By Patrick Galvan,

Columbia is the capital city of South Carolina and an ideal home for college students, families, and retirees looking for a warm climate, outdoor recreation, rich Southern history and culture, jobs in the health care industry, or unique cuisine. Here are ten things to keep in mind before you move to Columbia.


Downtown Columbia, SC
Photo by Scott Oves

If you’d prefer to live in a warm climate, Columbia is the city for you. In fact, it’s slogan is even “Famously Hot.” Summer temperatures peak in the 80s and 90s while winters see little to no snowfall with daily highs in the 50s and 60s. In other words, move to Columbia and you never have to worry about shoveling again.


Palmetto Health Columbia, SC
Photo by David

Because the University of South Carolina (which is located in Columbia) emphasizes medical education, there’s a strong job market for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals. Among the largest employers in Columbia are Palmetto Health (9,000), BlueCross BlueShield of SC (6,773), William Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC (1,500), and Providence Hospital (1,200).


University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC
Photo by jay8085

Whether you want a large public university, a private institution, or a technical college, Columbia is home to a number of prestigious programs. The largest and most prominent is the University of South Carolina, which has seven satellite campuses throughout the state. As for private universities, there’s Columbia College, a liberal arts institution for women, and Columbia International University, a four-year private Christian school. Other schools include Midlands Technical College, Benedict College, and Allen University.

Attend school in Columbia? Check out the convenience uses for self storage for college students!


Columbia, SC Skyline
Photo by David

With its pleasant climate and reasonable state taxes, Columbia is a great city for those looking to settle down for retirement. It even made Forbes’ “Best Places to Retire in 2012” list. You may even want to consider a neighborhood like Lake Carolina, which has homes anywhere from $140,000 to $500,000, neighborhood barbeques and concerts, bike paths, and community amenities like a pool and beach club.


Vegan Berry Crepe
Photo by Brisbane Falling

Worried about not knowing where to get good local food after you move to Columbia? Well, Columbia Food Tours can help. This nearly three-hour tour takes you on a stroll through Downtown Columbia, giving you the chance to sample food from five to seven local restaurants, including Crepes & Croissiants, Villa Tronco, and Bourbon. Of course, it’s also a chance to meet new people and learn more about your new city!


Hampton Prestion Mansion in Columbia, SC
Photo by geraldbrazell

Ever wanted to visit President Woodrow Wilson’s family home? Or see the house where Modjeska Monteith Simkins, the “matriarch of South Carolina’s Civil Rights movement,” held meetings with civil activists and NAACP lawyers? Through Historic Columbia, which manages four historic sites in the city, any history buff can learn about South Carolina’s past. Don’t forget to check out landmarks like the Adluh Flour Mills or the various monuments to World War II and the Vietnam War as well.


South Carolina State Museum
Photo by Melissa Wilkins

Columbia’s South Carolina State Museum features permanent exhibits around art, cultural history, natural history, and science and technology. While you’re there, you can grab a coffee or a gift to commemorate your visit. Also, don’t forget about the planetarium! This domed theater complete with 145 seats was designed to immerse its audience in its awe-inspiring shows about astronomy, the Earth, music, and history.


Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC
Photo by Kreg Steppe

Nature lovers will definitely want to visit the award-winning Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, complete with an aquarium, a birdhouse, and a botanical garden. Or perhaps Congaree National Park, where you can fish, camp, hike, or paddle the 50-mile Congaree River Blue Trail. For more water adventures, Columbia has Lake Murray, the Saluda River, and the Broad River, which are open to kayakers, rafters, and boaters.


Columbia Place Mall
Photo by Mike Kalasnlk

Columbia has a little something for shoppers of all tastes. Columbia Place and Dutch Square Center offer more traditional retail adventures with department stores like Macy’s and Sears. Then there are smaller boutiques like Just the Thing Boutique, which sells unique jewelry and accessories for women of any age. And there’s also ‘Tis the Season, a year-round Christmas store with handcrafted and vintage items!

What did you think of our list? What reasons would you add for living in Columbia, SC?


If you’re moving to Columbia, SC, and need storage space to help with the transition, view’s directory of storage units in Columbia.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons

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  • Luis

    and columbia is boring asf so if you want to be bored all the time move to columbia

    • Brian

      If you want to listen to Luis who is boring asf irl then go right ahead.

  • Ashley M

    I can’t believe this was written in 2015… The Columbia Place Mall & Dutch Square Mall are about 80% abandoned. Anyone who actually lives in this area knows that. I’ve lived here for 18 years. I’ve also never heard the slogan “famously hot”… Just saying.