CoMo Day Trips

Taking a road trip for a day can be a great way to learn more about the communities surrounding your home, and my first suggestion for a day trip outside of Columbia is to our state capitol, Jefferson City. My dad and his brothers grew up in Jefferson City and many of my family members still live in the area so I’m excited to talk about a place I have fond memories of.

Distance: 30 miles south of Columbia

How to get there: Take Highway 63 South and exit to merge onto Highway 54 West

photo of fountain at the Missouri State capitol, statues in the water of children holding fish which have the water sprouting from their mouthsPhoto from the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

Jefferson City was commissioned to be the capitol of Missouri in 1821, and members of the general assembly officially moved in 1826. The city holds quite a bit of history within its roots and continues to grow. Built along the Missouri River, and a stop along the Pacific Railroad line, it has been a hub for transportation and progress.

Columbia and Jefferson City are so close that many families commute to work in the other city depending on industry and family structure. Only a 30 minute drive apart, Columbia and Jefferson City share a love for coffee shops, local foods, and Missouri history.


Must-Try and Must-See:

Coffee

I’m told from the locals that the best place to find a coffee in Jefferson City is Three Story Coffee in Millbottom, though they have two locations in Jefferson City so you can be the judge of that. Less than a 5 minute walk from the Missouri State Capitol building, it is a small shop with a huge passion for change in the coffee industry. Not only is the best quality beverage something they strive for but they also want to connect the consumer with the stories and faces behind the bean, the farmer. They feature their farmers and stories to go beyond fair trade to showcase a community of love put into the process.

Left, Three Story Coffee Instagram; Right, Benjamin Bommel at Three Story Coffee – Millbottom

History to Explore

With a fresh drink in your hand, take that quick walk over to the Missouri State Capitol and Missouri State Museum. The capitol grounds are beautiful to explore and feature a great deal of statues, fountains, and memorials. Some favorites are the Lewis and Clark monument, the Missouri Law Enforcement memorial, the Missouri Veterans Memorial, and the Fountain of Centaurs. For a tour of the inside of the capitol building, visit the tour desk on the first floor between 9am-11am and 1pm-4pm at the top of the hour.

Photo of state capitol on a sunny day with yellow and red tulips in frontPhoto from Missouri State Capitol Commission Facebook

Another short walk and you can find the Governor’s Mansion and Garden. Home of Missouri’s first family and a beautiful piece of architecture, the site is a must see when visiting. Guided tours can range from 15-45 minutes depending on the time of year and require a 24-hour advance reservation that can be made online.

Two photos - one of the governor's mansion at dusk with the fountain in front, and the other is a black and white photo of the governor's mansionPhotos from the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion Facebook

Now you’re in the heart of Downtown Jefferson City so if you have the time to keep exploring, I’d highly recommend it. Don’t forget that some of the best treasures are the ones you find while wandering aimlessly.

Outdoor Adventures

Photo of a box turtle on the overlook at Clark's HillPhoto from Will Haenni – IG @willkrcg13

If you’re not tired of walking just yet, take time to visit Clark’s Hill/Norton State Historic Site. The area features the short, half-mile Osage trail that leads to an overlook and features several items William Clark wrote about in his journal during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Sweet Treats

Photo of a hand holding a cup of ice cream in front of the Central Dairy sign with the red and white striped awning

When it comes to a good dessert, my favorites are the frozen kind. From ice cream to frozen yogurt, there is no way to go wrong with these two classics. Central Dairy is a historic business in Jefferson City and the setting for many a story from my childhood and my father’s. Originally from Columbia in the 1920s, the Jefferson City location was opened in 1934 where it remains today. Caramel Caribou is a personal favorite of mine, and I would strongly suggest bringing cash to pay.

For frozen yogurt, check out Yo Yums. They are located downtown near the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol Building. Family-owned with a variety of flavor and topping options, this is a sweet treat you won’t want to miss.

Bites to Eat

The older brother of a downtown favorite in Columbia is West Main Pizza. Hand-tossed pizzas and a local Italian restaurant feel makes patrons feel welcome when they arrive and satisfied when they leave.

Photo of a burger from Prison Brews with cheese and avacadoPhoto from Prison Brews Facebook

If burgers are what you’re craving then head to Prison Brews, a microbrewery sporting what I’m told are the best burgers in town.

Nighttime Entertainment

Your first option for evening entertainment is a stop by Capitol City CORK & Provisions. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, CORK features a seasonal menu to pair with its wines.

3 photos from CORK - breakfast dish, bagel sandwich with salmon, and mimosaPhotos from Capitol City CORK and Provisions Facebook

For the lovers of the theater, stop by Capital City Productions to catch a show with the Capital City Players. This summer and fall they will be putting on two different productions: Beauty & the Beast (August) and Sweeny Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (October). Check out their website for updated showtimes.

Spooky photo at the Missouri Penitentiary of the welcome sign and a barred gate

My final suggestion for a late night thrill is a stop at the Missouri State Penitentiary for a ghost tour. The penitentiary was built in the 1830s to ensure that Jefferson City remained the best option for the state capitol and remained in operation until 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was home to several infamous convicts. History tours are held in the afternoons and early evenings, and ghost tours are held in evenings and late into the night. You can choose the tour that is just right for you or reserve a time for a private tour for your group.

Photo of the exterior of the Missouri Penitentiary on a cloudy day It’s a lot to take in but a day (or two) in Jefferson City can be full of good eats and a variety of entertainment to brush up on your history or even give you a good scare. For more information on where to stay or what to do in Jefferson City during your visit check out our friends at Visit Jefferson City.


Blog written by Convention and Visitors Bureau intern, Grace Bommel

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If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve the entire family can enjoy, make your plans now to attend Columbia Eve Fest!

Here’s some information from the organizers:

We are excited to be going into the New Year with new beginnings as Columbia Eve Fest! We  have lots of fresh, fun festivity planned for your New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Columbia, Missouri. We will continue to bring high quality local, regional and national entertainment to our stages. The festival continues as a not-for-profit, culturally diverse, non-alcohol, family friendly event for all ages.

MORE EXCITING CHANGES!! “The Footprint”

The footprint of Columbia Eve Fest will be slightly different from previous years as First Night Columbia. We will be compacting the festival into a “block party” location. We believe this will be safer and more participant friendly in regard to challenging weather conditions. Our popular 5K Run/Walk will continues to inspire our participants to start the new year off  with a healthy beginning at 4:00 p.m. in front of Cyclextreme.

The other venues will be located in the Missouri Theatre, Columbia Art League and the Missouri United Methodist Church (7 venues). We will also be closing off the block of 9th street located between Elm and Locust and utilizing the closed street as a convenient, safe path for participants. It will also be an outdoor venue featuring lots of fun activities, the Children’s Finale and the Grand Finale. If the weather is hazardous, we will be able to move the Children’s Finale into the Methodist Auditorium and the Grand Finale into the Missouri Theatre.

Be sure to check out the schedule for all of the entertainment information and you can purchase your passes at the ARC as well as all Gerbes Supermarkets. Spend a fun, safe and musical New Year’s Eve in The District. Happy New Year!

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‘Tis the season…to panic about holiday shopping! Lists of friends, relatives and co-workers are piling up and making you wonder if you’ll ever get all your gifts bought. Never fear, Columbia is here! We’ve assembled another festive list (one you can even sing along with) that can help you knock out those presents in a snap. Spend one day in CoMo then put your feet up to revel in having your shopping done.

On my CoMo holiday shopping trip, I bought on my spree…

Twelve Velvet Cupcakes

Pick up a dozen of the most delectable, unique treats you’ll come across this season. The cupcake menu at The Velvet Cupcake changes daily, but the guests at your holiday party or your aunt with the sweet tooth will be delighted no matter which flavor you choose.

Eleven Painting Classes

Grab your ten closest friends and have a night out at The Canvas on Broadway. At the Canvas, art is for everyone, and you’ll leave with your very own piece of art and great holiday memories. They also have a bar, so your creativity will undoubtedly be heightened.

Ten Terrific Tootsies

Some days, there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice spa pedicure. For the person in your life who could use some pampering, pick up the gift of relaxation in the form of a gift card for one of Columbia’s many spas. A couple of Columbia favorites, Riversong and Salon Adair, will always be winners.

Nine Gunther’s Tokens

Have someone who always wants the highest score? Gunther’s Games is back in downtown Columbia! Offering classic games as well as new titles, Gunther’s is a great place for your favorite kid or kid at heart.

Eight Tiger Goodies

You’ve probably heard that Mizzou has had a pretty fantastic year sports-wise. Show your favorite fans you care with some Tiger gear from Rally House or Tiger Spirit. From coffee mugs to keychains, pom-poms to Tiger ears, the Mizzou fans in your life will go crazy for your black and gold gift.

Seven Stocking Stuffers

Everyone likes to find a little something special in their stocking! Check out Calhoun’s for fun little gifts ranging from unique jewelry to fun home decor and items for kids. Calhoun’s really is a one-stop-shop for that something extra special for anyone on your list!

Six Local Art Pieces

If there’s one thing Columbia really knows how to do, it’s art! Explore spots like Artlandish, PS:Gallery, Bluestem Missouri Crafts and the Columbia Art League Gallery for pieces with a local flavor at all price points. Whether you’re looking for a small work or a statement piece to last a lifetime, Columbia’s galleries offer some of the most beautiful work around.

Fiiiiiive Flower Arrangements

Everyone needs a centerpiece for the big holiday meal, right? Volunteer to take care of that this year and get rave reviews with an arrangement from Kent’s Floral Gallery on Broadway. Just stepping inside Kent’s during the holidays is an experience. Kent and his team will make your holiday shine with an arrangement that’s ready to go or customize it to your preference.

Four Pints of Sparkys

You can also be the star of the holiday by showing up with dessert! Allow us to recommend stopping by Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream to pick up an array of flavors. You can choose from the ready-to-go freezers or have them pack up any of their available flavors as well. You can go as traditional or outlandish on your choices as you want…Sparky’s has something for everyone!

Three Bags of Coffee

Another thing Columbia does well is coffee. With three colleges and a population of hard-workers, there’s never a short demand for caffeine. Explore the different roasts and local shops like Lakota, Coffee Zone and Kaldi’s to get the java lover in your life something new for their mornings.

Two True/False Passes

The True/False Film Fest is one of the hallmark weekends in Columbia. What started as a small event 11 years ago is now one of the world’s most respected documentary film festivals. Throw in a parade, music showcases, a game show and nightly parties and you have pretty much the most fun someone could have in four days. Passes are on sale now!

And a Gift Certificate Just For You From Me!

Need a gift for that one person who has everything? Let them explore Columbia for themselves! A gift certificate to The District will get that special someone into restaurants, shops and more!

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FallLeaves

Columbia’s trees are really showing off their colors this fall! These are just a few views from near the office of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, so our staff is lucky enough to enjoy these every day. We’re also next to the beginning trail head of the MKT Trail, so it’s a great place to start a fall foliage stroll. Be sure to take lots of pictures (and share them with us on Facebook!) before the leaves all fall!

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Looking for some fantastic family fun this fall? Look no further than Columbia’s Heritage Festival and Craft Show. This year marks the 36th annual festival in historic Nifong Park.  This free festival runs September 21 & 22 from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. each day.

Not only is Nifong Park home to a historic home and the Boone County Historical Society, but the festival brings visitors into the past with traditional crafts, entertainment on two stages and special tours.

Heritage Fest 2008413

Visitors will be taken back to the traditions of the past. Listen, learn, and see history as it comes alive. See artisans and tradesmen dressed in 19th century attire demonstrating their trades and selling their wares. A large contemporary handmade craft area will also be featured.

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Enjoy entertainment on two stages including music, dancing and storytelling. Saturday Evening Ghost Stories (8-9:30 pm) are sponsored by the Mid-Missouri Organization Storytellers.

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The Maplewood Home in Nifong Park

Tour the Historic Maplewood Home and the Walter’s Boone County Historical Museum and Village. Great food and a beautiful park setting will make the Heritage Festival a family tradition!

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Looking for an afternoon of outdoor family entertainment? Check out Perche Creek Golf Club!

Not just your traditional golf facility, Perche Creek is also home to mini-golf, go-karts, batting cages and more!

The entire family can go a few rounds in the batting cages, take some laps around the go-kart track and putt-putt their way through the Perche Creek before hitting up the snack bar and relaxing outside.

Not only are there fun and games, but Perche Creek also has a driving range, par three course and a fantastic pro shop.

Golfers can also have a club fitting done, get lessons or have their existing clubs repaired. The entire family can enjoy an afternoon or evening at the beautiful Perche Creek facility. Just west of Columbia off Interstate 70, Perche Creek is easy to get to, reasonably priced and has something for everyone in your family!

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It’s hot outside but the real thing heating up The District this week will be the annual Dog Days sale!

DogDaysCVB

This yearly event will offer deep discounts on clothing, jewelry, home accessories, art and more from your favorite shops in The District. On July 25th-28th, The District is the place to be to snag great deals and enjoy summer in Columbia.

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Established in 1835, the Boone County Fair has been an area favorite for over 150 years! This week of fantastic family events celebrates summer in mid-Missouri with concerts, concessions, cars and much more. This year’s fair runs July 23rd-27th and you can even buy your tickets online.  You can find the full schedule here, but here are some highlights you won’t want to miss!

-Children’s Barnyard and Petting Zoo – includes livestock and also other Missouri farm products such as grains, soybeans, and wheat. Open every day during fair, hours Tues-Friday 4-9 PM and Saturday 12-9 PM.

-Ham Breakfast July 27th at the Grandstand at 7:00 a.m. with special guest speaker Mike Alden.

-Hwy 65 Motocross Racing July 23rd, 7:00 PM Watch United FMX perform stunts and ride in 1 of 2 monster trucks available at the show.

-Also check out pony rides, Ed Aragoni the master illusionist, chainsaw carving, demolition derby, the dog show, baby contest and the Machens Wild West Shootout.

Gather up the entire family and head to the fair! Spend just one night or the entire week exploring rides, fair food, concerts, fun special events and contests. We’ll see you at the fair!

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If you get a little overheated during your summer visit to Columbia, be sure to hit these ‘cool’ spots and get yourself a treat!

63 Diner

5801 Hwy 763 North | 573-443-2331

Step back in time at the 63 Diner! A classic diner featuring music from the 50’s and nostalgic décor – the waitresses even wear poodle skirts! Order one of many signature diner-style meals, and don’t forget the milkshake!

Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe

28 S. 9th St. | 573-817-5616

While Main Squeeze does feature a vegetarian menu, it’s not just for vegetarians! Stop by and try one of their unique fresh juice drinks or smoothies, like the Ginger Tonic (apple, celery, lemon, and ginger) or the Berry Berry Good smoothie (grape, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry).

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream

21 S. 9th St. | 573-443-7400

sparkysicecream-compressed

A small ice cream parlor in The District (downtown Columbia), Sparky’s features awesomely unique rotating flavors including mango strawberry almond, chocolate banana Tabasco, dark and stormy (for those 21 and older, it includes rum and ginger beer), blackberry goat cheese, and dark pepper dark chocolate espresso. Don’t worry, for those of you who would prefer a safer choice, Sparky’s also has “normal” flavors like vanilla bean, chocolate, cookies and cream, and butter pecan.

Tropical Liqueurs

515 E. Broadway | 573-442-8098

3805 S. Providence | 573-256-7141

A bar specializing in frozen cocktails, Trops is the place to be (as long as you’re 21)! There are 2 locations in Columbia: one on the south side of town and one downtown in the District. While Trops does serve beer and mixed drinks, they are known for their frozen drinks such as the Tiger Paw (peach schnapps, rum, pineapple juice, and orange juice), ’57 Chevy (rum, gin, vodka, sloe gin, and mai tai blend), and many others.

Buck’s Ice Cream

Eckles Hall, University of Missouri | 573-882-1088

Buck’s is known as the official ice cream of the Mizzou Tigers and is even made fresh on the University of Missouri’s campus by food science students. Their typical hours are Monday – Friday noon-5 (and Saturdays during warmer months), but it’s completely worth it to find time to go just for a taste of their tiger stripe or Mizzou gold ice cream.

Yogoluv

201 S. 9th St. | 573-777-9694

Yogoluv features a buffet of frozen yogurt and topping choices, and the price depends on how much your bowl of deliciousness weighs. The flavors are rotated but the basic choices of chocolate and vanilla are available along with toppings including candies, syrups, fruits, cereals, and almost anything else you’d want on your frozen yogurt.

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