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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Columbia-MD, Maryland

Home to a handful of higher education institutions, Columbia continues to climb up the list of top places to live according to Money Magazine. Going from #4 of 100 in 2006 to #2 of 100 in 2010, surely there must be something great in this college community. With just over 97,000 in population, Columbia, located nearly in the center of Maryland, is set between the nation’s capital and Baltimore. The nine village centers in Columbia create shopping areas for residents. Outdoor activities thrive in Columbia. Swimming pools (outdoor and indoor), roller skating rinks, batting cages, a skateboard park, playgrounds and sports clubs run the city's events. Three lakes, (Lake Kittamaqundi, Lake Elkhorn, and Wilde Lake) provide residents with fishing, boating, sailing and other water activities. Area parks also allow for biking, jogging and walking. One major festival, the Columbia Festival of the Arts provides entertainment for the summer. Local bars also provide fun nights out for people as they tend to bring in bands to play.

Photo of Mall of Columbia courtesy of Wikipedia and DavidLevinson.

Where to Retire in Columbia-MD and Home Prices

Neighborhoods surround the village centers. reports the median home value to be $462,709 in mid-2022.

What Is Special about Columbia-MD

The Merriweather Post Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue, attracts many performers. Other art theaters attract attention as well. Toby's Dinner Theatre has produced Aida, Titanic, and Ragtime performances. The Columbia Festival of the Arts represents all genres of art and is held during the summer months.

What Is Not Special about Columbia-MD

While the village centers are famous, the lay out is not constructed very well. The individual stores are not visible from the road; this arrangement is highly criticized because visitors have a hard time knowing what shopping is available.

Climate and Physical Environment

The climate tends to be hot and humid summers while winters are cold but wet.Weather varies, as July is the warmest month with an average max temperature around 87 degrees Fahrenheit. January rolls in with about 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Columbia usually receives 45 inches of rainfall per year.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Mall in Columbia is the focal point of interest for food and culture. Over 200 stores and restaurants and a 14-screen AMC movie theater, an LL Bean retail store, and a Bank of America, in an outside extension area, are found within the mall. Howard County Library is a top-rated public library. Merriweather Post Pavilion attracts top performers, as does the Columbia Festival of the Arts. There are other performing arts organizations as well. A few areas to shop are, Snowden Square, Columbia Crossing I and II, Dobbin Center, Gateway Overlook, and Hanover's Arundel Mills.


The crime rate is average.

Medical Facilities

Medical care is available in the Howard County General Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Hospital is nearby. Howard County General Hospital has been operating for more than 30 years. A 238-bed, child care services, cardiology, orthopedics, psychiatry, emergency services and much more is available at this hospital. The hospital is a non-profit, private health care provider.


Columbia offers Howard Transit bus routes which connect its with its neighboring areas (such as Ellicott City and BWI Airport). The MTA weekday commuter bus service connects Columbia to the Washington Metro system.

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