The City of Columbia was founded in 1818 and is an economical and recreational core for Mid-Missouri. Columbia is located along Hwy 70 and Hwy 63 and is 90 minutes west of St. Louis, Missouri and two hours east of Kansas City, Missouri. As of 2006, Columbia’s population was 91,877 and the combined population, which includes the surrounding area, was 153,283. The city has been ranked as high as the #2 best place to live in the US by Money Magazine and is regularly listed in the top 100.
Making Columbia, Missouri a major educational center are many colleges and universities including the University of Missouri, Stephen’s College, Moberly Area Community College and Columbia College. Also nearby are Lincoln University, Westminster College, Central Methodist College, William Woods University and Kemper Military School. The city’s nationally recognized public school system and educational institutes make Columbia one of the most well-educated cities in America.
Columbia, Missouri maintains a consistently low cost of living and has endless employment opportunities. The largest employers to Columbia and the city’s surrounding area are University of Missouri- Columbia, University Hospitals & Clinics, Columbia Public Schools, Boone Hospital Center, City of Columbia, State Farm Insurance Companies, Shelter Insurance Companies, MBS Textbook Exchange, Columbia Foods Inc, 3M, Boone County Government, Dana Corporation, Columbia College, Square D, Boone County National Bank, Tribune Publishing Company, Collins & Aikman, MFA, Summit Polymers, ABC Laboratories Inc., and CenturyTel.
The city offers a rich exploration of culture, entertainment, recreation, dining, and shopping. The District is Columbia’s most sought after venue, boasting 110 unique shops, 70 bars and restaurants, 40 live performances a week as well as its beautiful historical architecture, sidewalk cafes and street musicians.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the cultural experiences given by the Missouri Symphony at The Missouri Theatre, the Columbia Civic Orchestra and the University of Missouri Concert Series, which has a broad selection of opera, ballet, orchestra, chamber, jazz, popular, modern dance, Broadway and more. The city’s famous Maplewood Barn Theatre is a delightful outdoor theatre set under the stars at Nifong Park near HWY 63 and AC.