A lot of people know that they want to relocate to South Carolina, but they don't know which city is the best fit. Columbia is one of the best places to live in South Carolina and is one of the most popular areas that folks choose!
South Carolina's capital city, is also the state’s largest with a population of about 130,000 in its city limits and about 800,000 in its entire metro. Columbia sees less tourism than the coastal cities, but there is still plenty of stuff to see and do. The most popular is perhaps Riverbanks Zoo and Garden which is a 170 acre site with botanical garden along the Saluda River. Other popular attractions include the South Carolina State Museum, Congaree National Park, the Columbia Museum of Art, and of course the South Carolina State House (pictured).
The University of South Carolina is the state’s largest university and offers both medical and law schools. You’ll find several other small colleges in Columbia like Allen University and Benedict College. In addition to USC, the largest employers are BlueCross BlueShield of SC, Palmetto Health Hospital System, and the Richland County School District. Columbia scores a 98 on the cost of living index which makes it slightly higher than the state average but certainly lower (more affordable) than the national average.
Perhaps the best part about living in Columbia is that its location in the middle of South Carolina puts it about two hours from the beaches and two hours from the mountains. This central location makes it an easy drive for a weekend getaway to different scenic destinations. If you’re a Gamecock fan, weekends are fantastic!