Getting Around. Like many southern cities, Columbia is no place to be without a car. Bus service runs around downtown, with just a few routes that extend beyond the center of the city. However, traffic will be a breeze in most areas.
Watch Your Water. Columbia is known to have some of the best tasting water in the country. However, many older apartment complexes tend to accumulate extremely high water bills due to the common plumbing problems of older buildings. There are a few things to consider, water-wise, when deciding on your apartment. For instance, does the toilet ever stop running after you flush it? Can you hear any leaks in the faucets, showers, or in the walls? Does the apartment charge its tenants for pool water? All of these factors are likely to result in an uncomfortably high water bill.
Underground Culture. Check out these great spots for entertainment: Art Bar, the Hunter-Gatherer, Alley Cafe, summer concert series at Finlay Park, occasional music on the river, and amazing street bands playing on the corner for change during major festivals and holiday events. You can also visit New Brooklyn Tavern in the neighboring city of West Columbia for hardcore music, or catch bluegrass jams in the nearby city of Cayce.
Spare yourself the hours of research, and use this guide to find the neighborhoods that suit you best. Columbia has affordable, as well as luxurious rentals available all around the city, whether you want to live in the bright lights of downtown, or need some space with wide-open country views and dark star-gazing skies.
University Hill. Surrounded by downtown nightlife.
Congaree Vista. A renaissance on the river: beautiful parks, plenty of food, a growing music scene, and a healthy dose of art and theater, all accompanied by cold beer and cocktails.
Earlewood Park. Riverfront neighborhood of old cottages, neighborhood parks, and downtown skyline views.
Elmwood. Popular for its affordability, downtown proximity, and charming 1920's bungalows.
Cottontown. Historic homes with unique rental options.
Olympia-Grandby. Riverfront rentals and an easy walk to downtown.
Hollywood-Rose Hill. Good eats and a short walk to downtown
Waverly. An affordable and popular neighborhood.
Melrose Heights. Close proximity to downtown.
Old Shandon. Historic homes with bay windows, tons of shopping nearby, plus a quick commute to downtown entertainment.
Shandon. Tree-lined streets, distinctive architecture, and proximity to downtown and nearby shopping.
Rosewood. Complete with vintage atmosphere and uniquely Rosewood personality.
Southeast. Variety of housing options.
Arcadia Lakes. Popular for the nearby lake on a hot summer day, and its golf course.
Dentsville. Truly amazing for the scenery and nearby Sesquicentennial State Park. (Try saying that name three times fast)
Woodfield. Next door to Fort Jackson with everything you could as for in a neighborhood: lakes, a state park, a shopping center.
Forest Acres. Easy commutes to the lake or to downtown.
Spring Valley. A little farther north, complete with country club, enormous state park, tons of eats and shopping.
Greenview. Popular for its easy commute and proximity.
Eau Claire. Comes with a few parks and riverfront bike rides.
The Colony. A slew of beltline bars and plenty of affordable rentals.
Lincolnshire. Variety of different housing options here.
Denny Terrace. More rural, giving you more space.
St. Andrews. Different housing options available.
Seven Oaks. A community just down the road from Lake Murray.
Irmo. Amazing location, with Lake Murray and the Harbison State Forest right next door.
That's the city breakdown for you. Now it's time to see it for yourself. Good luck with the hunt, and keep in mind that southern hospitality is a two-way street.