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International Student Services

  • Students watching a USC football game

Everyday Life in Columbia

Life at the University of South Carolina is probably a little different than life in your home country. Whether you are from a rural village or a bustling city, you are sure to love calling South Carolina your home!

Our City

You will love exploring Columbia as a student at the University of South Carolina. USC is based in downtown Columbia, the “famously hot” capital city of South Carolina.  Located in the heart of the state, Columbia is just a few short hours from the coast and the mountains and boasts a population of over 700 thousand. Columbia’s diverse residents and neighborhoods have earned it the designation of being one of “America’s 30 most Livable Communities.”  Within the city limits, you can visit EdVenture Children's Museum for a family-friendly outing, attend a concert at the Colonial Life Arena, paddle the Saluda River, shop and dine in the vibrant Vista district or watch your Carolina Gamecocks compete in a number of sporting events.  In a city with so much to offer, there really is something for everyone, and it’s all conveniently located right here in Columbia.

Shopping in Columbia

Sometimes something as simple as shopping for food can be difficult for people new to the United States. Below is a list of stores where you can find groceries and specialty food items as well as clothing, furniture, and other household items.

Grocery Stores

Pharmacies and Discount Stores:

  • CVS – This is a pharmacy where you may buy medicines, but you can buy many other items that you need in addition to medicine.
  • Walgreens – This is a pharmacy where you may buy medicines, but you can buy many other items that you need in addition to medicine.
  • Family Dollar - This is a discount store, which has many cheap household items.

Superstores

These stores offer a large selection of household items, furniture, electronics, and groceries at one location.

Thrift Stores

These are stores where you may buy second-hand (used) clothing and other household items at a discounted price. There are many thrift stores in the Columbia area.

There are numerous international grocery stores around the city. There are many more stores than the stores on this list:

Five Points is an area with many restaurants, shops, and clubs. It is only about a ten-minute walk from the USC campus. Five Points is a favorite entertainment area for USC students. There are often free outdoor concerts at the fountain. Check “EPI News” on the EPI email for announcements.

The Vista is an area near the river with many nice restaurants. It is only about a ten-minute walk from the USC campus. The Vista is a favorite entertainment area for young professionals in the Columbia area. The State Museum is also located in the Vista area.

Main Street offers many restaurants, bars, and stores. The Columbia Museum of Art is located at the corner of Main and Hampton Streets. Additionally there is the Tapp’s Art Center that offers art shows by different artists. There are also movies shown at the Nickelodeon Theater located at 1607 Main St in the heart of downtown Columbia. Every Saturday morning Main Street hosts the Soda City Market, offering food, handcrafts, and other interesting items for sale. Main Street also offers First Thursdays on Main, a monthly street festival which features music, food, and street exhibits.

For an extensive list of stores, boutiques, and galleries around the city, please visit the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Things to Do in Columbia

Columbia is your new home, and you should take advantage of the many fun things to do for you and your family. There are many events and activities for adults and children throughout the year, so have fun and get involved with the community!

The following sites have up-to-date calendars about things to do in Columbia and the surrounding region:

Five Points is an area with many restaurants, shops, and clubs. It is only about a ten-minute walk from the USC campus. Five Points is a favorite entertainment area for USC students. There are often free outdoor concerts at the fountain.

The Vista is an area near the river with many nice restaurants. It is only about a ten-minute walk from the USC campus. The Vista is a favorite entertainment area for young professionals in the Columbia area. The State Museum is also located in the Vista area.

Main Street offers many restaurants, bars, and stores. The Columbia Museum of Art is located at the corner of Main and Hampton Streets. Additionally there is the Tapp’s Art Center that offers art shows by different artists. There are also movies shown at the Nickelodeon Theater. Every Saturday morning Main Street hosts the Soda City Market, offering food, handcrafts, and other interesting items for sale. Main Street also offers First Thursdays on Main, a monthly street festival which features music, food, and street exhibits.

 


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