Columbia was founded in 1788 on the Little Miami River and predates Losantiville (which became Cincinnati) by a month. The first Protestant church (Baptist) in the Northwest Territory was erected in Columbia. The Cincinnati area's first school opened here in 1790. Many of the early settlers are buried in the former Columbia Baptist Cemetery, founded in 1790. The cemetery is now known as the Pioneer Memorial Cemetery.
The neighborhood is noted for its Victorian era homes decorated in the painted ladies multi-color style. Designated historic structures in the neighborhood include the Bates Building, Kellogg House, LuNeack House, Norwell Residence, Spencer Township Hall, and the Stephen Decker Rowhouse.
It is also home to popular restaurants and attractions such as BrewRiver GastroPub in the East End, a turn of the century home converted farm-to-table restaurant with double-deck patios and Ohio River Views, Green Dog Cafe, Buz, Allyn's Cafe and The Precinct, an upscale restaurant occupying the restored Police Station No. 6.