Columbia Information

Columbia, Maryland, located in Howard County, is a planned community of ten separate villages. James W. Rouse, the creator and developer of Columbia, believed that his concept would enhance the lives of its residents and improve on the typical subdivision design. Completed in 1967, this community now has almost 100,000 residents, making it second only to Baltimore in terms of population. The ten villages -- Town Center, River Hill, Kings Contrivance, Dorsey's Search, Hickory Ridge, Owen Brown, Long Reach, Oakland Mills, Harper's Choice and Wilde Lake -- revolve around two centerpieces: The Mall in Columbia and Lake Kittamaqundi, which is man-made. "Money Magazine" ranked Columbia (along with its neighbor, Ellicott City) second out of the 100 "Best Places to Live" in the U.S. in 2010.

There are several major shopping centers in Columbia, including Gateway Overlook, Dobbin Center, Columbia Crossing I and II, Snowden Square and The Mall in Columbia. The mall contains over 200 stores, restaurants and an AMC movie theater with 14 screens. Department stores you'll find at the mall include J.C. Penney, Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears and Lord & Taylor. The Cheesecake Factory is a particularly popular restaurant at The Mall in Columbia. Each of the ten communities also has its own restaurants, hair salons, supermarkets, dry cleaners, liquor stores and gas stations.

Columbia is a great destination for recreation and entertainment. The Columbia Association offers 23 outdoor pools, six indoor pools and two water slides. There are also three athletic clubs, playgrounds, picnic areas, batting cages, a skateboard park, miniature golf and an equestrian center. And don't forget ice-skating and roller-skating rinks as well. If fishing, boating and sailing are among your hobbies, Columbia has three lakes: Wilde Lake, Lake Elkhorn and Lake Kittamaqundi. Also, if you're visiting during the summer, don't miss the Columbia Festival of the Arts, which features entertainment on the lakefront of Lake Kittamaqundi.

If you are looking for some nightlife and some live bands, Columbia has a few bars to choose from. Clyde's, Sonoma's, Nottingham's Tavern and The Green Turtle are all fun spots to grab a drink and get a taste of the local music scene. For outdoor concerts, visit Merriweather Post Pavilion, which attracts some big-name acts. It is worth checking out who will be performing there during the time you'll be visiting Columbia. If you're a theater buff, don't miss Toby's Dinner Theatre, an organization that produces many of the area's musicals.