The temple is located in Hopkins, South Carolina because of its central location within the state. The building is set in a residential neighborhood and surrounded by native loblolly pine and oak trees. The grounds are landscaped with the area's natural flora including myrtle, holly, mums, and dogwood trees. The exterior of the temple is gray granite and features art glass windows. The temple has the traditional lone spire topped by a gold-plated angel Moroni.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Columbia South Carolina Temple was held on December 5, 1998. Before its dedication, about 20,000 people toured the temple during an open house. The temple was dedicated the 15-16 October 1999 by LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley. The Columbia South Carolina Temple has a total of 10,700 square feet (990 m2), two ordinance rooms, and two sealing rooms.