Columbia is a planned community in Central Maryland. Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., retirees in Columbia can enjoy the cultural and entertainment offerings of these major metro areas. The area's local amenities include abundant outdoor recreation, a vibrant art scene, and plenty of local museums and theaters, making Columbia a popular retirement destination.
Climate & Geography
Columbia has a humid subtropical climate. Winters are cool while summers are hot and humid. Residents of Columbia experience less snowfall and more rainfall than average.
Columbia is located where the Piedmont region of the U.S. meets the Atlantic Coastal Plain. This results in the city having rolling hills and stream valleys. Columbia is a planned community made up of 10 self-contained villages that feature their own neighborhoods and facilities.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
Residents of Columbia have access to multiple expansive greenspaces. Patapsco Valley Start Park has over 16,000 acres of land where active adults can hike, bike, and enjoy the scenic waterfall views. There are also several lakes nearby, providing plenty of fishing and boating opportunities. Kittamaqundi, Triadelphia Reservoir Lake, and Wilde Lake are among the most popular outdoor destinations.
Columbia also has a variety of music venues, theaters, and art galleries. Merriweather Post Pavilion is an amphitheater nestled in 40 acres of forest that hosts concerts in a full range of genres, and Toby's Dinner Theatre produces musicals. The Columbia Art Center offers year-round art classes and workshops, and the African Art Museum of Maryland showcases diverse African art exhibits.
In addition to its local amenities, residents are 45 minutes from Baltimore and an hour from D.C.
Cost of Living & Taxes
The overall cost of living in Columbia is higher than both the state and national averages because of high housing costs.
Maryland does not tax Social Security benefits. The state taxes other forms of retirement income, but savings accounts and public pensions are eligible for deductions. Property taxes are average, and Maryland offers a tax credit to homeowners. The state imposes a flat sales tax of 6 percent.
The Baltimore metro area ranks in the top 115 communities on Gallup's Well-Being Index.
Residents of Columbia have easy access to several hospitals that are rated high performing by U.S. News. These include Doctors Community Hospital, Howard County General Hospital, and Holy Cross Hospital-Silver Spring. There are also several nationally ranked hospitals nearby, including MedStar Washington Hospital Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.