Jump to content
Guest guest

Columbia, SC

Recommended Posts

Guest guest

Anybody can comment on this city? Seems like a cool place to live. What about transportation and cost of living?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ogo

I went to USC for four years undergraduate and I loved every one of them.

It's small, you can get everything important done on a bike, it's covered in trees for miles and miles, and best of all, the for an urban campus it's small. Get an apartment near the horseshoe and you never need to go further than two blocks of lush social goodness: the Nick theatre, Cool Beans cafe and Immac cafe.

As for the university, USC offers a lot more than met my eye at first. It has an award-winning local music station, WUSC. The Gamecock newspaper looks and acts like a real one. Aesthetic improvements that, now that they're done, actually add to the atmosphere. A green dorm in West Quad. A international dormitory that lives up to all expectations of... well, drunken debauchery. Speaking of drunk people, the greek dorms are away from the main campus!

You can make it with a bike in Columbia, oddly enough. There's a Food Lion, a fiercely independent hardware store and some clothing stores in the bar district near campus.

Everything else you might want is in walking distance: a free student theater which shows films nightly, a minor music venue "Jammin Java" (The only good music venue is New Brooklyn Tavern which does host major acts now and then, but it is across the river, which isn't in walking or biking distance), two superb bars: Goatfeathers and Speakeasy. They have music at Five Points on most warm weekends, though it's generally not very good music. Cafes: the aforementioned Cool Beans and Immac, also Adrianna's in five points has good gelatto. There are some hippy shops in Five Points if you like incense and throw rugs, and interestingly an Orthodox iconographer is there too, and so-so indian food, so-so Greek food, but a famous Korean joint: The Blue Cactus, superb. Finley Park is nice for a walk, though unseemly types frequent it. If you have a bike, there are several parks in the area: Riverbanks park, Riverside park, some others.

If you live off-campus and drive in, there's six lots' worth of parking available behind the colluseum, but not around 9:00 a.m., so unless you drive during odd hours it's tough to find a space. Cost of living off campus: $250/person if you share an apartment, plus utilities, which are usually pretty cheap in the balmy winter. On campus will run above $300/person if you share a two-bed apartment, more if you want something nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know anything about Columbia? Specifically, is there a good bus system? Is there a specific area where grad students usually live? Where are the bad areas of the city that one would not want to go? Is there any culture in the city, ie. bookstores, theater, etc? I'm from a really small town, so I'm a little worried about being in a state capital. Any info anyone has would be much appreciated!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Columbia is not big and scary- I think it's just right, actually. There is not a "grad student" neighborhood per se, but quite a few live in the Rosewood area (google map the Publix on Rosewood Dr. for an idea of where this is) and near Five Points (which can often be a little undergrad-y). Looking across the river in Cayce/West Columbia is a good, affordable place to be as well as the Melrose Heights neighborhood. As far as sketchiness goes, I'd definitely avoid anything past the intersection of Garner's Ferry and Rosewood Dr...urban sprawl quickly becomes trashy out Garner's Ferry way. Anything north of Elmwood is also going to be iffy, I think. Other than that, I think it's a very safe city with distictly different neighborhoods and a laid-back vibe. Five Points is great for bars, the Vista has some great restaurants, and Devine St. has some really cute boutiques. There's a little independent movie theatre (the Nickelodeon) downtown, lots of good coffee shops, and two excellent used bookstores (Ed's Editions in Cayce has a huge selection, and the bookshop in Five Points has a friendly resident cat). It's not a very big city, but I'm from a relatively small college town and I feel like I've definitely moved up. :)

PM me if you have any specific questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, it didn't occur to me that you maybe meant "theatre" and not the movies. :D There are three (count 'em!) great community theatres (Trustus is the edgy one, Town is the oldest continually operating one in America, Workshop is...the other one), plus one sort of hit-or-miss theatre troupe that puts on Sleepy Hollow each Halloween down by the river. There's also two professional ballet companies with a pretty intense rivalry.

Personally, I do not know anyone that takes the bus. I know that there is a bus system, but I've only ever seen homeless people chillin' at the bus stop when I've driven past. If you live in the in-town neighborhoods like Shandon, Rosewood, Five Points, etc. you can definitely bike and walk a lot of places, but I'd say a car is pretty much a must.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds great! Except for the car thing. I was worried about that. I can't drive, so public transportation is going to be my big issue anywhere I go. But USC is my only option, so I suppose I'll have to make the best of it, or else pray that I have a very understanding roommate. I want to avoid being so dependent on other people, but I seriously doubt I can afford calling a cab every time I need to go somewhere...

Thanks for the info! I'll let you know if I have any other questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as you get a place in one of the in-town neighborhoods, I think you'll be okay...I live in Wales Garden, and I walk to campus. I also walk to Five Points, where there's restaurants, my bank, my optometrist, the drugstore, a grocery store, and the post office. Now, if I want to visit the other side of town or go to the mall, I have to drive. I use my car probably 3-4 times a week, come to think of it. It's possible to go car-less, but only if a) you're not lazy an B) you stick to certain downtown areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys! Anyone already at the University of South Carolina with tidbits I should be aware of before I get there (aside for the need for a steady stream of bug spray?) Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It sounds great! Except for the car thing. I was worried about that. I can't drive, so public transportation is going to be my big issue anywhere I go. But USC is my only option, so I suppose I'll have to make the best of it, or else pray that I have a very understanding roommate. I want to avoid being so dependent on other people, but I seriously doubt I can afford calling a cab every time I need to go somewhere...

Thanks for the info! I'll let you know if I have any other questions.

Hey Riss :) I hear that there is abundant housing near campus...and according to the head of grad studies over there they have "beautiful outdoors that are pleasant to walk in" most of the year. LoL. I'm hoping to get close enough to bike in every day. I did hear from Dr. Glickman though that if we contact Melisa Kuptfer about it she can give us links to some of the housing stuff and the linkserv that has all of the current grad students on it so we can see what they think. Dr. Glickman suggested that if one was looking for a room mate, that listserv might be the best place to start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Columbia and went to USC for my undergrad. I am not a native, so maybe that's why I have a love/hate relationship. Cost of living for students is super cheap, as stated above. There are two distinct night life districts. There is Five Points where all the underage drink with the homeless because drinking is so cheap here. It has an eclectic collection of shops, I like window shopping here versus the mall. Then there is the Vista, geared towards the young-professionals. A lot of boutiques, they just opened up a cupcake shop.

I crave culture, so I usually escape to Atlanta or Charlotte for the weekends. You really have to dig to find it. However, this past weekend I was able to find a good artist lecture at the art museum, stumbled upon an art gallery show casing skateboards, and had fun checking out Viva La Vista (food fair). You can take weekend trips to near by places like Charleston, Savannah, Charlotte, Atl, etc. So it really depends on yourself and what you make the most of the place. Good luck!

p.s. Only here can you get away with wearing a shirt that says cock. Football and tailgating here is HUGE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Columbia and went to USC for my undergrad. I am not a native, so maybe that's why I have a love/hate relationship. Cost of living for students is super cheap, as stated above. There are two distinct night life districts. There is Five Points where all the underage drink with the homeless because drinking is so cheap here. It has an eclectic collection of shops, I like window shopping here versus the mall. Then there is the Vista, geared towards the young-professionals. A lot of boutiques, they just opened up a cupcake shop.

I crave culture, so I usually escape to Atlanta or Charlotte for the weekends. You really have to dig to find it. However, this past weekend I was able to find a good artist lecture at the art museum, stumbled upon an art gallery show casing skateboards, and had fun checking out Viva La Vista (food fair). You can take weekend trips to near by places like Charleston, Savannah, Charlotte, Atl, etc. So it really depends on yourself and what you make the most of the place. Good luck!

p.s. Only here can you get away with wearing a shirt that says cock. Football and tailgating here is HUGE.

Any suggestions as to where to live? Downtown? Are there any particularly good or bad places to live? I have a dog (Shar Pei, she sleeps all day) but that's it. I don't see a lot of decent places in the "under $700" price range close to USC, but I haven't been there in years. Ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any suggestions as to where to live? Downtown? Are there any particularly good or bad places to live? I have a dog (Shar Pei, she sleeps all day) but that's it. I don't see a lot of decent places in the "under $700" price range close to USC, but I haven't been there in years. Ideas?

I've lived in the Columbia area for the past 18 years and currently work downtown. I lived for a little while in a duplex in Cayce, which is just over the Congaree River from Columbia. Way cheaper housing (rent was $600 split between two people), a minimal amount of undergrads, and a 5-minute drive from campus. It was perfect for commuting to USC.

I would personally stay away from most downtown apartments due to loud college students. However, for downtown options, I think the Cornell Arms, which is right across the street from the Horseshoe and directly behind the State House, might be fine. Also, I think the Wilshire House (condos), which is a few minutes walk from the campus, might also be popular with graduate students.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to bump this up because I applied to SC and it's one of my top choices. But I do not have a car and after reading this thread I'm a little worried about transportation. Anyone know how well a person can get around in Columbia without a car? Is there a lot of housing within walking distance to campus and stores?

thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to bump this up because I applied to SC and it's one of my top choices. But I do not have a car and after reading this thread I'm a little worried about transportation. Anyone know how well a person can get around in Columbia without a car? Is there a lot of housing within walking distance to campus and stores?

thanks!

I'm finishing up my undergrad here right now. I admit, I don't know much about the bus system, 'cause my crippled butt ain't walking to the bus stop, but if it's as bad as Greenville's (my hometown), then it's pretty bad. The bus is pretty much it for public transportation, too. We don't go for light rails and subways so much down here. (With the exception of major metropolises like Atlanta, of course.) USC does run a campus bus system, though.

My little sister did her undergrad at USC, too, and she doesn't drive. As long as you live within walking distance of campus, you're also within walking distance of the whole 5 Points/Vista/downtown area, so I guess it's not so bad. I should note that my sister's idea of "walking distance" is a bit more generous than mine. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm finishing up my undergrad here right now. I admit, I don't know much about the bus system, 'cause my crippled butt ain't walking to the bus stop, but if it's as bad as Greenville's (my hometown), then it's pretty bad. The bus is pretty much it for public transportation, too. We don't go for light rails and subways so much down here. (With the exception of major metropolises like Atlanta, of course.) USC does run a campus bus system, though.

My little sister did her undergrad at USC, too, and she doesn't drive. As long as you live within walking distance of campus, you're also within walking distance of the whole 5 Points/Vista/downtown area, so I guess it's not so bad. I should note that my sister's idea of "walking distance" is a bit more generous than mine. :lol:

Thank you for your reply :)

I've heard that the USC shuttle system is pretty good though. Have you had any experiences with it?

The whole campus area doesn't seem to be that huge (though much bigger than where I did my undergrad). I'm okay with walking distance but its more of a time issue for me. If I could bike/walk to the psychology building from my place in 10 or less minutes i'd be happy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your reply :)

I've heard that the USC shuttle system is pretty good though. Have you had any experiences with it?

The whole campus area doesn't seem to be that huge (though much bigger than where I did my undergrad). I'm okay with walking distance but its more of a time issue for me. If I could bike/walk to the psychology building from my place in 10 or less minutes i'd be happy.

Well, the campus covers maybe two or three square miles. I'm not sure; there's parts of campus I've never had classes on so I haven't been there. I use the shuttle system for getting onto campus from the commuter parking lots*, and it's pretty good for that, but if you're living much off campus you'd have to walk to the nearest shuttle stop, at which point you'd be on campus already anyway. I think the average shuttle route takes twenty minutes, give or take about ten minutes. If you have a bike, I probably wouldn't bother with the shuttle. Some of the apartment buildings near campus have their own shuttles to and from campus, but a lot of those buildings are extremely overpriced. (The $495 rate you see advertised for places like the Lofts? It's per roommate.) I have an alright apartment in the Rosewood area for what it would cost me to share one of those apartments.

*Parking here sucks, by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A slightly pathetic question: How do you stand the heat? I've lived in the Midwest almost my entire life but a 5 year stint in Germany left me with an inability to deal with super cold or super hot. My experience with the heat has been mostly humid heat ranging in the mid 80s to low 90s all summer.

Are most apartments air conditioned? Do they charge an arm and a leg for air conditioning? What do you all do to stay cool?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A slightly pathetic question: How do you stand the heat? I've lived in the Midwest almost my entire life but a 5 year stint in Germany left me with an inability to deal with super cold or super hot. My experience with the heat has been mostly humid heat ranging in the mid 80s to low 90s all summer.

Are most apartments air conditioned? Do they charge an arm and a leg for air conditioning? What do you all do to stay cool?

I'd like to know the same thing, personally... Especially since I'll be moving to Columbia in late July/early August. Not exactly a cool time of the year, haha!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apartments in the area provide air conditioning and heating. The cost of energy in SC is usually more expensive than the surrounding southern states, but it's still less expensive than in some areas of the country. Most people avoid the heat by staying indoors if at all possible.

Edited by koalaroo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be moving to Columbia too this fall. I've lived in central Texas all my life except for 2 years in central Florida, and the heat isn't terrible if you stay inside with the A/C on and the fans on high. Just watch your power bill; you can stay comfortable with the A/C at a moderate temp. and a couple of fans going. Study in air-conditioned campus buildings all day, then sleep with fans aimed at your bed at night. Avoid living around lots of heat-emanating concrete and asphalt, and try to live in shady residential areas (shady as in "tree-shaded" :)) or on the lower floors of apartment or dorms (the top floors can be like ovens).

I don't know about SC, but in Texas it can stay 80-90 degrees until late October. Springs are early and really nice here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is biking safe in this city? Is it possible to go to Walmart by bike? In the map I find the walmart is far from the campus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all. I'm considering a move to Columbia in the fall to attend the University of South Carolina. I consider myself to be very left-wing, so if I move to Columbia, will I be all alone? I know that South Carolina has a certain reputation, but is there more than meets the eye, at least in Columbia? I value diversity so I'm not looking to go to a place with only one type of political stance. I just want to make sure there is at least some parity in the only state capital that continues to fly a Confederate flag!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good question superrockr1! I am curious to the answer too. My cousin went to South Carolina and she's a pretty liberal gal.

My question involves average rent and neighborhoods. I'm looking for a one bedroom or studio (preferably one bedroom). What would I be looking at rent wise? And where is the safest/shortest commute/near public transportation in your opinion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.