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.
BWI Airport  is located approximately 12 miles from Columbia.
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.
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
Catch the light-rail to Baltimore at BWI Airport.
Howard Transit  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.
A well-kept network of walking paths winds through Columbia, mostly in wooded natural areas.
Travel within Columbia is largely by auto, although the city was originally planned as a pedestrian and bicycle friendly group of villages.
Streets are winding and hilly; cyclists should bring their eighteen-speeds.
Howard Transit  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.
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.