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JoeTro Jan 25th, 2007 12:37 PM

Living in Columbia, SC
Thanks to all those who posted about living in LA. I had a phone interview today with the University of South Carolina for grad school, so now I'm asking about living in Columbia.

I visited last year and remember thinking (probably wrongly) that it was a little "blah." I liked the University area very much, and I like the fact that it is in the South, as I am from Texas and therefore used to the weather and sort of close to home. I also remembered that cost of living was pretty low, which is a good thing.

I'm just wondering about quality of life issues, including cultural activites (this seemed a little lacking, but I've now read a lot about good art museums, and of course the University would offer so many events) crime/safety and affordable housing (seems like this would be fine as cost of living is low).

Any general comments about things you like or dislike about Columbia?

Thanks very much.

palmettoprincess Jan 25th, 2007 12:52 PM

Although I'm a Clemson grad, I can speak highly of Columbia.

First of all, culture is what you make it. If you take the inititive you can go to a museum, a performance or a gallery ever night. The key is doing it whether you are in Columbia or New York. And yes, if you were in Columbia you wouldn't be able to go to a different gallery every night, but you would have a chance to form relationships with people.

I love the river front area. It is in the middle of the city but looks like the mountains. They are developing the river area.

Traffic unusualy good for a city of its size. (Unless it snows, but I'm not counting on it snowing each year.)

Charleston makes a good place to visit on the weekends or head toward the upstate for mountains.

Why don't you get a feel for Columbia by reading The State online? Yes there is crime, like everywhere, but the city seems safe to me.

What are you going to study?

JoeTro Jan 25th, 2007 03:07 PM

Thanks for the comments. You are right about the culture being what you make of it.

I'm applying for clinical psychology Ph.D. I'm not in by any means, but it has been fun to imagine where I might end up.

I don't remember the river part ... where is that?

It would be nice to fairly close to places like Charleston or Charlotte. How far is it from Atlanta?

palmettoprincess Jan 26th, 2007 09:18 AM

The river is about two miles north of campus. Here is a link to what is going on.

Atlanta is about four hours away on I-20. Columbia is blessed (cursed) with interstates. You can quickly get to Charleston, Charlotte and Augusta.

I don't know if you like football, but USC held their own with the best this year.

Good luck with your PhD program.

GoTravel Jan 26th, 2007 09:26 AM

I graduated from USC and lived in Columbia.

I suggest living in Five Points or Shandon. Even Rosewood.

The downtown riverfront area is very pretty.

Lots of cultural activities (it is a college town afterall), great theater, dance and music.

Columbia is situated on top of three interstates (I-77, I-26, and I-20). It is a little over an hour to the beach and two to the mountains.

You are also a little over an hour from Charleston South Carolina which is one of the best towns in the US.

The drive to Atlanta is hell but at least it isn't a far drive, four hours tops.

I'm not a big fan of Charlotte (both of my stepdaughters live there except my youngest who is following in my footsteps and is currently a freshman at USC) and I only made the drive once or twice in my tenure at Carolina. It is only about an hour and a half drive.

What specifically would you like to know?

If you do a search, there is some specific information on this forum about living in Columbia.

palmettoprincess Jan 26th, 2007 09:50 AM

By the way, how can the hometown of Hootie and Blowfish be "blah."

GoTravel Jan 26th, 2007 10:00 AM

OMG they were the house band at Rockefellers while I was in college! They actually graduated two years before I did.

I was a GInt and they were all business majors I believe.

xrae Jan 26th, 2007 03:38 PM

Columbia is freaking hot. Sweltering. But since you're from Texas, you may not notice. ;)

USC is a good school. My best friend got her PhD in mathematics there. And if you like sports, Columbia is crazy for the Gamecocks. (Takes a while to get used to seeing the word "COCKS" by itself on shirts and license plates -- that would be very out of place anywhere else). You're also two to four hours from professional sports in Atlanta and Charlotte and also NASCAR, if that's your thing.

JoeTro Jan 26th, 2007 03:58 PM

I went to Notre Dame for college, so I know all about and love college sports (especially football).

What happened to Hootie by the way? I loved their 1st album and the 2nd was okay, but then they seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth.

Being close to places like Charleston and Augusta does sound really nice.

jdraper Feb 25th, 2008 09:05 PM

Joe: I just now ran across your post so I am sorry for the delayed response. I live in Lexington, SC, which is a suburb of Columbia so I hope I am of some help.

There are many cultural activities right here in Columbia. Plays, museums,and many sporting events. Gamecock football, basketball and baseball, Go Cocks! We also have an ice hockey team and a triple A baseball team. If you like boating and water skiing there is Lake Murray, out here near Lexington about 20 minutes from downtown Columbia. It is about 1 1/2 hours drive to both Charlotte and Charleston, 3 hours drive to Myrtle Beach, very little culture there but a load of beach fun, 3 1/2 hours drive to Atlanta and that isn't even counting Savannah, Ashville, etc.

Being from Texas you are already used to the heat but do be prepared for the very high humidity in the summer and tons of bugs to go along with it. Believe it or not you do get used to it but you will have to listen to everyone from out West say, "but at least it's a dry heat". The good trade off is that we get very little snow here. None at all in the last three years. Even if it does snow it is usually just a trace of snow, which will totally gridlock the entire town, and it melts within a day or two.

I grew up in Iowa and have lived all over as DH was in the military. I have now lived in the Columbia area for over 15 years and wouldn't live anywhere else. Okay, maybe Paris, France not Texas, but no place else in the US.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you may have and if I don't know the answers I will sure attempt to find out for you.

JoeTro Mar 2nd, 2008 10:50 PM

Thanks for the reply. I'm actually in LA now!

jdraper Mar 7th, 2008 11:40 AM

Joe: oops, I missed the 2007 date and just saw 01/25 and thought it was this year. Oh well, I tried. I lived in LA before moving to SC and I don't envy you the traffic but hope it has been good to you. J

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