Columbia, Missouri, USA historic columns at twilight.

Best Places to Live in the US in 2022 Sponsored by: eXp RealtyeXp Realty

Columbia, MO is the #97 Best City to Live in the USA

Columbia, Missouri, USA downtown city skyline at twilight.
iStock.com/SeanPavone
Columbia, MO
Quality of Life
Liv Score

597
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 52
Demographics 43
Economy 71
Education 62
Health 66
Housing 52
Infrastructure 45
Amenities 50

Why Columbia is one of the best cities to live in

The progressive city of Columbia, MO, has a rich history and vibrant future. With tons of entertainment options, a diverse economy and a low cost of living, it’s no wonder COMO has been consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the U.S. Home to the University of Missouri, it also earns high marks as one of the nation’s top college towns. From the Botanic Garden and Museum of Art and Archaeology to the Francis Quadrangle and Mizzou Sports Park, the university is home to landmark architecture, cultural offerings and elite SEC sports. It’s also an economic engine helping drive the city’s health care, research and high-tech industry sectors. 

Downtown, The District is an urban neighborhood spanning 50 square blocks with more than 600 businesses, including some of the city’s most popular restaurants and nightlife offerings. And the 9-mile MKT Nature and Fitness Trail is one of the top-ranked urban trails in the country. Columbia, which just celebrated its bicentennial, is also home to five historic districts with more than 425 individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places. 

What are Columbia’s major industries and employers?

Education, health care, life sciences, insurance and finance. The largest employer in Columbia is the University of Missouri and its affiliated hospitals, labs and clinics. Shelter Insurance and Veterans United Home Loans are also headquartered here.

What are the major colleges and universities in Columbia?

University of Missouri, Columbia College & Stephens College

What is the weather like in Columbia? 

Columbia truly has four distinct seasons where winters can be quite chilly and summers get hot – think highs in the upper-80s in July and August and lows in the lower-20s from December through February. On average, Columbia sees 19 inches of annual snowfall.

What is there to do outside in Columbia?

It’s hard to beat a state park for outdoor fun, and Columbia has two – Finger Lakes and Rock Bridge Memorial. Both offer hiking and biking trails, with Finger Lakes taking it up a notch with more than 70 miles of off-road ATV trails and a motocross track. 

Columbia, MO is Remote-Ready

What makes Columbia a great place for remote workers?

Columbia is a fast-growing city with lots to offer its relocating workers. Its Chamber of Commerce website provides an array of resources for individuals and businesses moving into the area. Most of Columbia has access to high-speed internet at a reasonable cost. The cost of living is well below the national average. Coworking spaces include The Hatchery and The Work Station.

What Locals Love in Columbia, MO

What is the best local bookstore in Columbia?

Owned by bestselling author Alex George, downtown’s Skylark Bookshop is a bibliophile’s dream, where the stocked shelves are complemented by a host of events, including monthly book club meetings, evenings with authors and the personalized Skylark Reading Spa.

How do you spend a weekend in Columbia?

Shelter Gardens, tucked behind the insurance giant’s corporate headquarters, has the feel of a secret garden with more than 300 species of trees, 15,000 flowering plants, sculptures, a waterfall and reflecting pool, a rock garden, a gazebo, and a sensory garden. Bonus weekend plans: During June and July, enjoy Concerts in the Gardens on Sunday evenings.

What can you do for free in Columbia?

Check out the ever-changing exhibitions at the Columbia Art League for a visual treat. And don’t miss CAL’s Art in the Park for two days of fine arts, crafts, music, food and fun during the first weekend of June each year.

What’s the best way to spend happy hour in Columbia?

Located in The District, On the Rocks is famous for low-priced (but delicious) martini options, signature cocktails and jumbo shots. 

What’s something only locals know about Columbia?

The University of Missouri is an academic and historic treasure with a renowned journalism program. A few famous alumni include Tennessee Williams, Brad Pitt, John Hamm, Sheryl Crow and a host of national news figures from Jim Lehrer to Elizabeth Vargas.

Is Columbia, MO a good place to live?

A strong economy, a low cost of living and plenty of cultural offerings for residents make Columbia a best places to live in Missouri.

Thinking of Moving to Columbia?

What is the Columbia, MO Real Estate Market Like?

Columbia, MO, takes pride in its low-cost living, state-of-the-art healthcare, and convenient access to the metro areas of St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as the state capital, Jefferson City, and popular vacation destination Lake of the Ozarks. The Columbia, MO real estate market is one of the most stable in the Midwest, with abundant, affordable housing in safe, well-founded neighborhoods. The median sale price of homes for sale in Columbia, MO, is around $271K, and the supply ranges from starter homes in traditional family communities and modern condos with golf course views to the contemporary-style new builds of areas like Breckenridge Park. If Columbia, MO, sounds like the ideal place for you, contact a local eXp real estate agent.    

Quick Facts About Columbia, MO

Average Commute
16.8
Median Home Value
$271,352
Med. Household Income
$53,447
Total Population
122,659
Walk Score
26
Median Property Tax
$2,086

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