Best Places to Live 2022
Courtesy of The Merriweather Post Pavilion
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Columbia, Maryland

  • County: Howard
  • Nearest Big City: Baltimore

This enclave of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area is so much more than your average suburb. Boasting a multicultural population, exceptional safety statistics and plenty of activities for families and young adults alike, it’s no wonder Columbia is the second most populated community in Maryland (and growing).

Columbia’s unique history is part of its draw: The town was unveiled in 1967 by developer James W. Rouse, who set out to plan a community built on the principle that neighborhoods should be places with a capacity for “joyous living.’ Today, Columbia is Howard County’s piece de resistance, attracting families and businesses in droves. Billions of dollars are being invested in downtown Columbia, where a master plan to build 2,300 apartments, a 250-room hotel, a new central park, 314,000 sq. feet of retail and 1.5 million sq. feet of office space is currently underway.

While Columbia waits on the Downtown Columbia Project to evolve, there are still a plethora of places to go and things to see in the flourishing neighborhood. It’s a nature-lover’s dream with its many trails, parks and lakes, even offering plots of land that residents can rent to create their own gardens. As for arts and culture in Columbia, the options are many, from concerts at the famous (Frank Gehry-designed) Merriweather Post Pavilion to the National Cryptologic Museum. — Mary Ellen Cagnassola


Columbia, Maryland

  • Population
  • Median Household Income
  • Median Home Price
  • Unemployment Rate
Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.