Sometimes called the West Metro area, these communities are among the oldest suburbs of Columbia.
Both share some of the same urban characteristics as their bigger municipal neighbor across the Congaree River, but also maintain separate identities while forming the hub of Lexington 2 schools.
Chapin plays a much larger role than its population of 1,700 suggests, serving as the commercial hub of an area of more than 50,000 residents on the north side of Lake Murray.
Dutch Fork and Ballentine are a mix of suburban neighborhoods set amid farms with scenic views of Lake Murray and the Broad River. The areas are popular with residents who want a quasi-rural lifestyle, yet are close to downtown Columbia.
Columbia is a mess of contradictions that come from being a blue county in a red state capital.
We love barbecue and Krispy Kreme as much as home-grown tomatoes and fresh-caught fish. We embrace Lindsey Graham and Nikki Finney. We love our zoo and we follow debates over at the State House because — let’s face it — that’s a zoo, too! And Lordamercy don’t get us started on Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks.
But for all the contradictions, Columbia is a great place to call home. So while we may shake our heads over the politics and humidity, we’d appreciate it if outsiders would keep their opinions to themselves.
Forest Acres/Arcadia Lakes
Forest Acres and Arcadia Lakes are an oasis of trees and small lakes, among Columbia’s earliest suburbs and close to downtown. Forest Acres is home to a number of young families, drawn to the strong core of Richland 1 schools in the community and large home lots, while Arcadia Lakes draws young families and retirees alike, who enjoy the nature and views on the water.
Once a major source of power for the Midlands, the lake is now a major recreation area and home to several sporting tournaments.
This in-town resort mixes pricey waterfront mansions with older and smaller weekend getaways Some areas are remote, making for long commutes over narrow winding roads.
Once a sleepy small town, it’s become a steadily growing community during the past 30 years.
It’s now Columbia’s largest municipal neighbor, with more development expected because of proximity to Lake Murray and it’s top-rated schools in Lexington 1, among the best in the state.
Once a sleepy rural outpost a few miles from the heart of Columbia, Northeast Richland has turned into a sprawling economic engine for the region and a place that many Columbians now call home, thanks to lots of housing options and Richland 2 schools, known for their array of magnet program offerings. There is still bucolic landscape, and two beautiful expanses of green at Sesquicentennial State Park and Clemson's Sandhill Research and Education Center.