Columbia, Mo., is known as an ideal college town, combining small-town comforts, community spirit and cost of living with big-city culture, activities and resources. Our city of about 95,000 people is located midway between St. Louis and Kansas City. Money magazine, Fortune magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Men’s Journal, MSN.com and other news entities have named Columbia, Mo., one of the best places in the United States to live because of its high quality of life. The American Institute for Economic Research ranked Columbia among the nation’s top 10 college towns.
Columbia’s historic downtown district is packed with restaurants, shops and entertainment options. For 30 years The Blue Note has attracted top musicians of all genres, from rock to world beat. Ragtag Cinema shows independent and international films in an art-house setting. The 1938-constructed Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts hosts community and university events. Columbia’s local arts community thrives, with galleries and venues including Orr Street Studios, PS:Gallery, Bluestem Missouri Crafts , Artlandish Gallery and the Columbia Art League.
The great outdoors
Columbia boasts multiple city parks as well as Rock Bridge State Park and the city’s Activity and Recreation Center. Columbia is an increasingly bicycle-friendly community, with a city program to encourage cycling. The MKT Trail takes cyclists and hikers all through Columbia and links to the 225-mile Katy Trail that stretches across the state.
Festivals and events
Columbia hosts more than a dozen annual festivals, including arts festivals, the internationally acclaimed True/False Film Festival that attracts documentary filmmakers from throughout the world and the New York Times-touted Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, which draws top-name music acts and crowds of 100,000 people.
Columbia is home to nationally renowned public schools, including two top-ranked high schools. It also supports other institutes of higher education, including Columbia College, which is ranked among “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, and Stephens College, a women’s college known for its fashion, film and fine arts.