Moving to Columbia

Welcome! Are you entertaining the idea of moving to the capital city of South Carolina, Columbia? You've landed on the right page. This comprehensive guide to Columbia relocation holds in store a wealth of insights. From the whispers of history echoing off its charming old buildings to the vibrant colleges making it a young professional's paradise, to the natural beauty that's just a breath away, Columbia beckons! Pack your curiosity as we journey into "The Real Southern Hot Spot". Moving can be a labyrinth, but make this guide your map to simplify the process!

Moving to Columbia, SC landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Columbia

1. The Weather is Always Just Right!

First things first, you will definitely want to pack your shorts because Columbia, SC is popularly referred to as 'Famously Hot'. Known for its warm and inviting climate, Columbia provides the ideal weather for outdoor enthusiasts embracing around 218 days of sunshine a year. But don't worry, winter still comes around, and yes, it actually gets cold!

2. There's a Lake...Or Two

Yes, no need to rub your eyes or clean your glasses, you read that right. Columbia is home to not just one, but two beautiful lakes. Lake Murray and Lake Carolina are simply awesome places to boat, fish, or simply enjoy the sunset. And the best part? If you fancy living in a lakefront house, Lake Murray offers multiple listing options for you.

3. History is Everywhere

If you are a history buff, then you're in for a treat. Columbia is a history lover's paradise with its traditionally unique South Carolina State Museum and the Historic Columbia Foundation that houses exhibits spanning back centuries. And let's not forget the South Carolina State House, a building with its own history dating back to pre-Civil War times.

4. Say 'Hi' to Southern Cuisine

Get ready to feast on the historic south's mouth-watering food. Southern barbecue? Check. Seafood straight from the Carolina coastline? Double check. Southern sweets like pecan pie and peach cobbler? Checkmate! Your tastebuds are about to embark on a memorable culinary adventure. Look up some of Columbia's top restaurants to start your journey.

5. One of USA's Greatest Urban Waterways

This is one of those unique features of Columbia you probably didn't know. The Three Rivers Greenway is a world-class linear park system that provides a stunning setting for walking, jogging, or cycling along Columbia's three rivers. It offers 8 miles of scenic vistas and nestles you right in the lap of mother nature, smack dab in the middle of the city.

6. You'll become a Cunning Linguist

Another lesser known fact is that in Columbia, you are also going to become multilingual. Well, sort of. Aside from the usual "Southern drawl", Columbia's unique array of slangs might have you Googling translations. Words like y'all (you all), fixin'to (about to), and bless your heart (well, that could mean anything) are going to become part of your everyday vocabulary. Get a head start learning some of these South Carolina's local slangs.

In short, Columbia, SC is not just a city with warm weathers and sumptuous meals, but a place that effortlessly blends modern living with history, nature, and a lot of southern charm. Moving here, be prepared to embrace its rich culture, be won over by its natural beauty, and be swept away by its unique, yet friendly southern slangs. Time to get fixin to make the move, y'all!

What to know before moving to Columbia, SC image
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Pros and Cons of Living in Columbia

Pros of Living in Columbia

Diverse Recreation and Outdoor Activities

With access to rivers, state parks, and various hiking and biking trails, Columbia offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden offers a fun day out for families, while the varied landscapes make for refreshing change of scenery.

Rich History and Culture

With numerous museums and historic sites, including the South Carolina State Museum and the Historic Columbia Foundation, Columbia is a haven for history buffs and students alike. The city has a deeply rooted history, ranging from Civil War to Civil Rights movements, that is well-preserved and celebrated in numerous annual festivals and events.

Strong Educational Institutions

Home to the University of South Carolina and several other esteemed educational institutions, Columbia offers excellent educational opportunities. These schools host a variety of both academic and sporting events, fostering a strong sense of community and pride in the city.

Mid-sized City Benefits

Columbia offers a good balance between big city and small town living. There's sufficient hustle and bustle for those who enjoy an active city life, without the overwhelming crowds and frenetic pace of larger metropolitan areas. The city also has a welcoming southern charm to it.

Affordable Cost of Living

Living in Columbia is quite affordable compared to many other cities across the country. This affordability extends to various aspects of living, from housing to groceries and healthcare. As such, one can enjoy a higher quality of life here even on a modest budget.

Cons of Living in Columbia

High Summer Temperatures

Summertime in Columbia can be very hot and humid, with temperatures oftentimes soaring into the 90s. While this may be enjoyable for some, it can be very uncomfortable for others, particularly those not accustomed to such high heat.

Limited Public Transportation

Public transportation in Columbia is not as extensive or efficient as in larger cities. This can make getting around the city more challenging without a personal vehicle, potentially affecting those who rely on public transit for their daily commute.

Social Scene Could Be More Vibrant

While there are certainly things to do in Columbia, the city's social scene is not as vibrant or diverse as some would like. This could potentially be a drawback for younger residents or those seeking a more energetic nightlife.

Hurricane Risk

Given its location, Columbia is susceptible to hurricanes and severe weather events. The damage from these natural phenomena could pose a risk to property and personal wellbeing, and may lead to occasional disruptions in daily life.

Job Market

While there are opportunities in certain sectors, the job market in Columbia is not as strong as in some other cities. Depending on your industry or profession, finding employment could be challenging in this region.

Modern day picture of Columbia, SC highlighting pros and cons of living in Columbia, SC

Is Columbia a Good Place to Live?

Columbia, SC is a great place to live because of its vibrant cultural scene, abundance of outdoor activities, and delightful culinary experiences. The city is packed with historic landmarks, museums, and an array of exciting festivals throughout the year. Plus, Columbia's cost of living is relatively lower compared to other states, which means you get to enjoy all these perks without draining your wallet!

What Is Columbia Famous For?

Outdoor Recreation and Natural Beauty

Known for its lush, green landscapes and abundant natural beauty, Columbia SC is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden to the Congaree National Park, Columbia offers an array of open spaces for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and more.

The University of South Carolina

The city is home to the University of South Carolina, one of the oldest public universities in the U.S. Aside from its academic reputation, the university also boasts a vibrant sports culture, producing champions in various sports, most notably football and baseball.

Rich Historical Heritage

Columbia carries a rich historical heritage, being the first city named after Christopher Columbus. The city is dotted with numerous historical landmarks and museums such as the South Carolina State Museum and the Historic Columbia Foundation.

World-Class Food and Craft Beers

Foodies and craft beer enthusiasts will find Columbia a veritable playground. Known for its burgeoning food and beverage scene, the city offers a wide range of tempting cuisine from traditional Southern fare to innovative, farm-to-table dishes, complemented by a variety of locally brewed craft beers.

Capital building of Columbia, SC in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the average property tax rate in Columbia, SC is approximately 0.57%, which is lower than the national average of around 1.07%. This lower rate can be appealing for homeowners and investors looking into real estate in this area.

Sales Tax

The total sales tax rate in Columbia, SC is currently 8%, which is higher than the national median of 6.9%. The rate applies to all retail sales, leases, and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services.

Income Tax

State income tax in South Carolina is set between 0% to 7%, and Columbia residents are bound by these rates. This is on par with the nation's average top marginal state tax rate, making it more or less average compared to other parts of the US.

Housing Market

The Columbia, SC housing market presents a more affordable option compared to other US cities. The median home value is approximately $139,000, significantly lower than the national average. Renters will find reasonable rates too, with the median rent standing at $1,000 per month. It's a market characterized by steady growth and stability, and experts predict a 3.4% increase in home values within the next year. Columbia offers a cost-effective opportunity for both buyers and renters looking for an area with a low cost of living and good potential for property appreciation.

Cost of Living

Living in Columbia, SC is relatively affordable compared to other cities, with cost of living being about 12% lower than the national average. Housing and utilities costs significantly contribute to this lower figure. However, healthcare expenses appear to be slightly above average. When compared to larger metropolises such as New York or Los Angeles, the difference becomes more pronounced, with Columbia proving to be significantly cheaper. Nevertheless, the overall cost varies based on individual lifestyle and financial choices.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Columbia, South Carolina enjoys a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are characteristically hot and humid, with temperatures frequently soaring above 90 degrees. Winters are mild, with occasional cold snaps and rare snowfall. Spring and fall are pleasant, with moderate temperatures and vibrant foliage. Columbia receives significant rainfall throughout the year, peaking in the summer months. Despite being inland, Columbia is susceptible to the influences of Atlantic hurricanes, causing the threat of heavy rain, high winds, and occasional flooding. Less frequently, it can also experience tornadoes. Columbia's climate offers respite in the form of cool evening breezes, even in the height of summer, providing the city with a leisurely, balmy charm.

Typical weather in Columbia, SC

Economy & Job Market

* Healthcare and Social Assistance

* Manufacturing

* Retail Trade

* Accommodation and Food Services

* Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

From the swaying Palmetto trees to the fable-filled streets, Columbia, South Carolina is brimming with history - and its economy is no different! Traditionally, Manufacturing had sat upon the throne as the reigning industry for ye olde Columbia. In recent years, however, the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector cinched the crown. Nudging its way into the spotlight with grace and determination, this industry now serves as the ball and chain of the city's workforce. But fret not! Columbia still has a soft spot for its past love. Manufacturing continues to play a hefty role woven into the economic fabric of the city, along with Retail Trade, Accommodation and Food Services, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. It's a vibrant dance of industry and opportunity, the rhythm of which keeps Columbia's economic engine humming.

Whether you're thinking about chasing after new opportunities in Columbia, SC or simply curious about the job scenario, here's the lowdown: the employment rate in Columbia is clawing its way up the ladder, so get ready to pounce! If you're hunting for prospects, some of the prime pockets for job hunting in the Palmetto State's capital include Healthcare, Social Assistance and Manufacturing. The city is also nudging into territory marked by burgeoning technology and start-up sectors. Remember that in Columbia, job searches aren't about serious furrowed brows; they're as much fun as a boogie with the energetic Shag dance! This city doesn't just provide jobs; it offers lifestyles laden with rhythm, history, and fizzy high spirits. Pack your resume, confidence and don't forget your dancing shoes - Columbia, SC awaits you!

Traffic and Transportation

Whoop it up folks, you can zip around Columbia, SC faster than you can say sweet tea! With average commute times around 21 minutes, how's that for "Southern quick"? Public transportation fan? No problemo! The COMET bus system, with its snazzy neon-green buses, operates 29 routes that strut across the metropolitan area. Feel more like an astronaut than a bus rider? A tram ride between major locations downtown will take you over the moon! And for those with their head in the clouds, Columbia Metropolitan Airport has you covered. Providing non-stop flights to multiple major cities, you can spread your wings in no time. Corral your granny, pack some slaw, and get moving. The good life in Columbia, SC is just a smooth ride away!

What is the traffic like in Columbia, SC?

Best Neighborhoods in Columbia

1. Shandon

With its historic charm, canopy of towering oak trees, and friendly vibe, Shandon tops our list. This neighborhood is highly sought-after, thanks to its beautiful vintage homes and spacious yards. It's a paradise for lovers of early 20th-century architecture, with an eclectic range of Colonial, Craftsman, and Spanish Revival styles. Residents also adore its proximity to vibrant Devine Street, a local hotspot filled with wine bars, boutiques, and cozy eats. On sunny days, you'll often see the community out jogging, pushing strollers, or simply chatting amid its wide, tree-lined streets.

2. Rosewood

Rosewood is a lively, artsy neighborhood that is a haven for creatives and young professionals. Famed for its colorful community events like the Indie Grits Festival and the Rosewood Art & Music Festival, you always have something to look forward to. It's also home to Owens Field Park, one of the largest public parks in the city. With a disc golf course, playground, and even a community garden, secure in the knowledge that both fun and tranquility are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from home.

3. Five Points

Calling all foodies and nightlife lovers: Five Points is the place for you! This trendy neighborhood is a venerated hub for dining, entertainment, and shopping. From legendary diners, gastropubs and sushi joints, to lively bars, nightclubs, and annual festivals, there will hardly be a dull moment. Additionally, its close proximity to the University of South Carolina makes it an exciting zone mixing students, faculty, and families, providing a modern yet inclusive feel.

4. Forest Acres

City convenience with a suburban feel is the best way to describe Forest Acres. Known for its quality schools and family-friendly ambiance, it's the perfect place to raise a family. Enjoy quiet, peaceful streets, beautiful gardens, and traditional homes reminiscent of Southern grace. Plus, it contains a slew of restaurants, retail outlets and several parks ensuring that you have everything you need within arm's reach.

5. Elmwood Park

Last but not least, is the historic Elmwood Park. This neighborhood stands out for its distinct, architecturally diverse residences that span Queen Anne, Craftsman, and Colonial styles. The streets here are quiet and lined with mature trees, making it perfect for those who crave a serene environment. It's just minutes away from downtown, so you're never far from the city pulse. Elmwood Park residents love their neighborhood's tight-knit community, frequent block parties and civic activities that engender a sense of belonging.

In conclusion, each of these neighborhoods offers a distinct cultural flavor and ambiance that can cater to your unique taste and lifestyle requirements. While it's hard to encapsulate the charm of each neighborhood in just a few words, we hope that our brief rundown gives you a glimpse of what to expect. Happy moving to Columbia, South Carolina, and prepare to be spoilt for choice!

Best neighborhoods in Columbia, SC image

Things to Do

Known as the "Capital of Southern Hospitality," Columbia, SC injects an impressive blend of historical charm, local culture, outdoor adventure, and culinary delight. Perfect for those moving to the city, here are seven fantastic things to do that will make your life in Columbia feel like a permanent vacation.

1. Amplify your Artistic Appreciation at the Columbia Museum of Art

Housing an extraordinary blend of American and European masterpieces, the Columbia Museum of Art is a must-visit for new residents. The diverse and vibrant exhibitions will invigorate your senses - don't miss Kehinde Wiley's groundbreaking work!

2. Walk on the Wild Side at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens

This refreshing oasis offers an opportunity to meet over 2,000 animals up close and wander through gorgeous landscaped gardens at the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Switch between being a spectator to the delightful antics of giraffes and sea lions to a serene observer of nature's beauty within the same day.

3. Connect with History at the South Carolina State House

The South Carolina State House, with its splendid architectural design, is a must-see. Go for a self-guided tour to learn about the state's rich history, admire the stunning grounds, or catch a legislative session by accessing the official website to see local governance in action.

4. Scour the Soda City Market

Imagine the scent of freshly baked bread, a colorful array of locally grown produce, the buzz of local artisans, and the delicious wafts from food trucks. That's what awaits at the Soda City Market - an unforgettable local market experience that will surely become a part of your weekly routine.

5. Venture into the Unknown at the Congaree National Park's After-Dark Tours

Join the park rangers for the 'Owl Prowls' excursion - a night-time walk under the cover of ancient sprawling trees at the Congaree National Park. The brilliance of constellations above, sounds of wildlife ringing through the night, and the thrill of the unknown make this a riveting adventure!

6. Delve into the Secret World of Prohibition-Era at the Speakeasy Room

Unearth a well-kept secret of Columbia known only to locals - a prohibition-themed bar disguised behind an unassuming bookshelf. The Columbia Speakeasy Room, with its vintage charm, hidden entrance, and handcrafted cocktails, can be discovered by following the whispers at local nightlife guides that reflect an exciting aspect of America's history.

7. Get Active at the Saluda Shoals Park

The great outdoors beckons at Saluda Shoals Park. From scenic hiking trails to engaging water sports, there's a wide range of activities to keep you active and entertained. Don't forget to try the year-round Wave Pool - a favourite among locals!

From historical attractions and untamed wilderness to flourishing local markets and hidden bars, Columbia offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be explored. As you uncover these seven spectacular spots, each one will immerse you into the heart of this charming Southern city, making you fall in love with your new home, one adventure at a time.

Things to do in Columbia, SC?

Find Movers for Your Columbia Relocation

After immersing yourself in the charming lifestyle of Columbia, SC through this guide, we trust that the allure of our city has captivated you. As you plan your exciting move, remember to stay connected with Great Guys Moving. With a robust network of trusted, insured, and licensed moving companies, you can enjoy a seamless transition with personalized service. Take away the uncertainty and arduous task of finding the perfect moving company. Let Great Guys Moving shoulder the load. For a hassle free start in your delightful journey to Columbia, submit your details now to request a free moving quote. You're just a click away from making Columbia your home.

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