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Old 10-28-2007, 07:10 PM
 
Location: New York City
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We are researching midwestern college towns, as we hope to relocate. We keep hearing many nice things about Columbia, but no real details. What's it like for families? Is it a pretty town, and is there any natural beauty? Are the schools well-regarded?

Does anyone know how it compares to Bloomington, IN and Iowa City, IA?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:10 PM
 
Location: MO Ozarkian in NE Hoosierana
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Guessing that you have done a search w/in CDF forum for Columbia info? I was thinking that there actually was a fair amount of thoughts about it... In any case, its a place, w/ much to offer.

Do you prefer to be in town or 'burbs or nearby acreage? Natural beauty is quite good - there are a number of city, county, and state parks [Rock Bridge is quite good] and conservation areas within striking distance, along w/ the MO River, and all she has to offer. Quaint little towns, KATY trail, etc. also. Don't have any details about the schools, besides what the CD and other resources on the 'net will provide. Have ya pulled all three CDF info, and done a side-by-side comparison that way too?

Can't say anything about Iowa City, not been there. However, compared to Bloomington, would say Columbia has a more 'open' feeling to it. Just my take on both. B'ton is nice [both have great pizza, microbrews, etc.], and love the "Ozarkian" feel that is there - more rugged terrain in the immediate area.

Columbia has access to two larger cities [KC and StL, both ~2 hours], along with the lakes and S'field/Branson a few hours to the south also. Whereas B'ton is kinda 'landlocked', with Indy ~1.25 hours nearby, but over a non-interstate [yet 4-lane roads in the immediate area] highway [for now... topic for different discussion - keep in mind that there may be some major road construction in the near future, what w/ the proposed I-69 expansion]. Bloomington, IMHO, may have the advantage of more natural scenic beauty, being [as mentioned] in a more hilly terrain than Columbia [altho' that city/area is no boring slouch either] - but just as a comparison between the two.

To me, choosing between these two MO and IN college-orientated cities would be kinda difficult... good luck!
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Old 11-02-2007, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Mid Missouri
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Columbia is more laid back then the larger cities of KC and St. Louis. I think it is a great place for families with many opportunities. There are some great city parks, state parks and ample recreation opportunities. The outer city limits south of town contain more rolling hills as you make your way down to the river. Beautiful bluffs. Many smaller towns within 30 minutes. Columbia has MU; Columbia College and Stephens College. There are at least 3 more four year colleges within 30 minutes.

Housing is afforable comparably. There are subdivision tracks where many houses have the same "feel" but there are also many more established neighborhoods with character and charm.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-04-2007, 10:13 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Can you tell me the names of the established neighborhoods? Also, the best schools in the city?
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Missouri
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You need to read the Moving to Columbia thread that is going on now. I think this will answer most of the questions you have.
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
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Well, I live in Iowa City now..but I've visited Columbia several times and I'll try to give you my rough impression of the differences between the two.

I found both towns to be very similar, actually. Both have a close-knit campus and a vibrant downtown. Iowa's campus, I think, is smaller and more organized than Mizzou. However, Columbia is bigger and has the more vibrant downtown. Both towns are very laid-back, but Iowa City is quite a bit smaller and seems more relaxed and easy going. (Traffic there seems easier to deal with, at least.) And while Iowa City is very pretty with the Iowa River running through town--they haven't yet capitalized on their environment like Columbia has. No major bike trails or massive riverside state parks as of yet.

I never got a feel for Columbia politically/socially, but I know that Iowa City is generally very liberal/progressive. Some people really like that, some people it puts them off.

And one of the best things about Columbia is how close to KC and St. Louis it is. Iowa City's about 3 or 4 hours out from Chicago--enough to definitely feel some Chicago influence, but too far away to really day trip or feel real closeness to the place.

Overall, Iowa City gives off a "big small-town" feel, while Columbia feels like a "little big-city". I hope that's not too confusing, but that's the best way I can think of putting it. I'd definitely look at both.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:53 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Thank you,SharpHawkeye We are researching both places, as well as Bloomington, IN. I guess we need to see these cities in person, because on paper, they all sound lovely. I was wondering if you could tell me which of the these places is friendlier to newcomers overall and which is the most physically appealing. We are looking for lots of tree lined streets (even in the downtown areas) and the ability to park the car and walk around ( a centralized downtown would be ideal). I know I have so many questions, but finally, is one of these cities more child-friendly than the others? Some may not agree, but we love a college town with the Univ right in the middle of town (Athens, GA for example)especially if it's green and beautiful.

I'll leave you alone for now A big thanks in advance.

Last edited by gimme it; 11-05-2007 at 07:06 PM..
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Old 11-08-2007, 05:45 AM
 
19 posts, read 74,768 times
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Columbia. Yuck. I moved away. Schools (public) lack everything. Town is OK. Even though they are trying to make it like KC and STL. Check out gocolumbiamo.com. Crime rate and such, it's growing. Good points about Columbia, nature trails and some parks. Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
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I went to MU and really enjoyed my 4 years in Columbia - it's a very nice town. I needed a bigger city (so i moved to Chicago) but for anyone thinking about a smaller college town type place, it would be hard to go wrong.

Downtown Columbia is cute and full of shops and restaurants (also though a lot of bars) Columbia during the day feels very different than Columbia at night.

There are some really lovely parks in the city, plus some incredible nature areas outside the city. I loved exploring it. One thing I also always thought about Columbia (and people may disagree with me on this) is that it has some striking differences in it. Columbia is in the heart of the Midwest, in a very conservative area, but the University brings in a lot of liberals. I always felt a bit of a disconnect between these two, and also in the type of people who live there. There are a lot of educated professionals who like culture and the arts, but there are also a lot of "traditional Midwestern folk" who have conservatives values and more of a country attitude.

I'm not saying one is better than the other- only that both abound in Columbia, and sometimes it struck me as a little strange.
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:42 PM
 
31 posts, read 109,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aragx6 View Post
One thing I also always thought about Columbia (and people may disagree with me on this) is that it has some striking differences in it. Columbia is in the heart of the Midwest, in a very conservative area, but the University brings in a lot of liberals. I always felt a bit of a disconnect between these two, and also in the type of people who live there. There are a lot of educated professionals who like culture and the arts, but there are also a lot of "traditional Midwestern folk" who have conservatives values and more of a country attitude.

I'm not saying one is better than the other- only that both abound in Columbia, and sometimes it struck me as a little strange.
I agree with this--it's one of the nice things about the city. Different sets of values and people coexist peacerfully, for the most part, in Columbia.

I've been to both Iowa City and Bloomington several times. Personally, I don't care for Bloomington...the town/gown relations are poor there, and it doesn't have much of a personality as a city. This may be because it's so close to Indianapolis. And IU dominates Bloomington much more than Mizzou dominates Columbia. Columbia has a strong non-industrial business base aside from the University. I like Iowa City better than Bloomington, but it's a different type of place than Columbia. SharpHawkeye describes this very well--Columbia feels a little bigger and more cosmopolitan; Iowa City is like a top notch small town.


Columbia's school system is excellent...over the state average in 12 out of 14 tested areas this year. (Columbia 93 School District schools - district elementary, middle, and high school information (http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/mo/district_profile/11?schoolId=86#map - broken link)). It's a terrific city for children--good city recreation system, a nice mix of recreation areas (Cosmo Park has a little of everything) to natural and scenic walks and parks. Crime is below average--even with the University and the unfortunate (but normal) rise in theft/burglary/assault it adds.


I think you've got the right idea--rent a place for a while. Rentals are easy to come by and inexpensive...I'd suggest a large duplex. Drive around until you something that looks worthwhile...a nice way to spend a day and get your bearings in the city as well.
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