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Let There be Lights in Howard County

Tis the season for candy canes, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and Christmas lights:  lots and lots of Christmas right here in Howard County's Columbia, Maryland. 

Columbia Symphony of Lights

Celebrate the holidays with your family at the 21st Annual Symphony of Lights located in Symphony Woods off of Broken Land Parkway in Columbia.  Attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually, Symphony of Lights has been a cherished community tradition for over two decades.  Presented by Macy's, the extravagnza offers more than 70 larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light displays illuminated by over 250,000 bulbs during its scenic 1.4-mile drive. 

Columbia Symphony of Lights Display

Originating as a small community fundraising event for Howard County General Hospital, Symphony of Lights has since grown to attract more than 1,600,000 visitors.  Howard Hospital Foundation holds Symphony of Lights as its main fundraising event for Howard County General Hospital with proceeds during the past 20 years totaling more than $1 million.


Howard County General Hospital

An affiliate of John Hopkins Medicine, Howard County General Hospital has been serving area residents for nearly 40 years.  With a mission of providing the highest quality care for its patients, the Howard County General Hospital Campus Development Plan addresses major medical and health challenges including increases in the average age of the population and in annual visits to the hospital to ensure all patients receive proper medical care and treatment. 

Columbia Symphony of Lights House

Symphony of Lights 2014 Festivities

Taking place Monday, November 17, 2014 through Sunday, January 4, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily including holidays (except December 31 for the Midnight at 7), Symphony of Lights is located at Symphony Woods in Columbia, MD.

  • Drive Through the Lights.  Through Sunday, January 4
    Take a 20 to 30 minute drive-through tour of the Symphony of Lights.  See this display of light holiday creations filled with color, design, and animation.  Great for kids of all ages. Open 6 days a week, Wednesdays-Mondays, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., including holidays. CLOSED to drive-through traffic on Tuesdays/CLOSED December 31st for the Midnight at 7 event.
  • Group Walk Through the Lights. Tuesdays Only, November 18 - December 30
    See the Symphony of Lights in a group (perfect Christmas event for work groups, scout groups, school groups) by taking a 1.4 mile walking tour through the light displays.
  • Bike the Lights. New this Year!  Monday, December 15, 2014
    Tour the Symphony of Lights on two wheels!  Bikers of all ages and abilities are welcome to enjoy a leisurely ride. Family and friends may walk with the bikers. All bikers must wear a helmet to participate.
  • Midnight at 7 - Wednesday, December 31, 2014 / 5:00-8:00 p.m.
    Midnight at 7 is Howard County's fun-filled family New Year's Eve celebration.  Ring in 2015 with a community fireworks display.  Walk through the Lights, enjoy entertainment, dancing, a bonfire, food and more.

Columbia, Maryland is a community alive with activity. It's filled with arts and culture, shops and restaurants, a great Lakefront, and paths and walkways merging its various neighborhoods into a special place to live, work, and play.

Contact a Homesale Realty local real estate agent to find real estate and homes for sale in Columbia.

Downtown Columbia MD, ExploreMD.us, Howard County General Hospital


About Downtown Columbia, MD

Columbia MD Howard CountyColumbia, Maryland was started in the mid-1960s with one idea in mind: creating a city to enhance its residents' quality of life.  Since its origination, Columbia has met nearly every goal set by its founder, James Rouse.  Columbia is a "complete city" offering residents countless housing, employment, entertainment, education, cultural, and health care options.


Downtown Columbia Partnership Keeps the Energy Going

To carry on John Rouse's dream, the Downtown Columbia Partnership was created.  The Downtown Columbia Partnership is an independent, nonprofit organization comprised of business and local government officials dedicated to telling Columbia's residents, businesses, and visitors about the growing opportunities existing within their community.

Columbia's values of balance, growth, and respect are the foundation of the Partnership's efforts to promote local businesses, public safety and transportation, Columbia beautification projects, sustainability projects, housing opportunities, the arts, and those local individuals who help to make this city so special.


Downtown Columbia Living

Downtown Columbia is filled with an energy that brings new families and old friends to the area.   Columbia is a great place to live, work, and play. 

One of Downtown Columbia's newest housing options is The Metropolitan Downtown Columbia. The Metropolitan Downtown Columbia offers a perfect combination of urban style and traditional living.  After you become a resident of The Met, you'll be within walking distance from Columbia's shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.  You will shop at the Mall in Columbia, dine at Petit Louis Bistro, and enjoy hiking and other outdoor recreational activities at nearby Symphony Woods.

Whole Foods Market Columbia, the first of its kind in Howard County, opened its doors in August, 2014 and is conveniently located on the Columbia Town Center lakefront in former home of the Rouse Company.  Within the same building, the Columbia Association will open Haven on the Lake, a health and wellness spa scheduled to open late-2014.  The opening of stores and services within Columbia's community is another critical piece of the Downtown's revitalization projects.

Appearing now through November 9 at Toby's Dinner Theater in Downtown Columbia is Memphis—The Musical.  Toby's Dinner Theatre located in Downtown Columbia presents both Broadway and original musicals.  Enjoy a full service bar, 25-item salad bar, a delicious matinee or dinner buffet, desserts and even a sundae bar when you visit Toby's.


Columbia MD is a City on the Grow

Some call it "citysmart."  Others call it a "city on the grow."  Whether it's due to the efforts of local organizations as The Downtown Columbia Partnership or the Columbia Association, Columbia remains true to its vision of enhancing its community for the lives of its residents.  Columbia's school s are unmatched and its quality of living ranks high in the US.

Columbia is an evolving and exciting community that embraces its future.  Contact the real estate experts at Homesale.com to learn more about the area and to find a home in Columbia, MD.


Columbia MD Planned CommunityColumbia, MD is known as the best planned community in the country. Started with the most basic idea--that a city should better the life of its residents, James R., Rouse planned and developed Columbia in the mid-1960s.  Today, its nine bustling town centers, beautiful homes, and dozens of places to play provide residents with what they need for a good quality of life.  Still growing and developing the city today, Columbia welcomes new residents to the local community regularly.

Living in Columbia MD

Most cities are developed in a hodgepodge manner with new developments cropping up as they're needed. The result is crowded, confusing cities that are continually lacking in resources. The city's founder, James Rouse, wanted to build a new kind of community that looks towards the future for today's design goals.

Rather than a build-as-we-grow approach, each of the nine neighborhoods of Columbia were built around a town center large enough to meet the needs of the entire neighborhood. Each neighborhood is managed by its own association that oversees parks, building projects, and recreation hubs. The result is a self-contained community that offers residents easy, uncluttered living with access to plenty of employment opportunities and places to have fun.

Columbia Business and Economy

With one of the most educated workforces in the nation, Howard County is home to some of the largest corporations in the US including:  Motorola, Magellan Health Services, Honeywell, Sun MicroSystems, and Northrup Grumman. The 4 million square feet of the Columbia Gateway Business Park houses these businesses along with many others.

In fact, in this one center alone, more than 17,000 people are employed – and this is only one of the many business centers in Columbia that house more than 5,000 companies of every size and industry. Making the 20-mile commute to Baltimore or the 30-mile commute to D.C. will always be an option, but never a necessity.

Things to Do in Columbia

Columbia, MD features three man-made lakes for fishing and boating along with 23 outdoor swimming pools, an ice skating rink, and tennis courts. The Earth Treks Climbing Center offers exciting indoor climbing, or head outdoors and explore more than 93 miles of biking and running trails that connect to the larger systems of Howard County and Patapsco River. Golf enthusiasts will be happy to find two full-featured courses inside the city: Hobbit's Glen Golf Club and Fairway Hills Golf Club

Local Restaurants

Take a culinary trip around the world without ever leaving the city. Exotic options include Royal Taj Indian cuisine, An Loi Vietnamese cuisine, Hunan Manor Chinese Restaurant, and Azul 17 Mexican Cuisine and Tequila Lounge, just to name a few. 

Or, enjoy choosing from a few American-style restaurants:

  • Iron Bridge Wine Company, 10435 State Route 108, Columbia
    The extensive wine selection and rotating menu make every meal unique. Options often include small plates, steaks, short ribs, duck breast, and seafood along with many vegetarian and gluten-free options.
  • Bon Fresco, 6945 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia
    Enjoy fresh food that's served delicatessen-style and includes crisp salads, sandwiches prepared on freshly-baked bread, and homemade desserts that are simply delicious. 
  • Ale House Columbia, 6480 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia
    Stop in for lunch and enjoy the Brewhouse Pretzel served with Blonde Ale Fondue or the Grilled Honey Sriracha Wings, or relax and enjoy one of the many burgers, taco plates, and dinner entrees including a kid's menu. 

Columbia, MD Homes for Sale

View a current real estate listing of homes for sale in Columbia, MD. Contact a local Homesale.com REALTOR for help finding homes in Columbia, MD.


Columbia MD AttractionsOutdoor recreational activites have always been an important benefit for those living in Columbia, MD. The city is home to 29 swimming pools, water slides, roller rinks, an equestrian center, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and a variety of indoor gathering spots for children, teens, and seniors alike.

One family favorite in Columbia is the Robinson Nature Center. There are indoor activities for kids of all ages and more than 18 acres of land connected to the 1,000 acres of forest, meadows, and river valley in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area.  The Nature Center has been a hub of family-friendly excitement, education, and exploration in Columbia MD since its opening in 2011.

Robinson Nature Center

The Nature Center offers so many things to do to interest the area's children all year long. Here is a roundup of some of the popular programs.

  • NatureSphere Planetarium. Enjoy films in this state-of-the-art digital planetarium that seats up to 50 guests. Films are available for a variety of age groups from 2 years to 7 years and up. Younger films feature family favorites like Big Bird while others are more engaging for older kids. For a schedule of events, visit the Nature Center's website.
  • Summer Camp. Kids ages 2 to 14 can make new friends while learning about animals, nature, exploring the forest, doing crafts, and learning survival skills. Campers are grouped by age and activity.
  • Interactive Exhibits. Visitors can learn about local habitats and wildlife with the two-story "Life of the Forest" exhibit, the "Welcome to Your Watershed" exhibit, or the "Changing Lives, Changing Landscapes" exhibit.


Special Events at the Nature Center

There are many rooms that are available to rent at the Nature Center including classrooms, an auditorium or the NatureSphere. From class field trips to birthday parties, this is one of the best places in Columbia MD for children to gather for fun and learning. Birthday party packages include a show in the planetarium, decorations, tables and chairs, and access to the refrigerator.

Hours, Pricing & Location

The Robinson Nature Center is located at 6692 Cedar Lane in Columbia MD. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and closed Monday and Tuesday. Adult admission is $5.00, children ages 3 to 17 are $3.00, and kids under 3 are free. Annual passes are also available.

When you're ready to enjoy the family-friendly lifestyle Columbia has to, contact the professionals at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty for help finding homes for sale in Columbia, MD.

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