Columbia-SC : South carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in Columbia-SC

Columbia has frequently been rated as one of the top retirement towns in the USA.  CNN Money included it in its 25 Best Places to Retire for 2009 because it has the amenities of city life, Southern Hospitality, a low cost of living, outdoor recreation, and a temperate climate. Consumer Reports compared the CNN Money list with the U.S. News list of best places to retire and found only one city common to both lists - Columbia. U.S. News described it as "a colorful capital city with a riverfront esplanade" with relatively low median home prices. On the other hand, named Columbia as one of the worst places to retire in 2011 (it does have a very high crime rate). Columbia, a growing city of about 129,000, is the state capital. It is fortunate to have a number of parks including Finlay Park.  The University of South Carolina has a main campus here which offers free tuition to SC residents over 60.  The city was named as one of 30  of America's most livable cities. Photo of Elmwood Park and photo of Robert Mills House, built in 1823, courtesy of Wikipedia and Akhenaton06, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/

Where to Retire in Columbia-SC and Home Prices

The city has many attractive neighborhoods, such as Elmwood Park, along with its suburbs. There are also active communities in the area.  The median price of a home in the 3rd quarter of 2020 was $210,600, a 13.5% increasing from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.


What Is Special about Columbia-SC

Downtown Columbia has been the scene of ambitious and successful urban renewal projects. The historic Congaree Vista is a large district in the central business district near the Congaree river. It has many historic buildings that have been rehabilitated. The University, which is located downtown, has Innovista, a unique "innovation district"  between the campus' core and the banks of the Congaree River. This project integrates public and private sector research and researchers with retail, restaurant, residential, and recreational facilities in a contemporary urban landscape. The Robert Mills House (pictured above) is one of the local historical attractions.

What Is Not Special about Columbia-SC

The traffic can be heavy in this growing and bustling town. The crime rate is high.

Who Will Like Retirement in Columbia-SC

People who want to retire in the Carolinas but be near an mid-sized city with a lot to do might enjoy Columbia. The population is about 50% white, 41% African-American, and the rest mostly Hispanic.

Local Economy Is Driven by

As the State Capital Columbia benefits from government as an employer. Other contributors are the University and its over 20,000 students, Palmetto Health, and Fort Jackson - the largest US Army training base.

Climate and Physical Environment

Columbia is located in the center of the state. The median January temperatures are in the mid to high 40's. The July median is in the low 80's. The city is on the Congaree River.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Town Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been here since 1917m and is just one of several theatres in Columbia. The South Carolina State Museum has exhibits in technology, history, and the arts. It  one of the largest museums in the Southeast. The Columbia Museum of Art is here, as is the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Columbia's resident orchestra. The revitalized downtown has an assortment of good restaurants. The South Carolina State Fair and Riverfest Celebration are 2 of the larger festivals held in Columbia. The Koger Center of the Arts.


The crime rate is almost twice the national average, although that will vary by neighborhood. In a recent year there were 13 murders and 68 rapes.

Medical Facilities

Palmetto Health is very large health care provider with multiple locations. There are other hospitals including a VA hospital.


CMRTA moves over 2 million passengers a year on its bus lines. There is Amtrak service and Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Valuable Links

Columbia Convention and Visitors Center


What people are saying about Columbia-SC

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