This year, treat your mom to a delicious brunch and some awesome gifts from Columbia.

Where to Brunch


Les Bourgeois Blufftop Bistro – 10 AM-3 PM | reservations: 573-698-2300

The Roof and Eleven Eleven – reservations: 573-818-6207

Holiday Inn Executive Center – brunch in the Windsor Ballroom 11 AM-2 PM | reservations: 573-445-8531 or email

Glenn's 8

Glenn’s Cafe – brunch available from 10:30 AM-3 PM

The Upper Crust – brunch buffet 9 AM-3 PM in the Champagne Ballroom | make your reservations online or by calling 573-874-3033

Grand Cru – buffet 10:30 AM-2 PM | reservations: 573-443-2600

The Tiger Hotel – brunch buffet | reservations: 573-875-8888 or email

The Heidelberg – buffet 10 AM-1 PM | reservations for parties of 8 or more: 573-449-6927

Where to Shop


Poppy | 920 E. Broadway
Locally made gifts, beautiful jewelry, cute paper products, candles, and so much more to choose from. You can find something that any mom would love at Poppy.

Strawberry Hill Farms | 3770 E. Highway 163
If your mom has a green thumb, check out Strawberry Hill Farms. Pick out something you know she’ll love or head over together after brunch and offer to buy her favorite.

The Candy Factory | 701 Cherry St
So many chocolatey options! Even if chocolate isn’t really your mom’s favorite, there’s other candy choices, plus great candles and cute home accessories.

Makes Scents | 19 S. 9th St
Take mom to make her own signature scent at Makes Scents. Bonus: it’s right next to Sparky’s.

Columbia Culinary Tours
For the foodie mom! Purchase a gift certificate if your mom has a busy schedule, or you can pick out the best time for you to take the tour together.

Fringe Boutique | 914 E. Broadway
Does your mom love cowboy boots or clothes with a western edge? Check out this brand new boutique, owned by a local mom and daughter trio!

Roots N Blues N BBQ
Advanced admission tickets are available now! Go ahead and get tickets for mom AND yourself.

Enjoy your time with mom! Tag your photos #ShowMeCoMo to share your experience with us.

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Hi, I’m Megan. I do Marketing and Communications here at Visit CoMo and I’m also a Columbia native!  I love traveling, the Mizzou Tigers, live music, ice cream, my cats and a good nap. I’m also lucky enough to get to promote my hometown every day. There are so many different ways to enjoy Columbia and each month I’ll be bringing you some of my favorites. Let’s go!

I don’t mean to brag (yes I do), but I finished holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. I also wrapped all of my presents last weekend…I hardly know who I am anymore. But there’s no doubt that before the holidays pass, there will come a moment when I realize that there’s someone I forgot – a last minute gift that needs giving. I’m guessing the same might happen to you, too. Sure, you could go with an old standby like a candle or a picture frame or socks, but what about something uniquely Columbia for that person who has everything? Here are a few different fun ideas that will definitely get a sincere thank you!

Get Locked Up


Photo from Breakout CoMo Facebook

If the person you’re gifting is into puzzles and intrigue, Columbia is home to three different escape rooms! These fun facilities give you and your group an hour to escape from rooms themed in all sorts of ways, including Pirate Adventure, Double Agent and Mark Twain Museum. These rooms are a great group activity and perfect for the competitive friend or family member. I know I’m still mad I didn’t escape from Double Agent and it has been months.

-Kick Off a Resolution


Photo from Nourish Cafe & Market Facebook

Have a friend who’s a health nut or someone who’s going to get back in shape in 2017? Help them reach their goals with a gift certificate to Nourish or Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café. Both spots serve up delicious food that will probably make them forget how healthy it is. On a cold day, the Buddha Bowl from Main Squeeze really hits the spot.

-A New Night Out


Photo from Barred Owl Butcher Facebook

Always head to the same spot for date night? This year, try out something new in CoMo. We’re hearing great things about Barred Owl Butcher and Table, which serves up a variety of sandwiches, small plates and charcuterie, or Flyover, which is home to a wood-fired oven. Both have a great cocktail menu and a focus on seasonal, local ingredients. You may just find a new favorite.

-Plan for some Festive Fun


Give your recipient something to really look forward to by purchasing their passes to next year’s True/False Film Fest or Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival. Both events promise an incredible Columbia weekend for the film or music enthusiast. I pretty much plan my life around True/False and Roots ‘n Blues is my fall oasis, so these passes are a can’t-miss gift.

-Winter Warmies

Photo from Route Facebook

Photo from Route Facebook

It seems that winter has finally arrived here in CoMo…it even snowed yesterday! This means that bundling up must now commence. One of my favorite places to get hats, gloves and scarves is Route in the District. They specialize in fair-trade, handmade goods, and their winter accessories are so warm and comfy that it almost makes it ok when you have to go outside. Need a gift for someone who never puts their phone down (like me)? Get them a pair of glove/mittens. The wool gloves leave the fingertips exposed but you can also fold a mitten cover over before you lose feeling in them. It’s a win-win.

-For the Beer Snob

Photo from Craft Beer Cellar Facebook

Photo from Craft Beer Cellar Facebook

Everyone has a beer snob in their life. On the negative side, they make fun of you for drinking your light beer. On the positive side, you can always hit up the Craft Beer Cellar and have them a gift in no time. Their super friendly staff will help you pick out the perfect variety that will make your friend forget (at least for a few minutes) that you don’t know the difference between porter and a stout, and that makes a better holiday for everyone.

-Smelly Goodness


Three of my family members (who will not be named here because it’s not Christmas yet) will be getting goodies from Makes Scents. They have high-end skin care items, Butter nail polish (stocking stuffers!), holiday soaps, custom-scented items and my favorite candles in the whole world (Seeking Balance, if you’re shopping for me. I’m just saying). The staff will also put together an awesome gift set for anyone doing that last minute shopping…I know you’re out there.

Now that you’re down to only 20 shopping days until Christmas, I know you can feel the time crunch. Hopefully when you feel like you’ve run out of ideas, these will help jump start your shopping list and check even those picky people off your gift list. You can thank me with candles.

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Hi, I’m Megan. I do Marketing and Communications here at Visit CoMo and I’m also a Columbia native!  I love traveling (that’s me with a glacier in Alaska), the Mizzou Tigers, live music, ice cream, my cats and a good nap. I’m also lucky enough to get to promote my hometown every day. There are so many different ways to enjoy Columbia and each month I’ll be bringing you some of my favorites. Let’s go!


Brenna and me at a CBT event

Autumn in Columbia is my very favorite season. I love the crispness of the air, the leaves changing, the sound of drumlines that signal football is back. It’s also the perfect time to get out and spend time with friends. My favorite days spent out in CoMo lately are with my pal Brenna, who is the Editor over at the Columbia Business Times.

We like to mix something active with a nice dose of leisure, so this fall day out is perfect! This itinerary is more of a suggestion, though Brenna and/or I have done all of these things here in Columbia. Brenna would like you to know that I promise action photos from our next day out (Winter) because we’re going to plan it now and then document our day! Ok, ready to spend a great autumn day here in CoMo? Let’s do it!

Ladies’ Day Out – The Fall Edition

First thing’s first: sleep in a bit. You thought we were going to get up at the crack of dawn for our day out? Ha! You do not know Brenna and me well enough yet.

Ok, so you got some extra rest because you worked hard this week. Now the day out can begin. Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one of the best stops in Columbia is at Café Berlin. It’s down in the North Village Arts District and the food is amazing. Look at this weekend brunch menu and salivate:


Only Café Berlin could make something called the Compost Pile mouthwatering.

One of the local favorites is the Starving Artist because gravy, but for my money it doesn’t get any better than the Apples & Sausage on a Pancake. A heaping plate of food plus coffee in one of Café Berlin’s random mugs means you’re ready to shop. Or take a nap. No! On to shopping…

The District, Columbia’s downtown, is full of fun little shops to explore. We have a few favorites that we always stop by so we can see what’s new!

Route used to be known as The Mustard Seed, but it’s still the incredibly unique free trade shop you always loved. The beautiful handcrafted pieces from around the world range from jewelry to scarves to décor. Last time we were in, I picked up a beautiful silver vase for my mantle at home and a black and gold ring I can wear when I want to look fancy while supporting Mizzou.


Every time I walk into Poppy, I decide I probably need one of everything. Photo from Poppy’s Instagram (@poppymadebyhand).

Poppy is also home to a great array of handcrafted pieces that make it very difficult to leave without something new. The fabulous owner, Liz, curates the best in jewelry, greeting cards, baby clothes, art and so much more, so that Poppy is the perfect place to shop for a gift. I’ve gotten everything from wedding shower gifts to Mother’s Day gifts at Poppy. They also partner up with Christy at The Ink Café for calligraphy classes that are a blast – even for people like me who have terrible handwriting and can only draw stick people.


Yellow Dog always has the best window displays! Here’s theirs from the True/False Film Fest this year. Photo from Yellow Dog’s Instagram (@yellowdogbookshop).

One place we absolutely never ever miss (ever) is Yellow Dog Bookshop.  This small shop is owned by a wonderful married couple and is stuffed full of used books. They have a huge non-fiction selection on all sorts of topics, a Missouri section, and a fiction section that I love looking through to find treasures to add to my to-read list.  Anyone who knows me even a little knows I cannot leave a bookstore without buying at least one book (and usually more), so Yellow Dog is my favorite downtown escape.

Alright, I managed to keep myself from running out the door to go book shopping. Once our shopping has finished, it’s time to spend the afternoon outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Sometimes this is as simple as a walk on the MKT Trail here in Columbia, but when the fall colors are really out I love heading south of town to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.


Fun fact, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is even more beautiful than this picture makes it look.

Trail options are plentiful at the park, but my favorite is the wood-planked trail that leads you through the heart of the park. The trail allows you to take in the most impressive geological features of the park, including the actual rock bridge the park was named for, and you can also explore Connor’s Cave. The trail itself is under a mile long, but is has plenty of stairs and offshoots that allow hikers to experience the best the park has to offer. Plus, we’ve been shopping, so a lengthy hike isn’t really needed, right? Right.

After a long day of shopping and outdoor adventure, a nice dinner is in order. Brenna and I both have plenty of favorites when it comes to restaurants in CoMo. One of the most difficult decisions to make when you have such a great culinary scene is where to go for dinner. Just in The District alone, it’s almost impossible to choose!

For this fall ladies’ day out, we’ll stay in the south part of town near the park and hit Sophia’s for dinner. Like most places in Columbia, the atmosphere is casual but sophisticated, and their patio is a great spot for a fall evening. The menu ranges from incredible pasta dishes to flavorful tapas and flatbreads. With an impressive wine list, Sophia’s is also the perfect spot to linger and make the day out last a little longer.

Now for some ladies’ day out enthusiasts, there would also be another activity like dancing or cocktails somewhere fancy. But, to be honest, that’s not how Brenna and I roll. After dinner, our day ends with a big hug and a retreat to our homes where we can put on pajamas and watch Netflix. Of course, if I’ve really done a day out right, there will also be some Sparky’s Ice Cream waiting in the freezer for me.

Thanks for spending a ladies’ day out with Brenna and me! We’ll be working on our next day out as the weather gets colder and bring it to you in January. Next month I’ll feature some of my favorite CoMo dishes from all over the city. See you then!

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It can be difficult to think of great gift ideas, right? We’ve got suggestions for everyone on your list – and you can find it all in Columbia.

For the sports fan:

This, of course, could mean any kind of fan but around here we’re partial to the Tigers. You can find everything from Mizzou clothes and accessories to tailgating supplies and MU-themed holiday decorations at The Mizzou Store and Alumni Hall. Rally House not only carries Mizzou gear but also Cardinals, Blues, Chiefs, and Royals gear. Check out these St. Louis Blues jerseys and Kansas City Chiefs game day accessories.

For the beer drinker:

Flat Branch 6
A gift certificate to Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is the perfect easy gift, or you can fill up some growlers if you know your beer drinker’s favorite. Look for Columbia’s Bur Oak Brewery beer at local grocery stores, and find logo-wear online, along with growlers for filling, coozies for cooling, and glassware for…drinking out of.  Also keep an eye on Logboat Brewing Co.’s store – it looks like they’ll have some great items for gift-giving.

For the fashionista:

All you have to do for your fashionista (guys included!) is hit The District:

  • Elly’s Couture: designer clothes and accessories
  • Muse: urban street wear for men and women
  • Britches Clothing: women’s clothing and accessory boutique
  • Absolute Vintage: men’s and women’s vintage clothing
  • Woody’s Gentlemen’s Clothiers: premier men’s clothing

For the kids:

Candy Factory
Grab a gift certificate from Going Bonkers – kids of all ages (along with parents) are allowed in the giant play-place. Candy is another gift guaranteed to please. The Candy Factory in downtown Columbia has something for everyone (including chocolate-covered potato chips). And for your favorite fur-babies? Treats Unleashed has tons of special treats for your pup like cheese quackers, smokey beef bones, and peanut butter barkers.

For your parents:

Mom would probably love a Hoot Design Co. Watercolor Map of Columbia from Poppy or a gift card for Tallulahs to pick out kitchen gadgets and goodies. If your dad is a beer lover or sports fan, see above. If not – you can always go for a simple gift card to Bass Pro, Home Depot, or whatever his favorite store might be.

For the foodie:

Shakespeare's - veggie

Do you know someone who misses CoMo? Get the Shakespeare’s Pizza mail-order 3 pizza package (this means Shakes will MAIL YOU PIZZA) or send some Jelly Jar Pies through Peggy Jean’s Pies. This is genius, right? For the chef in your life, pick something out at Boone Olive Oil Co. or The Root Cellar.

For everyone else:

Shopping for someone who doesn’t fit the above categories? Try Calhoun’s – find books, accessories, knick-knacks and more, but good luck leaving without something for yourself. For the coffee lover, we suggest Lakota’s Holiday Coffee Sampler and for the wine lover, Les Bourgeois, of course.

Hope we’ve helped you come up with some ideas for your list – happy shopping!

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Valentine’s Day is Saturday – are you ready? We’ve put together some ideas on what to eat, what to do, and what to give for your special day in CoMo.

What to eat

Glenn’s Cafe

  • $79 Valentine’s Day package
  • Enjoy choice of one appetizer, two entrees, one dessert, two glasses of champagne OR any wine by the glass
  • Full menu offered all night


  • Couple’s Dinner ($75) – 3 course dinner with wine or cocktail; regular menu also available with daily special
  • Special Chef’s Table ($250/person) – 6 course dinner with wine pairings with Executive Chef Jeff Guinn and Chef d’Cuisine Ben Randolph – inquire in advance for the chef’s table

Room 38

  • 7 course dinner and champagne pairing – 4 PM ($49/person), 6 PM and 8 PM ($59/person)
  • See the menu here

Wine Cellar

  • Aphrodisiac menu available Friday-Sunday for Valentine’s Day (this will be the only menu available on Saturday while full dinner menu will be available on Friday and Sunday)


  • Feature menu available Friday and Saturday – “Dinner for Two” with dessert of truffles, chocolate covered strawberries, nutella tart, and house-made fortune cookies
  • See the full menu and dessert menu here

Hoss’s Market

  • Feel like a nice dinner at home? Pick up Hoss’s Steak and Lobster dinner for two ($79.95) along with some chocolate covered strawberries – all you have to do is call and reserve your pick-up time

What to do

The Canvas

  • Looking for a family-friendly Valentine activity? The Canvas offers paintings at 10 AM and 2 PM on Saturday (the 2 PM painting is pictured here)

Deja Vu Comedy Club

  • Valentine’s Couple’s Package – $25 for 2 comedy tickets to any show Friday or Saturday to see “The Office’s” Mike E. Winfield, preferred VIP seating, two free drink tickets, free champagne toast after the show, and a free comedy pass to a future show
  • Shows at 8 and 10 PM, Friday and Saturday

Sid the Science Kid, live!

  • A great choice if you’d like to include the young ones in your Valentine’s Day plans – take the kiddos to see Sid the Science Kid at Missouri Theatre on Saturday (2 PM).

Check out our What’s Going On newsletter to see what else is going on this weekend.

What to give


  • Jewelry, cards, and paper flowers are just a few of the options you can find at Poppy, along with gifts for your “Gal-entines.”

(necklace by Stephanie Thompson for Sailor Pie Studio)

Tiger Garden

  • Support MU’s own Tiger Garden and pick out a teddy bear, candy, and roses (or orchids!) for your sweetheart.

Mustard Seed

  • Find all kinds of unique gifts for Valentine’s Day at Mustard Seed Fair Trade – scarves, jewelry, chocolate, and more.

Alpine Shop

  • It’s a little chilly now but why not offer to take your loved one on a camping trip when it warms up? The Alpine shop has everything you need from tents and sleeping bags to cooking supplies and games.

Flat Branch Pub

  • Maybe Valentine’s Day and romantic gifts aren’t your thing… that’s perfectly fine, you can always go for a growler or 2 from Flat Branch!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Show us your local gifts and dinner by tagging photos with #ColumbiaMO.

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Are you struggling to finish up your holiday shopping? No worries, we’ve got your back.

For the fan –

calling all fans: Mizzou holiday gifts

This, of course, could mean any kind of fan but around here we’re partial to the Tigers. You can find the gifts above at The Mizzou Store and Alumni Hall. Rally House not only carries Mizzou gear but also STL Cardinals and Blues, and KC Chiefs and Royals gear. Check out these St. Louis Blues jerseys ($80-170) and Kansas City Royals canvas chairs ($24.99 each).

Rally House, 808 E. Broadway
The Mizzou Store, 911 E. Rollins 
Alumni Hall, 215 N. Stadium

For the drinker –


Coffee, wine, AND beer drinkers – we have it all! Do you have a friend who loves (or maybe NEEDS) coffee? The Kaldi’s Coffee 12 month subscription ($200) is perfect. 3 month and 6 month options are also available. For flavored coffees, check out the Holiday Coffee Sampler ($29.95) from Lakota Coffee. If you’re shopping for a wine-lover, Les Bourgeois has several options to choose from, including Riverboat Red, Pink Fox, and Solay. Give a Flat Branch Pub & Brewing gift certificate or find Columbia’s Bur Oak Brewery Beer at Hyvee, Schnucks, Macadoodles, and Lucky’s.

Kaldi’s Coffee, 29 S. 9th St.
Lakota Coffee, 24 S. 9th St.
Les Bourgeois, 14020 W. Hwy BB, Rocheport
Flat Branch Pub, 115 S. 5th St.
Bur Oak Brewery, 8250 E. Trade Center Dr.

For the fashionista –


All you have to do for your fashionista (guys included!) is hit The District –

Elly’s Couture, 914 E. Broadway
Lily and Laura bracelets: $14 each or 3 for $35
Melie Bianco Mattie Mint Handbag: $90
Essential Flare Dress: $59.99

Muse Clothing, 22 S. 9th St.
HD Tri Fringe Scarf: $36
Noble Knit Sweater: $42
Men’s Neil Sweater from Cheap Monday: $70

Swank Boutique, 913 E. Broadway
Men’s Show Me State Hat: $25
Mini Crosby Crossbody: $195
Arrow Stud Earrings: $35

For a personalized gift –


Shopping for others is fun, but you know what else is? Making your own gifts! Paint a piece of pottery at The Mud Room or a canvas painting at The Canvas and Paint the Town. Pick out the perfect t-shirt or create your own at ACME.

The Mud Room, 1103 Walnut St.
The Canvas, 706 E. Broadway
Paint the Town, 2703 E. Broadway
ACME, 15 S. 9th St.

 For your parents –


Does your dad always ask for socks, too? It’s probably because he really does want them. Choose from a great selection at Dungarees ($6-20) or The Alpine Shop ($7-27). For mom, stop by Tiger Garden on the Mizzou campus to pick out  a painted poinsettia or other holiday decorations (check out the paw print poinsettias, a holiday favorite!). Other ideas: 2015 Roots N Blues tickets ($89-495), a Peggy Jean’s pie ($6-25), a Hoot Design Co. Watercolor Map of Columbia from Poppy ($30), or a gift card for Tallulah’s to pick out kitchen gadgets and goodies.

Dungarees, 500 E. Broadway
Alpine Shop, 1102 E. Broadway
Tiger Garden, 2-34 Agriculture Building, University of Missouri
Peggy Jean’s Pies, 3601 Buttonwood Dr.
Poppy, 920 E. Broadway
Tallulah’s, 812, E. Broadway

For the food lover –


We have so many options in CoMo for foodie gifts but to get you started, here are a few ideas:

  • Japanese Roasted Sesame Oil from Boone Olive Oil Co. ($25)
  • Spicewine Ironworks Large Gift Basket ($60)
  • Medium Holiday Gift Basket from I.B. Nuts and Fruit Too ($50)
  • Pints of ice cream from Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream (under $10)
  • Shakespeare’s Pizza mail-order 3 pizza package ($39.99) …this means Shakes will MAIL YOU PIZZA if you’re missing it from outside of CoMo.
  • Feeling really generous? Join Root Cellar’s Food Box program and give the gift of delicious, local groceries. Choose from a Bounty Box, Barnyard Box, Ploughman’s Box, or a combo.
  • For every $50 you spend on Addison’s gift cards, you get a bonus $5.

Boone Olive Oil Co., 20 S. 9th St.
Spicewine Ironworks, 1333 Business Loop 70 E.
I.B. Nuts and Fruit Too, 4603 John Garry Dr.
Sparky’s, 21 S. 9th St.
Shakespeare’s, 225 S. 9th St.
Root Cellar, 1023 E. Walnut
Addison’s, 709 Cherry St.

For the kids –

For the Kids

Kids of all shapes and sizes, that is. We wouldn’t leave out your furry friends!

  • FORAGE Union Multi Stripe Kids Bow Tie from Poppy ($39.95)
  • La Paz baby hat from Mustard Seed Fair Trade  ($10) – adorable AND warm
  • Sarsaparilla Sue and the Sassmouth written by Columbia author, Julie L. Barnett (under $25) at Calhoun’s
  • Gift certificate to Going Bonkers, which has something for every age
  • Pack up your pet and hit Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market to sniff out their own holiday treat
  • Made from scratch holiday treats, a plush singing Christmas toy ($9.99), and Zanies Fuzzy Holiday Mice ($0.60) from Treats Unleashed

Mustard Seed Fair Trade, 25 S. 9th St.
Calhoun’s, 911 E. Broadway
Going Bonkers, 3812 Buttonwood Dr.
Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market, 503 E. Nifong
Treats Unleashed, 1400 Forum Blvd.

Finds under $20 –

20 or less

Still need ideas? Here’s a list of gifts under $20:

With these ideas, we hope you can check everyone off your list and discover a new favorite place to find holiday gifts in CoMo! Show us your purchases on Instagram by tagging your photos with #CoMoGiftGuide.

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Friday Favorites

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Happy (football) Friday! Hope everyone is ready for the game tomorrow! Today’s favorites were shared with us by Lydia Melton, owner of Gunter Hans.

Tallulah's Storefront

(Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)

For me, visiting Tallulah’s is like having Christmas come early! The store is always beautiful and full of the best goodies one can only dream of having in their kitchen. If Pottery Barn met William Sonoma and had a love child, this is it- minus the chain-like feel. From one cook to another- one visit in will have you thanking this local favorite is a Columbia original.

(Photo from Nash Vegas Facebook Page)

Nash VegasBest Place to Let Loose
One of the best things about this place is the ability to really let loose. They almost always have live music going on over the weekend and oftentimes, one of the owners will actually play himself. That combined with the homemade moonshine is almost always a home run.

Short Wave Coffee – Best Place to Relax and Get Work Done
I love this hidden gem! It’s tucked away in Alley A, but definitely worth the trek downtown. A great place to bring my laptop and really get to down to work. Ask for the blueberry tea! It’s the most heavenly thing you’ve ever tasted/smelled.

(Photo from Boone Olive Oil Co. Facebook Page)

Boone Olive Oil CompanyBest New Store
If you haven’t tasted fresh Olive Oil yet, that’s a must on your list. It’s simply not the same as what you would get at your normal grocer. Located off 9th street, this store is newer town… but I can definitely see becoming a Columbia staple for years to come.

(Coley’s Blister in the Sun, from Facebook Page)

Coley’sBest Place For A Cocktail
Each season, it always seems like Coley’s cocktail menu is really thought out. In addition to having a wide variety of cocktails, they are all made using fresh ingredients. Try Blister in the Sun. With freshly pureed strawberries, it is simply heavenly on a hot August day.

(From Culinary Adventures Facebook Page)

Culinary AdventuresBest Place For a Non-Traditional Date
If you haven’t been to Culinary adventures, it’s time for a change. They have classes of a wide variety all the time! So, you can learn how to cook just about anything. While a movie and dinner is always a solid date night go-to, this is such a fun way to get out of your box and impress your date.

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Welcome to another edition of the very popular ‘Friday Favorites’ series! This week, Josh Wright with The District was kind enough to share his Columbia favorites. Thanks, Josh!


I moved to Columbia a decade ago and immediately fell in love with this city. It’s great to have the ability to walk or bike to several shops, theaters, concerts, art shows, and other events in our community. I am always surprised by all there is to experience.

Favorite Event


Artrageous Fridays/Weekend – Artrageous Fridays and Artrageous Weekend have become my favorite community events. Everyone is so welcoming and I appreciate all the shops that provide a space for local artists and musicians to showcase their work.

Best Brunch


Broadway Brewery – When friends come back to town we always try to fit in brunch at Broadway Brewery. Broadway Brewery was founded in 2009 with a local, farm-to-table mindset. You can always find great items on the Sunday Brunch menu and the bloody mary bar is fantastic. On top of that, there is always a bluegrass jam with some great musicians during brunch.

Favorite New Thing In Town


Food Trucks! – Columbia recently started allowing food trucks to operate in designated public parking zones around The District. Working on Tenth St. has always made for a great lunch hour and now that trucks pop up here and there it’s even better!

Sidewalk Cafes


Tellers – When the weather is nice for sitting outside it’s always great to sit at a sidewalk cafe. I like patios and people watching and getting a table on the sidewalk is great for both. Tellers, located on 9th and Broadway, is right in the middle of all the bustle which makes it one of my favorite spots in town.



Root Cellar – The Root Cellar moved a couple years ago from Broadway to its new location at 1023 E Walnut in the North Village Arts District. The Root Cellar provides the community with a true connection to our local farmers. I recommend registering for the bounty box program to get a great selection of hand-picked local produce every week.

Favorite Sandwich


The Veggie at Sub Shop – It doesn’t take long hanging around Columbia before you hear about Sub Shop. I particularly like the South 8th street location in The District which has an amazing, hand-painted Lord of The Rings mural that makes my inner nerd very happy. My favorite sandwich Sub Shop has to offer is The Veggie. It’s loaded with cheese and veggies. It’s great.

Favorite Local Gift

Candy Factory chocolate

Chocolates at The Candy Factory – The Candy Factory has been making Columbia’s fine chocolates for four decades. As a younger and far less wiser man I hadn’t shopped at The Candy Factory for the first few years I lived in town. I have since realized that I shouldn’t to try to find a “perfect” gift when the 4 out of 5 times the best gift is at least a dozen chocolates. I have learned a valuable life lesson from The Candy Factory that I won’t soon forget.

Favorite Juice Bar


Main Squeeze – I don’t go more than three days without craving a good juice mix. Main Squeeze on 9th Street is my favorite juice place because of the local ingredients and crazy fun people behind the counter. I usually get the Rejuvenate Your Life or, if I need a shocking change, the Ring of Fire. They also make my favorite Tacos in town!

Favorite Clothing Store


Maude Vintage – Clothes I’ve found from Maude Vintage are my favorite items in my wardrobe. They have a great costume selection and the staff will help you find the best outfit for just about any occasion. I took my 8 and 11 year old sister and niece to Maude last year and we spent hours trying on every hat in the store…and it was a blast.

Favorite Happy Hour

Mojo's Happy Hour

Friday Happy Hour at Mojo’s – My favorite thing to do all week is head to Mojo’s for Friday Happy Hour from 5-7pm. I’ve seen the best local musicians during happy hour all for free. Sometimes musicians perform outside in the beautiful Forest Rose Park where you can enjoy the weather, the great company, and great yard games.

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Friday Favorites

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Hope everyone is having a great week! Today’s favorites come from Kim Trabue, one of our CVB Advisory Board members.

Favorite time of year: Back to school! 

back to school img_52464

(Photo from 

I can smell it in the air – the aroma of late summer, anticipation, and school supplies.

And extra trucks and SUVs with unfamiliar drivers on the roads. I remember my first move to Columbia and carrying boxes up three flights of stairs. I remember driving through town with a map in my hand (we didn’t have GPS back then).

Now that I’m a “townie,” part of me is sad that the lines at stores and restaurants will increase, but I know this is a wonderful time in Columbia. Thousands of people are making a change of address to this great place we call home. Welcome! You’re gonna love it here!

Favorite activity: Student performances

2008-09-29 Providence Bowl Parade IMG_0484

(2008 Providence Bowl Parade) 

Of course I love the University of Missouri Tigers, the Columbia College Cougars, and the Stephens College Stars. Our treasure chest overflows with sporting events, plays, and musical performances delivered by the troves of talented students in Columbia. But real amazement, entertainment, and heart-warming stories come from gifts delivered by younger students. From TRYPS to PACE to high school bands and choirs, there is an abundance of opportunities to enjoy and encourage young people in Columbia. Watch out for those Bruins, Kewpies, Spartans, and Trailblazers. They’re top performers!

My “kids” grew up here, and we never missed a Friday night halftime show or jazz concert. Even as an empty-nester, though, I still take great delight in the parades and marching competitions and plays that showcase wonderful performances by young people.

Favorite festival: Art in the Park

2013-06 Art in the Park

(2013 Art in the Park)

For more than fifty years the annual Art in the Park Festival, sponsored by the Columbia Art League, has showcased magnificent talent and celebrated the typical “Chamber of Commerce weather” that we usually enjoy the first week of June. Even if it rains, the show goes on – artists sell their creations in open tents, food vendors offer delicious choices, and festival goers vote for Best of Show.

Besides, it’s not often you can have your picture taken with a metal-boned bovine.

Favorite charity: The Food Bank

2012-04-02 Food Bank


Based in Columbia, The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri provides FREE food to soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and special programs in 31 Missouri counties. This more than thirty-year-old charity started as a college class project and has become one of the most successful Food Banks in the nation. It operates a giant warehouse with a professional staff and coordinates hosts of volunteers in order to distribute millions of pounds of donated food annually. From food drives to fundraising there are dozens of ways to help our neighbors through this organization.

Favorite plant place: Strawberry Hill Farms

greenhouse Strawberryhillfarms5


Whether it’s garden-planting season or time to place some flowers on the porch, a trip to Strawberry Hill Farms is a necessary excursion. It’s easy to wander through multiple greenhouses and imagine the results of the growth. There’s always a great, healthy variety of vegetables, annuals, and perennials begging to go home with you.

Favorite park: Twin Lakes Dog Park

2012-11 Twin Lakes dogs

(Jack and Sophie, November 2012)

Leash laws are important for pet safety in our community, but sometimes the dogs just need to run freely. For these wonderful times, Twin Lakes Dog Park offers a safe environment for running and swimming. Benches are placed throughout the park for great watch spots. Just remember to bring a towel or blanket to cover your car seat… happy, wet dogs can be a little messy.

Favorite shopping: #ThinkLocal



From medical offices to computer stores, Columbia has almost every service or goods provider you could need. Of course there are ample chain stores that fill many needs and provide notable employment opportunities in our community, but my preference is t0 think local.

Some of my favorites include:

The owners stay involved with the daily operations of these businesses, and they usually recognize their customers and clients when they see them outside of the stores. Doing business with your neighbors is good for the local economy. It assures exceptional service, and often offers a chance to catch up on local current events.

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Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday! Today’s favorites come from Tourism Development Manager, Julie Ausmus –

It’s Friday in July, my favorite day of the work week and my favorite time of the year! Throw in a payday, and it doesn’t get much better. Before I leave on vacation to one of my favorite places with some of my favorite peeps, I’d like to share some of my other favorites:

Favorite summer activity in The District: Dog Days Sidewalk Sale

Dog Days - from The District FB

(Photo by The District)

I always look forward to the Dog Days of Summer Sidewalk Sales downtown. The sidewalks are full of merchandise – at special ‘dog days’ prices, and people are everywhere, shopping, eating lunch – there’s just always a good vibe in the air. I’m really not much of a shopper, but these sales somehow change that for just a little while. Some of my favorite places to check out are American Shoe, Calhoun’s, Tiger Spirit, Dryer’s, My Sister’s Circus and this year, now that I have a grandbaby, I couldn’t resist checking out Little Owl Boutique. (That was probably a big mistake!) It’s just fun shopping outside on the sidewalk, and I am ALL about finding a great bargain!

Favorite summer event: The Boone County Fair

Boone County Fair from FB page

(Photo from Boone County Fair Facebook page)

Along with the “Dogs Days” of summer comes the Boone County Fair. I was raised in Boone County and enjoyed the fair in my small hometown, Centralia. So when my three kids were younger we always made it a point to go to the fair. They just wanted to spend time on all the rides and eat funnel cakes and cotton candy, but I’ve always enjoyed walking through the multipurpose building and checking out all the 4H projects the kids have worked so hard on these past several months. I was in 4H as a youngster and vaguely remember sewing an apron or something lame, but the kids nowadays really impress me with some of their projects – all deserving of blue ribbons I think. And you can’t go to the Fair without checking out the animals! The amount of time, devotion, dedication, and love the kids put into raising their animals is amazing. I’ve always wanted a cute little lamb to take home with me.

Favorite place for live music: 9th Street Summerfest

Julie and Randy Houser - 9th St. Summerfest

(Julie and Randy Houser from 9th Street Summerfest!)

Summerfest on Ninth Street, of course! I’ve been to several of these concerts, and year after year the entertainment keeps getting better. The ticket prices are always reasonable, the crowds are big (but not overwhelming), and the beer is cold. I just love the atmosphere, and there’s never a “bad seat” in the house.

Favorite lunch: International Cafe

International Cafe

(International Cafe menu – find it on their website)

This favorite I owe to my co-workers. They are always introducing me to new things and pushing me out of my comfort zone – for my own good. Until a few years ago, I had never been near or inside the International Café. I don’t know if it’s because it was “hidden” for years on Hitt Street (it’s now on 9th Street) or if I was just being Judgey McJudgerson thinking that “international” food would be awful – after all I’m all about burgers and fries. So when I was introduced to gyros, hummus and taziki, I was hooked! My favorite is the Greek Salad or chicken kabob sandwich with taziki. Whenever someone in the office says “I’m hungry, what should we have for lunch?” I’m the first to yell “International!” (Editor’s note – this actually happened in the office today)

Favorite local landmark: The Columns

8thStCir 3 92111

(Photo courtesy of the Mizzou Botanic Garden)

I graduated from Mizzou back in the 80s. I worked part time as a student in the Arts and Science Dean’s Office so I spent a great deal of time walking all over campus delivering packets of “timely” information to department heads (this was before we had email – hard to imagine, right?!) I always enjoyed the beauty of the campus and the history that came with it. I spent a majority of my work breaks sitting on the columns and enjoying the view. At that time the columns were 90 years old and I was always in awe of their massive size and history. I still enjoy taking a work break and walking to the columns. They are still a beautiful sight with great history and they bring back some of my favorite college memories!

Favorite place to shop: Columbia’s antique shops

Midway Antique Mall

 (Photo from Midway Antique Mall’s Facebook page)

As I get older I’ve come to realize that there are many things I really enjoy now that I did not enjoy when I was younger, and vice versa. As I kid, my friend and I would travel around Boone County with her parents to various flea markets and antique stores. I always thought they were just buying a bunch of junk, honestly. We always wished we were at the mall instead – or the Parkade Center as it was called in those days! J Now I’d much rather be at a flea market than in a mall! I don’t know what it is specifically but I just enjoy walking through Midway Antique Mall, Itchy’s Flea Market or Artichoke Annie’s looking for that special eclectic treasure. Or maybe it’s just because I like to see things that remind me of my Grandma Emma and Aunt Pearl. I usually come home with some type of miniature trinket, a book or a piece of furniture that is going to be my next big DIY project. (We all know how that goes – I have 4 projects in my basement that I’ve yet to start – darn Pinterest!) Anyway, like I said before I’m all about finding a great bargain and these flea markets usually have some of the best.

Thanks for allowing me to share some of my favorites.  Columbia has a lot to offer and even though I’m heading out of town for a favorite vacation spot, as next week comes to an end, I will look forward to coming home to my favorite – CoMo.

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