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Columbia (Maryland)

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Columbia is a planned city in Central Maryland. It differs strongly from most notions of what constitutes a "city," as the planner divided the densely populated, but decidedly suburban in character, city into ten "villages," each of which are divided into several neighborhoods, leaving the city with a less obvious center.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

BWI Airport [1] is located approximately 12 miles from Columbia.

By car[edit]

Columbia is easily accessible off the main I-95 north-south interstate. From I-95, take either Route 32 West, Route 175 West, or Route 100 West into the heart of Columbia (Route 175, which changes its name in Columbia to Little Patuxent Parkway, will lead you to the city center and the Mall in Columbia -- the primary shopping/activity area).

From the West (i.e. Frederick, MD), take I-70 East to US-29 South. US-29 cuts through the heart of the city and will have the same exits as I-95, namely Route 100, Route 175, and Route 32.

By train[edit]

Amtrak [2] and MARC Train [3] operate service to Washington DC and Baltimore from the nearby BWI Rail Station.

By Metrorail[edit]

Columbia is not convenient to the Washington, D.C. Metro system, with the closest stop being Greenbelt in Prince George's County.

By light rail[edit]

Catch the light-rail to Baltimore at BWI Airport.

By bus[edit]

Howard Transit [4] offers hourly bus service on its Silver route from the Mall in Columbia Town Center to BWI and the rail station. At BWI airport, catch the Silver route bus outside Pier E, the International Terminal, on the lower level.

MTA Maryland commuter bus routes connect Columbia to Washington and Baltimore, but these services are intended for transporting workers to jobs, and run only on weekdays early in the morning and late in the evening.

Get around[edit]

By foot[edit]

A well-kept network of walking paths winds through Columbia, mostly in wooded natural areas.

By car[edit]

Travel within Columbia is largely by auto, although the city was originally planned as a pedestrian and bicycle friendly group of villages.

By bicycle[edit]

Streets are winding and hilly; cyclists should bring their eighteen-speeds.

By bus[edit]

Howard Transit [5] operates a number of bus routes through the villages and connect to some adjacent communities. Most bus routes are hourly, with limited service on weekends.

See[edit][add listing]

For those interested in town planning and intentional communities, Columbia's layout and village centers preserve a good deal of James Rouse's 1960s-era vision of a diverse and harmonious setting open to residents of all backgrounds. Harper's Choice Village Center and Wilde Lake Village Center (which was the first to be built) have interesting small shops and public spaces.

  • The Maryland Museum of African Art, (downtown off Route 175), [6].  edit
  • Columbia Art Center, (Long Reach), [7].  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Merriweather Post Pavilion, [8]. A large ampitheatre that hosts many concerts and festivals.  edit


  • American Career Institute, [9]. A career training school with a campus in Columbia, Maryland.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Second Edition Books & Music, 6490 Dobbin Rd, [10]. a nifty little used book store in the same shopping center as the MVA Express. You'll find books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl.  edit
  • The Mall in Columbia, 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy, [11]. one of the largest malls in the area and sports several higher-end department stores such as Nordstroms and Lord & Taylor. Great for fine gifts and luxery items. Also attached to a movie theatre and several restaurants.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Columbia's Best Deli, 6490 Dobbin Rd. true to it's name. Great for vegetarians too!  edit
  • Maiwand Kabob, 5467 Harpers Farm Rd, [12]. The best kabobs in Maryland.  edit
  • Pars Market LLC, 9400 Snowden River Parkway # 109 (Columbia, MD 21045), 443-259-0002, [13]. Best Ethnic Market in Columbia, Great Selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Foods (39.176617,-76.836966) edit
  • Sushi King Columbia, 6490 Dobbin Rd, [14]. voted best sushi restaurant in the area in 2010 and have absolutely delicious specialty rolls.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Azul 17, 9400 Snowden River Pkwy #127 (located off of Snowden River Parkway), 410.309.2749, [15]. a tequila bar and restaurant featuring more traditional Mexican cuisine than the usual TexMex. The drinks are original, the desserts decadent, and the guacamole is to die for!  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Columbia, 5485 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, Maryland, 21045-3247, USA, +1 410 997-1060, [16]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM.  edit
  • Hampton Inn Columbia, 8880 Columbia 100 Parkway, Columbia, Maryland, 21045, USA, 1-410-997-8555, [17]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM.  edit
  • Hilton Garden Inn Columbia, 8241 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, Maryland, 21045, USA, 1-410-750-3700, [18]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM.  edit
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbia, 8320 Benson Drive, Columbia, Maryland, 21045-3116, USA, 1-410-872-9200, [19]. checkin: 4:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM.  edit
  • Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel (Sheraton Columbia), 10207 Wincopin Circle, +1 410 730-3900, [20]. Just completed a $12 million renovation, set in 12 acres of woods overlooking Lake Kittamaquandi. Outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center.  edit
  • SpringHill Suites, 7055 Minstrel Way, +1 410 290-7896, [21]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 12pm. Suites with microwave, mini-fridge, large work desk, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free hot breakfast, indoor pool and fitness center. $130.  edit
  • Sonesta ES Suites Columbia, 8844 Columbia 100 Parkway, 410-964-9494, [22]. This hotel offers easy access to I-95 and I-70. Each suite offers 450 to 750 square feet and features complimentary wireless access, fully equipped kitchen and separate living room.  edit

Get out[edit]

Routes through Columbia
Washington, D.C.Laurel  S noframe N  ArbutusBaltimore

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