the complete guide to moving to & living in

COLUMBUS, GA [2024]

 If you're thinking about moving to Columbus GA, you'll love this charming city located in western Georgia. Columbus has a bustling community, rich history, and plenty of fantastic amenities. The city's diverse population has a wealth of cultures and lifestyles. There's something for everyone, regardless of their interests and hobbies, and living in Columbus can be quite affordable. Columbus residents have access to fantastic schools, outdoor activities, great careers, and much more. Here's the complete guide to moving to and living in Columbus, Georgia.

SECTION 1

Thinking of Moving to Columbus, GA

SECTION 2

Things to Know About Columbus, GA

SECTION 3

Moving to Columbus for Work

SECTION 4

Columbus School Guide

SECTION 5

Neighborhoods in Columbus

SECTION 6

Must Try Places When Living in Columbus

SECTION 7

Columbus Public Transportation

SECTION 8

Events in Columbus

Thinking of Moving to Columbus?

Where is Columbus?

Columbus is located in the Muscogee County of Georgia. Situated close to the Alabama state line, Columbus sits in the west-central part of Georgia, around 90 miles southwest of Atlanta and 80 miles east of Montgomery, Alabama.

Columbus is known as the Fountain City, and you'll see why as soon as you visit. In the early 20th century, numerous fountains were installed around the city, giving way to this nickname. The city is also known for being the birthplace of Coca-Cola, at least the very early form of the now world famous soft drink.

Things to Know About Columbus

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Overview

If you decide to move to Columbus GA, you'll see it is a diverse and vibrant city with so much to offer residents of all ages and backgrounds. There are over 20 neighborhoods that have incredible offerings for those looking to relocate and live in Columbus GA, making it easy to find your next dream home and lifestyle. The city maintains a southern charm with traditional architecture with picturesque tree-lined streets. There are plenty of new construction communities with brand new homes for those who want a more contemporary atmosphere.

Columbus GA, is well-known for being an educational leader with some of the best schools in the state that serve a significant amount of its population. With an impressive mix of top-rated public schools, private schools, and charter schools, students, parents and guardians in Columbus GA, have access to excellent educational options.

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History

As the former home of a Creek Indian Village, the city of Columbus was established in 1828. It was initially a trading post intended to strengthen the state's western border. The city was named after Christopher Columbus, and since its creation, it has become one of the most significant industrial hubs in the southern US. The area later became a training camp for soldiers, which is now present-day Fort Benning. It underwent some incredible industrial renewal and urban revitalization, creating the city we know and love today.

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Weather

Georgia residents know how wonderful the weather is in the state. It's comfortable all year round, and if it does get cold, it doesn't last long. Winter temperatures are typically around 30 to 60℉. Summer weather is in full force from June to September, but it's not sweltering. Summer temps range between 80 and 90℉, and it's easy to enjoy the weather and find shade around the city to escape the heat.

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Housing Market

Moving to Columbus GA, you'll notice it has a diverse real estate market with a wide range of prices for great properties. Properties in Columbus, GA range in price from $65,000 to $4 million, and the median house price is approximately $125,000. Regardless of the house type that you're looking for, you'll find it in Columbus.

Columbus offers a range of great investment opportunities as well, if you’re a house flipper and love to get your hands on new projects, Columbus offers plenty of homes for your next passion project.

If you're looking to buy a vacant lot, you can find many options at affordable prices. For those who don't need a lot of space, you can find condos and townhomes that will fit your needs. Want a luxury estate home? There are plenty of those, too.

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Cost of Living

Overall, the cost of living in Columbus GA, falls well below the national average by almost 25 points. Housing is the most significant category, where the US median home cost is $291,700 compared to $125,000 in Columbus.

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Interesting Facts About Columbus

Here are some fun and interesting facts about Columbus:

  • Wayne Brady is from Columbus.
  • Gertrude "Ma Rainey" Pridgett, otherwise known as "The Mother of the Blues," is a prominent fixture in music history. Her home still stands in Columbus and is a museum that showcases her prolific life and work.
  • There are over 500 restaurants in the city.
  • The Soft Drink Heritage Trail is unique to Columbus. Walk along the trail and admire the Coca-Cola, Nehi, and RC Cola signage.
  • Every Saturday morning from 9 am to noon, one of the best farmers' markets is held in Uptown Columbus. Featuring over 200 local vendors, you'll want to get there early and expect plenty of other residents shopping along with you.
  • If you want to learn about military history, Columbus is the best place to be. The National Infantry Museum and National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus are two excellent museums for history buffs. The National Infantry Museum offers 190,000 square feet of exhibits and attractions that illustrate over 240 years of American Army history. Port Columbus is the only museum in the world that tells the complete story of the American Civil War.
  • As one of the last frontier outposts, Columbus is now home to 200,000 residents and is the second-largest city in the state.
  • Columbus is home to some beautiful nature that residents can enjoy and explore. The city is home to the longest urban whitewater run in the Chattahoochee River, which stretches 2.5 miles in the heart of Uptown Columbus. It's one of the top man-made adventures in the world.The Chattahoochee RiverWalk is a 22-mile park that offers trails for walking, jogging, and biking that can be enjoyed all year round, there are no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy in Columbus.

Moving to Columbus For Work

Business & Jobs in Columbus

Columbus is a growing economic powerhouse with plenty of potential. There are over 80,000 students who are pursuing post-secondary education, with a workforce size of 250,000 in a 60-mile radius, and almost 6,000 military members who are switching to the civilian workforce.

Over the last year, Columbus has seen an increase of 2.3% in the job market. The expected market growth is around 30% in the next decade. The economic growth has proven to many why living in Columbus GA is a great choice not only now but for the future.

The average income in Columbus is just over $23,000 per year, and the median household income is around $41,000. The sales tax rate is 8%, and the income tax rate is 6%.

Top Employers:

  • Fort Benning (Military)
  • Muscogee County School District
  • TSYS, a Global Payments Company
  • Aflac
  • Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia
  • Columbus Consolidated Government
  • Piedmont Columbus Regional
  • The Pezold Companies
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • St. Francis-Emory Healthcare
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Synovus
  • Columbus State University
  • WestRock

Columbus School Guide

The Best Schools in Columbus

Columbus, GA, schools are among the best in the state, and there are many great options for parents to choose from across the city. Between the excellent public and impressive private schools, regardless of the educational avenue you choose, you can feel confident in your child's education.

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Britt David Magnet Academy

Serving students from kindergarten to grade 5, BDMA is a computer magnet school located on Armor Road. It's considered one of the best schools for computer-based learning and has an engaging curriculum. The PTA is extremely active in fundraising and volunteer efforts, which has led to students having access to state-of-the-art equipment and computers, after-school programs, and the latest technology.

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Clubview Elementary School

As a longstanding staple in the Columbus community, Clubview Elementary School is one of the best elementary schools for preparing kids with real-life skills. Since 1953, students have left to go to middle school with creativity, knowledge, and initiative to be great students in the next stage of their education.

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Eagle Ridge Academy

Eagle Ridge Academy is a top-rated school in the Muscogee County School District. With small class sizes and a rigorous curriculum, it's considered one of the best schools in the area. There are many outstanding extracurricular activities so students can develop skills in the arts, sports, and other clubs. Eagle Ridge students are provided a well-rounded education by some of the best faculty in the field.

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Richards Middle School

For students in grades 6 to 8, Richards Middle School is fantastic, especially for students who want to enroll in the International Baccalaureate program. The middle school works hard to prepare students for high school and beyond. Along with an impressive curriculum, the school has incorporated ways to build strong characters and compassion. With excellent extracurricular activities, it's a great choice for any middle schooler.

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Blackmon Road Middle School

Not only is Blackmon Road Middle School a top-performing school in all academic subjects, but they're also partnered with the community to help provide resources and support for Columbus families. The middle school serves grade 6 to 8 students who receive an outstanding education and interpersonal skills. There are plenty of extracurricular activities and after-school programs as well.

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Northside High School

For high school students, preparation for post-secondary is essential. Northside High School is well-known for its biomedical science and engineering programs. In fact, they're both nationally recognized. The school offers dual enrollment opportunities with the local Columbus colleges. The school offers a supportive and educational environment with extracurricular activities and clubs.

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Columbus High School

Columbus High School serves over 1,200 students from grades 9 to 12. The magnet school is a college preparatory school with impressive academic programs and upgraded facilities. For students planning on attending post-secondary education, there are many advanced placement courses that prepare them for their first year at college. With prolific art and science programs, the school offers an advanced and well-rounded education providing the right skills for the future.

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Calvary Christian School

If you're interested in private schools in Columbus, Calvary Christian School is one of the top-rated options in the city. Serving students from Pre-K to grade 12, the school works to develop the whole child - mind, body, and soul. Students have the opportunity to develop and grow their faith and their education.

Neighborhoods in Columbus

Where to live in Columbus

Columbus has something for everyone. With distinct communities that have their own charm and amenities, you're sure to find your dream home along with a lifestyle you love. Here are the best communities in Columbus.

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Green Island Hills

The established and desirable neighborhood of Green Island Hills is home to incredible starter and luxury estate homes that are breathtaking. You can find waterfront homes that are thoughtfully designed for maximum comfort and convenience. The community is welcoming and charming, whether you're looking to purchase your first home or an estate home.

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Lake Bottom Park

Lakebottom Park area is filled with charming and elegant historic homes. This area is in the heart of Midtown Columbus which is brimming with dining, shopping and entertainment options. Being located near a park, this community has excellent outdoor activities from walking/fitness trails, playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball field, soccer field, football field and picnic areas.

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Heiferhorn Farms

Heiferhorn Farms is a new development community just north of Columbus. Hughston Homes is developing these beautiful properties. The community is being developed with 160 acres of conserved greenspace and creeks, offering a forest retreat for your new home. Close to all the amenities you'd need, like shopping, entertainment, and dining, Heiferhorn Farms is sure to be one of the best communities in Columbus.

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The Orchards At Mulberry Grove

Mulberry Grove is a beautiful community just north of the city that spans over 1,000 acres. It's a great option for those who want to live outside the busy city but close enough that essentials aren't too far away. The new construction homes being developed at The Orchards are stunning homes that offer a number of options for buyers. The community has a great outdoorsy lifestyle, including access to paths and trails, lakes and parks, and community spaces for everyone to enjoy.

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Fortson Creek

The up-and-coming communities of Fortson Creek is sure to make a splash when it is fully developed. The community is a must-see for those looking for a new construction home just outside of the city. The builders in the communities have plenty of floorplan options for their beautiful new homes, and you're sure to find something you'll love. You can't go wrong buying a home in Forston Creek.

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Eagle and Phenix

Immerse yourself in the charm of downtown living on the river in this exquisite loft building with historic elegance. Nestled in a prime downtown Columbus location, indulge in the vibrant culinary scene with an array of restaurants just a stroll away. Perfect for anyone seeking a unique blend of history and contemporary living, the Eagle and Phenix building offers an unparalleled lifestyle opportunity where every day feels like a retreat.

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Maple Ridge

The single-family home community of Maple Ridge is a beautiful and established neighborhood with stunning homes. Featuring a community pool, golf course, tennis courts, and more, residents have plenty of perks when choosing Maple Ridge. With a variety of price tags, there's something for every budget in the well-maintained subdivision.

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Garrett Pines

Located on the city's north side, Garrett Pines has so many incredible amenities you'll be living a life with the ultimate convenience. You can quickly get on I-85 and be minutes from entertainment, food, shopping, and necessities. The homes in Garrett Pines were constructed to be the most energy-efficient, and plenty of new builds are ready for your creative input.

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Hilton Heights

HIlton Heights offers spacious lawns and a wide variety of home styles that can suit anyone's needs. Located near Interstate 185 you can hit the road and be in Atlanta in just over 2 hours for a night out in the big city. If you decide to buy a home in Hilton Heights be sure to wave to your neighbors as the streets are perfect for walkability and quiet for enjoying the outdoors in your front yard.

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Ivy Park

Ivy Park has everything you could want and need at your fingertips. The primarily single-family home community has beautiful homes that range from starter to luxury, and the median price is around $430,000. Ivy Park residents have access to great schools, amenities, attractions, and major highways, making it very convenient.

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Midland Downs

If you're looking for a rural home outside of the city, Midland Downs is an amazing up-and-coming community with a special atmosphere. Residents can have the best of both worlds with quick lake access and just a short drive to the city. Homes in the community are around $400,000, but homes can have up to five bedrooms.

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Garrett Creek

Garrett Creek is one of the most affordable communities in Columbus, making it highly desirable. The brick bungalows are spacious and comfortable, and residents love them. With lake access, there's plenty of fun to be had on the water. The community is ideal for anyone on a budget or those wanting to live near the water.

Must Try Places When Living In Columbus

Nightlife & Popular Restaurants in Columbus

Columbus has over 500 restaurants with varying cuisine, so if you like to eat, you're in the right place. These top restaurants to try in Columbus will never disappoint.

Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant

Minnie's Uptown Restaurant was named one of Georgia's 100 Plates Locals Love, and this incredible restaurant has all the comfort food you know and love. Dine in and devour soul food favorites like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and any other delicious creation at the buffet.

Banks Food Hall

Banks Food Hall is a collective eatery that will please even the pickiest palates. The 12,000 square foot indoor and outdoor space has ten restaurants to enjoy, bars, and live music, and the venue can hold up to 250 people. It's next to the riverwalk, so you can have a fantastic dinner and then go for a leisurely walk along the river. It's also close to the Splash Pad and Whitewater Express, so it's a great place to stop before a day of fun and adventuring.

Mabella's Italian Steakhouse

If you're looking for a fantastic meal to celebrate something special, Mabella's Italian Steakhouse delivers every time. Located inside a historic telephone switch building, the meals are incredible and will leave you full for hours. It's even the top-rated spot in Columbus on TripAdvisor.

Cannon Brew Pub

The Cannon Brew Pub is a local favorite when you're in the mood for casual food and brews. They have fantastic burgers, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and craft beer brewed on-site. Their sidewalk seating is dog friendly as well.

Saltcellar

Nestled in the heart of Columbus, GA, Saltcellar is more than just a place to dine – it's a destination for those who appreciate the finer things in life. This establishment has meticulously crafted dishes, prepared by talented chefs who infuse passion and creativity into each plate. Whether you're craving classic comfort food or daring culinary innovations, Saltcellar has something to tantalize every palate. 

Speakeasy

Speakeasy has some of the best pizzas around, and you won't be surprised that they've been a staple in the community since 1976. They have various food options, but their pizza is a true classic. Make sure you check out their desserts!

Country’s Barbecue

Since 1975, Country's Barbecue has been keeping Columbus residents and visitors fed with the best BBQ around. Everything is made in-house, and they use the best quality meats for all their menu items. This place is a real treat, so if you're a BBQ fan, it's a must-try in Columbus.

Epic Restaurant

Epic Restaurant lives up to its name. If you're looking for an award-winning fine dining experience, Epic is the place to be. It's even been on many Top 40 lists nationwide and the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine. Once you try this incredible place, you'll realize what all the hype is about.

11th and Bay

11th and Bay is another top restaurant in Columbus, GA. The local favorite is just as much great food as it is experience. If you're looking for locally-sourced sustainable dishes with plenty of organic options, you've come to the right place. Many of the tables have views of the Chattahoochee River.

The Black Cow

As Garden and Gun Magazine mentioned, The Black Cow is home to some of the best burgers in the south. Grab some comfort food like meatloaf, steaks, and po'boys. Wash it down with a great cocktail or craft beer. It's the only oyster bar in Uptown Columbus.

Millhouse

The Millhouse has a menu that is a symphony of tastes and textures, carefully curated to delight your palate and elevate your dining experience. Whether you're craving comforting classics or seeking bold new flavors, their chefs are dedicated to crafting dishes that will leave you craving for more.

Entertainment

Hollywood Connection Family Fun Center

Check out Hollywood Connection Family Fun Center for a fun-filled family adventure day. It has games, mini golf, laser tag, a skating center, and a 50s-style diner that the kids will enjoy.

Uptown Columbus

When it comes to a night out on the town, Columbus doesn't disappoint. Uptown Columbus has an incredible local music scene that residents love to enjoy. Whether you're looking for a lounge, billiards, theater, or hookah bar, Uptown Columbus has plenty of options. Since the community is very walkable, it makes getting around to different venues easy and convenient. You can experience everything you want in one night.

Up at Smoke

Up at Smoke is a bar with a live DJ on the weekends and plenty of drink specials. Billiards on Broad has a number of pool tables and drink specials as well. There are so many fun things to do in Uptown Columbus.

Columbus Public Transportation

How to Get Around Columbus

Columbus is very easy to navigate by many forms of transportation and is incredibly well connected.

The city is pedestrian and cyclist-friendly if you like to get your exercise on the way to and from work. Columbus is considered one of the most bicycle-friendly in the US. The Dragonfly trail is a network of off-road greenway trails that is ideal for pedestrians and cyclists.

Many major highways like the I-185, I-85, Hwy 431, Hwy 27, and Hwy 280 throughout the city make it easy to get around. Whether you're a vehicle owner or use ride-sharing apps like Uber, Lyft, or Groome, you can easily get around the city.

The METRA Transit system is Muscogee County's primary mass transportation system. Nine routes and 17 buses run from 4:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays.

Greyhound offers an intercity bus service on 4108 St Marys Rd, Columbus, GA. The station is open every day from 5:30 am to 4:30 pm.

METRA also provides an ADA Complementary Paratransit Service for those with disabilities. The paratransit service runs from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm, Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays.

If you are an avid traveler, the Columbus Airport (CSG) is located just off the I-185 and is the area's primary airport. It's the fourth busiest airport in the state and offers daily flights to Atlanta.

Events in Columbus

Fun Things To Do in Columbus

The vibrant city of Columbus is located in the heart of nature, which lends itself well to every kind of lifestyle. Whether you want to go shopping, eat some incredible food, spend time outdoors, or learn about the history of the military, you can do it here.

Whitewater Express

Considered to be one of the Top 12 Man-Made adventures in the world by USA Today, the Whitewater Express is a must-do experience when you're in Columbus. The rafting adventure isn't just for thrill seekers. People of all ages enjoy the excursion. The rapids range from a Class V to a Lazy River, so it can be a lot of fun.

Riverwalk

The RiverWalk is a local favorite that everyone has to check out at least once. The 15-mile park features a linear walkway that hugs the banks of the Chattahoochee River, providing some beautiful scenery that's easy to fall in love with and admire.

Dragonfly Trail

The Dragonfly Trail is one of the most popular spots for a nice walk or bike ride. The multi-use bike and pedestrian trail spans 32 miles throughout the city, so you can visit all the communities and see the entirety of Columbus.

Uptown Columbus

Uptown Columbus is home to all the excitement and nightlife. The community features an entertainment district, great shopping, excellent restaurants, and much more. The Market Days on Broadway event, farmers market, and free concert series are held in the community.

The city has events year-round, including sightseeing tours, historical galleries, golf tournaments, cooking classes, live music, and so much more.

The National Infantry Museum

If there is one thing that Columbus has in abundance, it's museums. History buffs will never get bored in the city. The National Infantry Museum is the only museum of its kind that is dedicated to the history of the US infantry. The exhibits range from America's founding to the present day and contain many artifacts.

The National Civil War Naval Museum

The National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus is another great museum that features the naval history of the civil war, including a replica of the USS Hartford, the recreated CSS Albemarle, and the CSS Jackson.

The Columbus Museum

The Columbus Museum features regional history and art history. It's the second largest museum in the state. The incredible exhibits help to paint the picture of the city and the region's rich past and features over 14,000 artifacts. It's a unique cultural center that is a must-see when in Columbus.

Historic Westville

Historic Westville is a living museum that is like stepping back in time. The re-creation of a historic village of the past tells the story of southern experiences from all perspectives. Walk through exhibits, see live interpreters, have food, and make crafts.

The Coca-Cola Space Science Center

The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is an experience with a space mission simulator, planetarium, artifacts, and exhibits and is an outstanding educational experience. The state-of-the-art facility is very cool for all ages.

The Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center

The Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is great for those who love to learn about nature and spend time outdoors. Since 1995, the center has been teaching visitors about the local biodiversity and embarking on nature trails so everyone can learn hands-on.

Columbus also features areas for theatre and the performing arts.

Springer Opera House

Since 1871, the Springer Opera House has been the place to watch live performances. It produces 11 shows annually and features some incredible talent. The Springer Theater Academy is the most extensive training program in the southeast.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra is the second oldest orchestra in the nation, as it was formed in 1855. It's one of the premier musical ensembles, and if you get a chance to see them, you absolutely should.

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is located in the city's arts district and is the centerpiece of the art community. The facility has welcomed Wynonna, Jessie Norman, Yo-Yo Ma, David Copperfield, and productions of Cats, Chicago, and Miss Saigon.