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About Columbia, MO

National Rankings
Business & Shopping | Churches | Climate
Cost of Living | Drivers' Licences | Useful Numbers
Education | Financial Institutions | Government
Health | Transportation | Libraries | Location
Media | Population | Recreation/Sports/Arts & Culture
Recycling | Retirement | Taxes | Utilities
Voter Registration | Zip codes

Helpful Community Links

All area codes 573 unless otherwise indicated

National Rankings

  • "Top Best Places to Live" Money Magazine consistently ranks Columbia as a top city in the country based on education, health care and a strong economy.
  • "4th Healthiest Place to Live in the Nation", ranked by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine.
  • "50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family", Columbia is cited as one of the nicest small metro areas in the country in Lee Rosenberg's relocation book.
  • "50 Fabulous Places to Retire in America", Columbia is one of the selected cities included in this relocation book, 1996.
  • ACCRA Cost of Living Index- Columbia is 5% to 6% below national average.
  • 5 Best College Towns for Retirement, Successful Retirement named Columbia.
  • Where to Retire, a book by John Howell, selected Columbia as one of the three best places in Missouri.
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Business & Shopping

Residents or visitors are never more than a few minutes from one of 13 major shopping areas in Columbia where an array of quality merchandise is available to meet everyone's needs. Columbia offers a variety of shops found in the region's largest mall (Columbia Mall, is anchored by Dillard's, Sears, JC Penny's and Target, and has over 140 stores). An extensive Downtown shopping district offers numerous one-of-a-kind specialty shops, retail stores, entertainment, fine dining and galleries. Dozens of smaller shopping centers are located throughout the city. For more information concerning the Columbia Mall call 1-573-445-8458 and for the down town area call the Downtown Columbia Association at 1-573-442-6816.

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  • 86 Protestant
  • 4 Catholic
  • 1 Synagogue
  • 1 Mosque
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Continental climate with four seasons.
  • Annual Rainfall 39.05 inches/year
  • Annual Snowfall 23.50 inches/year
  • Warmest month average (July) 77.3
  • Coolest month average (January) 29.3
  • Number of sunny days: 105
  • Number of cloudy days: 169
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Cost of Living

Living costs in Columbia are 8-10% below the national average. The Cost of Living Index measures the differences between cost of consumer goods and services in different areas of the nation. It does not measure the rate of inflation.

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Drivers' Licenses & Vehicle Registration

Once residency has been established, drivers need to obtain a Missouri operator's license, renewable every three years.

The State of Missouri requires a written test on Missouri traffic laws and a vision test. No driving test is required if you have a valid out-of-state driver's license. If your out-of-state license has expired, you must take the driving and the written test. The vision test, driving test, and written examinations are given at 3610 Buttonwood Drive from 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. To prepare for the written test, a "Missouri Drivers' Manual" is available at the following locations: the Columbia Police Department, Sixth and Walnut; and the License Bureau on Buttonwood Drive. The Bureau will need to see your test sheet, Social Security card, and your out-of-state license if you have moved into Missouri.

The License Bureau is run by the State Department of Revenue. Effective August 4, 1997, the Columbia Branch Office relocated to 3610 Buttonwood Drive in the Buttonwood Office Building off Nifong Boulevard, one block east of Profidence Road. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the last Saturday of the month from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The telephone number is 882-9593.

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Useful Numbers

  • Area Code (573)
  • Airport-Columbia Regional 443-7802
  • Assessors Office 886-4250
  • Better Business Bureau 531-3300
  • Boone County Sheriff 875-1111
  • Boone Electric Cooperative (all hours) 449-4181
  • Boone Hospital Center 875-4545
  • Charter Behavioral Health System of Columbia 876-8000
  • Columbia Chamber of Commerce 874-1132
  • Columbia City Office and Information 874-7111
  • Columbia College 875-8700
  • Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau 875-1231
  • Columbia Parks and Recreation 874-7460
  • Columbia Public Library 443-3161
  • Columbia Regional Hospital 875-9000
  • Consumer Hotline 1-800-392-8222
  • Directory Assistance 1411
  • Ellis Fischel Cancer Center 882-2100
  • Fire Department 874-7391
  • License Bureau 882-9593
  • Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center 449-2511
  • Police Department 442-6131
  • Post Office 876-7829
  • Regional Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) 442-8303
  • Stephens College 442-2211
  • Telephone Repair 1-800-843-1000
  • Time & Temperature 449-0655
  • Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital 443-2511
  • Union Electric-Columbia Gas Division 1-800-552-7583
    • 24-hour service and emergency 875-2555 or 874-2144
  • University of MO-Columbia Directory Assistance 882-2121
  • University Hospital & Clinics 882-4141
  • Voter Registration 886-4375
  • Water & Light Department 874-7325
    • after hours and emergency 875-2555
  • Weather Service 442-5171
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Columbia has a strong tradition of education and offers one of the finest school systems in the nation. Our educational institutions, both public and private, offer a variety of educational programs just right for your needs. Columbia is very supportive of education of our students as evidenced by several community programs.

    Public Schools
  • Columbia Public Schools have earned the highest possible rating in Missouri and consistently receive state and national honors for excellence in education. Columbia Public School District is the seventh largest in the state and is one of the fastest growing districts in the midwest. Enrollment is more than 15,570 students with 75-85% of the 760 high school graduates being college bound. The school district also graduates one of the highest percentages of merit scholars in the country. An average of $5,000 per student is spent during the school year. The pupil-teacher ratio is 22 to 1 and 23 to 1 at elementary and secondary levels, respectively.

    For information on public school enrollment, parents should contact the Columbia Public Schools, District Administration Building, 1818 West Worley, (573-886-2100; web site: www.ims.columbia.k12.mo.us).

    Kindergartners and first-time first graders are required to present birth certificates, social security cards, and immunizations records at the time of enrollment as these records may be requested from the previous school. Contact school community programs for information about Partners in Education program, 573-886-2165.

    The school district also offers "Parents as Teachers," a free educational program for parents of young children. It provides home visits by parent educators, information, guidance, checkups and meetings. Call 573-886-2204 for more information.


    In Columbia, "Collegetown U.S.A," higher education plays a major economic and social role.

  • The University of Missouri-Columbia was founded in 1839 as the first public university west of the Mississippi River. The 1,340-acre campus is the state's flagship, comprehensive research university. Today MU, with approximately 16,000 undergraduates and about 6,000 graduate and professional students, offers degrees through 18 colleges and schools. The University is one of the few institutions in the nation which houses Journalism, Law, Medicine, Agriculture, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine on a single campus. MU ranks among the top 20 public universities nationwide in number of national merit scholars.

    University of Missouri-Columbia
    Visitor Relations
    123 H
    Donald W. Reynolds Alumni and Visitor Center
    Columbia, MO 65211
    web site: www.missouri.edu

  • Columbia College, a private, coeducational institution, offers associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees that prepare students of differing backgrounds and abilities, for entry level or advanced positions in various occupations and professions. Founded in 1851, by charter of the Missouri legislature, and then named Christian Female College, Columbia College assumed its current name and became coeducational in 1970. Although it retains a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Columbia College is a nonsectarian institution.

    Students may enroll in either day or evening classes at the home campus in Columbia, or in its Extended Studies Division at one of the many sites around the country.

    Columbia College
    1001 Rogers St.
    Columbia, MO 65216
    FAX 573-875-7209
    WEB www.ccis.edu

  • Stephens College, founded in 1833 as Columbia's first institution of higher education, is one of the top tier liberal arts colleges in the Midwest and the only four-year women's college in Missouri. A private college, Stephens offers undergraduate education for women, and continuing education and graduate programs for men and women. Students choose from 23 majors and 20 minors, including pre-professional study, in a cutting-edge liberal arts curriculum. Men and women may enroll in degree or non-degree continuing education programs that allow them to balance their studies with work and family responsibilities. Stephens also offers a Master of Education Program in inclusion and in counseling, a Master of Business Administration Program with three emphasis areas: management, entrepreneurial studies and clinical information systems management. Recognized as the premier school for leadership opportunities in Missouri, the College provides individuals with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to achieve success.

    The Stephens campus is located within walking distance of downtown and Columbians with numerous cultural attractions. Theatre, dance and choral productions, concerts, guest lectures and other events are held throughout the year. Historic Senior Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Firestone Baars Chapel, designed by St. Louis Gateway Arch architect Eero Saarinen, are Columbia landmarks.

    Stephens College
    1200 East Broadway
    Columbia, MO 65215
    FAX 573-876-7248

    Parochial & Private
  • Several parochial or private schools are available to meet your educational needs.

  • Columbia Area Career Center, 4203 South Providence Road, is a resource for adult and continuing education. (573-886-2610).

Additional Information

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Financial Institutions

  • 9 Banks
  • 2 Credit Unions
  • 3 Savings & Loans
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The city of Columbia has a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council is composed of the mayor and six ward representatives, an unpaid elected body empowered by the charter to pass ordinances, establish policies, determine zoning, approve subdivisions, amend the city land-use plan, make appointments to boards and commissions and pass final judgement on most issues of city government interest. The council directly supervises the city manager, the city clerk and three municipal judges. The city manager is the chief administrator of Columbia and all municipal judges and all municipal department heads report to the manager directly.

The city is divided into six wards, and each elects one representative to the council every three years on a rotating basis and elections are held each April. The mayor is elected every three years as a council member at large. The mayor presides over meetings and has the sole responsibility for some appointments to boards or commissions. For more information, contact the Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway, 65201 (573-974-7111). Back to the top


Columbia's health care community provides mid-Missouri and the entire state with the highest quality health care. The city's medical population brings positive economic influence, attracts medically related industries and provides residents with progressive medical services comparable to those offered in cities many times its size. 

The 1996 Kiplingers' Personal Finance Magazine listed Columbia as the fourth "Healthiest Place to Live" in the nation. The ranking compares the health care industry and the outdoor recreation available in each community. "10 Healthiest Cities for Women" by American Health for Women magazine (Jan/Feb 1997) sites Columbia's women's health, career potential, crime index, environment, family life, fitness and urban stress. Money Magazine consistently ranks Columbia's health care excellent. The community boasts seven major hospitals, more than 700 physicians and hundreds of other health care professionals. In fact, one in five working persons in Columbia is employed in a health-related occupation.

Columbia's multiple health care centers include a major teaching hospital, two large private community hospitals, a veterans hospital, a children's hospital and hospitals engaging in cancer treatment and psychiatric care.

Among the city's medical support facilities are a heart institute and a heart center, an eye institute and a diabetes center. Columbia also has the only Level I trauma center and burn unit outside St. Louis and Kansas City. In addition, Columbia has facilities for bone marrow, heart, and kidney transplants, treatment centers for birth defects and spinal cord injuries. The practicing physicians and dentists in Columbia represent virtually all specialties.

The city's sizable medical network also offers specialized children's services, comprehensive care nursing homes, fully accredited rehabilitation services, a Ronald McDonald House and the services of visiting nurses.

For more information about the medical community and physician referral contact: Boone County Medical Society, 310 Tiger Lane Ste 1, (573-447-3627).

  • Boone Hospital Center, 1600 E. Broadway, is a 344-bed regional referral center providing progressive healthcare programs, services and technology to the people of central Missouri and beyond since 1921. Areas in which Boone Hospital excels are cardiology, neurology, oncology (cancer), obstetrics and surgery. Emergency medical services include a hospital-based ambulance and helipad for incoming emergency air transportation. The hospital employs 1,400 staff members and has 350 physicians on the medical staff. Boone Hospital Center is a member of BJC Health System, a private, not-for-profit healthcare system headquartered in St. Louis. As part of our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve, Boone Hospital Center created WELLAWARE, a collection of valuable resources, programs, and people that includes all aspects of wellness and prevention including occupational medicine and behavioral health services intended to improve the bottom line for the Columbia-area business community. Community programs on prevention and fitness are another important component of WELLAWARE. (573-815-8000).

  • Charter-Behavioral Health System of Columbia, 200 Portland Street, (just south of Columbia Regional Hospital), is Columbia's only center specializing in the comprehensive treatment of emotional and behavioral disorders. Charter is a comprehensive treatment center with inpatient, outpatient, day and evening treatment programs for children, adolescents and adults. Comprehensive treatment is provided for emotional and physical abuse, chemical dependency and behavioral problems. Charter is a non-institutional 96-bed facility with grounds designed for patient activities and a socialized environment. A 24-hour crisis intervention team is available seven days a week and provides free referral information and assessments. (1-800-Charter)

  • Columbia Regional Hospital, 404 Keene Street, is a 265-bed full service acute care hospital providing state-of-the-art diagnostic and medical treatment. A member of Regional Health System, Columbia Regional Hospital serves as a major medical referral center throughout mid-Missouri and employs 710 staff members. Also included in Regional Health System are numerous owned and managed physician practices, a medical equipment company, a home health agency serving 22 counties and a home-based hospice program. Hospital services include an obstetrics unit, an urgent care service, a skilled nursing facility, a rehabilitation unit and an inpatient senior mental health treatment program. Among Columbia Regional Hospital's areas of excellence are orthopaedics, oncology, neurology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, outpatient surgery and sports medicine. Special programs providing healthcare for employers and senior adults are also offered. Columbia Regional Hospital is community-oriented and sponsors programs reflecting this interest, including Columbia's largest fitness run. Columbia Regional Hospital is a member of Tenet Healthcare Corporation. (573-875-9000).

  • Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, Three Hospital Drive, is a short term intensive treatment psychiatric facility with 69 beds for adults and children. The center actively engages in research and education. (573-449-2511)

  • Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, 800 Hospital Drive, is an affiliated acute care teaching facility that includes 90 hospital beds, 44 extended care beds and comprehensive onsite outpatient clinics for eligible veterans. Truman VA Hospital is part of the VA Heartland Network comprised of medical centers in Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois. The facility serves as a VA regional referral center for cardiology and cardiac surgery. (573-443-2511).

    University of Missouri Health Sciences Center Members:
  • University Hospital and Clinics, One Hospital Drive, is a 288-bed tertiary referral center and is the only hospital between St. Louis and Kansas City to be designated a Level I Trauma Center. One-fourth of its beds are dedicated to critically ill patients in eight intensive care units. The hospital has expertise in trauma and emergency care, heart care, women's health, diabetes and ophthalmology. The Health Sciences Center includes University Hospital and Clinics, Children's Hospital, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and University Physicians as well as MU's Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Related Professions. The center, which also includes Missouri Rehabilitations Center in Mt Vernon, MO, employs more than 3,900 staff members. (573-882-4141)

  • Children's Hospital at University Hospital and Clinics has more than 100 beds dedicated to neonatal, pediatric and adolescent care. Children's Hospital offers sophisticated neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, along with an adolescent unit, short stay center, a general pediatrics unit and a pediatric rehabilitation unit. Children's Hospital has more than 30 pediatric specialists, including the region's only pediatric surgeons. (573-882-7500)

  • Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, 115 Business Loop 70 W., is a 48-bed medical and surgical cancer hospital. It is the only hospital in Missouri dedicated exclusively to cancer care. Major services include cancer screening, along with diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for people with cancer or related diseases. (573-882-2100)

  • Rusk Rehabilitation Center, 315 Business Loop 70 West, a joint venture of Healthsouth and the Health Sciences Center, is a new state-of-the-art 60 bed facility that is mid-Missouri's only hospital dedicated solely to rehabilitation. Rusk offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient programs and specializes in treatments for disabilities including brain injury, stroke, arthritis, spinal cord injury, chronic pain, pulmonary, pediatrics, and lymphodema. (573-817-2703; 1-888-215-6437)

    Public Health Services
  • Columbia/Boone County Health Department is in the Howard Building at 600 E. Broadway. The department offers free immunizations for infants and children and is a provider of the WIC program of food supplements for children 5 and younger, or pregnant women in need. The department also offers training for food handlers in restaurants, oversees animal control and environmental health for the city and county. Information on personal health services call (573-874-7355).

  • The Family Health Center 601 Business Loop 70 West, Ste 215 is a community effort to provide primary and preventive health care services to uninsured and underinsured families and individuals. (573-449-8524).

    General Statistics
  • 7 Hospitals with 1,756 beds
  • MD's 629
  • Dentists 66
  • DO's 20
  • DVM's 141
  • DC's 26
  • RN's 2,010
  • LPN's 523
  • 6 Residential Care Facilities
  • 2 Intermediate Care Facilities
  • 4 Skilled Nursing Facilities

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  • Columbia Public Library (247,869 vol) Houses the Daniel Boone Regional Library. Provides COIN service. Has bookmobiles in three counties:
    • Boone County (Harrisburg, Sturgeon, Hallsville, Ashland)
    • Howard County (Armstrong, New Franklin, Fayette)
    • Callaway County (Auxvasse, Hope Summit, Mokane)

  • Ellis Library (MU) 2,600,000 vol
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On Interstate 70 halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City

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Internet Communications Print
  • The Add Sheet, (875-4000) advertising coupons, free weekly
  • Columbia Daily Tribune, (449-3811) newspaper PM daily 18,000 circulation; Sunday, 23,000 circulation
  • The Columbia Missourian, (442-3161) newspaper AM daily, 6,000 circulation; Wednesday 40,500; Sunday 26,500 (also Digital Missourian)
  • Boone County Journal (657-2334) weekly newspaper
  • Centralia Fireside Guard (682-2133) weekly newspaper
  • Columbia Business Times (499-1830) twice a month newspaper
  • The Good News Journal (875-8755) monthly Christian newspaper
  • Mid-Missouri Business, (443-1311) twice a month newspaper
  • Travelhost, (875-5700) monthly visitors magazine
Radio Stations
  • AM
    • KFRU 1400, Talk, News, Sports (449-4141)
    • KTGR 1580, Easy Listening (449-2433)
  • FM
    • KBIA 91.3, National Public Radio, Classic, New Age (882-3431)
    • KBXR 106.1,True Album radio (449-1520)
    • KCLR 99.3, Country (875-1099)
    • KCMQ 96.7, Solid Rock
    • KCOU 88.1, Alternative (882-7820)
    • KFMZ 98.3, Rock 'n' Roll (874-3000)
    • KMFC 92.1, Christian (682-5525)
    • KOOL 102.3
    • KOPN 89.5, Variety (874-1139)
    • KPLA 101.5, Oldies (442-3116)
    • KTLH 93.9, Adult Contemporary (445-9390)
    • KTXY-Y107, Soft Rock (443-5899)
    • KWWC 90.5, Variety (876-7272)
    • KXEO & KWWR 96, Country (581-5500)
TV Stations
  • KOMU, Channel 8, NBC, (882-8888)
  • KONQ, Channel 2, (443-0292)
  • KMIZ, Channel 17, ABC (449-0917)
  • KMOS, Channel 6, PBS, Sedalia (429-4155)
  • KNLJ, Channel 25, Jefferson City (896-5105)
  • KRCG, Channel 13, CBS, Jefferson City (896-5144)
  • KXI, Channel 11, (442-1111)
  • TCI Cable Vision Missouri, Inc. (443-1535)
  • Capital Cable (875-8875)
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1994 Population

  • Columbia 75,000
  • Boone County 118,900
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Columbia and Boone County offer numerous sports, arts, culture and recreational activities both educational and fun geared for all citizens to enjoy especially children, families, and seniors. Some of the activities that are held annually are the Farmers Market, Art in the Park, Twilight Festivals, Concerts in the Gardens, Memorial Day Celebration, Boone County Fair, Fall Festivals and Show-Me State Games to name a few. For information on Columbia events online, access the Mid-Missouri Tourism Council web site at: http://calendar.columbia.mo.us
  • For the sports minded person you'll find many fun activities and ways to keep in shape no matter what your age. Whether you're hitting the links or cycling to the extremes, Columbia's ready for you. Recreational opportunities are available at area parks, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, bowling alleys, and roller rinks to name a few.

  • Columbia has spectator sports such as Big 12 conference basketball, football, NCAA Division I baseball, wrestling, volleyball, softball, gymnastics, and track and field.

  • One may participate in the annual statewide amateur olympic style sporting event the Show-Me STATE GAMES and various other special community events.

  • For joggers and bikers there are several hiking trails to enjoy such as the MKT Nature & Fitness Trail, an urban walkway to a densely wooded passageway (4.7 miles).

  • Contact the award winning Columbia Parks & Recreation Department (1-573-874-7460) for further details on Twin Lakes Recreation Area, Rainbow Softball Center, MKT Trail, Martin Luther King Memorial Amphitheater, and Nifong Park. This city department maintains 40 parks and recreation facilities with over 1,850 acres of park land on which to picnic, boat, fish or enjoy.

    Scenic Recreation
  • Scenic state parks are located near Columbia: Finger Lakes State Park (1-573-443-5315) a 1,110 acre park which was the site of a coal mining operation but now a recreational spot for swimming, canoeists, divers and off road motorcyclists; Rock Bridge Memorial State Park (1-573-449-7402) 2,100 acres features natural rock bridge formation, an underground cave system and Gans Creek Wild Area where wildflowers and forested area grow; and Three Creeks State Forest (1-573-882-9880) is a 1,277 acre forest land and trails.

  • Shelter Insurance Gardens (1-573-445-8441) is a beautiful environment of more than 15,000 flowers and 300 varieties of trees and shrubs. Take a step back in time at the one room school house located in the gardens which are ideal for a quiet stroll, to enjoy nature's beauty or outdoor music concerts.

    Arts & Culture
  • Columbia has big city entertainment and a great appreciation for all the arts ranging from international opera and ballet companies to modern music superstars.

  • The University of Missouri-Columbia is host to a wide variety of music concerts, dance and theater groups such as the University Concert Series (1-573-882-3875) or Box office (1-573-882-3781); Rhynsburger Theater (1-573-882-2021) or Box office (1-573-882-PLAY); and Corner Playhouse Theatre.

  • Stephens College Macklanburg Playhouse and Warehouse Theatre (1-573-876-7199) are known for their excellent performances by students and professional entertainers.

  • Columbia Entertainment Company (1-573-474-3699) and Maplewood Barn Theater (1-573-449-7517) feature community talent in various stage productions.

  • The Missouri Symphony Society (1-573-875-0600) features nationally known artists and orchestra performances.

  • The Hearnes Center (1-573-884-7297) hosts everything from rock 'n roll and country music super stars to special events by celebrities and community groups.

  • Fine arts broadcasting is available through NPR radio KBIA, KOPN and PBS TV station KMOS. Movie buffs can see the latest films at several movie theatres located around the city.

  • Columbia offers a wide range of exhibits, lectures and special activities in Columbia. Contact the University of Missouri-Columbia Visitors Relations for more details (1-573-882-6333).

  • The Museum of Art & Archaeology (MU campus-Pickard Hall) has a comprehensive collection of more than 13,000 art objects and specializes in anceient art of the Old World and Western art from early Renaissance to Contemporary. The Cast Gellery has casts that were made from original Greek and Roman sculptures (1-573-882-3592). The Museum of Anthropology (MU campus-Swallow Hall) exhibits archaeological and ethnographic collections which includes over 100 million artifacts dating from 9000 BC to modern times (1-573-882-4731). The Black Culture Center (MU-823 Virginia Ave.) enriches and enhances the understanding of black intellectual culture through cultural programming and research (573-882-2664).

  • The Walters-Boone County Historical Society (1-573-443-8936), located in Nifong Park, displays the history of Boone County and the western expansion along the Boone Licks Trail and is adjacent to the Maplewood home built in 1877.

  • The State Historical Society of Missouri Located on Lowry Mall in the lower northeast corner of MU Ellis Library (1-573-882-7083) maintains reference, newspaper and manuscript libraries and a fine art collection. Galleries exhibit sculptures, paintings and prints of Missouri scenes by artists such as George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton. It also has a genealogy center.

  • Columbia Art League (1-573-443-8838) has changing exhibitions of regional and national artists. The following galleries exhibit a variety of mediums done by faculty, students and recognized artists: George Caleb Bingham Gallery (MU Fine Arts Building 1-573-882-3555), the Davis Art Gallery and the Curved Entrance Gallery (Stephens College 1-573-876-7173) and the Columbia College Art Center Gallery (1-573-875-7520).
    Columbia also has:
  • 2 Bowling Alleys
  • 2 Private Country Clubs
  • 6 Movie Theaters, 26 Screens
  • 40 Public Parks
  • 2 State Parks
  • 6 Public Swimming Pools
  • 23 Public Tennis Courts
  • 3 Public Golf Courses, 4 Private
  • 2 Roller Skating Rinks
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Curbside recycling collection is provided every 2 weeks (573-874-6280) for city residents. If you live outside of the city limits, contact private companies for trash collection and recycling (Civic Recycling 573-474-9526), or use drop-off recycling at the parking lots of both Gerbes, three Nowell's and Megamarket.

There is a 5-cent refundable deposit on all cans and bottles purchased inside Columbia that is refundable at any location where cans and bottles are sold.

For household hazardous waste, there is a collection site at 1313 Lakeview that is open from 9 a.m.-1p.m. on yhe first and third Saturday of each month from April through November.

  • A-1 Auto Recyclers
    3821 E. Broadway; 442-4343
    Recycles: aluminum, steel, copper, tires

  • Battery Man
    712 Business Loop 70 E. 449-4716
    Recycles: automobile batteries. fluids

  • Central Metals Recycling
    1000 Panell. 443-4226
    Recycles: aluminum, steel, tin

  • Hendren's Salvage and Metal
    705 Proctor Dr. 442-1565

  • Civic Recycling
    3300 Brown Station Road. 474-9526
    Recycles: paper, glass, aluminum, bi-metal cans, non-ferrous material

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Columbia features big city culture with small town friendliness and is an ideal community for retirement. Retirees are especially attracted to the youthful spirit of the community, clean environment, health care availability, educational and recreational opportunities. Seventeen percent of Columbia's population is composed of individuals over 50 years of age.

Columbia's strong growing economy is based on education, helath care, and insurance industries which offers advantages to retirees by providing a high level of prosperity and stability in the community. Columbia is a great spot to start a small business. Community advantages include: low taxes and cost of living-- Columbia is well below the national average; high quality of health care-- provided by nine hospitals and boasts of more doctors per capita except for Rochester, Minn. Columbia is located in the center of the state and has easy access to either St. Louis or Kansas City each 2 hours drive or Lake of the Ozarks recreational area just an hour away. Columbia's location is an advantage with an airport and public transportation available. Along with being an easy city to drive in, the community is very accessible. Other advantages that attract retirees are the continuing education opportunities; a variety of housing; social, cultural, recreational and volunteer opportunities; a fairly moderate year-round climate; and a safe low crime area.

Columbia is nationally ranked as an excellent place for retirees to live due to our high quality of life. Columbia was selected for "50 Fabulous Places to Retire in America," Lee and Saralee Rosenberg's relcation book by Ken Stern, 2nd edition, 1996. The book "Where To Retire" by John Howells selects Columbia as one of three Missouri cities named as the best and most affordable place for retirement. "5 Best College Towns for Retirement" in Successful Retirement magazine September/October 1994 lists Columbia as one of five top college towns for retirement.

The American Chamber of Commerce Research Association compares the cost of living in 300 cities across the country on a quarterly basis. It compares items such as groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous expenses. 100 is average. Columbia is consistently 6-8% below the national average.

More and more seniors are taking advantage of continuing education programs for life-long learning. The University of Missouri-Columbia and, Stephens and Columbia Colleges offer a variety of courses. The Columbia Career Center and the City Parks & Recreation Department offer a variety of classes for adults including personal enrichment, computers, arts, and much more.

There are many senior-related services in the community as well as many volunteer opportunities to utilize and share your expertise. Contact the Columbia Chamber of Commerce for the Columbia and Boone County Organizations Directory, a listing of over 100 organizations with volunteer opportunities.

If you're interested in learning more about what Columbia offers active retirees, request "An Easy Place to Call Home", a free video, sponsored by GTE, outlining the city's benefits. You may also set up a personal community tour/visit conducted by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Diplomats-- retired volunteers, contact the Retirement Coordinator, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, PO BOX 1016, Columbia, MO 65205 or call 1-800-652-9028.

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Residential real estate property tax is assessed based on 19% of fair market value. Taxes within the city of Columbia are calculated at $5.12 per $100 of assessed value. Non- Columbia locations within Boone County are taxed at $5.54 per $100 of assessed value of real estate property.

Personal property tax is based on the trade-in value of vehicles, farm machinery and animals, trailers, boats and similar items. The trade-in value is then multiplied by 33.3%. The rate of tax is the same as for real estate ($5.12 or $5.54 per $100 of assessed value.

1994 Sales Tax in Columbia is 6.975% (effective 10/1/93).

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Transportation is available via Columbia Regional Airport (1-573-443-7802), Amtrack services (1-573-636-8414) located in Jefferson City and hourly shuttles to/from St. Louis and Kansas City airports. Both bus and taxi services are located in Columbia. The City of Columbia provides fully accessible mass transit services, referred to as Columbia Area Transit System (CATS), to the major sections of our community. For more information about CATS call 1-573-874-7282. Long distance bus transportation is provided by our local Greyhound bus station (1-573-449-2416). Driving is easy and quick in our area with well planned thoroughfares in and around the city. Commuters may experience a 10 to 15 minute trip to work with few, if any, major traffic jams that cause delays.

Columbia Regional Airport has a 65,000 foot runway, 7 airfreight carriers, and local commuter service (7 flights daily to St. Louis on Transworld Express).

  • Columbia Regional Airport - Transworld Express (9 flights daily to St. Louis) airline.
  • Buslines - CATS, Greyhound, Tiger Air Express, Midwest Shuttle
  • Taxi- ABC Taxi Cab service, Bob's Checker Cab
  • Trainlines - passenger, Amtrak (Jefferson City) freight, COLT
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    Cable TV
    Columbia has two providers of cable television service. The provider that will service you is dependent upon the location of your residence.
  • TCI Cablevision Missouri, Inc., 901 N College Ave (443-1535), has 37 channels with its basic cable channel service and additional channels are available.
  • Capital Cable, 1510 Industrial Blvd. (875-8875), provides 46 basic cable service channels and additional channels are available.

    Columbia has two providers of electricity. The provider that will serve you is dependent upon the location of your residence.
  • If your area is served by the City of Columbia, make application at the City-County Building, 701 E. Broadway (874-7380).
  • If your area is served by Boone Electric Cooperative, make application in person at 1413 Rangeline (449-4181).

    Make application for natural gas service by telephone or in person at Union Electric-Columbia Gas Division, 310 E. Walnut (1-800-552-7583).

    GTE is located at 625 E. Cherry, open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To arrange for installation call the GTE Business Office (1-800-483-4400). Additional Columbia phone books are available at GTE, 625 E. Cherry.

    Trash Collection
    Curbside trash pick-up is provided for residents once a week by the City, call 874-7291 to find out which day trash is picked-up in your neighborhood. Trash collection is automatically billed when you open your water and electric account with the City. Your fee includes plastic refuse bags which are delivered to you every three months. Curbside recycling collection is provided every two weeks, call 874-7280 for more information. If you reside outside the city limits contact private companies for trash collection.

    Columbia's water providers are the City of Columbia and the public water districts. The provider that will serve you is dependent upon the location of your residence. If your area is served by a public water district, your real estate agent or landlordcan tell you which district to contact.

    If your area is served by the City of Columbia, make application at the Finance Department at the City Hall Annex , 725 E. Broadway.

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Voter Registration

Missouri has no residency requirements for voter registration, but voters must:1) be registered by the third Wednesday before an election 2) be a citizen of the U.S. 3)reside in Boone County 4) be at least 18 years old by the day of the next election. You must re-register if you have changed your name or moved. To register, obtain absentee ballots , or determine your ward or precinct, call the Office of Elections and Voter Registration, Boone County Government Center, 801 East Walnut, Room 143, Columbia, MO 65201, (573-886-4375).

For more information, contact: The League of Women Voters, 573-443-3445 or 573-445-5325.

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Zip codes

The zip code for Columbia is 65201 with these exceptions:
  • 65202 -- North of I-70
  • 65203 -- West of Providence Rd. but South of I-70
  • 65205 -- Post Office boxes
  • 65211 -- University of Missouri
  • 65212 -- University Hospitals and Clinics
  • 65215 -- Stephens College
  • 65216 -- Columbia College
  • 65217 -- State Farm Insurance Co.
  • 65202 -- Rural routes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 14
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Helpful Community Links

City of Columbia | Boone County | Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Mid-Missouri Tourism Calendar | Columbia Community Network | Area Educational Links

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