Maryland is full of charm, history, and some incredible places to live. In fact, the town of Columbia was recently designated as
the best place to live in the entire country. Factors that went into this decision, made by Money Magazine, included education, taxes, healthcare, and overall livability. So if you’ve been looking for a change of scenery, this charming Maryland city may just have it all.
Columbia, Maryland has only been established for 50 years, and yet it has quickly emerged as one of the best places to live in the state and country. This planned community has been a huge success, perhaps because of its proximity to Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Of course there are some restrictions to planned communities, from plans as large as new construction sites to details as small as the color you can paint your home, although this seems to be working quite well for Columbia.
Of the 823 places reviews by Money Magazine, Columbia ranked in the top 5% in the categories of economic opportunities and job growth. The schools are also among the top rated in the country, and despite its location, Columbia has an exceedingly low median home price of $300,000. That’s especially impressive when you consider that the neighboring county is 11% more expensive.
One of the most notable features of the downtown area is the lakefront, centered around Lake Kittamaqundi. This lake serves as a symbol of one of the town's founding ideals, that a city could improve its citizens' quality of life.
The town's founder and creator, James W. Rouse, believed the community should be established to prioritize human values over economics and other logistics. The People Tree statue, created in 1967, stands in celebration of Columbia's socioeconomic diversity.
And while Columbia may be a relatively new development, it's certainly not without historical ties. In fact, the historic plantation known as Blandair is located in the heart of downtown. The estate was built in the 1800s and currently serves as part of a regional park.
Every corner of Columbia offers a place to unwind, wander, and explore. Whether it's a cozy coffee shop, new restaurant, or festival. Photographed above is the Festival of the Arts.
There's also plenty of entertainment. The Merriweather Post Pavilion hosts an array of concerts as well as the popular Wine in the Woods Festival.
And just when you thought Columbia couldn't get any more unique, it turns out that the neighborhoods are actually named for works of art and literature. Above, you'll see a sign for Hobbit's Glen, named for J.R.R. Tolkein. Similarly, the neighborhood known as Running Brook is an allusion to a Robert Frost poem.
Have you visited the town of Columbia or do you happen to live there? Be sure to share your experience with us!