Columbia, South Carolina: Quick Facts, History & Things To Do

Welcome to the city of Columbia, South Carolina! Madison Homebuilders proudly serves Columbia and the surrounding area from our Cayce office just a few miles from the heart of the city. We love Columbia and wanted to share some history, a few fun facts, and some links to help you find your way around the city.

History, Facts, and Things to do in Columbia, SC

Quick Facts

Not only is Columbia the state capital, it is also South Carolina’s largest city. The 2012 census reports 131,686 residents within the city limits and 784,785 residents in the surrounding metro area. Columbia is located 13 miles away from the geographic center of South Carolina and situated on the fall line of the Conagree River. The city’s official nickname is “The Capital of Southern Hospitality.” According to areavibes.com, the cost of living in Columbia is 8.9% lower than the national average, which makes Columbia a very affordable city to live in.

Early History

Columbia, named for Christopher Columbus, was incorporated as a village in 1805 and later as a city in 1854. It was one of the first planned cities in the United States. Ranging between 100 and 150 feet wide, the city’s original streets were wider than other city’s at that time. When the commissioners laid out the city’s grid, they believed mosquitos could not fly more than 60ft without dying of starvation. They hoped the wider streets would minimize the annoyance the bugs caused.

Education and Business

Columbia is home to South Carolina’s largest university – the University of South Carolina. The school is a major player in the Southeastern Conference of NCAA sports with three conference titles. The university is also one of the city’s largest employers along with the South Carolina state government, Palmetto Health, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC. Major manufacturing facilities in the area include Michelin, Trane, and Bose Corporation. Columbia’s modern business landscape is quite different from the city’s early economic success and growth, which primarily came from the cotton industry.

Accolades

Kiplinger Magazine recently named Columbia one of the “10 Great Cities to Live In.” Columbia has also been named a top mid-sized market in the nation for relocating families. You don’t have to go far to rub shoulders with celebrities, either. Columbia is home to a number of famous artists and athletes, as well as musicians including: Hootie and the Blowfish, Band of Horses, Samuel Beam (better known as Iron & Wine), and Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty.

Climate

The weather in Columbia, SC can be described in one word – hot. Well, the city’s latest promotional slogan actually uses two words – “Famously Hot.” The humid, sub-tropical climate is well known for its hot and humid summers and mild winters. The record high was recorded in June 1943 at 109 degrees. In fact, May, June, July, August, September and October all have record highs over 100 degrees.

Things To Do

There’s never a dull moment in Columbia. Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, there are plenty of attractions, entertainment and restaurants to keep you occupied.

Head over to the Riverbanks Zoo to see over 2,000 animals and one of the nation’s most beautiful botanical gardens. The Columbia Museum of Art is always full of inspiring exhibitions and art galleries. Or, catch a game at Williams-Brice Stadium, home of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

If you’re looking for a long list of events to attend, sites to see, or things to do in Columbia, SC, visit the Columbia Visitors Bureau – Columbia’s official website featuring events, restaurants, hotels and more. You can also follow them on Twitter – @columbiasc – to stay up to date.

With such an affordable cost of living, a rich history, and access to endless amenities, its no wonder Columbia attracts visitors and new residents from all around year after year. We’d love to know your favorite things and fun facts about Columbia in the comments below.

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