Columbia, SC, the capital and largest city in the state, is a place that provides a gateway to the Southern United States, and its culture has grown from that history into a bustling urban destination.
The Capital of Southern Hospitality, as it’s known, covers 132 square miles and has a population of 133,358. Incorporated in 1854, after a much longer stint as the state capital, the city sits on the Saluda and Broad rivers, leading to its fairly humid climate year-round, from mild winters to hot summers — something the city has used to its advantage inviting tourism, calling Columbia “Famously Hot.”
With a high school graduation rate of 87 percent, and an additional 40 percent who have at least a Bachelor’s degree (higher than the national average), Columbia is also a place steeped in education and economy, providing a thriving environment for anyone who wants to make a living there. Thanks to a downtown revitalization since the 1980s, Columbia has reinvented itself to be a welcoming home for art galleries, local shops and office space.
Home to the University of South Carolina, the city offers many cultural and artistic endeavors through its educational institutions and other facilities. Columbia is a city committed to literacy and reading, with the EdVenture Children’s Museum and both the Richland County Public library, which was named the 2001 National Library of the Year, and the South Carolina State Library. All of these opportunities serve as a way for Columbia residents to learn about their city and for visitors to get a glimpse of what it has to offer.