Columbia, South Carolina, is a college town, so you are going to find many of the familiar college town sights, including inexpensive restaurant options, coffee shops and dive bars. However, it still is very much a souther city, so you are going to have a slower pace than what you might find in a northeastern college town. This makes it a comfortable city to live in, whether you are looking to go to college or you just obtained a new job.
While Columbia does have more expensive apartment options than what you might find in other cities throughout South Carolina, it is still a reasonable price. In fact, outside of perhaps Charleston, you really can't beat the apartment prices you are going to pay anywhere in the state, including Columbia.
As for public transportation, most apartment renters (unless you are a student) are better off driving than taking the bus system. While there is a bus system, designed primarily for students, the schools is not very spread out, so the bus system does not extend throughout the city and it is not all that reliable. Biking to class is fine, and traffic is not heavy, although there are not that many bike trails.
Columbia, South Carolina is an excellent little town for nightlife though. Music plays from the open patios in almost every bar and you are sure to find exactly your kind of scene, whether you want to dance the night away or would rather sit and enjoy a delicious IPA at a local bar. Plus, you are always going to find exceptional southern cooking. This way, no matter what you are hungry for or what you might want to experience, you are going to find it all right here in Columbia, South Carolina, all for a reasonable price, without setting your pocket book back at all.Source: The Columbia, SC housing data displayed above is derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).