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Friday Favorites

It’s Friday! Today’s favorites come from Beth Mead, CVB Sales and Marketing Manager. Her list is all about her “summer in Columbia” favorites:

Patio Dining:

Patio

(Photo of Bleu’s patio)

Columbia has amazing restaurants with great food. That is good news for us COMO diners year round. In the summer, we have great food on great patios. Even better! Some of my favorite patio- dining spots are Bleu, Sophia’s, Flat Branch, Les Bourgeois and Las Margaritas. So many patios, so little summer….

Kids Playing Outside:

Flat Branch sprayground

(Photo of Flat Branch Spraygrounds)

It’s a beautiful summer day and I’m stuck inside working at my desk. You know what makes that all better? Opening my window and working to the sounds of happy children playing in the spray grounds at Flat Branch Park. Suddenly, I am transported back to my childhood, running through a sprinkler in my front yard.

Ice Cream:

sparkysicecream

(Photo of Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream)

What is summer without ice cream? Of course, you can always make ice cream if you have enough time. Why bother, though? Columbia has more than enough ice cream spots to keep you going all summer long. My family’s favorites are Sparky’s, Randy’s, Andy’s, yogoluv and Buck’s Ice Cream at Mizzou.

Less People:

Hinkson Creek Trail

(Photo of bicycle rider on Hinkson Creek Trail)

This may sound odd for someone who spends their time encouraging people to visit Columbia, but I do love summer in Columbia. It’s quiet and peaceful; it takes less time to go from place to place. There are shorter lines everywhere-at the theater, the ice cream stand, your favorite coffee shop. Even the trails are less crowded.

The Arts Keep Going:

Art in the Park 2011 photo courtesy Art in the Park

(Photo of art at Art in the Park)

There may be fewer people in Columbia in the summer, but the Columbia arts scene doesn’t take a vacation. Summer kicks off with Art in the Park followed by the Blind Boone Festival, not to mention great stage productions at Maplewood Barn Theater, Summer Repertory Theater at Mizzou and Columbia Entertainment Company.

Flowers Everywhere:

Flat Branch Park flowers

(Flowers in front of Flat Branch Park sign)

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department does a fantastic job of creating beautiful garden spots in our public spaces. Whether you are walking or driving downtown, you can’t help but notice the bright plantings all over downtown. Also, next time you are taking your kids to the pool, or hurrying in to a tee-ball game, look around you. You are walking past colorful displays at the entrances to these places. Even if you don’t have time to stop and smell the flowers, you can enjoy them as you drive by: at the roundabout, the stoplight and the “Adopt a Spot” median plantings all over town.

Farmers Markets:

Columbia Farmers Market

(Photo of Columbia Farmers Market)

I love getting up early and going to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. I especially love the Farmers Market in the summer when there is so much variety with all the tasty summer fruits and vegetables. It gets my Saturday off to a great and healthy start and I am much more productive on those Saturdays. But…here’s a little secret: sometimes, I like to stay up LATE on Friday night and then I don’t love getting up early on Saturday. No problem. Columbia has a Sunday Farmers Market too. It’s open from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, so I can play late on Friday and not miss out on my tasty summer market finds.

The Library:

Columbia Public Library

(Photo of Columbia Public Library)

I know that going to the library isn’t just a summer activity. The library is open all year. But there’s something special about visiting the library in the summer. I see all the kids checking out reading books with their parents and it reminds me of the time I spent browsing through my hometown library’s bookshelves with my mom and going to the morning “story time” once a week. Is there a better place to read a good book than outside on a sunny summer day?

Summer Welcome:

Mizzou Cornell

(Trulaske College of Business – University of Missouri. Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)

Okay, I know that I said I liked less people in Columbia in the summer. That’s true, but there’s just something about watching families visit Columbia in preparation for the upcoming school year. At the CVB, we get a lot of parents in our lobby during Summer Welcome asking questions about Columbia – where to live, what to do, where to eat. They are so excited to be here and when talking with them and answering their questions, I get excited to be here all over again. Every time.

Mugs Up:

Mugs Up

(Mugs Up at 603 Orange Street)

It seems like I’ve spent a lot of time talking about food: patios, ice cream, farmer’s markets.  Mugs Up is more than food, though, it’s an experience. If you’ve never been to Mugs Up, it is a small family operated drive-in located on Orange Street.  Their signature style loose meat “zip burgers” are tiny but tasty and their home made root beer served in thick glass mugs is just like root beer should be. Mugs Up: car hops serving hot delicious burgers, fries and root beer to your car window since 1955.

Summer Concerts:

9thstreetflaminglip

(9th Street Summerfest, photo courtesy of The Blue Note)

Columbia is a great music town all year, but I think our summer concerts are special. The variety is amazing; from high energy crowds jammed together on Ninth Street during Summerfest events to low-key, family friendly Sunday night concerts in Shelter Gardens, we have it all. If it gets too hot for you, duck into the Missouri Theatre for the Missouri Symphony Society’s Hot Summer Nights performances.

Let us know what you think of Beth’s favorites, and don’t forget to check back with us next week for more Friday Favorites!

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