columbia sc-a great lifestyle! columbia, sc | columbia, south carolina

Columbia, South Carolina is a city of beauty, history and fantastic location, affording its residents a truly unique and wonderful lifestyle. Amid swaying palms on a balmy summer day, the white elegant Governor's Mansion with its black shutters, large flags and sparkling fountains, stands to one side of this fascinating Southern town, the capital city of the State of South Carolina. George Washington himself remarked that the city site was well-chosen, as he viewed the beginnings of Columbia, which sits on a bluff above the Congaree River below the confluence of the Broad and Saluda Rivers from the north.

Established in 1786, Columbia was a planned city, built to be the seat of state government. Today, ever mindful of its history, the city continues to plan and evolve, keeping its past remembered and its future bright and forward-thinking. A new branding campaign has been launched to help bring awareness, travel and convention business to the area, and its new moniker is the "Columbia Riverbanks Region".

columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is enjoying one of the most exciting urban revitalizations in the United States. At the heart of this renewal is an area known as The Vista, a 1200-acre district in the heart of the city. This historic area features a high concentration of historic buildings, which have been rehabilitated with contemporary flair. Restaurants and bars, art galleries and museums, unique shops and professional office space, sporting arenas and entertainment venues add up to make this area popular with area residents and visitors.

The Colonial Life Arena is the largest arena in the state and is home to the University of South Carolina's men's and women's basketball teams. With seating for 18,000, the arena hosts the Columbia Riverbanks Region's most exciting entertainment, from A-list stars like Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffet, Billy Joel & Sir Elton John, to Shania Twain, Prince and Tim McGraw. Family shows like Sesame Street Live and the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus are presented throughout the year. Another significant asset in the Vista is the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, opened in mid-2004. This state of the art facility contains nearly 150,000 square feet of exhibit, classroom and ballroom space, and will bring much new convention and meeting business to the Vista area. A new Hilton Convention Center Hotel has just been built, along with an 800 space parking garage. Main Street is undergoing a beautification project, conducted block by block, replacing curbs and gutters, adding brick pavers for sidewalks, angled parking, new street lights, plantings and site furnishings. Downtown Columbia is one of the most beautifully landscaped cities of the South.

A long growing season in a semi-tropical climate creates lovely gardens and fantastic natural beauty. Spring comes early to Columbia. In February, frogs start singing again and daffodils pop open. The floral display is breathtaking as abundant dogwoods, redbuds, magnolias and azaleas fill each neighborhood with an awesome array of color. Summertime brings warm days and sunshine, "tea-sippin' weather". Summers are long, and the color changes of autumn normally take place in late October and November. the hills around Columbia take on the typical reds, oranges and golds of a New England fall. When the leaves finally drop in December, a mild winter is on its way. The average high temperatures in January and February are 55°F and 60°F, with lows averaging 34°F and 36°F.. It rarely snows, and when it does it usually melts the next day. For snow lovers and skiers, the white covered mountains of North Carolina are but two hours away.

Recreational opportunities include boating and fishing on Lake Murray, a 50,000 acre paradise just northwest of Columbia. With its 500+ miles of shoreline, it is a natural wonder to explore and a true fisherman's challenge, its waters home to striped bass, blue gill and crappie. Columbia's spectator sports include University of South Carolina Gamecock football, basketball and baseball. Parks and playgrounds are managed by the City of Columbia, Richland County and Lexington County, as well as some of the smaller towns that make up the metro area. Two area state parks are here, as well as the Congaree Swamp National Park. Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a top ten zoo in the US and offers extraordinary gardens and woodland paths. The list of annual events is long! The people of Greater Columbia love to have a good time. Three Rivers Music Festival, the Okra Strut, the State Fair, the Peach Festival, the Catfish Stomp, the Greek Festival, Lexington FunFest...they all celebrate an aspect of life in the Riverbanks Region.

The cost of housing in Greater Columbia is 93.2% of the national average (Cost of Living Index 2008), with the median home selling for $235,507 in third quarter 2008. The average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $841 per month. An enormous range of housing is available. The areas with the highest levels of new residential development are Northeast Columbia, Elgin-Lugoff, Dutch Fork, Irmo and Lexington.

Greater Columbia is justifiably proud of its outstanding educational system. From elementary schools that teach Japanese and Latin to the University of South Carolina with its highly ranked business school, Columbia's schools are truly on the cutting edge. For example, Lexington and Richland County School District Five students continue to have the highest SAT scores among public school districts in the state (average 1078 in 2004). Lexington County School District Two's Saluda River Academy for the Arts was established as a fully arts-integrated and partial magnet school in 1999. Richland County School District One's Mathematics Education for Gifted Secondary School Students is designed for students grades 6-12 identified as superior in mathematical and verbal reasoning. This program is the only one of its kind in South Carolina and one of only five nationally. Among private schools, some outstanding examples of success: Heathwood Hall's technology program is recognized by the US Department of Education for highly effective use of computers in classroom learning. At Heathwood Hall, more than two-thirds of graduates receive scholarship offers and no other independent school in the area has seen as many students honored with regional, national and international distinctions. Glenforest School specializes in working with students of average to above average intelligence who are experiencing various learning difficulties. To ensure success, the school has a staff-to-student ratio of 1:3.

Nine institutions of higher learning are located in Columbia, including Midlands Technical College with its four area campuses. Recognizes as the region's leader in health care and medical research, Greater Columbia has 10 major hospitals, all offering diversified medical care and wellness services and programs to the community. The University of South Carolina's School of Medicine is affiliated with seven area hospitals. Columbians continually cite the location as one of the city's greatest assets. All of South Carolina is within a three hour drive of Columbia. Day trips to the mountains of the Upstate, the beautiful beaches of the Grand Strand and the historic sites and parks of the Lowcountry are a benefit of living in Columbia. People move to Columbia for a multitude of reasons. Many for jobs, many for military transfers, many for retirement...whatever your reason, welcome! You're going to love it!

Index of Links

Below you will find information and links to pertinent pages to help in your relocation to the Greater Columbia Area and surrounding areas. The following can be found on this website:
• SC Agencies
• Counties & Surrounding Areas
   • Richland County
      (Arcadia Lakes, Blythewood,
City of Columbia, Eastover, Forest Acres & Irmo)
   • Lexington County
       (Batesburg-Leesville, Cayce, Chapin, Gaston, Irmo, Lake Murray, Lexington, South Congaree, Springdale, Swansea  & West Columbia)

   • Kershaw County
       (Camden, Elgin & Lugoff)
• Chambers & Visitor Bureaus
• Columbia Civic Groups
• City of Columbia Depts & Phone Numbers
• Employment Opportunities
• Festivals & Fairs
• Hospitals
• Libraries
• Newspapers & Magazines
• Parks & Recreation
• Radio Stations
• Schools
• Starting a Business in Columbia
• Taxes
• Transportation
• TV Stations
• Utilities

SC Agencies
State of South Carolina
SC Election Commission
     • In order to vote in South Carolina, you must be registered, at least 18 years of age on election day, a US citizen, as well as a resident of the state,  county and precinct in which you wish to vote. There is no length of residency requirement. If you move to a new county, you must reregister. If you move within the same county, you simply have to change your address. Mail-in registration forms are available at the county libraries, town and city halls or you can call your county office and they will mail you a form. Registration by mail forms must be postmarked or received in the county office 30 days or more before an election. In-person registration may be made at the county voter registration office or via “motor voter” at your local department of transportation. You must register in person at least 30 days prior to an election. When registering in person, you must bring identification with your current address on it.
Department of Insurance

Department of Motor Vehicles
     • Office Locations
     • Within 45 days of moving to South Carolina, you must register your  vehicle with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).
    • Within 90 days of moving to South Carolina, you     must obtain a South Carolina driver’s License

Department of Natural Resources
SC Department of Public Safety
SC Department of Revenue
SC Department of Transportation
Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging

    • Contact the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging

Counties & Surrounding Areas
• Richland County
    • Clerk of Court
    • Community Development

    • County Council
    • Election Commission
    • Emergency Services
    • Human Resources

     Public Works
    • Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission
    • Richland County School District On
    • Richland County School District Two
 Richland/Lexington County School District Five
Towns/Cities in Richland County
    • Arcadia Lakes
        · Moving to Arcadia Lakes?
    • Blythewood
        · Moving to Blythewood?
    • Eastover
        · Moving to Eastover?
    • Forest Acres
        · Moving to Forest Acres?
    • Irmo
         · Moving to Irmo?

• Lexington County
    • Clerk of Court
    • Community Development
    • County Council
    • Fire Services
    • Human Resources
    • Parks (arranged according to school districts)
    • Public Works
    • Recreation & Aging Commission
    Lexington County School District One
    • Lexington County School District Two
    • Lexington County School District Three
    • Lexington County School District Four
    • Lexington/Richland County School District Five
    • Sheriff's Department
    • Board of Voter Registration

Towns/Cities in Lexington County
  • Batesburg-Leesville
        · Moving to Batesburg-Leesville?
    • Cayce
        · Moving to Cayce?
    • Chapin
        · Moving to Chapin?
• Gaston-803.796.7725
        · Moving to Gaston?
    • Lake Murray
        · Moving to Lake Murray?
    • Lexington
        · Moving to Lexington?
    • Pine Ridge
        · Moving to Pine Ridge?
    • South Congaree
        · Moving to South Congaree?
    • Springdale
        · Moving to Springdale?
    • Swansea
        · Moving to Swansea?
    • West Columbia
        · Moving to West Columbia?

• Kershaw County
    • Kershaw County Clerk of Court
    • County Council
    • Economic Development
    • Fire Services
    • Human Resources
    • Parks & Facilities
    • Planning & Zoning
    • Public Works
• Recreation Department
    • School District
    • Sheriff's Office
    • Board of Voter Registration
Towns/Cities in Kershaw County

        · Moving to Camden?

Chambers & Visitor Bureaus
West Metro Chamber of Commerce
Irmo Chamber of Commerce
Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce
Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Lake Murray Country
Lexington Chamber of Commerce
Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce
Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Columbia Civic Groups
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
Boy Scouts
City Year
Civitan Club
Girl Scouts
Jamil Shrine Center
Jewish Federation of Columbia
Junior Achievement
Junior League
Knights of Columbus

Rotary Club of Columbia
Veterans of Foreign Wars

City of Columbia Departments & Phone Numbers
City of Columbia Government
Columbia City Council
Columbia Community Development
Columbia Fire Department
City of Columbia Department of Homeland Security
Columbia Municipal Court
Columbia Municipal Clerk's Office
Columbia Parking Services
City of Columbia Parks & Recreation
Columbia Police Department
Columbia Public Works

Employment Opportunities
Business & Job Links
Hire Vets First
Midlands Workforce Development Board
Midlands WorkKeys
One Stop
Sc department of employment and workforce
SC Job Link
Unemployment Insurance

Veterans Services

Festivals & Fairs
Boo at the Zoo (October)
Brew at the Zoo (August)            
Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade (December)
Chapin Labor Day Parade & Festival (September)
Christmas in Cayce (December)
Christmas Traditions (December)
Columbia Blues Festival (October)
Columbia International Festival (April)
Congaree Bluegrass Festival (October)
Craftsmen’s Classic Christmas Arts & Crafts Festival (November)
Craftsmen’s Classic Spring Arts & Crafts Festival (March)
Festival of Gardening (May)
Festival of Trees (November)
Irmo Okra Strut Festival (September)
Jewish Film Festival (March/April)
July 4th Celebration on Lake Murray (July)
Lexington County Peach Festival (July)
Lights Before Christmas (November-December)
Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic (March)
Revolutionary War Field Days (November)
Riverbanks ZOOfari (October)
Rosewood Crawfish Festival (May)
St. Patrick’s Day in 5 Points (March)
South Carolina Book Festival (February-March)
South Carolina State Fair (October)
Sparkleberry County Fair (April)
West Metro Holiday Parade of Lights (December)
Wine Tasting at Riverbanks Botanical Gardens (April)

For a complete calendar of events, visit or

Lexington Medical Center
Palmetto Health Baptist

Palmetto Health Children's Hospital
Palmetto Health Richland
Providence Hospitals
Providence Hospital Northeast
William Jennings Bryan Dorn Medical Center (VA)

Kershaw County Public Library
Lexington County Public Library
Richland County Public Library

Newspapers & Magazines
Carolina Arts Online
Columbia Metropolitan Magazine
The Guide to Greater Columbia
Lexington Life Magazine
South Carolina living
Northeast Columbia Life Magazine

Skirt! Magazine
South Carolina Fishin & Huntin Guide
SC Wildlife Magazine

Parks & Recreation
City of Columbia Parks & Recreation
Columbia Community Centers
Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission
Lexington County Recreation & Aging Commission
Richland County Recreation Commission
Senior Activities & Programs
Swimming Pools

Columbia, SC Radio Stations
FM Radio Stations
88.1 – Your NPR News Station
89.7 – Family Friendly Christian Music Radio
90.5 – University of South Carolina, student-run
91.3 – Your Classical NPR News Station
92.1 – New Country
93.1 – ESPN Radio
93.5 – Alternative Rock
94.3 – Country Legends
95.3 – Columbia’s Inspiration Station (Gospel)
96.7 – Adult Contemporary
97.5 – Great Country
98.5 – 60s & 70s Tunes
99.3 – Independent Alternative
100.1 – Hip Hop and R&B
101.3 – Urban Contemporary
102.3 – Classic Rock
103.1 – Adult R&B
103.9 – Hip Hop and R&B
104.7 – Today’s Hit Music
106.7 – 80s, 90s, & Today
107.5 – Sports Talk

AM Radio Stations
560 – News & Talk
890 – We Broadcast about Jesus (WBAJ)
1230 – Progressive Talk
1320 – News & Talk (WIS Radio)
140 – Sports
1430 – Christian Espanol


Lexington County School District One
Lexington County School District Two
Lexington County School District Three
Lexington County School District Four
Lexington/Richland County School District Five
Richland County School District One
Richland County School District Two

Allen University
Benedict College
Columbia College
Columbia International University
ECPI College of Technology
Limestone College
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Midlands Technical College
South University
Southern Wesleyan University
University of South Carolina
Webster University

Starting a Business in Columbia
Area Agency on Aging
Better Business Bureau of Central SC & Charleston
Central Midlands Council of Governments
Department of Revenue
Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging
Midlands WorkKeys
Service Corps of Retired Executives 
US Small Business Administration

Income Tax
Property Tax 
Kershaw County Assessor’s Office
Kershaw County Auditor’s Office
Kershaw County Treasurer
Lexington County Assessor’s Office
Lexington County Auditor's Office
Lexington County Treasurer
Richland County Assessor’s Office
Richland County Auditors Office
Richland County Treasurer
Senior Citizen Benefits

Columbia Metropolitan Airport

Local Television Stations

WACH-FOX: Channel 57
WIS-NBC: Channel 10
WLTX-CBS: Channel 19
WOLO-ABC: Channel 25
WZRB-CW: Channel 47

   • Alltel
   • AT&T
   • High Speed Solutions
   • Time Warner Cable
   • Columbia Water Department
   • Central Electric Power Coop.
   • Mid-Carolina Electric Coop.
   • South Carolina Electric & Gas
   • Tri-County Electric Cooperative

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