General Columbia

Spend the day exploring the outdoors in Columbia, Missouri

By Danny Lee

Finding fun outdoors comes easy around Columbia, Missouri, where residents and visitors can explore a landscape crowded with parks, trails and other outdoor action areas. Columbia offers enough forest-y fun for any nature lover, from the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary to the wild appeal of the rails-to-trails Katy Trail. With a multitude of other invigorating outdoor venues, as well as facilities for more organized recreation, such as hiking, biking, swimming and casual picnicking, there’s an activity for everyone.

children bicycling on the MKT Trail in Columbia, Missouri

The MKT Trail, which connects Columbia to the Katy Trail, is a popular jogging and bicycling trail.

Finger Lakes State Park

All-terrain vehicles and woodland recreation coexist within the generous expanse of Finger Lakes State Park. Rolling hills, rippling waterways and forested glades thrill visitors who might never suspect that it’s all on reclaimed coal-mining land. A water trail accessible by canoe or kayak leads around the park’s lake, also popular with fishermen, and a pleasant beach is perfect for a refreshing dip after a hike or mountain bike outing through the woods. Visitors can lounge around the campfire and lay down their heads among the trees and quiet nighttime rustlings of a naturally wild environment in one of the 19 basic or 16 electric campsites.Canoe rental at Finger Lakes State Park in Columbia, Missouri

Capen Park

The rocky topography of Capen Park takes Missouri outdoors adventure to another level. Rock climbers and rappelers love the challenging outcrops looking down on Hinkson Creek. Those who don’t fancy dangling from or clambering up and down the sheer limestone cliffs will certainly relish the tranquil, wooded trails along the creek’s flat-rocked path. One great place to enjoy the stream is from the graceful old iron bridge that crosses its course. Hikers love to sit on the bluffs looking out across the green and leafy property, tucked away in an in-town location that seems remote but is actually almost as convenient as your own backyard.Bluff-top view of Capen Park

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

A short jaunt south of Columbia, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park showcases a variety of trails, wooded glens, hills and dales making up a fascinating karst landscape. It’s alive with sinkholes, crystal-clear springs feeding into streams, and the underground limestone features that jut unexpectedly into the open air or give way to yawning caverns below. Connor’s Cave makes a great self-guided exploration. Hikers, horseback riders and bikers share the 15 miles of trails tracing through shady woods and wildflower-sprinkled meadows in the park and adjoining Gans Creek Wild Area. Families gather in broad picnic areas and shelters and fill the playgrounds with happy laughter

At the heart of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park lies the popular Devil’s Icebox Trail. It’s a .5-mile loop boardwalk trail that features plentiful opportunities for nature viewing; it’s mostly wooded, shelters uncountable wildlife, and passes by sinkholes, a limestone glade, and a valley formed by a collapsed portion of the limestone caves that underlie the whole area.

Every level of hiking is available, from forested trails to well-maintained boardwalks, and you can’t beat the admission price: free!two men reading a sign at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

Nearly 100 acres are devoted to the preservation of a large natural expanse that offers visitors to Bonnie View a beautiful getaway. Broad meadows filled with daisies, Queen Anne’s lace, bellflower and yellow corydalis open from woodland edges. Birdwatchers love the diverse landscape for its possibilities. Paved walkways and a modern shelter open the park up to enjoyment in all weather. The property includes the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary, which has recorded 146 bird species in the area. In the spring the diversity swells with the arrival of migrating Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets along with flycatchers, many varieties of warblers, American Woodcock, and Swainson’s thrushes.trail at Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

Katy Trail

At 240 miles, Missouri’s Katy Trail is one of the nation’s longest rails-to-trails parks, and provides Columbia visitors an excellent route to explore the state’s wilder areas. Tracking along the Missouri River, the trail serves bikers, hikers, and joggers 12 months a year, displaying brilliant colors in the fall, silent snowy vistas in the winter, wildflowers in the spring and a summer full of the relaxing buzz of crickets, katydids and yearly broods of cicadas. Birds and other wildlife make frequent appearances along the way; raccoon and deer, squirrel, chipmunks and opossum have their own daily and nightly rounds, which sharp-eyed hikers and bikers can enjoy keeping tabs on. The rolling Missouri serves up plentiful fishing holes, and fans of wild edibles will find natural treats no farther away than the nearest blackberry bush. The trail also features the MKT Trail, which connects Columbia to the Katy Trail.Katy Trail State Park running along the Missouri River


With a variety of activities and outdoor venues, the parks and trails of Columbia are an outdoors paradise.

Explore the outdoors of Columbia.

#ShowMeCoMo

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Happy New Year! As happy as everyone is to leave 2017 behind and start fresh with 2018, we couldn’t resist taking a look back at our most popular Instagram photos from the past year. Looking through these photos, it’s clear that our followers love trails, trees, and sunsets:

January

dog sitting on a snow-covered bridge on one of Columbia's trails

@nelletheaussie enjoyed a snowy walk on one of Columbia’s many trails.

February

nighttime photo of The Big Tree

The Big Tree is a popular spot for both visitors and locals. This shot was captured by @zachev7.

March

cloudy day shot of The Big Tree surrounded by purple honeysuckle

Everyone loves to Instagram The Big Tree. Photo from @alissabriannephotography.

April

nighttime shot of The Big Tree

Seriously… you all REALLY like The Big Tree. Photo by @haley.robison.

May

photo of the natural Rock Bridge at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park with extremely flooded creek

A unique photo of a flooded rock bridge at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Photo captured by @wrumpf.

June

sunset over the Katy Trail

Our Instagram followers love trail shots and sunsets – this post of The Katy Trail is the perfect combo. Photo from @kim_horgan.

July

stormy sunset over Columbia MO

This stormy summer sunset was captured by @duyhauvn, who has awesome Columbia photos.

August

solar eclipse photo with sun peeking out from behind the moon

Let’s not forget about the once-in-a-lifetime event that occurred in August – a total solar eclipse right over Columbia! We had visitors from all over the world, and the experience was truly amazing. Photo by @rgriffin89

September

Exterior of Fretboard Coffee building in the North Village Arts District of Columbia, MO

Fretboard Coffee, one of Columbia’s popular coffee shops, is hidden away in the North Village Arts District. Photo from @younggloomy_.

October

trees showing off their fall colors over the MKT Trail in Columbia MO

The trees really showed off their colors during the fall. This photo of the MKT Trail was taken by @allietea.

November

the Magic Tree, covered in holiday lights at the Village of Cherry Hill in Columbia, MO

We love our trees here in CoMo. This is the original ‘Magic Tree,’ located at The Village of Cherry Hill. Photo taken by Visit Columbia team member, Sandi Peters. 

December

huge 'magic tree' covered in holiday lights at The Crossing church in Columbia, MO

The Crossing Church introduced a new ‘Magic Tree’ to Columbia in 2017, and it is huge! The tree is 85 feet tall and was covered in 200,000 lights. Photo taken by Visit Columbia team member, Sandi Peters. 


Use the tag #ShowMeCoMo on your Columbia photos, and we might ask to share it with our followers!

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As it gets colder, you may be tempted to pass on date night so that you don’t have to brave the frigid temps, snow, and everything else Missouri winters tend to bring. We don’t blame you – it can be hard to find the strength to emerge from your warm pile of blankets (we’ve all been there). But just in case you start getting a little stir-crazy, here are some ideas for a winter date night in Columbia:

stephens lake park sledding

Sledding is not just for kids. Throw on a bunch of layers, grab a sled, and head to Stephens Lake Parkopens in a new window. The hill on the east side of the lake is a popular sledding spot, and there’s typically a bonfire going at Collins Shelter when there is snow on the ground. You can also ice skate on the lake when the ice is deemed thick enough – there will be signs up and updates from Parks and Recreationopens in a new window when skating is allowed. When you decide it’s time to thaw out, stop by Lakotaopens in a new window for your favorite seasonal drink and some hot soup.

food at Gunter Hans in Columbia, MO - pretzel bites, waffle, beer

Mix up your regular ‘dinner and a movie’ date night! Head over to Gunter Hans for Bretzels and Liege Waffles before a movie at Ragtagopens in a new window. Just because you ventured out of the house doesn’t mean you can’t hang out on a couch. Couches = cozy. Check the website for information on current movies.

Magic Tree 2010

No Columbia winter is complete without a visit to the Magic Treeopens in a new window at the Village of Cherry Hill. Get some photos and then warm up at Flat Branch Pubopens in a new window for dinner. Grab a beer (see what’s on tap hereopens in a new window), and order your favorite. If you’ve never been, we suggest the Green Chili Chicken Fingers, the Flat Branch Burger, and the Stout Brownie Sundae. Yum. [Once the Magic Tree is gone, here are some other stopsopens in a new window you can make instead.]

bowling

Two words: Lazer Lanesopens in a new window. They have bowling, laser tag, an arcade, BUMPER CARS, food, a bar… what more could you want? Make a contest out of it – whoever loses Lazer tag buys the winner fried Oreos (speaking of food, we want everything on the menuopens in a new window). If the onsite cafe is closed, go next door to Jose Jalapenos for cheese dip and tacos. Check out their drink specials online.

Les Bourgeois A-frame Restaurant_patriceraplee_compressed

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, Rocheport is the place. Full of small-town charm, there are plenty of antique and gift shops and of course, the winery. Treat yourself to lunch or dinner at the Les Bourgeois Blufftop Bistroopens in a new window or pick out a favorite wine to take home with you at the Tasting Roomopens in a new window.

Have we talked you into a date night? Tweet us @VisitColumbiaMO to let us know or to give us your date night ideas. Enjoy! #ShowMeCoMo

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Looking for a great shopping experience, a free holiday event for the family, or a musical on-stage performance? Columbia has it all! Find details below on shopping, free holiday events, holiday celebrations, music and on-stage performances, and more. We’re looking forward to celebrating with you!


SHOPPINGgold wrapped gift with red bow under a tree

Columbia Holiday Festival November 17-19
Friday 6-9 PM, Saturday 8 AM – 5 PM, Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM 
Holiday Inn Executive Center
The Holiday Festival provides unique items every year including stained glass, custom pottery, specialty food and beverages, custom jewelry, fur accessories, Christmas décor, children’s clothing, books, toys and much more.

Sip and Shop November 18
Saturday 8 AM – 3 PM
Columbia Country Club
During brunch, sip complimentary wine, and browse over 40 vendors including Scentsy, LuLaRoe and It Works!

Fall into Art November 18-19
Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM, Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM 
Parkade Plaza
Fall Into Art blends art, music, and education to provide a weekend destination for the entire family.

Kings Daughters Holiday Shopping Mart November 18
Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM
Country Club of Missouri
Shopping event with local stores and craftspeople.

Shop Small Business Saturday November 25
Saturday
Local shops and businesses

2nd Annual Christkindlmarkt December 1
Friday 5:30-8:30 PM 
Gunter Hans
We’ll be going all out with Christmas themed booths from Columbia favorites like Koeze Nuts, Mid-Missouri Wood Carvers, Optimist Club (Christmas Trees), Noonday and Senza Gluten Free Foods (Christmas cookies).

Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair December 9 
Saturday 9 AM – 1 PM
Battle High School
Admission fee is $2, which includes a raffle ticket for a door prize. Great place to finish up your last-minute holiday shopping.


FREE HOLIDAY EVENTS

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro through December 24
Features include rustic Christmas cabins, holiday characters and live elves set amongst a dazzling backdrop of snow-covered hills and illuminated Christmas trees. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, laser/ foam toy arcade, Lincoln Logs building area and much more. Kids can also spend time at one of the activity tables where they can write a letter to Santa, color and do fun crafts, all for free. See schedule of events at BassPro.com.

Santa’s Welcome Party November 18
Saturday 9 AM 
Columbia Mall
Bring the whole family to greet Santa as he arrives from the North Pole. Enjoy balloon art & crafts for the little ones, treats, and a special gift from Santa.

38th Annual Holiday Parade November 19
Sunday 3 PM
The District

Black Friday Wassail Walk November 24
Friday 12-5 PM 
Rocheport
Escape the madness of Black Friday and stroll through town, shop, and enjoy this free event as merchants participate in a friendly competition to see who has the best wassail recipe.

Magic Tree Lighting November 30
Thursday 5 PM
Village of Cherry Hill

Shelter Insurance Christmas Tree Lighting November 30 
Thursday 6 PM 
Shelter Insurance, West Broadway

Living Windows December 1
Friday 6 PM
The District
Shopkeepers throughout The District move all the merchandise out of their front windows and stage live holiday performances for onlookers.

Centralia Tractor Parade December 15
Friday 7 PM
Downtown Centralia
The annual Young Farmers Tractor Parade will be held on Friday, December 15, 2017, at 7 p.m. in downtown Centralia.


HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONSholiday gift with pine cones and hot chocolate

March Family Christmas December 3-6
Sunday-Wednesday 7:30 PM 
Historic Senior Hall, Stephens College
This annual Victorian holiday celebration will include lovely Christmas carols, dancing and treats, as enjoyed every year. Join Marmee, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy as they try to keep up their spirits during the holidays while their father is away at war.

City Kwanzaa Celebration December 9
Saturday 2-5 PM
Progressive Missionary Baptist
Come celebrate this African-American holiday which is based around developing positive families and communities.  There will be community awards given, entertainment and a holiday feast.


MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTSnutcracker ornament on a tree

Joyeux Noel: Chamber Music of Ravel and Faure December 1
Friday 7 PM
First Baptist Church of Columbia
This program indulges in all-French chamber music, prominently featuring Maurice Ravel’s piano trio, violin sonata and Chansons madécasses for exotic combination of voice, piano, flute and cello. Last half will feature Gabriel Faure’s gorgeous piano quartet No. 1 with musicians from the University of Missouri.

An Antique Carol December 1-3, 7-10
Friday-Saturday 7:30 PM, Sunday 2 PM
Talking Horse Productions
Titus Canby is the name of this version of Ebenezer Scrooge, and he is taken to task by the ghosts of past, present, and future to discover the true joys of life!

Danú: A Christmas Gathering ‘Féile Na Nollag’ December 2
Saturday 7 PM
Missouri Theatre
Danú’s Christmas Gathering offers a taste of these extraordinary events, which have been held across Ireland for hundreds of years. Celtic music lovers around the globe have been thrilled by their virtuoso players on fiddle, flutes, button accordion, percussion and the gorgeous voice of Nell Ní Chróinín along with top notch guest dancers.

Sounds of the Season December 3
Sunday 4 PM
Hickman High School
This Columbia Community Band concert will feature some well-known composers, including Mozart and Holst, along with familiar holiday pieces including Auld Lange Syne, March of the Toys, and Dreidel Dance.

The Great Russian Nutcracker December 4
Monday 7 PM
Jesse Auditorium
Experience the exquisite artistry of world-class Russian dancers, playful puppets and the unmatched splendor of hand crafted sets and costumes.

A Time for Christmas December 9-10
Saturday-Sunday 7 PM
Memorial Baptist Church
See the Memorial Baptist Church Choir and Orchestra perform this Broadway-style musical, an imaginative adventure through 2000 Christmases of hope and changed lives.

Symphony of Toys December 17
Sunday 3 PM
Missouri Theatre
Members of Columbia Chorale team up with the Missouri Symphony Society to perform selections during the Missouri Symphony Orchestra’s annual holiday concert.


MORE HOLIDAY EVENTSthanksgiving dinner on the table

Turkey Trax 5K November 23
Thursday 8:30 AM 
Ultramax Sports
The Boone Hospital Turkey Trax Run provides friends and family a chance to do something active before they start their traditional celebration while benefiting a local charity.

Christmas Brew ‘n View: Christmas Vacation November 25
Saturday 8:30 PM

The Blue Note
A very special Christmas Brew ‘n View featuring National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation complete with Christmas themed drink specials and free candy canes.

Holiday Home Tour December 1-3 
Friday 1-4 PM, Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM, Sunday 1-4 PM
Women’s Symphony League’s 34th Annual Holiday Home Tour. Tour the homes of: Mary Phillips & Brian Treece; Jane Mandel; Julie & Scott Swain; and Lili Vianello & John Shrum – all in the Grasslands.

Jingle Bell Run December 2
Saturday 8 AM 
Stephens Lake Park
Wear a holiday-themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Show off your ugly Christmas sweater. Complete a 5-kilometer run or walk with your team members, spreading smiles, good cheer and a winning spirit.

Caroling for Cocktails & Cash December 2
Saturday 2-5 PM
Rocheport
For $5 we will provide commemorative cup to sample a variety of cocktails as you stroll through the shops and sing for your sips from 2-4 PM. Be sure to enter the Caroling Sing-Off to be held 4-5 PM followed by a live band playing Christmas tunes with a twist.

Holiday Lights and Sights Tour December 8
Friday 6:15 PM and 7:45 PM
Leaving from The ARC
Enjoy some of the City’s most beautiful holiday lights from the comfort of a Parks and Recreation mini-bus.

Winter Wonderland at Maplewood House December 10, 17 
Sunday 1-4 PM
Boone County History & Culture Center
The Historic 1877 Maplewood House is decorated for the holidays by professional local designers and florists for a beautiful walking tour. For a single ticket price, everyone also gains admission to the History & Culture Center and its holiday-themed model train exhibit.

Columbia Holiday Soiree December 16
Saturday 8 PM
The Blue Note
Break out your swankiest 60s garb and head down to Columbia’s oldest and classiest theatre for an unforgettable night of style, sophistication, and pure fantasy.


Happy Holidays from the CVB!blue lights on a large tree

CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS:

Stop by 300 S. Providence Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM
Call 573-874-CITY (2489)
Tweet us @VisitColumbiaMO

Tag your photos #ShowMeCoMoopens in a new window!

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Get lost in a corn maze

Katfish Katy’s offers a corn maze this year with a focus on music. The maze covers 15 acres and includes 6.8 miles of trails! Admission is $10 (children 4 and under are free). The maze is open Friday 5-9 PM and Saturday-Sunday 11 AM-9 PM.corn maze at Katfish Katy's from a bird's eye view

Attend a fall festival

Columbia is home to several annual fall festivals including the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival, Crush Festival, Paws in the Park, and Citizen Jane Film Festival.nighttime performance by Shovels and Rope at Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival

Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
September 29-October 1 | Stephens Lake Park

The festival features over 30 artists representing the genres of roots, blues, gospel, country, folk and soul. This year’s lineup includes Gary Clark Jr, The Steeldrivers, Leon Bridges, Band of Horses, Emmylou Harris, and Ryan Adams. As well as live music, fans enjoy delicious BBQ from local and national vendors. Included in the festival is a 1/2 marathon and 10K on Saturday morning and the Sunday Gospel Celebration. The festival is a fun, true, and unique celebration of music, food and culture.

Crush Festival
October 7-9 | Les Bourgeois A-Frame

The 25th annual Crush Festival will kick off harvest season at Les Bourgeois Vineyards! To celebrate this milestone of 25 years the festival has been extended to two days this year where you can enjoy live music, kids games, pumpkin painting, and of course GRAPE-STOMPING FUN for the whole family!

Paws in the Park
October 7 | Stephens Lake Parklittle girl with painted face petting a pony

This year’s festival will once again feature the Dock Dog Diving completion, along with a Canine Carnival with games and prizes for your dog and a community-supported silent auction. Local business vendors and food trucks will be on site throughout the day. Second Chance will be featuring many of their adoptable animals so bring the family if you’re looking for a new pet!

Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival
October 14-15 | Hartsburg, MO

The charming river town of Hartsburg hosts thousands of visitors during this annual festival on the second weekend in October, which features 150 craft vendors, petting zoo, pony rides, food booths, pumpkins galore, and a variety of pumpkin activities for the whole family.

Citizen Jane Film Festival
October 26-29 | Stephens College

The festival celebrates women in film and screens narrative, documentary and short films, hosting panel discussions with the filmmakers. The fest is a mix of experienced professionals, up-and-coming talent and beginning filmmakers who are forgoing expectations and testing social norms. They come in person to discuss their films and help strengthen the community of female filmmakers. This year, the festival will be giving the Frances award to Linda Woolverton, screenwriter of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Maleficent, and Alice in Wonderland.

Grab a caramel apple from The Candy Factory

A caramel apple is the perfect fall treat, and The Candy Factory has several delicious options to choose from – whether you like your caramel apple plain, covered in sprinkles, or with a candy corn Jack ‘O Lantern face, you won’t leave disappointed.case of caramel apples with toppings like m&ms, candy corn, sprinkles, and nuts

Check out the leaves

Columbia has no shortage of parks and trails with beautiful views but here are some of our top spots for fall colors:fall photo of boardwalk trail at Rock Bridge State ParkRock Bridge Memorial State Park
view of river from les bourgeois wineryLes Bourgeois Vineyards
katy trail along the river and bluffs with fall colorsKaty Trail State Park
orange fall leaves in front of memorial union at university of missouriMizzou Botanic Garden/University of Missouri

Find a Farmers Market

Support local farmers and vendors while shopping for fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and more. Seasonal produce you may find at our farmers markets include broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkins, garlic, peas, and sweet potatoes. 'see you at the market' - Columbia Farmers Market sign and tents

Boone County Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 AM – 12 PM through October 28th
Columbia Mall Parking Lot (Sears)

Columbia Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 AM – 12 PM through November 18th
The ARC, 1701 W. Ash
Tuesday, November 21st, 3-6 PM
Parkade Plaza, 601 W. Business Loop

Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market
Sundays, 9 AM – 1 PM through October 29th
Wabash Station, 126 N. 10th St.

Celebrate Oktoberfest

Columbia doesn’t have a traditional Oktoberfest celebration but there are several events you can take part in:

interior of Gunter Hans restaurant Oktoberfest at Gunter Hans
October 9-14 

Oktoberfest beers will be served throughout the week along with fun activities:

  • Oktoberfest Trivia
  • Flight Night in the Biergarten
  • Das Boot and Liter Holding Contest
  • Brat & Bier Special

Rocheport Oktoberfest III and IV: Monster Mash Edition
October 21, 12-9 PM | October 28, 12-9 PM

2017 is the second year of the Rocheport Oktoberfests – free music and beer festivals in the small town of Rocheport, MO. Oktoberfest IV: Monster Mash Edition will include a contest for best Halloween costume, with a $250 prize!

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by Beth Kotz

Columbia, MO is a can’t-miss stop for budget-minded travelers of all ages, whether they’re coming from down the block or all the way across the country. Without putting a hole in your wallet, CoMo fun – from inexpensive eats to this summer’s total solar eclipse – offers plenty for everyone. Here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy this beautiful city on a shoestring.

pastries at uprise bakery

Eats on the Cheap

Try to manage how often your family eats out – fix snacks, and shoot for one meal a day outside of restaurants. Farmers markets are a great way to enjoy the city and grub without breaking your budget. On Sunday from 9AM-1PM you could check out Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market in the North Village Arts District – they’ve got fresh produce, food trucks, interesting creations and entertainment, which means fun for the whole family.

Although it’s important to not break the budget on dining out, doing so is nevertheless arguably one of the best ways to explore a new city. And there are several wonderful spots to check out for food, drink and unique ambiance in Columbia. Uprise Bakery is a local favorite that makes all their ingredients in-house – it’s also conveniently located in the same building as Ragtag Cinema, so you could grab a bite to eat (they allow you to bring it into the actual theater) and catch an interesting movie all in the same area.

railing with painting that says north village arts district

Finding Free Arts and Culture

Looking for art exhibits, museums and more? Columbia is a cultured city that offers a buffet of free thought-provoking collections for visitors. The North Village Arts District is home to a variety of creative venues as well as an artisan market with over 150 artists. The Museum of Art and Archaeology is part of the University of Missouri, and a great place to revisit the state’s rich artistic heritage. For a glimpse of up-and-coming artists, the Art Department Galleries display new work by the best and brightest Columbia College students.

Inexpensive Entertainment

It’s always fun to check out some entertainment when exploring a new city and they don’t always cost you an extensive amount of money. The University of Missouri Department of Theatre offers shows at Rhynsburger Theatre, where tickets are $15 for adults. Or catch a show at Rose Music Hall, which puts on events in Rose Park, Columbia’s largest outdoor beer garden, in the summer.

Free CoMo Fun

The Columbia area has several parks and trails – the city itself has 3,300 acres of City park land, as well as several state parks and conservation areas nearby. You may want to check out Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, which contains some of the most popular trails in the state. Columbia is a historic city – explore some of its many historical sites and landmarks, such as the Centralia Battlefield, upon which one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War took place. Also something to keep in mind is that on August 21st, 2017, Columbia will be in the direct path of totality for a total solar eclipse!

Little Savings Add Up

It’s always important to do your research before traveling – if you’ve familiarized yourself a bit with the city prior to arriving, knowing where you’re going and having activities planned will help you mediate against unexpected costs. Little savings add up, so plan to pay for as much as possible with cash and try to stick to what you can afford. It’s nevertheless reasonable to use your credit cards to book things here and there along the way, especially if there are any rewards you can gain or use through them – airline miles, fuel benefits, and so on. Use apps or websites that tell you which local gas station is cheapest. Over 50? Check out AARP and senior discounts. Every little bit helps!

A trip to CoMo in the summer should be relaxing, fun, and affordable too. Without breaking the bank, you can see the best parts of this beautiful city and kick back in style.


Beth Kotz is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues to live and work.

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It’s today! (June 21st) The day we take fun (and sometimes awkward!) public photos because it’ll look perfect on our Snapchat story or Instagram timeline. It’s NATIONAL SELFIE DAY! So throw caution to the wind and take those selfies all day long. Here is a list of the must-have selfies to snag when visiting Columbia throughout the year.

The Columns

Photo from Mallory Scherer, Mizzou Class of 2020

Destroyed by a fire in 1892, Academic Hall left behind six symbols of strength on the David R. Francis Quadrangle at the University of Missouri. The columns are a favorite of locals, Mizzou students & alumni, and visiting families as they stop through Columbia. More history can be found here.

The Pinnacles or Rock Bridge State Park

Photo from Instagram user @pharmagalopens in a new window

Located in Boone County, The Pinnaclesopens in a new window is a great way to explore Missouri’s diverse geological formations. Rock Bridge Memorial State Parkopens in a new window is also a favorite of many because of its family-friendly trails and Devil’s Ice Box rock formation.

With a Slice of Pizza

Photo from Pizza Tree Facebook

Columbia has plenty of options for a great slice, and a must-have selfie is a picture of you just before you devour yours! Looking for your next great slice? Check out this list.

The Roof on top of The Broadway

Photo from Instagram user @gaby1bopens in a new window

This establishment is a nice place to stop by with friends or a special someone for a drink and a bite to eat. It’s the perfect spot to snap a sunset selfie as you watch the Columbia sky change colors.

Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field on Gameday or with Truman the Tiger

An iconic pair that are favorites of many. If you’re in town catching the game or see Truman on one of his many adventures around town, make sure to snap a quick picture to share.

The Keyhole at City Hall

Photo from City of Columbia, Missouri (Gov’t. Page) Facebook

Surely to be the ‘key to your heart,’ stop by City Hall for this iconic selfie located in The District.

Harlan the Big White Dog

Photo from Steven Ziegler, Mizzou class of 2018

You might think you’d stepped into another region when you see this smiling creature as many compare his appearance to a polar bear. Harlan is the remaining half of an iconic pair that greets people with gentle love. Harlan and Cris, his owner, can be spotted walking in The District or sitting in Speakers Circle, and Harlan welcomes hugs and scratches behind the ear. More information about Harlan can be found on his Facebook profile.

Share your CoMo selfies with us by tagging us on Instagramopens in a new window or Twitteropens in a new window, and use #ShowMeCoMo!


Blog written by Convention and Visitors Bureau intern, Grace Bommel

#ShowMeCoMo

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The warm weather in Columbia is what many, like myself, anticipate all year and for a really good reason. Now that June is underway and the days are getting longer, I’m here to let you know just where you can breathe in fresh air and experience Columbia from some of my favorite spots: the patios.

There are several patios to enjoy across Columbia and even more open up every year, but no two patios are the same. They each take on their own character, feeding off the energy of the staff and guests to build an atmosphere that is unique. Although not a comprehensive list, I’ve brought together some ideas of where to find just what kind of patio you’re looking for.


For a Quick Relaxing Drink

If you’re looking for a place to stop after work or between boutiques in The District, these two have you covered:

Tropical Liqueurs

Photo from Tropical Liqueurs Facebook

With two locations in Columbia and two decades of experience under their belt, Tropical Liqueurs knows how to treat patrons to the ultimate patio experience. The modest patio tables have shade umbrellas to protect you from the hot summer sun while you take in a cold drink. No food is served at the locations so this is a good place to spend an hour or two with friends or colleagues after work before heading home or to dinner.

Günter Hans- Artisan Café

Photo from Günter Hans- Artisan Café Facebook

Started by a female entrepreneur, Günter Hans- Artisan Café sports a traditional European flare that welcomes customers. Günter Hans is Columbia’s only full wine tap, which offers customers a unique experience coupled with a beautiful patio. The wine tap means the product arrives in barrels and is then served directly into the glass without being exposed to oxygen. European favorites such as bretzels, bratwursts, and waffles are featured on the limited menu to beat any snack craving you might have.

For Appetizers and Catching Up with Friends

These two are drastically different from each other but can both meet the need for quick food and good conversation with friends while relaxing on an outdoor patio:

Las Margaritas

Photo from Las Margaritas on Corporate Lake Facebook

Known for its location on Corporate Lake, Las Margaritas is a great spot for catching up with friends over delicious queso fundido or nachos Margaritas from their appetizer menu. The friendly personalities of the staff and quick service make your trip even more enjoyable and offers the potential to be a memorable meal.

Barred Owl Butcher & Table

Photo from Barred Own Butcher Facebook

This pick is a newcomer to the Columbia scene and is taking strides to be a must-try for residents and visitors. While you’re there learn more about the made-from-scratch, ingredient-first culture they are so proud of. The staff from the front door to the table are friendly, passionate and ready to answer any questions. The charcuterie and spreads menu offers a variety of options, from a Butcher Board to a whipped ricotta served with pita breads that pair perfectly with good people, memorable stories, and hand-crafted drinks.

For the Lover of Art & Music

These two are known for their quirky styles and exceptional food:

Cafe Berlin

Saturday and Sunday mornings year-round are busy with excited patrons ready for locally sourced comfort food but the onset of warm weather opens up new possibilities for Cafe Berlin-lovers. The patio is a great place to enjoy warm weather during the day and into the afternoon while night is a time to support local bands playing. Cafe Berlin is known for being vegetarian-friendly and a great place to eat out if you’re looking to please a variety of food lifestyles.

Tellers

Although outdoor seating is limited, Tellers is a wonderful place to eat if you’re interested in watching The District’s nightlife or catch a street performer playing. Inside, if you venture in, is home to several pieces of local artwork. Each piece is unique and adds to the artistry of the atmosphere.

For Dinner with Someone Special

If you’re looking for a great date-night patio, these spots are tried-and-true:

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing

With specialty pizzas and craft beer from its in-house brewery, a night out at Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is sure to be a special one. The outdoor patio is surrounded by trees so that the area is more intimate and cozy. Smiling faces from the servers and a wide variety of food options for all kinds of eaters makes this a nice location to spend time with a special someone or for a comfortable night with dear friends.

The Roof

Photo from The Roof Facebook

Located at the top of The Broadway Hotel in The District is the perfect place for a romantic night. The Roof offers a beautiful view of the Columbia skyline accompanied by a lavish and diverse menu. The seating options and fire pits create a fun atmosphere to share that special somewhere.

For a Columbia Tradition-Seeker

Looking for a patio that is uniquely ‘Columbia?’ Try one of these:

The Heidelberg

Photo from The Heidelberg Facebook

A staple for visiting parents and prospective students, this is also a must try for anyone visiting Columbia. The Heidelberg’s upper patio offers a view looking towards the University of Missouri and offers both covered and uncovered tables in case you need to get out of the hot sun. From appetizers to drinks to burgers, you’ll be sure to find a favorite to add to your list of traditions when visiting.

Shakespeare’s Pizza

Photo from Shakespeare’s Pizza Facebook

Each Shakespeare’s location has a traditional patio where individuals (and their pups) can enjoy a slice and a cold beer. If you’re looking for something a little different, Shakespeare’s Downtown v2.0, as they call it, has a garage door to give you an indoor/outdoor feel along the side of the building for a more private eating experience.

Whatever your patio needs are, Columbia has you covered. Try them out and share your favorite patio stories and photos with us on Instagram (@visitcolumbiamo) and Twitter (@ColumbiaMOCVB).


Blog written by Convention and Visitors Bureau intern, Grace Bommel

#ShowMeCoMo

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Festivals and Events

Restaurant Weekopens in a new window | June 12-18 | The District

Enjoy exclusive Restaurant Week menus and specials offers at any of the participating eateries. In addition to enjoying special menus during Restaurant Week, you can also be entered into a drawing to win a gift card to various downtown locations. Just pick up a Restaurant Week Passport at any participating restaurant, beginning June 12. To complete your passport, you must dine at three or more locations, and turn your completed passport in to any of the participating restaurants by June 18.

Missouri State Senior Gamesopens in a new window and June Show-Me State Gamesopens in a new window | June 14-18 

The Missouri State Senior Games is an Olympic-style sports festival for individuals age 50 and older. June’s Show-Me State Games will include the following sports: Archery (NASP), High School Basketball, Lacrosse, Par 3 Golf, Pickleball, Soccer, Swimming, and High School Volleyball.

Savory Summer Kickoffopens in a new window | June 17, 12-4 PM | Bur Oak Brewing Co.

This event will bring together fine food, contests, local artisans, and entertainment. 30+ chefs and restaurants will serve up their best dishes to judges and the community to be chosen for our final top six cook off challenge!

Family Fun

Movies in the Park:

(PG-13) Three decades after the Empire’s defeat, a new threat arises in the militant First Order.

(PG) While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

(PG-13) After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife.

Family Fishing Nightopens in a new window | June 16, 6-8 PM | Jefferson Farm & Garden

Bring your family and friends to fish in the seven-acre stocked fishing pond, enjoy s’mores by the bonfire or just sit back and relax with a cold drink. Cost is $5 per person (children 4 years and younger free) and includes the rental of a fishing pole, bait, one s’more and one drink. Fishing is catch and release only and a fishing license is not required. Please register by calling Amy Dooley at (573) 239-6134 or emailing dooleyam@missouri.edu.

Family Fun Fest: Explore Outdoorsopens in a new window | June 21, 6-8 PM | Cosmo Park

Entertainment for the whole family, including activities, music, hands-on learning, live entertainment, face painting, food trucks and more. The outdoors has so much to offer. Learn about Missouri fish, birds, parks, camping and more from state and local experts.

On-Stage

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” | June 8-11, 15-18, 22-25 | Columbia Entertainment Company

“Stage Kiss” | June 9-11, 15-18 | Talking Horse Productions

“Peer Gynt” | June 21-25 | Artlandish Gallery

“Red, White, and Tuna” | June 22-25, June 28-30 | Corner Playhouse

“Laughing Stock” | June 29-30 | Maplewood Barn Theatre

Live Music

Music of Prince & The Revolution: Dr. Zhivegas | June 17 | Rose Park

Jelly Roll | June 20 | Rose Music Hall 

Jonny Lang | June 22 | The Blue Note

Summerfest: William Elliott Whitmore | June 24 | Rose Park

The Voice finalist, Barrett Baber | June 29 | Rose Music Hall

Hot Summer Nights | events throughout the month of June

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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!


It’s easy to think you know CoMo. I mean Mizzou, Shakespeare’s, Homecoming, Booches…that pretty much covers it, right? Wrong! One of the best things about Columbia is that it’s always growing and changing. Even if you’ve visited recently, come on back and check out some of these new spots sure to help you make memories.

Barred Owl Butcher & Table

Photo from Barred Owl Butcher Facebookopens in a new window

Just a couple of blocks outside of downtown proper, Barred Owl Butcher and Table is quickly becoming one of CoMo’s favorite dining spots. The open space with vaulted ceilings still feels warm and welcoming with an incredibly attentive staff and a beautiful bar complete with library ladder. Definitely try a charcuterie board, the daily breads to start and the ricotta gnudi, which is one of my new favorite CoMo dishes.

Confetti Craft Co.opens in a new window

Photo from Confetti Craft Co.opens in a new window Facebook

If you love crafting, but maybe don’t have the space or the creative mind to come up with your own projects, Confetti Craft is now open! Hop online and make your reservation and pick a craft from their project bar, which runs from a wooden beer caddy to felt pillows to jewelry. You and your friends can enjoy drinks from their bar while you create your very own custom CoMo souvenir.

Unbound Book Festival

Photo from Unbound Book Festival Facebookopens in a new window

Columbia’s newest festival, the Unbound Book Festival began in 2016 and was an instant hit. This year’s festival is on Friday, April 21st and Saturday, April 22nd here in Columbia. Programs for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children’s literature will take place, with the highlight being special guest Salman Rushdie. New authors are being added all the time, so come to CoMo for Unbound and leave with an even longer to-read list!

Craft Beer Cellar

Photo from Craft Beer Cellar Columbia Instagramopens in a new window

Not looking for beer snobs? Good. Because Craft Beer Cellar is home to beer geeks! They can help you find the perfect beer, whether it’s from around the world or just down the street. It’s the perfect place to hang out and sip on something new or to find your favorites. If you’re feeling competitive, Tuesday night trivia is always a hit.

Strawn Park

The groundhog may have seen his shadow, but we’re still holding out for spring showing up early. That means enjoying one of CoMo’s picturesque parks. Our newest, Strawn Park, is home to the Harmony Bends Championship Disc Golf Course. Designed by renowned disc golf course designer John Houck, Harmony Bends features big hills, creeks and plenty of trees. Everyone from beginners to pros can enjoy this addition to Columbia’s already impressive parks portfolio.

So now you know: there’s always something new and different in CoMo. Start planning your next trip now to check everything out. Need help? Order your Visitor Guide here.

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