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The Columbia Metropolitan area is home to over 800,000 residents spread across its approximately 132 square miles and multiple counties. While Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and serves as a business, governmental, and educational hub for the state, Columbia still retains surprisingly close unspoiled natural and rural areas for recreation and daily living including South Carolina’s only National Park, Congaree National Park. The heart of the city is the downtown area, steeped in amazing history that spans hundreds of years and includes the early Native American settlements nestled among our three rivers, the dramatic burning of the City by General Sherman and during the Civil War, and significant sites that played a role in the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, for example, Simon Bouie and Talmedge Neal, students at Allen University, led a sit-in at a local lunch counter. Although the State of SC upheld their trespass convictions, the US Supreme Court overturned them on appeal, helping to pave the path forward for equal rights for all. Columbia is also home to our largest military installation, Fort Jackson, training over 50 percent of soldiers who enlist annually in the Army. In addition, Columbia is home to McEntire Joint National Air Base and nearby Shaw Air Force Base which is home to the Air Force’s largest combat F-16 wing. Near downtown and just across the Blossom and Gervais Street bridges, the City of West Columbia is situated along eight miles of the beautiful lower Saluda and Congaree Rivers. Known for being friendly, welcoming, and affordable, West Columbia also has excellent schools, great recreational opportunities, and a myriad of dining and shopping options.
Check out descriptions of some of Downtown Columbia’s most popular neighborhoods here.