5 Things I Love About Living in West Columbia


5 Things I Love About Living in West Columbia - Columbia SC Moms BlogI’m a glutton for research. So when my husband got the job out near the Congaree Swamp and that agent started driving me around the Midlands, I freaked out at the number of options. I’d lived in the state my entire life, but had never really discovered Columbia.

What if I didn’t choose the most perfect place? Would I have regrets?

We settled on a Vista apartment because I just couldn’t decide. Then we had a baby and for some reason, I just had to have a house. After two contracts fell through in our chosen neighborhood, we found the third and finally closed.

It’s been a little over ten years.

And I still love being a West Columbia homeowner. Here’s why…

West Columbia is The Real Center:

Do you travel? Do you have a direction-ally challenged family far away that visits? Much of West Columbia sits nestled in a little triangle of interstates 26, 20, and 77. We seem to be the sweet spot past malfunction junction. We’re not so far out Highway 1 or 378 that morning or 5 o’clock traffic is impossible. And, seriously, we can get to the Vista and Main Street in downtown Columbia faster than lots of people with a Columbia address. Jarvis Klapman, Gervais Street, and Blossom Street bridges make downtown an easy jaunt.


West Columbia has The River:

It reaches other places, too. But when most people talk about going to The Riverwalk around here, they are talking about the West Columbia amphitheater entrance. We’ve walked that trail back and forth, on foot and on tricycle. We’ve picnic’ed at those tables. We’ve thrown our frisbee in that green field near the bathrooms. And we have waded into the water and sat on the rocks for awhile. Heck, if you can’t create your own river fun, then remember that we have the Riverbanks Botanical Garden on our side of the river, too.


West Columbia has Restaurants:

I squealed when I read that Columbia restaurateur Kristian Niemi was planning a steak and seafood place for our State Street area. No doubt it will fit well with our beloved Terra and Cafe Strudel. Lots of folks cross the river for those. But as a West Columbia resident, I also know about the best ethnic spots found just down the street from me.

We skip the Greek Festival. Nick’s has the best gyros (and we’re crazy about their pizza and burgers, too.) Mai Thai’s been voted best of for years and is our go-to date night spot. And while it is not gourmet, my 10-year-old would be disappointed if I didn’t tell you about Egg Roll Station‘s house fried rice and chicken wings.

Don't be unimpressed by older strip mall locations. Great food comes out of these places!
Don’t be unimpressed by older strip mall locations. Great food comes out of these places!

West Columbia has Rock and Roll and More:

Forget Five Points and the college crowd. The New Brookland Tavern hosts all kinds of established and up and coming bands. If that’s a bit loud for your taste, then cross the street and down is a bit more family and a lot more bluegrass. Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor hosts regular open mic and line dancing nights in addition to performances. Can’t decide what kind of music is your style? Our local chamber hosts various free music on the river concerts.

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West Columbia has Ridiculously Good Public Servants:

From the sanitation worker that smiles and points and air high-fives me as our vehicles pass every week, to the police who responded quickly when our car lost brakes (or something) on thrill hill, to the road crew who cut down that tree the other week when it blocked me in. It isn’t perfect. We grumble about some stuff and our city council will have its dramas. But, I’m not ready to house hunt again any time soon. There’s no place like home.

police-1665104_1920Do you live in West Columbia? What’s your favorite thing about the area?

Photo credit: cmh2315fl via Foter.com / CC BY-NC    
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Melanie McGehee never knew she wanted to be a mom. Even marriage caught her somewhat by surprise, in spite of the fact that she met husband Andy through a matchmaking service. She thanked eharmony by writing about that experience for an anthology, A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love. Almost two years to the day after marrying him, she stared at two pink lines and wonder aloud, “Is this okay?” His response, “Kind of late to be asking that now.” It was a bit late – in life. But at the advanced maternal age of 35, she delivered by surprise at 35 weeks and an emergency C-section, a healthy bay boy. Ian, an only child like herself, is ten years old and unlike any of the children Melanie has tutored, substitute taught, or led in a variety of church activities. Together with him, Melanie has discovered Thomas, SpongeBob, youtube tech channels, Lemony Snicket, Kate DiCamillo, shirts with no tags, and tooth powder. You can follow Melanie’s personal adventures and her love of children and teaching at beingmissmelanie.


    • That depends. If you want a big fancy district with all the bells and whistles, big mega-schools and lots of money, West Columbia is not for you…fight the traffic and move to Lexington. If you want small, community based schools where everybody knows your kid and each other, then this might be your spot. Are our schools the biggest and best? No. Do they have some drawbacks? Certainly. But you won’t find many school that have the close knit, community feel that West Columbia’s schools do and your kids will be exposed to a broad spectrum of students from all socio-economic groups! I am still friends with several of my childrens’ elementary, middle and high school teachers! If you do your part as a parent, they will do their part to teach your children. f you are looking for a public school with a private school environment, again, this is not the district for you. But I feel my children have gotten a good, solid education and have learned a lot about real life as well. I have one that is now a junior in college and doing very well at a national, top 20 university. The other is a senior in high school and looking at in-state colleges and universities.

    • I’m a West Columbia resident and zoned for Lexington 1 schools. Best of both worlds. My son attends public school in Lex 1, while my daughter attends East Point Academy public charter school in Cayce/West Columbia.

  1. Jennifer,
    I have a 5th grader, We are zoned for Saluda River Academy for the Arts (magnet), Northside Middle, and Brookland Cayce.
    You can find district and school stats on line, so I’d like to give my personal experience here for you:
    We started at a private school in K5, not because I had any doubts about schools, simply because a friend was sending her child to the Catholic downtown school and on visiting it, found it to be something I liked. Two years ago I thought to visit my neighborhood local school and was given a wonderful tour. I left feeling as if I’d made a mistake not considering it to begin with. This is our second year there and I am very pleased. Staff retention appears good, which I think is an indicator of a strong school.
    I think our district is a good one.
    Feel free to message me.

  2. I grew up in West Columbia and now live in Leesville, Hwy 378 side, for the last 10 years since getting married. I wonder why we moved out here often! My family is still in WC and Nick’s is our absolute favorite restaurant anywhere, hands down!
    The schools are fantastic . Lexington District 2 loves their children. My 2 nephews, 1st grade and 8th grade, are receiving fantastic educations and the schools do all they can in placement and advancement. If I had kids, Lexington 2 would be the only choice for me.
    Shhhh about out little gem though! Don’t want it to become like the town of Lexington. 🙂


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