Many people choose to live in Columbia because of its central location between the cities of Baltimore and Washington, DC and easy access to three international airports via a number of major roadways. Others choose it because of Columbia Association, an integral part of Columbia since its inception, which provides myriad opportunities for sports, fitness and recreation. And yet others are attracted to Columbia because of its founder’s ideals and commitment to diversity, which are still clearly evident and make Columbia more racially diverse than America as a whole.

In 2016, Columbia was voted the No. 1 Small City in the U.S., and for the ten years previous, was always ranked in the top 10 places to live. As well as the features listed above, Columbia boasts Howard County General Hospital (part of the world-renown Johns Hopkins Medical System), The Mall in Columbia (196 stores, centrally located in Town Center), Howard Community College, and 10 different villages (https://www.columbiaassociation.org/columbia-villages/) and village centers (http://www.columbiavillages.org/), each having a unique look and identity. Also contributing to Columbia’s No. 1 ranking is its location within Howard County, which provides award-winning education and library systems for residents.

Columbia is also the community of choice for Maryland businesses: it includes a vibrant, thriving downtown, 9 village centers, and the Columbia Gateway a large industrial campus, which create hubs for activity. More than 2,500 large and small companies, over 50 non-profit organizations, and the U.S. Department of Defense provide jobs to those who want to both live and work in Columbia.

Nearly 100,000 people make Columbia their community of choice. Whatever your reason for visiting Columbia, we hope you decide you’d like to live here, too! 

AWARDS

Our area has long been recognized by community members as one of the best places in the country to live, work and play. That recognition has also come in the form of awards and honors — for Columbia and Howard County, as well as for Columbia Association itself.

Here are some of the most recent awards and accomplishments:

Columbia

Baltimore Business Journal’s Smartest Communities in the U.S.
  • 2011 — No. 16
CNBC’s 10 Perfect Suburbs
  • 2011 — No. 10
CNN/Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live — Small Cities
  • 2006 — No. 4 (jointly with Ellicott City)
  • 2008 — No. 8 (jointly with Ellicott City)
  • 2010 — No. 2 (jointly with Ellicott City)
  • 2012 — No. 8 (jointly with Ellicott City)
  • 2014 — No. 6 (jointly with Ellicott City)
  • 2016 — No. 1
Daily Finance’s Best Neighborhoods for the Money
  • 2010
Forbes Magazine’s Best Places to Raise a Family
  • 2008 — No. 17
Forbes Magazine’s Top Towns to Live Well
  • 2009 — No. 7
League of American Bicyclists
  • 2016, “Bicycle Friendly Community,” bronze award
Match.com’s Best Cities to Date a Nerd
  • 2011 — No. 8
Niche.com’s Best Cities to Live in America
  • 2016 — No. 3
Niche.com’s Best Suburbs to Live in Maryland
  • 2017 — No. 2
Rolling Stone’s Best Amphitheaters in America
  • 2013 — No. 4, Merriweather Post Pavilion
SecurityChoice.com’s Safest Cities for Women
  • 2017 — No. 3
SmartAsset’s Most Livable Mid-Sized Cities in the U.S.
  • 2017 — No. 6.
24/7 Wall St.’s Best Cities to Live In
  • 2017, No. 9
Wallet Hub’s Safest Cities in America
  • 2017, No. 4

Columbia Association

Aquatics International Magazine
  • 2015 — Best in Aquatics Programming
Audubon International
  • 2015 — Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club
Baltimore Sun’s Top Workplaces
  • 2013 — No. 14
Department of Energy
  • 2017 — Recognition as one of just 13 “Partners in Better Buildings” through the Better Buildings Alliance’s Interior Lighting Campaign
Environmental Protection Agency
  • 2014 — Special Recognition Award honoring CA’s promotion of community energy efficiency and sustainability through ENERGY STAR
Healthy Howard’s Healthy Workplaces
  • 2013: Gold Level
Howard County NAACP Youth Council
  • 2015 — Community Servant Award, Safire Windley, program coordinator for CA’s Youth and Teen Center
Howard Magazine’s “Best of Howard County,” 2017
  • Best Golf Course: Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club
  • Best Pool for Kids: Swansfield Mini-WaterPark
  • Best Personal Trainer: Bonnie Pace
  • Honorable Mention, Gym: Columbia Gym
  • Honorable Mention, Gym: Supreme Sports Club
  • Honorable Mention, Kids’ Activity: Columbia SportsPark
  • Honorable Mention, Kids’ Activity: SplashDown
  • Honorable Mention, Pool for Kids: River Hill Pool
Howard Magazine’s “Best of Howard County,” 2016
  • Best Golf Course: Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club
  • Best Gym: Supreme Sports Club
  • Best Pool for Kids: Swansfield Mini-WaterPark
  • Best Personal Trainer: Bonnie Pace
  • Honorable Mention, Gym: Columbia Gym
  • Honorable Mention, Kids’ Activity: Columbia SportsPark
  • Honorable Mention, Kids’ Activity: SplashDown
  • Honorable Mention, Pool for Kids: River Hill Pool
Howard Magazine’s “Best of Howard County,” 2015
  • Best Golf Course: Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club
  • Best Gym: Columbia Gym
  • Best Pool for Kids: Swansfield Mini-WaterPark
  • Best Workout Class: BodyPump at Columbia Association
  • Honorable Mention, First Date: Columbia Lakefront
  • Honorable Mention, Gym: Supreme Sports Club
  • Honorable Mention, Kids’ Activity: Columbia SportsPark
  • Honorable Mention, Kids’ Activity: SplashDown
  • Honorable Mention, Personal Trainer: Bonnie Pace (Columbia Gym)
  • Honorable Mention, Place to Enjoy the Arts: Columbia Art Center
  • Honorable Mention, Pool for Kids: River Hill Pool
Howard Magazine’s “Best of Howard County,” 2014
  • Best Personal Trainer: Bonnie Pace (Columbia Gym)
  • Honorable Mention, Kids Activity: SplashDown
  • Honorable Mention, Kids Activity: Columbia SportsPark
  • Honorable Mention, Place to Enjoy the Arts: Columbia Art Center
  • Honorable Mention, Golf Course: Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club
  • Honorable Mention, Gym: Columbia Gym
  • Honorable Mention, Gym: Supreme Sports Club
  • Honorable Mention, Pool for Kids: River Hill Pool
  • Honorable Mention, Pool for Kids: Swansfield Mini-WaterPark
  • Honorable Mention, Workout Class: BodyPump at Columbia Gym
  • Honorable Mention, Workout Class: BodyPump at Supreme Sports Club
  • Honorable Mention, First Date: Columbia Lakefront
Moody’s issuer ratings
  • 2015 — aa1
Preservation Howard County
  • 2015 — Preservationist of the Year, Barbara Kellner, director of CA’s Columbia Archives
Telly Awards
  • Bronze award for Columbia Matters, Information Category, 2011
  • Bronze award for Columbia Matters, Entertainment Category, 2011
United States Tennis Association
  • 2015 — innovation award for tennis programming
  • 2015 — finalist, organization of the year

Howard County

Library of the Year
  • 2013, Howard County Library System
Niche.com’s Best School Systems
  • 2014, Howard County Public School System
  • 2017-18, Howard County Public School System
Sports Illustrated’s Good Sports Communities of the Year
  • 2005, winner out of all of Maryland
24/7 Wall St.’s Best Counties to Live In
  • 2017, No. 5
Country Living’s Best Small Town Main Streets in America
  • 2017 — Ellicott City