Columbia, South Carolina, is a traditionally Southern town with a modern twist. The abundance of oak, pecan and magnolia trees help the region retain rural flavor, while the downtown skyline is representative of the state capital's role as a growing industrial hub.
Columbia's population of nearly 800,000 is small enough that traffic is relatively mild and the streets are rarely overcrowded, but large enough to support trendy shops, cafes, bars and other businesses that make urban life enjoyable.
Much of Columbia's vibrancy is fed by the students who attend the University of South Carolina. On many of the borders of USC's sprawling campus, it's not always clear where the university ends and the rest of the metro area begins, as a number of Columbia's businesses and neighborhoods are interposed with USC's buildings and student housing. As a result, residents share a close bond with the student community, including a fierce pride in the Gamecocks football team.
U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.
Columbia, South Carolina is ranked:
#56 in Best Places to Live
#82 in Best Places to Retire
US News – Real Estate