Columbia: A Top Ten Best Small Town
Maury County Courthouse, downtown Columbia
The city of Columbia serves as the county seat of Maury County. With its iconic downtown district and rich Southern history, Columbia has been voted as a "Top Ten Best Small Town" by both Southern Living and Country Living. The Duck River borders the four city block downtown area, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its Federal, Victorian, and Mid 19th Century Revival architecture. Learn about the city’s history and sites to explore at the Columbia Welcome Center, located at 713 N. Main Street, or online at www.visitcolumbiatn.com.
James K. Polk Home
Columbia was founded in 1807 and is also known as “Muletown” due to its historic status as a center for mule trade. The population grew rapidly with the success of the agricultural industry, bringing wealth and the historic brick mansions and plantations that remain standing today. One of the city’s most notable architectural structure is the President James K. Polk Ancestral Home and Museum, located two blocks from downtown. Another significant site is the Maury County Courthouse, built over a century ago, and located in the center of the downtown.
First Fridays, downtown Columbia Photo: VisitColumbia.com
Downtown Columbia & Festivals
Columbia has a long-standing tradition of preserving and growing its downtown district, which holds the distinction of being one of Tennessee’s first five Main Street communities. Dozens of shops, restaurants, breweries, boutiques, and antique stores fill downtown store fronts. An essential tradition for newcomers is “First Fridays”. On the first Friday evening of every month, you can find the square bustling with extended evening hours at shops and restaurants plus lots of live music. For more information: www.visitcolumbiatn.com/events.
The Muletown arts scene is booming! Located a few blocks from the town square, the Columbia Arts District is an up-and-coming hub for local artists to work, learn, and sell their craft. The Columbia Arts Building offers art classes, studios, and retail space. The Mulhouse is a music venue in downtown located in a restored historic church with two performance areas. The main concert area is upstairs, and still has the church’s original pews used for seating.
One of the most significant additions to Columbia’s retail scene is The Factory, located at 101 N. James Campbell Blvd. Originally a T-shirt factory, the building has been restored into a modern shopping mall with eclectic shops, antique malls, boutiques, and restaurants.
Downtown Columbia and Maury County Park (located at 1018 Maury County Park Dr.) are the central hub of activity for Mule Day Festival, held in early April. The Mule Day tradition began in the 1840s as a livestock show and mule market and has blossomed into a week-long festival welcoming thousands of visitors. Events include arts and crafts, live music, a parade, and mule-driving contests. For more information, visit: www.muleday.com.
Parks & Recreation
Columbia has over 500 acres of parks and greenways for its residents to enjoy. Located near downtown is Riverwalk Park, boasting wide greenways, paved walking trails, a basketball court, and a splash pad. This area is also home to the Columbia Farmers Market, which runs from May to October. The city’s newest greenway is the Columbia Hiking and Mountain Bike Park, with 2.5 miles of trails at varying levels. If you enjoy a game of disc golf, Woodlands Park features an 18-hole disc golf course. Read more about all of Columbia’s parks here: www.columbiatn.com/236/Parks-and-Greenways.
In addition to outdoor recreation, Columbia has several indoor recreational facilities:
Armory Recreation and Fitness Center: www.columbiatn.com/566/Fitness-Center
Macedonia Recreation Center: www.columbiatn.com/485/Macedonia-Recreation-Center
Fairview Recreation Center: www.columbiatn.com/484/Fairview-Recreation-Center
Columbia offers a variety of organized sports for both children and adults. You can find information on City-sponsored leagues for basketball, flag football, kickball, and pickle ball here: www.columbiatn.com/592/Athletics. One of Columbia’s largest facilities is the Ridley Sports Complex, which has fields for soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby, softball, baseball, and Ultimate Frisbee. Learn more about Columbia’s sports facilities: www.visitcolumbiatn.com/sports/venues.
The City of Columbia provides several services for its residents including weekly garbage, curbside recycling every two weeks, and scheduled bulky items and brush collection. Other city information such as registering your alarm system, requesting a yard sale, or obtaining a burn permit can be found at www.columbiatn.com.