Tell me about Columbia, Missouri

I might be moving to Columbia, Missouri next year. I will be moving somewhere, but where exactly hasn’t been determined yet. Of the possible locations, the one I know the least about is Columbia.

I grew up in St. Louis, MO, but I’ve probably only spent a few hours total in Columbia. I think central Missouri is very pretty, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of the area. My wife and I will be spending a few days in Columbia next month to take a look around.

So, my humble request: give me some ideas about where to live and where to look for work.

Some background information:

We are a childless married couple, each ~35 years old. We’re not party maniacs, and we’d prefer not being serenaded by 2:00 am parties on a regular basis. Once in a while, OK; weekly, not OK. We do like a somewhat urban atmosphere – the kind of location where you can walk a few blocks to the cool neighborhood tavern or the decent restaurant or the grocery store. Not necessarily the downtown business district, but not an anonymous suburb. I really hate driving. We’ll probably want to buy a home rather than rent. (I’m sure some of these goals are mutually exclusive – e.g., walkable to tavern but not swamped by hard-drinking students may not happen; this is just a wish list.)

Regarding the work angle: my wife’s job will be set, so I’ll be the one looking. I’m an IT guy. Aside from the usual online resources, are there particularly good local resources for job-hunting? Besides the university, what are some of the bigger employers in the area?

Lay it on me!

I went to Mizzou from 1998 to 2002. I remember it as a nifty little town, but my time was confined to campus and student ghettos. YMMV as a real grownup with a house and responsibilities.

I don’t remember any particularly walkable neighborhoods, except campus and the adjacent downtown. Unless things have changed radically, it’s a car-oriented town with some bus service.

Other than the University, the biggest employers in town are the hospitals – I remember that much from working on the Missourian.

I’ve found the area roughly west of downtown and east of Stadium Blvd. to be the most livable part of the town. Although it’s not particularly walkable, you can probably get by with one car and a bicycle. In general the older neighborhoods are north and west of the university, the newer neighborhoods are south and east.

Shelter Insurance and MFA (the agricultural cooperative) are headquartered in Columbia. They’re both pretty IT intensive.

One thing you’ll find is that commuting between Columbia and Booneville, Fulton and especially Jefferson City (each about 20-30 miles away and a half hour drive) is considered quite normal.

Shakespeare’s has good pizza.

That is the sum total of my Columbia experience.

I’ve only been there four times but Columbia is not friendly to bikes at all. On Campus is more friendly to bikes and walking. Maybe because they were doing a lot of constuction next to the book store but I was not impressed there either.

My daughter is a freshman there and two of here classes are nearly 0.8 miles one way. She apparently has figured out the shuttle service after two weeks of hoofing it.:smiley:

As others have said south and west of the campus is suburb alley. I think the street is Nifong blvd. where things obviously change from poor college town into well to do middle class and upper middle class.

I’m sorry to say it but yes, you will need a car.

It’s surprising and unfortunate that the town is car-dependent. I’m not totally opposed to driving, I just like to keep it to a minimum. I had thought about commuting to Jeff City or Fulton for work, but I consider that a Plan B. I had no idea MFA and Shelter were based in Columbia. For housing, I’ll look into the areas mentioned.

Anybody else have any experience in Columbia?