10 tips for freshmen living in Columbia, SC

Here are ten tips for student who are new to Columbia. Learn how to get around, where to eat, and some local knowledge to prepare you for at least four years in the Soda City.


Tripping on bricks in the Historic Horseshoe is basically a right of passage. | Photo by COLAtoday

Table of Contents

Classes for USC students are underway and with the largest incoming freshman class in school history, we know there are a few new Soda Citizens walking around. Being new in town can be a little disorienting, but that’s where we come in. Here are 10 things you should know as a new Soda City resident.

USC campus

1. We hope you brought some walking shoes. USC is 444 acres spread across Columbia and you’ll definitely get your daily steps in. Here’s a map of campus so you don’t get lost.

2. One of the best things about being a USC student is rooting for the Gamecocks at sporting events. Be up-to-date with the latest sports happenings and get excited about football season.

3. Join one of 500+ campus clubs to make new friends, branch out, and find something you enjoy.

Health + wellness

4. Columbia is known for our beautiful rivers + we recommend walking by a few of them:

5. Many local fitness centers, studios, and gyms offer student discounts. Check out:

Local eats

    6. We’ve got you covered for late-night bites.

    7. Some go-to local grub spots around campus are:

    five points 2

    Several new businesses have opened in Five Points since last semester. | Photo by COLAtoday

    Our City

    8. Familiarize yourself with our main districts and cities — this will help you as you navigate around town.

    9. If you want to avoid parking, call the Jaunt, a free ride-share service, or catch the COMET. USC students + faculty ride for free.

    10. There are two things you should know about our trains. One, if you haven’t been caught by one yet, you will. Two, you might want to invest in some earplugs for nighttime. Trust us.

    Bonus tips: Subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know + don’t forget to call your mom once in a while.