Columbia is the state capital and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 129,272 according to the 2010 census. Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. The city is the center of a metropolitan statistical area of 767,598, the largest within the state. The name Columbia was a poetic term for the Americas derived from Christopher Columbus.
Located 13 miles (21 km) northwest of South Carolina’s geographic center, Columbia is the primary city of the Midlands region of South Carolina, which comprises several counties in the central portion of the state. The city lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Saluda and the Broad, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River. CNNMoney.com named Columbia as one of America’s 25 best places to retire, and US News & World Report ranked the city sixth on its 2009 America’s Best Affordable Places to Retire list.
With roots that are unmistakably Southern and a forward-thinking and dynamic pulse, there are a multitude of reasons why Columbia, SC is known to be “Famously Hot.” Easy to access by three major interstates (I-77, I-26, and I-20), Columbia is situated in the center of the state of South Carolina at the convergence of three rippling rivers lined by a shady riverwalk perfect for jogging and walking. The area’s population is over 700,000, with thriving colleges and universities, award-winning hospital systems and diverse and charming neighborhoods to suit any lifestyle. Several entertainment districts with outdoor cafes, coffee shops, art galleries and shops present year-round opportunities for socializing and enjoying the outdoors. Historic homes and antebellum mansions nod to a bygone era while high-tech start-up companies and arts enthusiasts thrive in the urban revitalization occurring in the downtown area. Columbia may be known for its “hot spots”, but opens the eyes of visitors and residents daily to a “surprisingly cool” lifestyle and culture.