Columbia named a ‘City on the Rise’

Soda City market, just one of many signs of a more attractive city./file photo

Soda City market, just one of many signs of a more attractive city./file photo

This came in last night from Mayor Steve Benjamin:

Dear friends,

We’re thrilled to share that Columbia has been named one of the 29 “Cities on the Rise” for 2018 by National Geographic Travel! As the world’s most widely-read travel magazine, National Geographic Travel chose Columbia based on both a unique set of metrics and expert picks from its editors.

The Nat Geo team worked with global destination branding advisors Resonance Consultancy in developing a Small Cities Index, a survey that drew from statistics and social media mentions to determine which cities rank highest in a variety of distinctive, fun categories. Columbia’s inclusion stems from being one of the “Best Groomed” and “Meatiest” destinations.

“At Traveler we’re passionate about tales of urban renewal, about communities that have collaborated to improve their main streets, about smart cities that have pursued development policies that produce happiness. In this article, we report on authentic small cities that each embody a surprising superlative,” says George Stone, National Geographic Traveler editor in chief. “Happy places for locals are also rewarding places for travelers. Our index of small cities on the rise is based on unconventional metrics that we think produce happiness: green spaces, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, Instagrammable moments and puppies!”

Columbia joins fellow South Carolina cities Charleston and Greenville in this list as well as destinations like Honolulu and New Orleans.

You can get a copy of the February/March 2018 issue, available now on newsstands and online at

Meatiest? As in “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy?”


2 thoughts on “Columbia named a ‘City on the Rise’

  1. Claus2

    According to the article, so are Greenville, Charleston, Asheville.

    “With BBQ an essential menu item for South Carolinians, Columbia tops our list for meatiest city per capita in its population group. Locals get their grilled meats buffet-style at Little Pigs Barbecue or stuffed in delectable sandwiches at Southern Belly BBQ’s three locations. But don’t think that they neglect their grooming. Columbia also tops our list in its population group for its number of barber shops and salons.”

    So what the article is saying is that people in the Columbia are like barbeque pork and the city has a lot of barber shops. Maybe Benjamin should change Columbia from “Famously Hot” to “Fat people who like to get their hair did”.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You read more of it than I did. I guess that’s where the “meatiest” part comes from.

      But you know, I don’t think of Columbia as all that much of a barbecue town. If I really want good barbecue, I’ll go to someplace like Kingstree. Or better yet, Memphis. Or one of the small towns near Memphis, such as Brownsville, Tenn. (Right next to Brownsville is Nutbush, whose city limits Tina Turner sang about.)…


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