Columbia, Missouri is the home of the University of Missouri and rapidly becoming a popular retirement community. The population has grown to just over 100,000 people. Columbia is nicknamed “College Town” or “The Athens of Missouri” because it has so many colleges in one town. Columbia was listed as one of the “Top 10 Value Towns” of 2007 for retirement. It consistently ranks as a top city for safety, educational facilities, health care, technology, economic growth, cultural opportunities and cost of living. Money Magazine's annual list once ranked Columbia as the #2 best place to live in the U.S.
Active adults 55+ who want to live in a dynamic college town will find Columbia Missouri a stimulating community. It is a major educational center, home of the University of Missouri-Columbia, the flagship campus of the state system with over 33,000 students. The city is also home to Stephens College, Columbia College, and a number of community colleges. Columbia's health care in patient capacity per capita is one of the best ratios in the country.
The cultural, entertainment, and economic heart of Mid-Missouri is located in Columbia’s downtown near Columbia's two colleges and the University of Missouri. There is a plethora of restaurants, bars, live music, indie films, book stores, art galleries, and loft apartments to entertain active adults looking for entertainment and culture. The True/False Film Festival, Art in the Park, The Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival, and the Twilight Festivals are all popular festivals that enliven the downtown area. Photo of the Blue Note and photo of The tiger Hotel courtesy of Wikipedia and Me5000 (public domain)
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Columbia has many interesting developments and neighborhoods. According to the National Association of Realtors, median sales price of homes in Columbia was $258,700 in the 2nd quarter of 2021, up 16.6% from a year earlier. Columbia is the county seat of Boone County.
What Is Special about Columbia
The University of Missouri-Columbia and 2 other colleges; festivals like the True/False Film Festival; public sculptures; a lively and interesting downtown; wonderful park system with public golf courses; great public transportation, along with bike paths and trails; outstanding health care; and a strong plan for managing growth all make Columbia special.
What Is Not Special about Columbia
You have to like living in the heartland.
Who Will Like Retirement in Columbia
Columbia attracts a community of people who want to live in an interesting and stimulating college town.
Local Economy Is Driven by
The economy is driven by education, medicine, and insurance (State Farm Insurance and Shelter Insurance are headquartered here).
Climate and Physical Environment
The city of Columbia is located very near the center of Missouri close to the Missouri River. The area was prairie and open forest before it was settled.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
There is a lively musical and literary tradition here: a publicly accessible art program (outdoor sculpture), the True/False Film Festival, Twilight Festival, Hot Summer Nights, Concert Series with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, Art in the Park, Ninth Street Summerfest, The Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival, First Night Columbia, and Columbia Festival of the Arts are among some of many artistic endeavors in this community.
Crime is slightly below average.
The University of Missouri's School of Medicine is here, along with these hospitals: University Hospital & Clinics, Boone Hospital Center, University of Missouri Children's Hospital, Columbia Regional Hospital, and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center
Columbia Regional Airport is about 13 miles out of town. Columbia Transit operates an extensive bus system around the downtown area. It has 1.2 million passengers/year on its eight fixed routes and two University Shuttle routes. The old Wabash Station is being developed as a transportation center. The Katy Trail State Park provides for foot and bike traffic through the city.
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