Things You Should Know Before Moving to Columbia, SC -
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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Columbia, SC

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Celebrating academic excellence is second nature to Columbia locals. The sector, home to the University of South Carolina, has been ranked a "promising and innovative" province by U.S. News & World Report. Add that to the fact that the area houses the largest Ernest Hemingway and Robert Burns literature collections and, well, that's just cool.

Even if you never considered living in the southeastern locale, still take a moment to read this guide to find out a little more about a place people love to buzz about.

Columbia Climate

The coldest month is January, average low of 33, and the warmest month is July, average high of 92. The humid subtropical climate, with mild winters and hot humid summers, brings on 53 below freezing nights a year. With only 1.6 inches of snow a year, locals are free from whiteouts. As for rain, residents must keep their umbrellas close since the area sees up to 44 inches of precipitation a year, with most in June and July.

Columbia Neighborhoods

More than 40 neighborhoods make up Columbia, creating a tight-knit community of residents. One of the first-settled subdivisions in the sector, Arsenal Hill, was a Civil War arsenal site and now houses the Governor's mansion. Another great area of town is Five Points, the center of shopping, dining, and dancing for most University of South Carolina regulars. Other fun, family-friendly areas in town are Lake Carolina, Magnolia Hill, King's Grant, Spring Valley and Melrose Heights. Less residential housing and more retail properties can be found in Columbiana Centre, Columbia Place and the Village at Sandhill. For a little history, visitors and locals enjoy the Congaree Vista district, a part of the city center that has specialty antiques, oriental rugs, artwork, jewelry and hand-made furniture shops.

Registering Your Car

You must obtain a South Carolina license and registration after 90 days of residency in the state. Some forms of required identification new residents can use to obtain the two permits are a Social Security card, check card, military ID and marriage license. To find out more information and all the requirements needed for both a registration and license, visit the South Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

Columbia Schools

Schools are what South Carolina does, and does well. This is proven by the University of South Carolina and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching nestled in town. Other colleges in the city that tout top of the line education are Allen University, Benedict College, ECPI University and Virginia College, to name a few. Richland County School District One & Two serves younger students, with up to 25,000 students attending 47 sites that school from kindergarten through senior year. District two serves 24,000 elementary- and high school-aged students in 26 campuses throughout the community. There are also a plethora of private schools in the province including Ben Lippen School, Central Carolina Christian Academy, Heathwood Hall and Palmetto Baptist Academy.

Columbia Employment

With a 7.7 percent unemployment rate, Columbia has a diversified economy of government, healthcare and education. With several insurance, pharmaceutical and banking companies' continental headquarters in the community, Columbia draws a an intelligent, strong and committed workforce. Some top employers in the area include Palmetto Health, Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of SC, Richland School District One & Two and Branch Banking and Trust. The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce is also committed to keeping the economy strong by working closely with merchants to increase profits in the area.

Living Costs in the City

When all things are considered, with a 5.4 percent lower cost of living than the national average and an unemployment rate lower than the national average, Columbia could just be the community for you. According to CNN Money, the median family income comes in at $49,372 and the median home price is $142,000. If you are looking to rent a residence rather than purchase property, the average one-bedroom apartment starts at around $600 depending on the amenities and location of the unit. As for utilities, the cost of specific services greatly depends on family size and usage.

Columbia Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies are ready and willing to help you with your move to Columbia, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in South Carolina. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at to get quotes for the following services:

Columbia Transportation

Mass transit provided by the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, CMRTA, gets locals where they need to go on both a shuttle and bus service. Transporting over two million passengers a year, the authority has recently expanded route services, provided comfortable transportation and added 10 natural gas-powered buses to the system. When driving themselves, locals frequent a few major roadways including Interstates I-20, I-26, I-77 and I-126. When flying in and out of town, residents commute out of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Culture & Contemporary Life

Between two-day festivals that feature street dances, golf tournaments, arts and crafts shows and more, locals love to enjoy Columbia. In September, the Irmo Okra Strut runs for two days while other annual events include the Urban Tour, the Finlay Park Summer Concert Series and the FamilyFest. Other hot spots locals love to hang out at any time of the year are Memorial and Granby Parks, Riverbank's Zoo and Garden and, of course, at the Colonial Life Arena, where premiere entertainers and sports teams perform in the province. International restaurants in the region are always popular among locals, who quite often enjoy dancing after dining at any one of the area nightclubs.

Columbia Relocation Tips


  • There is no reason to suffer anxiety before and after a move. Take the necessary steps to stay at peace while chaos surrounds you. You can find your chi even while moving.


  • No matter where you are coming from or moving to, you are going to have to travel, hence fuel. With that in mind, please consider the importance of gas usage and implement alternate ways of saving fuel.


  • Tricky terms and the fine print of the bill of lading can turn a move into a disaster if the contract is not thoroughly read. Make sure to double check both the movers' responsibility and yours.

Staff Writer  Posted by Staff Writer on July 22, 2013

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