed immensely with the history time period