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liv score
619
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 44
Demographics 54
Economy 63
Education 65
Health 41
Housing 54
Infrastructure 67

#87. Columbia, SC

There’s something bubbling in Columbia! Did you know that when abbreviated Columbia reads COLA? Hence the city’s nickname of Soda City. Nestled in central South Carolina, residents can be by the beach or in the mountains in just a few hours, but if you’re looking to stay close to home, Columbia averages 217 sunny days a year and has a large population of magnolia, oak and pecan trees. As one of the first planned cities in America, Columbia has a historical charm that can’t be matched. Columbia is also the capital of South Carolina and home to the University of South Carolina, so the job opportunities here are plentiful. Even better? Columbia is a fast-growing metro that has maintained small town charm and an affordable cost of living. 

Top Industries and Employers: Healthcare, manufacturing, government and education careers are plentiful in Columbia. 

Best Coffee Shop: Drip Columbia

Best Local Beer/Brewery: River Rat Brewery pays homage to the three rivers flowing through the city and serves up delicious beers, especially their signature Astronaut Sauce brew. 

Must-Have Meal: Classic Carolina barbecue is a must and no one does it better than the Midwood Smokehouse. Build your own platter or pick from one of the menu’s classics.  

Best Co-Working Space: Both coffee and craft beer are on tap for co-workers at Soco. What more could you want?

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Bottoms up at local favorite, Bourbon. This chic spot is both a whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant and boasts the largest whiskey list in the state.  

Creative Hub: The South Carolina State Museum has it all. A planetarium, observatory, four floors of art and even the building itself is a piece of work as the museum is housed in the former Columbia Mills Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Favorite Weekend Activity: Every Saturday, downtown transforms for the Soda City Market that features an array of local and regional food, crafts and goods.Then make a trip to the Riverbanks Zoo, which is home to one of the few permanent koala exhibits in the country. 

Free Way to Have Fun: Do it for the ‘gram and visit one of Columbia’s many public art areas. With murals all over the city, you’re sure to get the perfect shot.

Local Dream Job: Park Ranger at Congaree National Park, home to the rare synchronous fireflies, which light up at the same time.  

Read More: 
8 Reasons to Move to Columbia, SC 
How Columbia, SC Champions Women’s Sports 
Best Places to Live in South Carolina

– Cara Sanders

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