Southern Charm and Urban Appeal: Why People Love Living in Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, is a place that exudes southern charm while offering the amenities of a thriving urban center. It’s no wonder that this beautiful city has captured the hearts of its residents and newcomers alike. In this blog, we will explore some of the reasons why people love living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Rich History and Culture

Columbia is steeped in history, and this is evident in its many historic sites and landmarks. For history buffs and culture enthusiasts, this city is a treasure trove. The South Carolina State House, the Robert Mills House, and the South Carolina State Museum are just a few of the notable places that offer a glimpse into the city’s past. The city also hosts numerous cultural events, festivals, and museums, making it a hub for art and history aficionados.

  • Founding and Early History:
    • Columbia was founded in 1786 as the capital of South Carolina, taking the place of Charleston, which had served as the state capital since its establishment in 1670.
    • The city was situated near the geographic center of the state, which was considered a strategic location during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Name Origin:
    • The name “Columbia” was a nod to Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer. The name reflects the patriotic and revolutionary spirit of the time.
  • Role in the American Civil War:
    • During the American Civil War, Columbia played a significant role in the Confederate States of America. It served as an important center for the Confederate government, hosting several government offices and military installations.
    • On February 17, 1865, during the final months of the war, Union forces under General William Tecumseh Sherman famously captured and burned much of the city. This event, known as the “Burning of Columbia,” had a lasting impact on the city’s history and development.
  • Post-Civil War Reconstruction:
    • After the Civil War, Columbia, like much of the South, faced a period of Reconstruction. During this time, efforts were made to rebuild and integrate the city and state into the post-war United States.
    • The University of South Carolina, founded in 1801, became a focal point of education in the region and played a role in the reconstruction of the state’s educational system.
  • Civil Rights Movement:
    • Columbia, like many other cities in the South, was a significant battleground during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. It witnessed protests, sit-ins, and other forms of civil disobedience as activists fought for equal rights and an end to racial segregation.
  • Recent History:
    • In more recent history, Columbia has seen significant growth and development, both in terms of its economy and population. The city has become a hub for education, healthcare, and technology industries.
  • Cultural and Historical Landmarks:
    • Columbia is home to numerous cultural and historical landmarks, such as the South Carolina State House, which was constructed in the mid-19th century and is an important symbol of the state’s history.
    • The Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion are other historic properties that offer insights into the city’s past.
  • Columbia’s history is a mix of triumphs, challenges, and change, reflecting the broader history of the South and the United States. The city’s role in the Civil War and the subsequent process of rebuilding, along with its contributions to education and civil rights, have left a lasting imprint on its historical narrative. Today, Columbia continues to evolve as a dynamic and thriving city while preserving its historical roots

Outdoor Recreation

Columbia is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. The Congaree National Park, just a short drive away, boasts the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. For those who enjoy the outdoors, there are countless opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, and more. The city’s numerous parks and green spaces provide residents with ample opportunities to connect with nature without leaving the city.

Outdoor recreation is an integral part of life in Columbia, South Carolina, and the city offers a diverse range of activities and natural attractions for residents and visitors to enjoy. Here are more details about the outdoor recreation opportunities in and around Columbia:

  • Congaree National Park: Located just 20 miles southeast of Columbia, Congaree National Park is a natural wonder. It boasts the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. Visitors can explore its lush forests, spot wildlife, and navigate the Cedar Creek by canoe or kayak. There are several hiking trails, including the Boardwalk Loop, which is suitable for all ages and abilities.
  • Three Rivers Greenway: This network of pathways and trails spans along the banks of the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers. It’s a popular spot for biking, jogging, walking, and bird-watching. The scenic views of the rivers and surrounding nature make it a peaceful and enjoyable place for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Lake Murray: Lake Murray, just a short drive from the city, is a 50,000-acre reservoir known for boating, fishing, and water sports. There are marinas and public access points for launching boats, as well as numerous parks and picnic areas. The lake’s serenity and recreational opportunities attract people year-round.
  • Harbison State Forest: This urban forest, covering over 2,000 acres, offers hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. The extensive network of trails appeals to both beginners and experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Harbison State Forest is a great place for a day of adventure close to the city.
  • Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: This 170-acre zoo and botanical garden offers a unique combination of wildlife viewing and beautiful gardens. It’s an excellent place for families and nature lovers. The zoo is home to over 2,000 animals, while the botanical garden features stunning landscapes and horticultural exhibits.
  • South Carolina State Parks: Columbia is surrounded by state parks, each offering unique outdoor experiences. Sesquicentennial State Park is known for its lakes, hiking trails, and opportunities for paddling and fishing. Dreher Island State Park, on the shores of Lake Murray, provides camping, boating, and hiking.
  • Golfing: Columbia boasts several golf courses for enthusiasts of the sport. The area’s pleasant weather makes it possible to enjoy golf year-round. Cobblestone Park Golf Club and Fort Jackson Golf Club are just a couple of options for those looking to tee off.
  • Cycling: The city has a growing cycling community, and there are many routes and trails for road cycling and mountain biking. The Three Rivers Greenway and Harbison State Forest are popular spots for cyclists.
  • Annual Events: Columbia hosts various outdoor events and festivals, such as the River Rocks Music Festival and the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, which celebrate outdoor recreation, conservation, and wildlife.
  • With its proximity to natural wonders like Congaree National Park, scenic rivers, and a variety of recreational opportunities, Columbia offers residents and visitors a wealth of options for enjoying the great outdoors, making it a perfect destination for those who appreciate an active and nature-oriented lifestyle.

Excellent Educational Institutions

Columbia, South Carolina, is home to a range of educational institutions that cater to diverse educational needs and interests. Here are more details about the educational facilities in the city:

  • University of South Carolina (UofSC):
    • The University of South Carolina is the flagship institution of the state’s higher education system. Founded in 1801, it has a rich history and is known for its academic excellence.
    • UofSC offers a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs across various disciplines, including business, arts and sciences, engineering, and healthcare.
    • The university is a prominent research institution, contributing to advancements in various fields, and it is integral to the city’s cultural and academic scene.
  • Columbia College:
    • Columbia College, established in 1854, is a private liberal arts women’s college. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields, including business, education, and the arts.
    • The college is known for its commitment to women’s education and leadership development.
  • Benedict College:
    • Benedict College, founded in 1870, is a historically black liberal arts institution. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields such as business, education, and social sciences.
    • The college plays a significant role in the African American community and has a strong commitment to community engagement and social justice.
  • Allen University:
    • Allen University is a historically black university founded in 1870. It offers undergraduate programs in areas like business administration, religious studies, and social science.
    • The university has a mission of providing quality education and fostering leadership and service among its students.
  • Midlands Technical College (MTC):
    • Midlands Technical College is a two-year community college that serves the educational and workforce development needs of the region.
    • MTC provides a wide range of programs, including transferable associate degrees and career-oriented certificates and diplomas.
  • Columbia International University (CIU):
    • CIU is a private Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs with a focus on biblical studies, ministry, and theology.
    • The university has a strong commitment to Christian education and global missions.
  • Public School Districts:
    • Richland County School District One and Richland County School District Two are the primary public school districts serving the Columbia area. They provide education from kindergarten through high school, with a variety of specialized programs and magnet schools.
  • Private Schools:
    • Columbia has a variety of private schools that offer different educational philosophies and curricula, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of families in the area.
  • Specialized Institutions and Technical Schools:
    • Columbia also has specialized institutions, technical schools, and vocational training centers that offer career-focused education and training in fields such as healthcare, technology, and the trades.
  • In addition to the above institutions, Columbia is known for its vibrant educational community, with a range of cultural and educational events, lectures, and symposia taking place throughout the year. The city’s educational facilities and resources make it a hub for learning, research, and professional development.

Real Estate Market

The real estate market in Columbia, South Carolina, is dynamic and offers a variety of housing options to cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are more details about the real estate market in Columbia:

  • Housing Types:
    • Columbia offers a diverse range of housing types, including single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, and condominiums. The median listing home price in Columbia, SC was $255K in September 2023, trending down -1.9% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $142. The median home sold price was $237.4K.
    • The city has historic neighborhoods with charming older homes and newer, modern developments with contemporary designs.
  • Affordability:
    • One of the attractive aspects of Columbia’s real estate market is its affordability. The cost of living in the city is lower than in many major urban areas, making it an appealing option for those looking to purchase their first home or for retirees seeking to downsize.
  • Neighborhoods:
    • Columbia is divided into several neighborhoods, each with its unique character and amenities. Some popular neighborhoods include Shandon, Forest Acres, Lake Murray, and Rosewood.
    • The choice of neighborhood can significantly impact housing prices and access to amenities.
  • Market Trends:
    • The real estate market in Columbia has experienced steady growth in recent years. However, like many markets, it can be influenced by economic factors and external events.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, led to changes in real estate trends, with increased interest in larger homes, home offices, and outdoor spaces.
  • Rental Market:
    • Columbia has a robust rental market due to its various educational institutions, military presence, and the influx of young professionals.
    • Rental options include apartments, condos, single-family homes, and student housing near the city’s universities. The average rent for an apartment in Columbia is $1,395. The cost of rent varies depending on several factors, including location, size, and quality.
  • Economic Factors:
    • The economy of Columbia is diverse, with significant sectors in healthcare, education, government, and manufacturing. This diversity has contributed to a stable real estate market.
    • Job opportunities, cost of living, and overall economic health often influence the real estate market.
  • Historic Homes:
    • Columbia has a number of historic homes and neighborhoods with beautifully preserved architecture. These homes often have unique character and charm, attracting those who appreciate history and culture.
  • New Developments:
    • The city has seen various new housing developments and construction projects in response to the growing demand. These developments offer modern amenities and energy-efficient features.
  • Real Estate Agents:
    • Many real estate agents and agencies operate in Columbia, providing valuable assistance to buyers and sellers. They can help navigate the market, negotiate deals, and provide local insights.

Buying a Home in Columbia SC with a Muuvme Realtor

  • Muuvme Realtors is a well-regarded real estate agency with associates in South Carolina known for its expertise in helping clients find their dream homes in this picturesque community. If you’re considering buying a home using Muuvme Realtors, there is some detailed information on how we can help you at the end of this blog
  • Government Initiatives:
    • Government initiatives and incentives may impact the real estate market. For example, tax incentives and development plans can encourage investment in specific areas.
  • Property Taxes:
    • It’s important to note that property tax rates can vary depending on the location within the city and the county. Prospective buyers should consider property taxes in their budget.
  • Market Conditions:
    • Like all real estate markets, Columbia’s can experience fluctuations in supply and demand. Market conditions may vary by neighborhood and property type.
  • Before entering the real estate market in Columbia, it’s advisable to consult with a local real estate agent and conduct thorough research to understand market trends, financing options, and the neighborhoods that align with your preferences and needs. The affordability, diverse housing options, and growing economy make Columbia an attractive destination for both homebuyers and real estate investors.

Thriving Job Market

The city’s job market has been steadily growing in recent years, offering a diverse range of career opportunities. Columbia is home to various industries, including healthcare, education, government, and technology. With a relatively low cost of living compared to some larger cities, Columbia is an attractive option for professionals looking to advance their careers.

  • Columbia, South Carolina, has a diverse job market with a range of industries and opportunities for job seekers. Here are more details about the job market in Columbia:
  • Government Employment:
    • As the state capital, Columbia is home to numerous government offices and agencies. This includes state government departments, the city government, and federal agencies. Government employment, from administrative roles to public service positions, plays a significant role in the local job market.
  • Education and Healthcare:
    • Columbia is a hub for education and healthcare, with several universities, colleges, and medical institutions in the area. The University of South Carolina, for example, is a major employer. The city’s healthcare sector provides jobs in various roles, from healthcare providers to administrative staff.
  • Manufacturing and Industry:
    • The manufacturing sector in Columbia is also substantial, with companies involved in aerospace, automotive, and other industries. Companies like Boeing, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, and SCANA Corporation provide job opportunities in manufacturing, engineering, and technical roles.
  • Technology and IT:
    • The technology and information technology (IT) sector is growing in Columbia. The presence of technology companies and research institutions has led to an increase in job opportunities for software developers, IT professionals, and other related roles.
  • Retail and Hospitality:
    • The retail and hospitality industries provide a wide range of employment opportunities, particularly in the city’s commercial and tourist areas. This includes jobs in restaurants, hotels, and retail stores.
  • Research and Innovation:
    • Columbia has a growing research and innovation sector. Research institutions, such as the USC Research Campus, foster innovation and offer research-based job opportunities in various fields.
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship:
    • The city supports a thriving small business and entrepreneurship scene. Start-ups and small businesses in Columbia provide jobs in diverse fields, and the city encourages entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Military Presence:
    • Fort Jackson, one of the largest military installations in the country, is located in Columbia. The military presence contributes to the local job market, offering positions in military, civilian, and support roles.
  • Transportation and Logistics:
    • The city’s strategic location and proximity to major transportation routes make it a hub for transportation and logistics companies. Job opportunities in warehousing, distribution, and transportation are available.
  • Tourism and Arts:
    • The tourism and arts industries are vital to the local economy. Museums, theaters, and tourist attractions provide jobs in areas such as hospitality, event management, and the arts.
  • Professional Services:
    • Columbia’s job market also includes opportunities in professional services such as legal, finance, consulting, and marketing.
  • Nonprofit Organizations:
    • Numerous nonprofit organizations in Columbia address a variety of social and community issues. Job opportunities in nonprofit and advocacy roles are available for those interested in making a positive impact.

Columbia’s job market offers a blend of career opportunities in government, education, healthcare, technology, and various industries. The city’s relatively lower cost of living compared to larger urban areas makes it an attractive destination for professionals and families seeking career growth and a high quality of life. Job seekers can explore these diverse industries and employment sectors when considering their career prospects in Columbia.

Friendly Community

One of the standout features of Columbia is its warm and welcoming community. People in Columbia take pride in their southern hospitality, and newcomers often find it easy to integrate into the local culture. From friendly neighbors to community events, there are plenty of opportunities to make new friends and connections.

Culinary Delights

Columbia’s dining scene is a delightful mix of southern comfort food and international flavors. The city boasts an array of restaurants, food trucks, and markets that cater to every palate. Whether you’re craving barbecue, Southern soul food, or global cuisine, you’ll find it here.

A Hub for Arts and Entertainment

Columbia has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, offering residents access to live music, theater, and a variety of cultural events. The Koger Center for the Arts, Township Auditorium, and various local theaters regularly host performances and shows, ensuring that there’s always something exciting happening.

  • Columbia, South Carolina, offers a vibrant arts and entertainment scene with a variety of cultural attractions, events, and venues. Here are more details about arts and entertainment in Columbia:
  • Koger Center for the Arts: The Koger Center is a premier performing arts venue located on the University of South Carolina campus. It hosts a wide range of cultural and artistic performances, including classical music concerts, Broadway shows, dance performances, and more. It’s a hub for cultural enrichment and entertainment.
  • Township Auditorium: Another iconic performance venue in Columbia is the Township Auditorium. It features a mix of concerts, comedy shows, and live entertainment, showcasing a diverse lineup of artists and performers.
  • South Carolina State Museum: This museum is the largest in the Southeast and offers a comprehensive look at the state’s history, art, science, and technology. It features a planetarium, an observatory, and numerous exhibits that appeal to all age groups.
  • Columbia Museum of Art: The Columbia Museum of Art is known for its impressive collection of European and American art, including works by renowned artists. The museum frequently hosts special exhibitions, educational programs, and events.
  • Music and Live Entertainment: Columbia has a thriving music and live entertainment scene with a variety of venues that host local and touring bands. The city caters to music lovers of all genres, from rock and jazz to hip-hop and country. The Soda City Market often features live musicians, adding to the city’s lively atmosphere.
  • Festivals and Events: Columbia hosts numerous festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Some notable events include the Riverfest, the South Carolina State Fair, the ColaJazz Festival, the Greek Festival, and St. Pat’s in Five Points, among others. These events showcase a rich tapestry of cultures and artistic expressions.
  • Performing Arts Theaters: Beyond the Koger Center and Township Auditorium, Columbia has several theaters and performance spaces, including the Trustus Theatre and the Nickelodeon Theatre. These venues host a variety of live theater productions, independent films, and artistic performances.
  • Art Galleries: The city has a number of art galleries and art districts, such as the Vista Arts District. These galleries provide a platform for local and regional artists to showcase their work and contribute to the city’s creative culture.
  • Dance and Ballet: The Columbia City Ballet is a prominent dance company that offers world-class performances throughout the year. It presents classical and contemporary ballet productions, attracting dance enthusiasts from the region.
  • Comedy Clubs: Comedy lovers can enjoy evenings of laughter at comedy clubs like The Comedy House and The Joint at 1710 Main, where both local and national comedians perform.
  • Historic Sites: Columbia’s historic sites, like the South Carolina State House and the Robert Mills House, often host cultural and arts events. The beautiful, historic architecture provides a unique backdrop for various artistic endeavors.
  • Columbia’s arts and entertainment scene offers something for everyone, from visual arts and live performances to music and cultural festivals. Whether you’re a fan of classical art, contemporary theater, or live music, you’ll find numerous opportunities to explore and enjoy the arts in this vibrant city.

Cons of Living in Columbia SC

While Columbia, South Carolina, has many positive aspects, it’s important to consider some of the potential drawbacks and challenges of living in the city:

  • Hot and Humid Summers: Columbia experiences hot and humid summers, with temperatures often exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The climate can be uncomfortable for those who prefer milder weather.
  • Traffic Congestion: Like many growing cities, Columbia can experience traffic congestion during peak commuting hours, especially on major thoroughfares and highways. This can lead to longer commute times.
  • Limited Public Transportation: Columbia’s public transportation system, while improving, may not be as extensive or efficient as in larger cities. This can be a limitation for those who rely on public transit.
  • Frequent Thunderstorms and Hurricanes: South Carolina is susceptible to thunderstorms and hurricanes, which can result in heavy rainfall and flooding. Residents need to be prepared for extreme weather events.
  • Economic Disparities: Like many urban areas, Columbia has its share of economic disparities, with some neighborhoods facing economic challenges. These disparities can lead to social and economic inequalities.
  • Education Challenges: While Columbia has excellent educational institutions, the public school system in some areas may face challenges in terms of funding and performance. Families may need to research schools carefully to find the best fit for their children.
  • Limited Public Amenities: While the city has a lot to offer, it may have fewer public amenities compared to larger cities. Some residents may find that certain cultural, recreational, or shopping options are limited.
  • Healthcare Access: While there are healthcare facilities in Columbia, some residents may find that specialized medical care or treatment options are not as readily available as in larger cities.
  • Crime Rates: Some areas of the city may have higher crime rates than others. It’s important for residents to be aware of the safety of their neighborhoods and take appropriate precautions.
  • Humidity and Allergens: The high humidity in the region can contribute to allergies and the growth of mold and mildew, which may be a concern for individuals with respiratory issues.
  • Limited Green Spaces in Certain Areas: While Columbia offers many parks and outdoor opportunities, some neighborhoods may have limited access to green spaces and recreational areas.
  • It’s essential to remember that the impact of these cons can vary from person to person, depending on individual preferences and priorities. It’s always a good idea to research and visit the city to determine if it aligns with your lifestyle and needs. Additionally, what some consider drawbacks, others may see as minor inconveniences or challenges that are outweighed by the city’s positive aspects.


Columbia, South Carolina, is a city that combines the best of southern charm with the conveniences of urban living. With its rich history, outdoor beauty, educational opportunities, growing job market, friendly community, culinary diversity, and thriving arts and entertainment scene, it’s no wonder that so many people love to call Columbia home. Whether you’re considering a move or are already a resident, this city has something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

Buying a Home in Columbia SC with a Muuvme Realtor

Muuvme Realtors, a reputable real estate agency with a presence in all 50 states, excels in helping clients discover their dream homes in this charming community. If you’re considering buying a home with Muuvme Realtors, here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Initial Consultation: Start by discussing your needs, budget, and preferences with a Muuvme Realtor.
  2. Pre-Approval for Mortgage: Get pre-approved for a mortgage to enhance your buying power.
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  4. Offer Preparation and Negotiation: Craft a strong purchase offer with your Realtor’s guidance and expert negotiation skills.
  5. Contract Execution: Ensure accurate and timely completion of paperwork, inspections, and appraisals.
  6. Closing Process: Muuvme Realtors assist with closing documents, ensuring a smooth transaction.
  7. Post-Closing Support: Ongoing assistance and answering questions post-transaction.
  8. Local Expertise: Benefit from their knowledge of the community and real estate market.
  9. Transparency and Communication: Stay informed at every step with regular updates.
  10. Tailored Service: Customized service to find a home that suits your unique needs. is a user-friendly platform for new movers, offering a streamlined home search experience with expert Realtor collaboration. It considers your preferences, budget, and lifestyle to suggest properties that align with your desires. simplifies the journey to your dream home while benefiting from seasoned real estate professionals’ expertise. Say goodbye to endless scrolling and embrace an efficient path to your dream home with and its dedicated realtor partners. Contact Muuvme for more information. © 2023 MuuvMe All rights Reserved

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