Columbia (Maryland)

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

By plane

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (IATA: BWI) is approximately 12 miles from Columbia. As noted below, Howard Transit operates bus service between the airport and Columbia.

By car

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

The closest train station to Columbia is BWI Rail Station, from where Amtrak and MARC Train operate service to Washington DC and Baltimore.

By bus

Howard Transit 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 DC and Silver Spring during weekday rush hours.

Get around

By foot

A well-kept network of walking paths winds through Columbia, mostly in wooded natural areas.

By car

Travel within Columbia is largely by auto, although the city was originally planned as a pedestrian and bicycle friendly group of villages.

By bicycle

Streets are winding and hilly; cyclists should bring their eighteen-speeds.

By bus

Howard Transit 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.


Concerts and theater

Festivals and events






Go next

Routes through Columbia

Baltimore Arbutus  N  S  Laurel Washington, D.C.
END Ellicott City  N  S  Colesville-Burtonsville Washington, D.C.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.