South Carolina is not a state of large cities, and at around 133,000 people, Columbia is the largest city in the state. It is also the capital, and an important hub to the people of South Carolina. Many of the young people of South Carolina also come to Columbia after graduation to attend the University of South Carolina. Fort Jackson is also located here, and many young people who choose to enlist will complete their basic training at this facility.The University of South Carolina has more than 32,000 students attending the Columbia campus alone. It's Division I athletics teams are known as the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks have produced numerous professional athletes across many sports, including former 1st overall NFL draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney.
When to Search
There aren't any exceptionally bad times to look for an apartment in Columbia. Like many places, if you want to have more options your search is best centered in the summer months. June, July and August are all good times to look for a place to live here.
Staying in the Know
When you're applying for an apartment in Columbia, just be sure to know that you can afford it. Landlords will want to see that you're either reliable, or that you have enough income coming in to pay for the apartment. They might do this by requesting a credit check, or they might instead ask you to provide a letter confirming your employment.
Life in Columbia
Many students and workers in Columbia commute using the bus. There are fairly good connections from various student neighborhoods to the University. Also, if you live and work in the central parts of the city, you can get away without using a car or the bus. However, those who live in the suburbs or in the outlying parts of the city tend to drive to get into the city center.
Where to play
Gamecocks events are great way to spend your time on game days. The Columbia Museum of Art has an extensive collection of pieces from artists across the globe. Kayaking is a popular activity in the city thanks to the Saluda River. For shopping that features local retailers rather than chains, visit Five Points. The neighborhood is also home to a lot of good college bars, such as BarNone and Group Therapy.
Visiting the State House in South Carolina is something everyone should do once. It is a very historic, well preserved state house that gives a great glimpse into the past and present of the state’s government. To get another perspective on the State’s history, visit the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. The museum does an excellent job of giving insight into some of the people that played a role in the Civil War, instead of only focussing on the larger, national events. The South Carolina Military Museum offers an overview of the complete history of the military, from it's inception up until the present day.
If you want to keep it simple and just look for the best South Carolina seafood in the city, then Blue Marlin is a very good choice. Alodia’s is always one of the best-reviewed restaurants in the city. This Italian restaurant was founded on the principles that make Italian cooking so popular. Fresh ingredients, homemade pasta, and an atmosphere that makes you feel right at home are the hallmarks of this restaurant. If you're looking for the absolute most elegance in the city, then head to Saluda’s. Rich, dark wood, a grand piano playing in the background, and sophisticated serving staff give you a taste of old-world elegance when you visit this restaurant.
Beer lovers tend to be big fans of the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. With more than 200 beers available, there aren't many other local bars that can match the selection. However, the Liberty Taproom & Grill certainly gives it it's best shot. It does well enough that you should pay a visit there as well. If you prefer to hang out with upscale professionals instead of the college crowd, then head to Rust. It caters to those who appreciate a fine cigar and well-aged scotch rather than those looking for the cheapest pitchers money can buy. If your taste turns more to wine than beer, Gervais & Vine will offer you a selection you're sure to be happy with.
The South Carolina State Museum is a comprehensive museum that includes important art, historic and scientific exhibits. The list of cultural entertainment that is available in the city is significant. For great southern music, try Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor. The Koger Center is home to the plays put on by the University of South Carolina, and those produced by several other groups from the Columbia area. For those with more refined taste, Columbia is also home to the Columbia City Ballet. This professional company has been around for more than 50 years, and is truly a cultural treasure.
One of the most vibrant cultural events is the Annual Columbia’s Greek Festival. If you love Greek food, Greek culture, or just having fun, then you will probably enjoy time at this event. The Spring Arts Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for local artists and craftspeople. Some do demonstrations of the work they do, while others sell their wares. For those who enjoy funk music, Funk Fest is not to be missed. This event takes place in June, and brings some of the best funk musicians in the world to town for a giant celebration of the form.
The Columbiana Centre bills itself as the premiere shopping destination in Columbia, and in many ways, it lives up to it's own hype. Anchored by a Belk, a Dillard’s and a J.C. Penney, the mall certainly has one of the best selections of retailers in the area. If you prefer to wander a street district instead of a mall, try heading to Devine Street. This is a high end shopping neighbourhood set amidst a beautiful residential district. When you get tired of browsing, you can stop in at one of the many cafes or restaurants to refresh yourself.
South Carolina unfortunately doesn't have any professional sports franchises. However, there are a few “Carolina” franchises that are supported by both North and South Carolina, such as the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, the Hurricanes of the NHL, and the Hornets of the NBA. Locally, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks are definitely the biggest draw in sports. There are 19 teams in the University between the men’s and women’s divisions, and they have been extremely competitive in baseball and track and field. The school numbers a large number of Olympic athletes and professional athletes among the alumni from the Gamecocks program.
The golfing around Columbia is beautiful and challenging, and sure to please golfers of all levels. If you like to get out on the water, head over the Granby Park. It is part of the Three Rivers Greenway, and provides an excellent spot for getting out on the water. If you want a little more separation from the city, the Dreher Island State Recreation Area is made up of three small islands that provide everything you need to go fishing, boating, camping, or all three. A small shop ensures that even if this is your first time out, you can get everything you need to enjoy your time once you're at the Island.