Columbia is the capital and second largest city of the U.S. state of South Carolina, with a population estimate of 133,451 as of 2018.
The city of Columbia, locally referred to as “Cola” or “Soda City,” is located approximately 13 miles northwest of the geographic center of South Carolina, and is the primary city of the Midlands region of the state. It lies at the union of the Saluda River and the Broad River, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River. Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina and Fort Jackson, the largest United States Army installation for Basic Combat Training.
Columbia combines the gracious living of its past with the excitement of the New South. It is a city where steel and glass structures rub shoulders with stately homes and turn-of-the-century warehouses that now serve as modern offices; where the friendly nature of its residents is matched only by its welcoming climate. One of the first planned cities in America, Columbia is a community that’s easy to get to know, easy to love.
Columbia is a beautiful and affordable place to live. It offers one-of-a kind architecture, natural scenic beauty, amazing dining options, shopping and everything in between. Home prices in Columbia are well below the national average and those who aren’t ready to buy will find no shortage of rental homes or apartment complexes.
Columbia enjoys a typical Southern, subtropical climate with short, mild winters that make snowfall a treat every few years. Located in the center of the state, Columbia is equally close to the mountains and the beach. Historic Charleston and the island resorts of Hilton Head and Kiawah are about a two-hour drive; Myrtle Beach and the beaches of the Grand Strand are approximately three hours away, as are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Interstates 20, 26 and 77 converge here, and Interstates 85 and 95 are nearby, putting most East Coast and many Midwest cities within a day’s drive.
Cultural activities abound, and you will find both big-city variety and quaint, local offerings. Columbia is the place to be for sports (football, baseball, basketball, golf) and is ideal for outdoors enthusiasts, so rollerblading, biking and running can be enjoyed comfortably year-round. There are also adult league teams for disc golf, bowling, softball, tennis, soccer, flag football, basketball, corn hole, mini-golf, kickball, and volleyball.
Columbia’s three major rivers serve as a natural playground for young and old alike. Walking trails and parks line the banks of the Saluda, Broad and Congaree Rivers downtown, and the gentle flow of their waters offers numerous opportunities to float, paddle, boat and fish. Nearby Lake Murray, with its 612-mile shoreline, provides access to a recreational paradise where you can walk across the dam, cast a line, rent a boat, or just take a swim. There is hiking at the Congaree National Park or any of the 47 state parks. Another favorite destination is the Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden, among the top 20 zoos in the country.