The second richest country in the US, Maryland, contains numerous hidden gems despite being a self-contained community. Here are the five fun things to do or see in Columbia, from concert venues to the art center and vintage manor.
Visit the Historic Oakland Mansion
5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, MD 21044
Hidden in the heart of Columbia downtown, the Historic Oakland Mansion was built in 1811. The sophisticated 19th-century estate boasts an alluring whimsical ballroom, a stunning veranda, and a winding staircase. The manor is also accompanied by a tented patio, elegantly sculpted gardens, and a scenic front with a tree-lined lawn. It was recognized as one of the best places to rent for special occasions by the Howard Magazine in 2011 since it is a top choice for a wedding venue in Maryland. Tours for the Historic Oakland Mansion are by schedule or appointment and only available from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
Shop at the Mall in Columbia
10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044
Built to provide the needed services of Columbia's planned town, the Mall in Columbia offers a combination of small boutiques, movies, high-end department stores, restaurants, and more. Shopaholic locals and tourists can enjoy an amazing shopping day in the beautiful open-air setting that holds over 200 specialty shops. There are also programs for kids such as build-a-bear workshops and cookery classes. Several eating places offer an outdoor dining experience and visitors can watch and enjoy at the AMC Theater at one of the best shopping destinations in the region.
Visit the Columbia Art Center
Long Reach Village Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045
Year-round classes for all ages, lectures, summer camps, art parties, rotating gallery exhibits, a Japanese Garden, studio rentals, and more are offered by the Columbia Art Center. This community-focused center for arts is a functioning art school that started way back in 1983. Guests can participate in workshops such as Learn to Draw Comics and enjoy the free tour of the galleries. Affordable souvenirs and handcrafted artwork such as decorative glassworks and functional pottery are available in the Gallery Shop. Admission is open to everyone and members are discounted.
Explore the Columbia Archives
6310 Hillside Ct., Columbia, MD 21046
Museum and Archives of the History of Columbia were created a year after Rebecca Orlinksy, a Columbia resident, organized items and clipping exhibit for the Columbia Forum Day of Work in 1982. Initially, the sole full-time volunteers were Rebecca Orlinksy and Ruth McCullough and now it is the primary resource of the history of Maryland and service of the Columbia Association. With the heavy involvement with the Columbian community, its art exhibits were entirely sourced locally. Programs and tours are offered to the visitors of Columbia Archives and they also host events like talks, walks, exhibits, and the famous Columbia BikeAbout.
Watch a Concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044
Originally designed as the National Symphony Orchestra home, the Merriweather Post Pavilion was built in a forested 40 acres Symphony Woods by Frank Gehry. This amphitheater provides year-round concerts that feature the best in classical, rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, country, electronica, alternative, and rhythm & blues. It is one of the top destinations for summer concerts because of its natural outdoor setting. Famous musical stars and legends like Green Day, Jimi Hendrix, Jack Johnson, and Janis Joplin performed at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. Visitors can enjoy an unmatched concert experience with a massive video screen and exceptional sound system.