Many people want to move to Maryland, and those that live in Columbia, Maryland don’t seem to have a lot of complaints. However, before you decide to move to this city, you need to know about the negative aspects that may make living here hard for you. Keep reading to discover the 17 reasons why you shouldn’t move to Columbia, Maryland.
If you live in Columbia, you might have a job in the city, but you also might be commuting to another city nearby. If you work in Washington D.C., you are both close to the city and far away from it.
If you leave work at a good time that allows you to avoid traffic for the most part, you will experience about 45 minutes of travel time to and from work. But, that also means that with traffic, which is bad most of the time, you will be in the car for 1 hour or longer. Simply driving to Costco can be difficult because it is outside of the city, so you hope that traffic won’t drag out your drive.
So, aside from things being far away, there is also a lot of traffic. It will add to your ETA for work, grocery shopping, going to the beach, and more. Many people opt to ride their bikes to and from work, which is not an option for everyone who works far outside the city.
If you don’t enjoy spending time in your car because of traffic, don’t move to this city.
3. Lacks Good Shops
There has been a complaint in Columbia about the lack of good shops. One, in particular, is a lack of good coffee shops. There isn’t one that stands out above the rest. So, if you are a coffee snob and love all professionally brewed coffee, you don’t want to move here. The lack of good shops will also affect you if you enjoy going shopping, as your options will be limited. You may need to spend your time shopping online rather than in-store.
4. Village Center Shopping Center
The Village Center Shopping Center is basically an outdoor mall. There are a few locations, but residents say that they can look empty and run-down, and the stores are often closed, empty, or out of business. This will vary depending on the location that you go to, but generally, they are not as nice as your own shopping centers back home. They go through phases of being run down and phases where they look amazing and are nice to go to.
5. Poor Food Variety
In continuation with the poor shopping, there is also a lack of great, diverse restaurants. Most of the food places are all big chain corporations and you can’t find a place that is unique, is a favorite, and works for everyone. The options are limited, and with the driving conditions of traffic and commuting, good food will be too far away for you to conveniently eat out often. So, you likely will only go out to one of those places outside of town for birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.
Now for a common negative in many places in 2022: it is expensive to live in Columbia. Homes are close to $400,000 – $500,000 on the lower end and up into the millions on the high end. Many people who live there have lived there for a long time and purchased their homes when it was easier and much more affordable to do so.
As of 2022, if you want to go live there in a nice family-sized home, you will have to have more than one working adult in the home, and you will probably also need to have another form of income. The housing market and interest rates are not a joke this year, the numbers are astronomical, so if you want to live here, you might have to wait a while and save for a larger down payment in hopes that interest rates drop to normal levels again.
7. Old Houses
All of the homes in Columbia were built a long time ago and there isn’t a lot of room for more houses to be built. So, if you do buy a house, you are going to buy an old house that hopefully has good bones, but who knows what trouble the home will bring you.
Because of the age of the homes, make sure before you buy a house that you get an inspection done and you look at the history of the house. See if you can find out about major repairs and damages that could impact the home while you have it and if the original cause of problems is truly gone or if it is just minimalized.
8. Getting Crowded
Like I said at the beginning of the article, there isn’t much about this city to complain about. But, because people talk so highly of this city, word got out, and over the last few years, there has been a lot of people moving here. A common complaint amongst older folk who have lived in the city for many years is that there are too many people in the city and it is getting too crowded. So, you will have to find a nice home in a nice neighborhood that doesn’t feel too crowded for you if that bothers you.
9. Feels Like a Small Town
Now, some people love being in a small town and others simply love the feeling of a small town, but there are those who cannot stand the small-town vibe and would do anything for the fast city feel that you get in New York City or Los Angeles. Columbia, Maryland has a small-town feel, so if you enjoy living in a fast-paced city, you should not move here.
10. Crazy HOA
Something that might be a shock to those who move here is the HOA in the city. The HOA will vary per community and neighborhood, but some of them are quite ridiculous.
Someone once got in trouble for not having flowers in their flower boxes just a few weeks after they moved in. I don’t know about you, but not everybody has a green thumb, and not everyone has time to make sure their flowers are growing. Also, it takes time to grow flowers from a seed to a sprout to a flower. So, if you are wanting to move here, ask people about the HOA and see if there is a common complaint amongst the neighbors.
11. Family Place
This city is very family focused. Most everybody who lives here has a family, and they love it there. But, young adults and even teens who are going to move out within a couple of years can find the city to be boring. So, the phase of life that you are in will definitely impact how well you enjoy the city. There are not many young adults who could afford to buy a home by themselves or with a roommate(s), but if you can, you might want to think again. You may not enjoy the city as an adult with no significant other or kids, even if you liked it while growing up there.
12. The “Good Schools” Are Overhyped
So many people say that the schools here are incredible, and that may be true according to data. But the connections you make peer to peer and peer to the teacher are important, and they can make or break your schooling. So, you will have to go through the school system and decide for yourself if the schools are worth the hype.
Another problem with kids and teens is that because of where they live, they can have an unrealistic concept of the real world, and they could be living in a bubble without knowing it. This may be something that affects only one neighborhood of kids, but it can certainly be a problem with every kid if they are not taught well enough how the world operates before they become adults.
13. Boring Unless Your Daily Idea of Fun Includes Exercise-Like Activities
There are many trails for biking and running, and this is one way people get to work without a car. It can be convenient and is often healthy for your body. But, aside from the outdoor activities like running, biking, hiking, and driving away from a body of water, there isn’t much to do.
So, your only options are to embrace the physical fitness culture or start making excuses for why you are not going to these activities. Some of you are going to love that part of living in this city, but others would rather have more options that don’t include getting wet, dirty, or physically exhausting yourself. You can decide if this is a problem you would love to have or if you would hate it and it would ruin your experience living here.
14. Zero Nightlife
A common problem mentioned is that there is nothing to do in this city, so it can be pretty boring. That is true, and part of that feeds into the fact that there is nothing you can do at night. Nightlife like clubs or even stores are either not open late or they do not exist in the city. This makes this city a place that teens and young adults don’t enjoy.
It can be hard to live in a place where everyone is home by dinner time, and late-night runs to get a coffee, a treat, a drink, some food, or anything that sounds fun to do at night is nearly impossible. Sometimes, you just need to have a milkshake or some ice cream late at night, and your only option might be Mcdonald’s, which will satisfy your ice cream craving but will still be a letdown when you wanted to pick up some Ben&Jerry’s at the grocery store.
15. Could Use Better Public Transportation
Some people have found that over the years of living in Columbia, Maryland, one thing that could be improved is public transportation. There is a bus system, and it travels to many locations, but there are no other options besides ride-sharing apps, which we all know are really expensive. Plus, the bus is not typically a well-kept and clean mode of transportation. It can be sketchy and scary, but it can also be pleasant to ride on at times. In every city it is different, and you will have to experience it yourself and determine if it is good or bad.
The way people portray the crime rate is not true to the facts. Just because people don’t see it, doesn’t mean it is not prevalent. There are areas that are super safe, and some that get lower and lower in safety ratings, so you will definitely want to live in a safe neighborhood and be aware of what you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your home before you move to this city.
According to crimegrade.org, the grade that Columbia, Maryland gets for its crime/safety is D+. Some facts they share are that on average, there is a crime committed every 2 hours and 14 minutes, which shows that this is not an extremely safe city to live in. If you don’t want to have to invest in a home security system, don’t move to Columbia, Maryland.
17. Nice Bike Paths… for Those Who Don’t Want to Get Caught
The reality behind the wonderful bike paths that everyone talks about is that the crime rates, though low, have a connection to the bike paths. People who grew up here and decide to steal or commit other crimes know the paths well and can outrun and hide from the police. It works because cars cannot go on those paths. So, it might be safe for your morning ride to work, but you can be in danger on your bike ride home from work when you go on the trails after it gets dark outside.