Many factors contributed to Columbia ranking #1 on our list. The University of Missouri’s faithful support to local businesses did much to boost the city’s economy. The city’s keen appreciation of the arts opens the door for residents to enjoy such cultural events as international ballet companies, opera and contemporary musicians from all over the country.
Three prestigious colleges/universities make Columbia their home: University of Missouri (Mizzou), Stephens College and Columbia College, giving the city a reputation for being an educational and cultural center. Healthcare, insurance and technology all contribute to the city’s local economy. The Museum of Art and Archaeology and State Historical Society are part of Columbia’s cultural heritage.
Columbia is set upon the backdrop of beautiful forested hills, prairies, glades and mountains. Two state parks and a wildlife refuge encircle the city, preserving the natural environment.
The city enjoys a perfect location that’s roughly 120 miles from St. Louis and Kansas City and 29 miles from Jefferson City. The surrounding forests are comprised mostly of maple, oak, hickory and sycamore trees that flood the area with color in autumn.
The first settlers to the region were native Indian tribes who were later ousted by French traders and American pioneers. Over time, other European explorers and immigrants contributed to the city’s population. In 1822, William Jewell set up the city’s first hospital followed by Columbia’s first newspaper in 1830.
In 1832 and 1835, the state’s first theatre and agricultural fair made their debut, according to Wikipedia. During the Civil War, Columbia was virtually untouched when it came to experiencing battles. This helped to preserve the city’s assets and enhance the growth and development of its educational, cultural, transportation and economic systems for the future.