Downtown Columbia – Columbia, MD

Downtown Columbia lies at the center of the affluent Howard County region of Maryland outside Baltimore. With some of the best public and private schools in the area, shopping, restaurants and public parks, something for everyone abounds in this area. This thriving Maryland town has countless modern conveniences, with a handy location just 15 miles from downtown Baltimore and 20 miles from nearby Washington D.C. This creates an eclectic mix of residents who resonate with both of these major cities. A family-friendly community that consists of young growing families, retirees and established professionals, this suburban community provides its residents a welcoming neighborhood to call home.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Trusted chain restaurants and local family-friendly pubs make up the dining experience in Columbia, Maryland. Most of the dining and nightlife destinations in the area are located around the Columbia Town Center in the middle of the downtown Columbia region. Right along the lakefront in downtown Columbia resides Sushi Sono, a local Japanese restaurant with a menu of high-end traditional Japanese fare and hand-rolled sushi, not to mention its enticing views of the lake. Try the restaurant's signature take on the dragon roll for a flavor-packed Japanese entree bursting with fried pieces and hot and spicy flavor. Those who prefer all-natural vegetarian fare visit the The Great Sage. This local establishment features a broad menu of specialty dishes, all made with specialty vegan recipes. Designed to make healthy eating fun and easy, this establishment provides patrons with organic cuisine, helping it grow a dedicated following thanks to signature dishes like pumpkin empanada. When it comes to bars and nightlife in Columbia, several local bars and pubs provide residents with late night fun. This includes establishments such as The Ale House Columbia, a neighborhood watering hole that serves dozens of craft brews and locally brewed beers, which are always fresh on tap. This establishment provides patrons with one of the few places to taste some of the area's local brews.

History & Culture

Columbia holds a proud spot as one of the planned communities in the area. In 1963, The Rouse Company made an announcement to the residents of Howard County, revealing the company had 14,000 acres of land to develop into a city. It took nine months for the company to purchase 140 separate properties that made up about a tenth of the total land of Howard County. In July 1967, the first residents moved into the city of Columbia, and the town only grew from there. While the neighborhood is new, downtown Columbia still has a passion for arts and history. The African American Art Museum of Maryland opened in 1980 as the first museum in the planned city of Columbia. Just down the street, the Howard County Center of African American Culture gives visitors access to information regarding the collection and preservation of African American culture.


Most residents in downtown Columbia travel by car thanks to its convenient access right along Interstate 32 and Interstate 29. This location makes commutes to both Baltimore and Washington D.C. simple. Cabs are prevalent in the area, and some Uber drivers that service Baltimore travel to the city. The MARC train that connects Baltimore and Washington D.C. runs right through Columbia and not only connects the town to these major cities, but also to other suburbs in the region. Jump on the Green Route through the Howard County bus system to travel around the community. Some of the areas around downtown Columbia, such as the Columbia Town Center, are walkable, but in general, the area isn't particularly walker-friendly as Columbia has grown into a large, spread-out community. Bike routes throughout Columbia make the area biker-friendly.


Life in downtown Columbia carries an above-average cost of living when compared to Baltimore city, the rest of the state and some of the surrounding suburbs. The average rental property costs around $1,492 per month in Columbia. The cost of gas in the area settles in at approximately 0.5% higher than the national average. A MARC train ride to the city center costs around $2.50. You can expect to pay around $6 for a pint of beer at the local bars.


Well-known brands and everyday conveniences make up the downtown Columbia shopping experience, with many of the shops located in and around the Columbia Town Center or The Mall in Columbia. Stock up on grocery essentials and household items at Target, try on a new pair of running shoes at Dick’s Sporting Goods or pick up the latest technology at Best Buy — all within the downtown Columbia area. At the Columbia Mall, shoppers can find luxury brands like Michael Kors and Coach or visit the anchor department stores such as Macy’s and Lord and Taylor for home, beauty and clothing essentials. Pick up all-natural beauty products at Aveda or pick up soaps, lotion and body sprays at Bath and Body Works. With so many stores from clothing and jewelry retailers to cooking and baking companies such as Williams Sonoma, there are destinations for everyone at this community mall. While Columbia isn't particularly known for its boutique shops, bordering Historic Ellicot City within Howard County provides area shoppers with boutique shops and a unique high-end shopping experience. South Fulton residents buy their groceries at the local Harris Teeter grocery store, which carries budget-friendly grocery essentials, or visit Columbia’s Whole Foods for hard-to-find organic items. This location holds the title of the first location of the organic grocery chain in Howard County and features a large selection of organic and natural foods, vitamins and household items. Residents buy locally grown fruits and vegetables and other fresh produce from local farmers at the Howard County Farmer's Market. The market travels to Columbia on Sunday mornings.


Several public parks in Columbia provide residents with plenty of green space to run, play and explore. Most of the public parks are designed with kids in mind, meeting the needs of this family-friendly community. Blandair Park features more than 25 acres of open space and amenities such as synthetic turf fields and grassy space where kids and dogs alike are welcome. Located near the thriving Columbia Town Center is the Merriweather Park and Pavilion. In addition to providing residents with plenty of natural beauty, walking trails and picnic spaces, the pavilion also hosts several big outdoor concerts every year. This park also hosts the annual Wine in the Woods event, awarded as the Best Annual Festival in Howard County several years in a row. This community event brings together music, food and local wines from more than thirty area establishments. This park also hosts the annual Capital Jazz Festival, which draws dozens of bands and thousands of live music fans to the area every summer. Just a few miles away at Cedar Lane Park, plenty of natural woodlands, open space and walking trails make this community area popular with locals. Playgrounds for children and an off-leash dog area make this community space welcoming for the whole family.
The Gramercy
10601 Gramercy Pl, Columbia, MD 21044
2 hrs
$1,668 - 3,048 1-3 Bedroom Available Now
Columbia Town Center
10360 Swift Stream Pl, Columbia, MD 21044
7 hrs
$1,380 - 2,835 1-3 Bedroom Available Now
10201 Wincopin Cir, Columbia, MD 21044
2 wks
Call for Rent 1-3 Bedroom Available Soon