Columbia, MD is a suburban community, so most of the people who move here do so because they want to live away from larger cities and bad traffic. In fact, with a population of just 100,000 and restrictions on development, it’s not likely to get too much bigger anytime soon.
The community is composed of ten separate villages, each of which is designed to serve as a kind of “small town.” The village center holds things like schools, shopping facilities, recreation facilities, the community center, and outdoor spaces (including lakes). Some also have common worship areas called interfaith centers that allow groups from all religions to congregate.
Where you live in Columbia, MD will determine which of these “villages” you belong to (though of course you’re free to do whatever you want within the community).
> Wilde Lake: Located just northwest of the town center, this is the oldest of the ten villages. It includes a man-made lake with an accompanying park.
> Harper’s Choice: Built on a former slave plantation, Harper’s Choice offers great scenery and several popular neighborhoods. It’s also home to one of the three athletic facilities in the community as well as a golf course.
> Oakland Mills: Found just east of the town center, Oakland Mills offers easy access to several of the other villages.
> Long Reach: Long Reach is one of the largest villages by both population and size. It’s also one of the oldest, having been started in 1971.
> Owen Brown: This village boasts a sports club, tennis courts, one of the four interfaith centers, and one of the public library locations.
> Town Center: The town center isn’t just the physical center of Columbia—it’s also one of the ten villages. It offers the most urban setting of all the villages, with shopping and a 27-acre lake.
> Hickory Ridge: Originally the scene of large, prosperous farms, the village of Hickory Ridge retains much of its rural charm even today. In fact, the original silo still stands to provide a backdrop.
> Kings Contrivance: A prosperous village center, a 35-acre golf course, and a large school district all combine to make this village a popular one.
> Dorsey’s Search: This is another village built on a former slave plantation. It is one of the last villages to be established, which it did in 1989 with a community center and retail stores.
> River Hill: The final addition to the Columbia villages, River Hill was once a game preserve. The outdoor setting is still very beautiful, and many of those who live here take advantage of the parks, pool, and trails.
Of course, if you’d prefer not to live within Columbia itself, there are also several local cities worth taking a look at. Ellicott City, Catonsville, North Laurel, and Severn all are within a half hour’s drive and have plenty to offer.
Before you move to Columbia, MD, we suggest you visit for yourself or find a real estate agent who knows the area well. That way, you can find the right village (or nearby town) to suit your lifestyle.