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Columbia is a planned city in Howard County, 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]

Map of Columbia (Maryland)

By plane[edit]

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI IATA) is approximately 16 miles (24 km) from Columbia. RTA operates bus service between the airport and Columbia.

By car[edit]

Columbia is easily accessible from both I-95 and US-29, which run parallel to each other near Columbia. From either of these roads, exit at either Route 32, Route 175, or Route 100. Route 175, which is called Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia, connects to the city center and the Mall in Columbia.

By train[edit]

The closest train station to Columbia is BWI Rail Station, from where Amtrak and MARC Train operate service to Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Amtrak also services the train station from several major cities in the Northeast.

By bus[edit]

RTA offers hourly bus service on its Silver Route from the Mall in Columbia to BWI Airport and the BWI Rail Station, where further connections are available to Washington DC and Baltimore. At BWI Airport, catch the Silver Route bus outside Pier E, the International Terminal, on the lower level.

Dillon Bus Service operates commuter buses between Columbia and Washington D.C. and Silver Spring during weekday rush hours.

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]

RTA operates several 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.

  • 1 The Maryland Museum of African Art, 8775 Cloudleap Ct (downtown off Route 175).
  • 2 Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth (Long Reach).
  • 3 Robinson Nature Center (James and Anne Robinson Nature Center), 6692 Cedar Ln, +1 410-313-0400. W-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM, closed Mondays, Tuesdays, some holidays. Adults $5, children (3-17 yr) $3, under 3 free. James and Anne Robinson Nature Center (Q16899376) on Wikidata Robinson Nature Center on Wikipedia
  • 4 Lake Kittamaqundi, 10275 Wincopin Cir. Lake with walking trail around it. Lake Kittamaqundi (Q6476468) on Wikidata Lake Kittamaqundi on Wikipedia
  • 5 Lake Elkhorn, 9715 Broken Land Parkway. 1.9 mi (3.1 km) paved walking trail around it. Good fishing for bluegill, crappie, golden shiner and largemouth bass. MD DNR stocks it with trout each spring. Lake Elkhorn (Q7351756) on Wikidata Lake Elkhorn on Wikipedia


Concerts and theater[edit]

  • 2 Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy, +1 410-715-5550. A large amphitheater that hosts many concerts and festivals. Merriweather Post Pavilion (Q3306612) on Wikidata Merriweather Post Pavilion on Wikipedia
  • 3 Toby's Dinner Theatre, 5900 Symphony Woods Road, toll-free: +1-800-888-6297. 6PM for evening shows (5PM on Sundays) and 10:30AM for matinees. Box office hours are 10AM to 9PM, daily. Musicals, with dinner.

Festivals and events[edit]

  • 4 Lakefront Summer Festival, 10275 Wincopin Cir (Lake Kittamaqundi). Free outdoor movies and concerts every day during the summer.
  • 5 Symphony of Lights Festivities, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy (Symphony Woods). Annual drive-through festival of lights open at night from late December to early January. Proceeds benefit the Howard County General Hospital.
  • 6 Wine in the Woods, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy (Symphony Woods), +1 410-313-4700. An annual wine festival during mid-May.


  • 1 Second Edition Books & Music, 6490 Dobbin Rd. A nifty little used book store in the same shopping center as the MVA Express. You'll find books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl.
  • 2 The Mall in Columbia, 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy. 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. The Mall in Columbia (Q7749795) on Wikidata The Mall in Columbia on Wikipedia





Go next[edit]

Routes through Columbia
BaltimoreArbutus  N  S  LaurelWashington, D.C.
ENDEllicott City  N  S  Colesville-BurtonsvilleWashington, D.C.

This city travel guide to Columbia is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.