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The summer heat is here to stay, and that mean it’s important to find places in town where you can beat the heat and have some fun in a pool. Luckily, Columbia has several places to cool off and relax. Whether it’s a public pool or sprayground, people of all ages are bound to enjoy themselves.

Public Pools

Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center

The Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center is Columbia’s largest outdoor municipal pool. With a play area for the kids and diving boards for the more adventurous, a great time will be had by all.

ARC Water Zone

With a leisure pool, lazy river, vortex and more, the ARC Water Zone is an incredible indoor way to have fun this summer.

Douglass Family Aquatic Center

A double loop slide, climbing wall and spraygrounds are some of what you’ll find at the Douglass Family Aquatic Center. It’s a wonderful place to

Lake of the Woods Pool

Relaxation is close to home. Located on the east side of Columbia by the Lake of the Woods Golf Course, this pool offers slides lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Little Mates Cove

This pirate-themed water play area features waterfalls, slides and sprinklers. You’re guaranteed to have fun in the sun.


Flat Branch Spraygrounds

The spraygrounds at Flat Branch Park sits in downtown Columbia and is free and open to the public. it’s a great pace to cool off and enjoy a beautiful park.

Douglass Spraygrounds

Part of the Douglass Family Aquatic Center, the spraygrounds play the role of the kiddie pool. It is perfectly suited for those looking to splash around this summer.

Stephens Lake Beach & Spraygrounds

The beach is closer than you think. Stephens Lake Park offers a place to swim in the lake and soak up the sun by the spraygrounds.

Photos courtesy of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department


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Happy Parks and Recreation Month!

Throughout the month of July, we will be spotlighting some of the beautiful places and exciting activities you can see and do outdoors in Columbia. Not so surprisingly, many of those places are parks managed by the City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation department.

Check out these hidden gems the next time you plan to go on an outdoor adventure.

Capen Park


The scenic overlooks should never be overlooked at Capen Park. With bridge connections to Grindstone Nature Area and the Hinkson Creek Trail, the park covers 31.9 acres.

Martin Luther King, Jr. at Memorial Garden


“Breathtaking” does not do this garden justice. Featuring a stunning sculpture by Barbara Grygutis, this hidden gem hosts outdoor weddings and is a trail head for the MKT Trail.

Nifong Park


History is a major component of Nifong Park. It is home to the Boone County History & Culture Center, the Village at Boone Junction, the Maplewood Home and grounds as well as the Maplewood Barn Theatre.

Philips Park


Home to a 40-acre fishing lake and fish from the Missouri Department of Conservation, this park is a sight to see. There is a 1.4-mile gravel trail that surrounds the lake and beautiful scenery wherever you look.

Rock Quarry Park


Rock Quarry Park is an excellent place to go out and play. With a playground, tennis courts with pickleball lines and baseball and soccer practice fields, there is so much fun to be had.

Go outside this month and celebrate the phenomenal outdoors we are fortunate to live near. Be sure to tag your photos with #ShowMeCoMo.

Photos Courtesy of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreations Department

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Some of our favorite childhood memories come from family vacations. From day trips to week-long adventures, those memories stay with us.

“The majority of adults (62%) say their earliest memories were of family vacations taken when they were between ages 5 and 10 which goes to show the lasting impact of vacations.”

As a destination, Columbia offers a variety of opportunities to make lasting memories. Here are some of our favorite places to experience family fun!


Columbia is home to several parks and trails, and all of them are sure to bring excitement to any family outing. Whether you’re enjoying the playground at Cosmo Park, hiking through Rock Bridge Memorial State Park or taking in the beauty of Stephens Lake at Stephens Lake Park, you’re bound to have enjoyable time.

Fun & Games

There are places in Columbia that offer fun and games for the entire family. Midway Golf & Games offers a miniature golf course, an electric go-kart track, batting cages and even more activities for the family to take part in. Lazer Lanes is a bowling alley that also has a large variety of arcade games. Sky Zone gives its patrons the adventure they crave. From a ninja warrior course to freestyle jumping to a toddler zone, all ages are sure to have a marvelous time.

The Arts

For those who love to create, The Mud Room gives you the chance to paint your own pottery. Paining with guidance can be found at The Canvas on Broadway. No matter where you go, your masterpieces will be souvenirs of your trip that you can look back on in the years to come.

No matter you choose to make your family memories in Columbia, they will be long-lasting. We look forward to helping make your memories last a lifetime!


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Happy National Travel and Tourism Week!

Travel and Tourism are major parts of everyone’s everyday life, whether they realize it or not. When you think about travel in your own life, you may recall adventures and experiences you had on a vacation to a new place or even a staycation in your own city. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s still so important!

76 percent of employed Americans say a firsthand experience is instrumental in forming impressions of a community. 

In Columbia, we pride ourselves on being “what you unexpect” because we know how important it is to offer something different to visitors and locals alike. New Experiences can be anything from trying a new restaurant in town to throwing an ax at a target to watching 15 films at the True/False Film Fest. What’s wonderful is all these experiences (and countless others) can happen in Columbia.

Parks, trails, recreational activities, Columbia has it all! Stay tuned this week to see some of the unique experiences you can find in Columbia.

All wise adventurers know the importance of surrounding oneself with good people when looking for new experiences. Columbia is filled with the best people, and they know how to make magical experiences happen! We encourage everyone to Meet Columbia and put some names to faces of the people that make Columbia experiences so positively memorable.

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A close up of a plate of food

If you’re celebrating Easter this weekend, or if you’re just in the mood for a fabulous Sunday brunch, there are fantastic places to brunch and lunch around town!

Holiday Inn Executive Center Easter Buffet

Make your reservation for a seating in the Elegant Windsor Ballroom! Buffet service will be from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A close up of tableware and flowers on a table

Glenn’s Cafe

Come to the Tiger Hotel for Sunday Brunch! It will be served from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. with regular breakfast starting at 7 a.m.

A close up of a plate of food


Sunday Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A close up of sophia

Les Bourgeois Vineyards

Make a reservation to enjoy a vineyard brunch from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards


Visit 11Eleven inside the Broadway Hotel for brunch from 10 a.m – 3 p.m.


Cafe Berlin

Weekend Brunch will be served from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

A close up of a sandwich on a plate

44 Stone

Sunday Brunch will be available from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

44 Stone

The Heidelberg

Take part in an Easter Buffet from 10 a.m – 1:30 p.m.

The Heidelberg

Bleu Market and Bakery

Make your reservation to dine at Bleu  this Sunday! Seatings will be available at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Bleu Market and Bakery







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Did you find all six hidden things in the ‘Look Closer’ picture? The answer key is below!


When it comes to planning your next meeting or conference take a closer look at Columbia, Missouri. Located right in the center of the state, Columbia has over 3,800 hotel rooms, with accommodations that can fit any budget. Columbia also offers the convenience, choices and value that will make any event a success, but the city also has that little something extra (hint: it’s fun!) that makes your attendees’ experiences memorable. So see if you can find what you’ve been missing here in Columbia…

bar at Logboat Brewing Co. with sign of brews currently on tap4 Breweries:

A testament to Columbia’s entrepreneurial spirit, four delicious breweries call the city home. Both Flat Branch Pub & Brewing and Broadway Brewery have excellent food along with their craft brews, but if you really want to go all-out for your event, check out the event space at Logboat Brewery or Bur Oak Brewery. Boasting a relaxed industrial tasting room, Logboat also has ample outdoor space, a great space to rent for a casual reception with games and good times. Bur Oak has ample parking and you can host an event inside the brewery and taproom! Talk about an unforgettable event.

Shrimp and grits, steak, and lobster mac n cheese at Room 38300 Restaurants:

Having so many restaurants makes it difficult to choose, but the Columbia CVB sales and service staff is ready to help you pick the perfect spot! From pizza to pierogies to paella, every price point and palate can be accommodated. Find an intimate room to treat your board to a special meal or find a uniquely Columbia spot to cater for everyone attending your conference.

Artwork at Poppy, a boutique in Columbia60 Unique Shops:

Family vacations aren’t the only time you want to pick up a souvenir! In Columbia, nearly everywhere you turn, there’s a unique option to take home. Prints by local artists, locally produced chocolates or preserves, or even a fun piece of jewelry will be a lasting reminder of your time here in CoMo. Plus, don’t you already have enough coffee mugs?

people waiting in line at the Ozark Mountain Biscuit food truck12 Food Trucks:

When you want something to be the unexpected hit of your meeting or conference, think food on wheels! The food truck trend has rolled out in Columbia in a big way. Lily’s Cantina has fresh, authentic Mexican dishes, The Big Cheese will put pulled pork on your grilled cheese sandwich, and the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company uses fantastic local ingredients to make their homemade biscuits even more delicious. Food trucks take the restaurant on the road and are a fun break from the usual conference fare.

Ragtag cinema, an independent film house in Columbia20 Entertainment Hot Spots:

A fun night out can be the icing on the cake for a successful conference. From low-key to fast-paced, Columbia offers it all. Gather your group for a world-class performance at the University Concert Series. Enjoy the lawn and local music at Rose Music Hall. Or let the CVB help you find options that your attendees can choose from! If you’re looking for great team-building activities, the CVB also can help you find a custom option just for your group.

A trail in Columbia64.5 Miles of Nature Trails:

Who says work can’t also be a little bit of an escape? One of the things people are impressed with over and over again is Columbia’s commitment to green spaces, including our extensive trail system. Whether you brought your bike along and want to take a ride or if a simple stroll is more your style, Columbia’s trails deliver both beauty and serenity. Trails wind through neighborhoods, across campuses and even down by the Missouri River. Check out Columbia at its most picturesque with a break on the trails.

We think when you take all of these great amenities together with the CVB’s incredible sales and service team, Columbia really adds up. Ready to explore and learn more? Contact our sales team or submit your RFP today!


Conventions and Meetings Hidden Pictures Ad

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Happy Fri-yay, Columbia!

What a crazy cold week it’s been! Luckily, it looks like warmth is on the horizon. We’ve certainly earned it after that Polar Vortex shenanigan!

While we are super excited for some warmer weather, we just might be even more thrilled by the amazing things happening this weekend! Let’s dive in, shall we?




First Friday

Not only is it the first day of February, it’s the first Friday of the month! That means the North Village Arts District is celebrating First Friday, a free gallery crawl where residents, visitors and tourists are encouraged to come and enjoy the music, arts and entertainment that help make Columbia the vibrant city that it is. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the weekend!


We are officially in countdown mode for the True/False Film Fest (happening Feb. 28 – March 3), but that doesn’t mean we have to wait the entire month for some True/False fun! True/Love is a one-day event where 10% of of the day’s proceeds from participating local retailers go back to True/False. Plus! Ragtag Cinema will offer a free ticket to shoppers with a purchase of $20 or more! Just be sure to save your receipts and redeem your ticket no more than 10 days after the purchase date. If this isn’t a motivation to shop local on Saturday, we don’t know what is!









Columbia Winter Farmers Market

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., everyone is welcome to attend the Winter Farmers Market at Parkade Plaza. Everything sold there is sold by farmers and artisans who help sustain our region. What’s more, there is live entertainment, activities for children and even prepared food! Sounds like a great way to start your Saturday!


No matter where you spend your time this weekend, enjoy the glorious warm weather coming our way!

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 21, and there are community events taking place to honor Dr. King’s legacy. Check out these special events below.

MLK Day of Service

Saturday, Jan. 19 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Each year, Americans across the country come together to serve their neighbors and communities. To honor Dr. King’s legacy the City of Columbia Volunteer Program is offering volunteer opportunities to participate in MLK Day of Service with an environmental cleanup on January 19th. Volunteers are invited to the Rainbow Softball Complex lot in Cosmo Park at 10 a.m. to pick up supplies and receive a cleanup assignment. For more information, please call 573.874.6271 or email

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Service

Monday, Jan. 21 | 11:00 a.m.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, 800 West Stadium Blvd.

The Columbia NAACP will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Program. A brief ceremony will be held at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial on Stadium Blvd. followed by a motorcade from the MLK Memorial to Second Baptist Church. Motorcade will travel via Stadium Blvd. to Worley St. to Fifth St. to Broadway and end at Second Baptist Church on Broadway. Upon the motorcade’s arrival, a celebration program will begin at Second Baptist Church. A free community luncheon will be served following the program.

The motorcade will depart at 11:15 a.m. (all cars participating in the motorcade are asked to be on site by 11:00 a.m.). For more information contact Mary Ratliff at or 573.445.3231.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Candle Light March and Memorial Celebration

Monday, Jan. 21 | 6:30 p.m.

The candle light walk will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Armory Sports Center, then proceed to the Memorial Celebration at St.  Luke UMC, where a service will be held. Open to all, free. For more information, please contact City of Columbia Parks & Recreation at 573.874.7460.

University of Missouri’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration with Bree Newsom

Wednesday, Jan. 23 | 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, 80 Conley Avenue

Bree Newsom, a contemporary civil rights icon, first garnered national attention for her daring act of peaceful disobedience in June 2015. Following the brutal murder of nine black parishioners at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Newsome climbed the flagpole at the South Carolina statehouse and pulled down the Confederate Battle flag as a protest against racist symbolism. Her arrest galvanized public opinion and led to the permanent removal of the flag. As a recognized and celebrated voice on the topics of injustice and racial discrimination, Bree brings to light the importance of leadership development in building and sustaining social movements.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required to attend the event but are free of charge and available at the Missouri Theatre. Visit for more information.

Unity: A Benefit Concert

Saturday, Jan. 26 | 7 p.m.

MO United Methodist Church, 204 S. 9th St.

This annual benefit concert features Columbia Community Gospel Choir, Columbia Chorale, and Columbia Kids Gospel Choir. The chorus will perform gospel-inspired works and highlight Dr. King’s call to serve one another regardless of one’s ability or resources. This event is free and open to the public. This year, all proceeds benefit the BOLD Academy, an organization that seeks to “empower and uplift Black and Brown Girls through enrichment opportunities, leadership training, education, and positive identity development.”

Below are other community sources providing cultural programs and events.

Blind Boone Home
Columbia Parks & Recreation
Confucius Institute
Daniel Boone Regional Library
Inclusive Impact Institute
Journey to Inclusive Excellence
Missouri Folk Arts Program

Thank you to the City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs for providing this information! Be sure to monitor the event statuses as the winter weather comes in this weekend.

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What a week it’s been in Columbia! It started out beautifully with sunny skies and highs in the 60’s, and quite honestly, we forgot it was only January. Now, just a couple days later, we’re preparing for the first snow event of 2019.

While Mother Nature is laughing at this joke she’s playing on us, we can’t help but reminisce on those glorious days of sunshine and warmth. Everyone seemed to gravitate outdoors, and now we just can’t wait for all the fun and exciting things we’ll be able to do when we bid adieu to winter weather.

Parks & Trails

First and foremost, visiting the countless parks and trails in the area are a must when the sun is shining! Whether it’s hanging around the lake at Stephens Lake Park or exploring the various sections of the MKT Trail, the great outdoors provide several attractions for everyone to enjoy.

All the Patios

Columbia has so many restaurants with outdoor patios! And what’s more, many of them encourage furry friends to come with you (more on that later!). Patios are the perfect place to sit back, relax and take in everything going on around you. We can’t wait for patio days to be here again!

While we may have some wintry weather to get through before we can enjoy the balmy days of spring and summer, we’re still happy to know there are wonderful things to look forward to. Until then, stay safe and warm out there, folks!


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With 2018 coming to a close, it’s time to decide where you’ll be at midnight when the New Year is officially here! Luckily, there is always somewhere to go and something to do in Columbia! Here are some exciting things happening on News Year’s Eve!

The Blue Note – DECADANCE, A New Year’s Celebration at 7 p.m.

This dance party is back for it’s fourth year! Travel through 100 years of dance and celebrate the past, present and future at DECADANCE!

Coley’s – New Year’s Eve at Coley’s featuring a special pre-fixe menu

Enjoy a special dinner at Coley’s as your meal of 2018! A special pre-fixe menu will be featured, so make your reservations now!

Holiday Inn Executive Center – New Year’s Eve Party @ 7 p.m.

Enjoy dinner, dessert and dancing at this special event! Three bands will be play all the music you love, and it will surely be a night to remember!

The Penguin Piano Bar – 2K19 Celebration @ 9 p.m.

Party it up at The Penguin and ring in the new year in style! Pianos and DJs will be there to ensure a fabulous night is had by all!

The Roof – New Year’s Eve Party at The Roof @ 8 p.m.

A live band, appetizers and party favors await you at this classy affair, and it will be a “Champagne Jam” for the ages! 11Eleven will also have a dinner special for two and is currently taking reservations!

Room 38 – NYE 2019 @ 9 p.m.

Celebrate and be merry at Room 38’s New Year’s Eve party! A DJ, live countdown and champagne toast will be featured as 2019 rolls in!

Rose Music Hall – Rose NYE @ 9 p.m.

Bands are coming out for one last 2018 performance! Join  opens in a new windowThe Royal Furs,  opens in a new windowViolet and the Undercurrents and  opens in a new windowOk Samaritan at Rose Music Hall and partake in a midnight champagne toast!

Silverball – NYE 2019 Party @ 9 p.m.

Fun and fabulous is the trend for ending 2018! Bottomless slushees, a dance lounge and all the games will be at Silverball this NYE!

The Social Room – “Another One Bites the Dust” NYE Celebration @ 8 p.m.

2018 is biting the dust, so we must celebrate! Two DJs and delicious food and drink specials will be waiting for you at The Social Room!

The Tiger Hotel – New Year’s Eve at the Tiger @ 7 p.m.

Gourmet dishes, delicious drinks and a champagne toast will be offered at The Tiger Hotel this NYE! What a way to ring in 2019!

Top Ten Wines – Gilded Decadence at @ 7 p.m.

Pop the bubbly and feel the New Orleans-inspired musical vibes at Top Ten Wines! Strike a pose in front of the backdrop and enjoy a festive evening at Top Ten Wines!

No matter where you decide to ring in 2019, we wish you the happiest new year!

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