The downtown San Diego neighborhood of Columbia is nestled in the heart of the city, south of Little Italy, north of the Marina District, west of Core and the Horton District. The area is largely commercial although a vibrant residential life certainly does exist in Columbia. A large number of high rise condominium buildings tower over the area. Despite the current setting of the area, Columbia is undergoing significant renovation to improve residential life and increase commercial opportunities. Currently, a Navy Broadway Complex and Embarcadero Circle Cruise Ship Terminal are both underway and slated for construction while a number of other high-rise buildings are already in the construction process.
Columbia’s location in the middle of the city allows residents the convenience of often walking to work or taking public transit. Additionally, the location is close to a number of important stores, malls, and other places that make living in Columbia a breeze. The Westfield Shoppingtown Horton Plaza is the area’s primary retail area and spans an area of nine city blocks. The mall includes a number of high-end fashion boutiques as well as shopping center staples like Macys and other brand-name retailers. A food court is especially vibrant during the work week when many people who work in the city take a break at the plaza.
The Santa Fe Depot is located in Columbia and is one of San Diego’s primary railroad stations. The depot is served by the local trolley, the Coaster, and Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner long-distance train. The Coaster is the nickname for the San Diego Coast Express Rail that provides regional service within San Diego County. The Pacific Surfliner actually serves as a terminus for the line and operates a four-times-daily service up the 350-mile route to San Luis Obispo. The route is actually Amtrak’s most heavily traveled service outside of the northeast U.S. corridor.
The Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and the San Diego Maritime Museum are both located in Columbia on the neighborhood’s Pacific Ocean waterfront. A number of jetties and docks extend into the ocean, some of the public ones offering an intriguing view of the city and the ocean. Many residents find the waterfront to be one of the most relaxing areas of the city.