Living in Columbia: Guide to Food, Entertainment, & Real Estate

About Columbia, Tennessee

Located in Maury County, Columbia has the unmistakable feel of an independent, distinct town that woke up one day to find itself a part of the expanding Nashville sphere. Its authentic Main Street lifestyle, antebellum homes, and comfortable southern pace have made it a destination for Nashvillians looking to scratch that small-town itch. It may be 45 miles from downtown Nashville, but that hasn’t stopped its population from spiking, and its housing market from taking off. It’s no understatement to say that Columbia offers some of the best small-town living in the United States. Southern Living, that lifestyle Bible of the Southeast, even ranked Columbia as one of the top ten small towns in the entire South for its vibrant arts and live music scene. If you came to Columbia looking for some land, you’re in luck as many affordable homes feature an uncommon amount of acreage compared to the Nashville metro area. Look to neighborhoods like Fountain Heights and Williamsport, homes on 5-acre lots are selling in the low-to-mid $600,000s. It might be a good idea to get your offer in quickly, though, because Columbia is no longer a well-kept secret.

Where Is Columbia Located?

Columbia sits 45 miles south of Nashville. The Duck River runs adjacent to Columbia’s north and east perimeter. The town sits between Union Grove on the east and Armour Village on the west. Directly south of Columbia are the cities of Hopewell and Mount Pleasant. In total, the area boundaries stretch nearly 30 square miles in size.

How’s The Vibe In Columbia?

The small town of Columbia, Tennessee offers a wealth of history and culture. The Southern charm and sense of community are evident throughout the area. The population accounts for nearly 40,000 people, many of which are young families. The majority of the residents are in their mid-thirties, and nearly half of the population have kids under the age of 18.

What’s The Food + Nightlife Scene Like In Columbia?

The town offers several outstanding barbecue and southern-style eateries. Southern Tre Steakhouse and Abe’s BBQ Smokehouse are two leading favorites in the area. You’ll also find that the famous Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant has a location within Downtown Columbia. Another popular restaurant is River Terrace, which features Cajun and Creole seafood dishes, along with stunning riverfront views.

Columbia also has a handful of centrally located breweries, including Bad Idea Brewing, Asgard, and Taps Off Main. These three spots all lie within close proximity of one another, making it easy to plan an epic beer-drinking day. The downtown region is home to a number of bars and taverns that many frequent for nightlife entertainment. You can even show off your dancing moves at the popular Cowboys Dance Hall and Saloon.

What Are The Top Things To Do In Columbia?

Like much of Middle Tennessee, Columbia is known for its rich history and outdoor recreational activities. For those looking to satisfy the former, Columbia is home to President James K. Polk’s Home and Museum. This quaint home located just off Garden Street and down the road from the Maury County Public Library holds artifacts and treasures of America’s 11th president. For those looking for some fresh air, head over to Maury County Park, one of Tennessee’s premier parks located just south of Columbia Central High School. This park sits on over 240 acres and has something for everyone from baseball fields and a football stadium to miniature steam engines and an equestrian center. Another one of our favorite parks is Riverwalk Park located on the Duck River where you will find walking trails, a basketball court, and a picnic area. Across the Duck River is Asgard Brewing Co., a craft micro-brewery located in historic downtown Columbia.

How’s The Real Estate Market In Columbia?

New subdivisions like Harvest Point and Carver’s Station offer amenities that today’s homeowners have come to expect, such as an open floor plan, hardwood flooring, stainless appliances, and granite countertops. This affordable luxury makes the decision to relocate to Columbia that much easier for interested buyers. It’s no surprise that apartments in Muletown have followed suit, with new upscale complexes popping up right around Columbia’s iconic downtown. The rent for these units often starts above $1,000 per month which can seem a little steep for a place almost an hour outside of Nashville, but their placement next to Columbia’s iconic downtown more than justifies the cost.

The median sale price over the last year of $351,000 is certainly reasonable for Nashville, but that’s a 25% increase compared to the median sales price at the beginning of 2021. One explanation for this elevated market value is the recent development of high-quality new construction, especially along the Highway 31 corridor going toward Nashville. In addition to newer homes being built in Columbia, there is something to be said about the trend of city slickers moving out into the country. Generally speaking, homebuyers have an appetite for larger homes on some acreage which is exactly what you’ll find in Columbia.

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Columbia

How’s The Cost Of Living In Columbia?

The overall cost of living in Columbia is slightly below the nation’s average. However, the average amount spent on health care is notably higher. This could be due to a number of reasons and can vary depending on an individual’s health conditions. Housing prices are significantly lower, noting the median home cost in Columbia is just over $350,000. Renters account for 37% of the residential population, with rent prices around $1,000 for most two-bedroom homes or apartments.

How Is Transportation In Columbia?

Average one-way commute times in Columbia are in line with the U.S. average of 26 minutes. Public transportation is pretty much non-existent within this small town, and the majority of the residents have their own car for transportation. You’ll find many major roadways running through Columbia, such as Hampshire Pike, Bear Creek Pike/Route 412, Route 31, and the nearby Interstate 65.

What Are The Top Schools In Columbia?

The majority of the public schools in Columbia rank between a grade B and C according to Greatschools.org. The two top-performing schools include J.R Baker Elementary and Columbia Central High School. Several families favor private institutions in Columbia for their children’s education. The leading private schools include Agathos, Columbia Academy, and Zion Christian Academy.

What Are The Best Parks In Columbia?

The Maury County Park is a popular destination found within the center of Columbia. Amongst the 242 acres of green space, you’ll find sports fields, playgrounds, two pavilions, and a large equestrian area with two arenas. The park is home to a number of community events, such as Mule Day and the Maury County Fair. Located in Downtown Columbia is another popular outdoor space, Riverwalk Park. It sits alongside the Duck River, offering scenic walking trails, a basketball court, and a splash pad for kids.

Is Columbia A Safe Place To Live?

Irrespective of the southern hospitality, the area of Columbia is not particularly favorable when it comes to crime rates. Both violent and property crimes are well above the state and national average. The most common reported offenses are robbery and theft. Statistics note a 5% yearly decrease in crime rates, however, many sections are still in need of improvement.

Pros To Living In Columbia

  • This southern town has a rich history, showcasing many antebellum homes and even President James K. Polk’s original home.
  • The developed Downtown district offers a variety of good restaurants, bars, and breweries.
  • It is conveniently located along the Duck River, which offers a variety of scenic views and outdoor recreational activities.

Cons To Living In Columbia

  • The city of Columbia has very high crime rates.
  • Although the overall cost of living is below average, the area does have a much higher average cost for health care.
  • Columbia public schools do not reflect the highest test scores and rankings.

FAQ's

Q. What is life in Columbia like?

A. When living in Columbia, you can expect a traditional southern atmosphere. It offers a predominately suburban feel but also continues to see substantial growth. The area is ideal for many young professionals and for those looking to raise a family.

Q. How long does it take to commute to Downtown Nashville from Columbia?

A. Commuting from Columbia to Downtown Nashville by car will take approximately 48 minutes.

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