Columbia offers small-town friendliness with big city features and a high quality of life for people of all ages and interests. Though the city was founded on education, its location also makes it an attractive spot for businesses and travelers. Located on Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 63, Columbia is right in the middle of the state and the nation. Just a couple hours drive from St. Louis and Kansas City, Columbia is Boone County’s largest population center and has received numerous national awards and recognitions. If you want to raise a family, continue your education, retire or start a new business, Columbia is the place to be!
Joggers, walkers and bikers enjoy the many hiking trails in Columbia such as the MKT Nature & Fitness Trail, a 4.7-mile urban walkway through Columbia’s beautiful greenbelt. The trail also connects with the Katy Trail State Park, the largest rails-to-trails conversion in the nation, stretching 185 miles across Missouri.
The award-winning Columbia Parks & Recreation Department, maintains over 42 parks and recreation facilities on more than 2,000 acres including Twin Lakes Recreation Area, Rainbow Softball Center, MKT Nature & Fitness Trail, Battle Park Martin Luther King Memorial Amphitheater, Nifong Park, Grindstone Nature Area and Capen Park. In addition to offering life enrichment classes, Parks & Rec also organizes sports leagues for all ages such as softball, soccer and volleyball.
Festivals are also popular activities and highlight the best of what Columbia has to offer for fun, family and cultural events. First Night, The Black & Gold Festival, Earth Day, Roots ‘N Blues ‘N BBQ, The Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Weekend Airshow, Art in the Park, Boone County Heritage Festival and the Festival of the Arts are just a few of the many annual events that Columbians enjoy and love. For more information, visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For the sports-minded person, Columbia offers many fun activities and ways to keep in shape no matter what your age. Recreational opportunities are available at area parks, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, bowling alleys, roller rinks and athletic clubs. The Area Recreation Center or ARC has an indoor leisure pool featuring a triple loop slide, large gymnasium hosting two full basketball courts, group exercise room, state-of-the-art indoor track and much more.
Columbians enjoy MU Tiger football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics and track and field. Columbia College also offers an exciting array of softball, soccer and volleyball events that are family friendly.
Columbia is also home to the largest state game competition in the nation. The Show-Me State Games, is an annual, statewide, amateur Olympic-style sporting event for the whole family.
Education is one of the most important business and personal sectors in Columbia. Whether you have school age children or are considering higher education opportunities, Columbia has something for you.
Elementary & Secondary Schooling
Columbia Public Schools have earned the highest possible rating in Missouri and continues to receive state and national honors of excellence in education. Enrollment is more than 17,000 students with approximately 80% of high school graduates college bound. The pupil-teacher ratio is 19 to 1 district-wide. For more information, please contact the Columbia Public Schools, District Administration Building located at 1818 West Worley, 65203 (573-214-3400)
Established in 1981, Christian Fellowship School (CFS) is a well-established Pre-School through 12th grade private school alternative for families in the Columbia area. CFS provides an academically challenging curriculum with a Christian perspective, partnering with Christian parents from over 40 congregations to provide a nurturing, yet structured atmosphere for learning. Our instructional goals are based upon knowledge, faith and character and are intended to develop the student’s mind, as well as their spiritual life and character. For more information, please call (573) 445-8565 or email [email protected]
Columbia Independent School offers an independent education to boys and girls in grades pre-K through 12. It is a robust experience, full of challenges, learning and a setting that encourages the fullest potential of every student. Through small classes, dedicated faculty and a challenging curriculum our students acquire the basic knowledge and intellectual skills to be well prepared for higher education. For more information, visit the school at 1801 North Stadium Blvd, 65202 or email [email protected]
Fr. Tolton Catholic High School is Columbia’s first Catholic high school. The high school opened its doors to freshmen and sophomores in the fall of 2011, and will be growing into grades 9-12 over the next two years. Offering a faith-based education along with a rigorous academic curriculum and a competitive athletic program, Fr. Tolton Catholic High School welcomes students of all faiths. For more information, visit the school at 3351 E. Gans Road, 65201 (573-445-7700)
The University of Missouri was founded in 1839 as the first public university west of the Mississippi. A land-grant institution emphasizing service to Missourians, MU is Missouri’s flagship university and the state’s major research institution. Mizzou has a diverse enrollment with more than 35,000 students from every county in Missouri, every state in the nation and about 120 countries. For more information, contact the University of Missouri Visitor Relations at 104 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 (573-882-6333)
Columbia College proudly serves over 28,000 students each year at its Day Campus, Evening Campus, 34 Nationwide Campuses, Online Campus and Graduate Studies Program. The school offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees through on-campus and online classes. Students may attend class on campus, online or both. Contact Columbia College at 1001 Rogers Street, Columbia, MO 65216 (573-875-7352)
Stephens College was founded in 1833 as Columbia’s first higher learning institution. It is a private college and offers undergraduate education for women in the liberal arts and provides solid preparation in the performing arts and pre-professional fields. Historic Senior Hall and the Firestone Baars Chapel located on its campus are Columbia landmarks. For more information, contact Stephens College, 1200 East Broadway, Columbia, MO) 65215 (573-442-2211)
Columbia is in a very unique position for business. With two major metropolitan areas being a couple of hours away each way and only a short drive from the state capital, Columbia is an optimal location for business. Tens-of-thousands of people pass through the city everyday. What they find is consumers do not need to go out of Columbia to find what they are looking for. Columbia offers a wide variety of businesses. With the major industries including, but not limited to, higher education, health care and insurance, there is a vibrant business community that is willing and happy to help in an instant.
Columbia is a great place to live for many reasons. We have an excellent school system, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, entertainment opportunities galore, low cost of living, a clean environment and much, much more. The book 50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family has this to say: “Columbia is a fast-growing city, valued for its highly educated work force, low cost of living, favorable government attitude toward business, award-winning schools and nationally recognized quality of life.”