If you are visiting Columbia for the first time, you will be pleased to know that there are a variety of interesting activities to keep you busy. The whole family will enjoy spending a few hours at Lake Kittamaqundi where you can go walking, cycling or kayaking. Next up, especially if you have the family with you, the Robinson Nature Center offers excellent educational activities for all ages. If you would like an indoor work-out or a swim you can visit the Supreme Sports Club and once you have worked up a good appetite you can head to one of the town’s popular restaurants like Aida Bistro, Sushi Sono or the Iron Bridge Wine Company. The Mall at Columbia is one of the area’s foremost shopping malls offering over 200 specialty stores, restaurants and movies.

1.Lake Kittamaqundi

Lake Kittamaqundi
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Lake Kittamaqundi was formed during the establishment of Columbia and is now a popular recreational area for Columbia residents and visitors. There is a paved 2.5 mile multi-use trail around the perimeter of the 27-acre lake where you can go walking, running or cycling. Along the way you will find several secluded picnic areas, water fountains and clean public toilets. In addition there are several other trails leading off the main trail if you need a longer loop. The area along the shores of the lake is home to several good restaurants and shops and there is a boat launch and wooden pier where you can set off to paddle or kayak.

Lake Kittamaqundi, Columbia, MD 21044

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2.Robinson Nature Center

Robinson Nature Center
© Robinson Nature Center

The Robinson Nature Center is a great place to spend a couple of hours getting closer to nature with the whole family. The center is an amazing nature-education facility which offers many fun interactive activities for children and adults. The building is remarkably environmentally-friendly and visitors are inviting to come and explore for a very modest entry fee. Children will love the Discovery Zone, where they can play and dress-up and enjoy the aquarium and touch tank. The planetarium hosts great shows for all ages and there is also plenty of interesting exhibits for adults to enjoy. The whole family can spend some time exploring the outdoor nature trail.

Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD 21044, Phone: 410-313-0400

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3.The Mall in Columbia

The Mall in Columbia
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The Mall in Columbia was built to service the needs of the planned town of Columbia, offering a great combination of high-end department stores, small boutiques, restaurants, movies and more. Shopaholics can enjoy a great day of shopping in the attractive open-air setting which boasts over 200 specialty shops. There is always something on the go to keep children amused including cookery classes, build-a-bear workshops and family-fun days. When you need a break from the shopping you can watch a movie or rest your feet as you enjoy lunch, dinner or a snack at one of the several restaurants and coffee shops in the Mall.

The Mall in Columbia, 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044, Phone: 410-730-3300

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4.Lost Ark Distilling Company

Lost Ark Distilling Company
© Lost Ark Distilling Company

If you have ever wondered what it takes to craft a unique and delicious all-American spirit you can make your way to the Lost Ark Distilling Company on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday to take a guided tour of the production facility. The company was founded to create an outlet for the creativity and passion of the company’s founder Brad, who distils a range of unique spirits based on historic events in the history of Maryland. Your distillery tour includes a host of information about the distilling process and ends with a tasting of some of the company’s most popular products.

Lost Ark Distilling Company, 9570 Berger Rd, Suite L, Columbia, MD 21046, Phone: 443-276-6178

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5.Sapwood Cellars Brewery

Sapwood Cellars Brewery
© Sapwood Cellars Brewery

The owners of Sapwood Cellars Brewery are both passionate about the exacting science of brewing and are determined to produce some of the best beers you will ever taste, right in the heart of Columbia. Owners Scott and Michael know a thing or two about beer, both brewing it and writing about it in various publications. They endeavor to use only the very finest ethically-grown ingredients to produce beers which have a moderate amount of alcohol, a moderate price-tag but an exceptional taste. Visitors are invited to visit the brewery and the tasting room from Wednesday to Sunday to taste whatever is currently available.

Sapwood Cellars Brewery, 8980 MD-108, Suite MNO, Columbia, MD 21045, Phone: 443-542-9304

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6.Historic Oakland Mansion

Historic Oakland Mansion
© Historic Oakland Mansion

Dating back to 1811, the historic Oakland Mansion is one of the oldest buildings in Columbia. Once the country home of Charles Sterrett Ridgely (a speaker in the Maryland House of Delegates) the mansion is of particular interest to any architecture enthusiast since it combines elements from different architectural eras, including Federal, Greek Revival and Colonial Revival periods. Today the mansion is a popular venue for weddings and celebrations and hosts a twice/monthly afternoon tea on the first and last Thursday of each month. The lovely old home is surrounded by beautiful formal gardens which include many plantings which would have been popular choices back when the mansion was originally built.

Historic Oakland Mansion, 5430 Vantage Point Rd, Columbia, MD 21044, Phone: 410-730-4801

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7.Supreme Sports Club

Supreme Sports Club
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The Supreme Sports Club is a brilliant 24-hour destination for anyone wanting to do some training, catch a palates class, enjoy the pool or even just to go roller skating. The club is particularly popular with families as it offers something for everyone, whether you are a hard-core gym fanatic or would just like to keep fit and trim. There is a pool and whirlpool, plenty of equipment and a host of friendly staff to assist you. A few of the many facilities include basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts, an indoor running track, a wading pool for children, lockers and many exercise classes for all fitness levels.

Supreme Sports Club, 7080 Deepage Dr, Columbia, MD 21045, Phone: 410-381-5355

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8.Washington Kali Temple

Washington Kali Temple
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If you have ever thought about learning more about the Hindu religion, the Washington Kali Temple is waiting to welcome you and enlighten you about Hinduism. More than just a temple, Kali Temple is a place of learning and culture where everyone is welcome to come and participate in spiritual enlightenment. Devotional services are held at the temple throughout the year and visitors are very welcome to attend. In addition to spiritual services the temple also offers a host of community services including language classes for children. Temple hours are from 9.00am to 1.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 8.00pm on Weekends.

Washington Kali Temple, 16126 New Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, MD 20866, Phone: 301-476-8152

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9.The Iron Bridge Wine Company

The Iron Bridge Wine Company
© The Iron Bridge Wine Company

The Iron Bridge Wine Company is one of the most popular restaurants in the Columbia area, offering wine lovers a relaxed place to come and enjoy great company, excellent wines and delicious culinary gems. The award-winning restaurant serves a great selection of specially chosen wines from small-production vineyards all over the world, many of which can be enjoyed by the glass. If you are not sure which to choose you can try a flight of 3 small tasters. To savor alongside your wine you can choose from a selection of delicious brunch, lunch or dinner-menu items, prepared from fresh locally-sourced produce.

The Iron Bridge Wine Company, 10435 State Route 108, Columbia, MD 21044, Phone: 410-997-3456

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10.Sushi Sono

Sushi Sono
© Sushi Sono

Striving to offer the very best Japanese cuisine in the region, Sushi Sono offers the ultimate taste-treat for sushi lovers. The vibe in the restaurant is casual but refined and you can enjoy lovely views of Lake Kittamaqundi while you dine. Although many customers come here especially for the delectable sushi and sashimi, the menu goes way beyond these staples to offer a fine choice of soups, salads, tempuras, bowls and teriyaki favorites. To accompany your meal you can choose from a selection of Japanese and local beers and wines by the glass or bottle. Sushi Sono is open daily – you are advised to book your table in advance.

Sushi Sono, 10215 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, MD 21044, Phone: 410-997-6131

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11.Sushi King

Sushi King
© Sushi King

Sushi King is a family –owned Japanese restaurant which has been pleasing Columbia palates for over thirty years. Regular customers will tell you that the service is friendly and the food is brilliant. On the menu you will find a large selection of specialty rolls as well as all your favorites, prepared on the spot with the freshest fish available. Gluten free options are available and there is a commitment to making healthier choices when it comes to ingredients. You can start your dining feast with a selection of tasty appetizers including tempura, gyoza and yakitori before moving on to the extensive menu of sushi and sashimi.

Sushi King, 6490 Dobbin Road, Columbia, MD 21045, Phone: 410-997-1269

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12.Aida Bistro and Wine Bar

Aida Bistro and Wine Bar
© Aida Bistro and Wine Bar

Aida Bistro and Wine Bar is a popular Italian restaurant where you can enjoy up-market home-style Italian cuisine paired with a great selection of wines, many of which are available by the glass. The restaurant prides itself on serving delicious food prepared from the freshest locally-sourced ingredients. The atmosphere is casual and the restaurant offers an outdoor patio for alfresco dining on good-weather days. If you would like to sample some of their excellent wines-on-tap you can visit the wine bar during Happy Hour from 3pm to 7pm on weekdays. Aida Bistro is open for lunch from Monday to Friday and for dinner from Monday to Saturday.

Aida Bistro and Wine Bar, 6741 Columbia Gateway Dr, Columbia, MD 21046, Phone: 410-953-0500

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13.Frisco Tap House and Brewery

Frisco Tap House and Brewery
© Frisco Tap House and Brewery

The Frisco Tap House started out as a small Burrito Bar in 1996. After the addition of a bar serving beers on tap the establishment gained a loyal following of beer lovers. In 2010 the Frisco Tap House was born and the restaurant cum brewery and tap room now boasts an impressive selection of 100+ rotating craft beers and an on-site brewery. On the food side, you can still taste a delicious burrito or choose from a tempting selection of fajitas, sandwiches, pizzas and much more. Entrees include everyone’s favorite slow cooked ribs, crab cakes and Jambalaya. Join their famous Mug Club to taste and track your favorite brews.

The Frisco Tap House and Brewery, 6695 Bobbin Rd, Columbia, MD 21045, Phone: 410-312-4907

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12 Best Things to Do in Columbia, MD