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Winter

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 opens in a new windowStephens Lake Park. 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 opens in a new windowParks and Recreation when skating is allowed. When you decide it’s time to thaw out, stop by opens in a new windowLakota 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 opens in a new windowRagtag. 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 opens in a new windowMagic Tree at the Village of Cherry Hill. Get some photos and then warm up at opens in a new windowFlat Branch Pub for dinner. Grab a beer (see what’s on tap at Flat Branch), 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, opens in a new windowhere are some other stops you can make instead.]

bowling

Two words: opens in a new windowLazer Lanes. 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 opens in a new windowmenu). 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

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 opens in a new windowBlufftop Bistro or pick out a favorite wine to take home with you at the opens in a new windowTasting Room.

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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See a show

Christmas ornament

December performances include family-friendly shows, holiday specials, and adult comedy:

opens in a new windowElf Jr.
December 3-4 at Warehouse Theatre

opens in a new windowMoscow Ballet: The Great Russian Nutcracker
December 1 at Jesse Auditorium

opens in a new window5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche
December 8-11, December 15-18 at Columbia Entertainment Company

See our opens in a new windowcalendar of events for a complete list.

Take a photo at the Magic Tree

Magic Tree, Columbia MO

opens in a new windowThe Magic Tree is a favorite Columbia holiday tradition, and although there’s now several of these completely lit trees around town, you should still make a trip to the original Magic Tree at the Village of Cherry Hill. There is even a opens in a new windowfestival for the ‘lighting of the tree’ on December 1st with Santa, food trucks, and holiday fun.

Go holiday shoppingholiday store front

We have all the usual opens in a new windowshopping options where you can pick up gifts for everyone on your list but you should also check out these special events:

opens in a new window1st Annual Christkindlmarkt – December 2 at Gunter Hans, 5:30-8:30 PM
opens in a new windowBattle FBLA Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair – December 10 at Battle High School, 8-12 PM
opens in a new windowHoliday Gift Boutique – December 10 at Columbia Independent School, 9 AM
opens in a new windowColumbia Winter Farmers Market – December 3, 10, 17 at Parkade Center 9-12 PM

Attend a festival

living windows in the district

The first weekend of December is packed with festivals: head downtown on Friday, December 2nd, for opens in a new windowFirst Fridays in the North Village Arts District and opens in a new windowLiving Windows, when shopkeepers stage live performances in their shop windows. On Saturday, join Columbia Parks and Rec at Progressive Missionary Baptist for the opens in a new windowCity Kwanzaa Celebration. And Sunday? Check out the first annual opens in a new windowChocolate Festival at Parkade Center – pick up some holiday gifts from local vendors while enjoying chocolatey treats.

Listen to live jazz

We always swing jazz series flier cover

opens in a new window“We Always Swing” Jazz Series is bringing two great holiday performances to Columbia this month:

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis+ Special Guest Vocalist, Catherine Russell
December 4th, 7 PM at Missouri Theatre

Tim Warfield’s All-Star Jazzy Christmas
December 11th, 3:30 PM and 7 PM at Murry’s

Check out a tractor parade

If you’re looking for a unique holiday experience, look no further than the annual opens in a new windowCentralia Christmas Tractor Parade. See floats, tractors, lawn mowers, and other farm equipment decked out in holiday lights and decorations. Santa might even be there on his Christmas tractor.

December 16th, 7 PM in Centralia

Take in the holiday lights

House with holiday lights.

You could drive around town looking for lights OR you could make plans to attend one of these events:

opens in a new window51st Shelter Insurance Christmas Tree Lighting | December 1st, 6 PM
Santa and holiday music included.

opens in a new windowFriends of Rocheport Christmas Tree Lighting | December 4th, 6 PM
Christmas carols will follow the tree lighting and then head to Community Hall for refreshments and a visit with Santa.

opens in a new windowCandy Cane Crib | 115 W. El Cortez Dr.
You can’t miss the famous Candy Cane Crib! Santa will be there on December 10th.

opens in a new windowHoliday Lights and Sights Tour | December 16th, 6:15 PM and 7:45 PM
Meet Columbia Parks and Rec at The ARC and enjoy holiday lights from a mini-bus. Cost is $7.50, and pre-registration is required.

opens in a new windowIt’s a Wonderful Ride: Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour | December 18th, 5:30 PM
Join GetAbout Columbia at Lucky’s Market and see holiday lights in and around downtown.

Go back in time

Stephens College’s opens in a new windowA Dickens Victorian Christmas is an annual favorite. It’s a family-friendly, authentic recreation of a 19th century English Christmas with Mr. and Mrs. Dickens that includes refreshments, period dance, music, and more. You have four days to choose from so don’t miss out!

December 4-7 at Stephens College, Historic Senior Hall

Run (or walk) for a cause

The opens in a new windowJingle Bell Run is the perfect excuse to break out those ugly holiday sweaters, tie jingle bells to yourself, dress up like Santa or an elf… the cheerier, the better!

December 10th, 8 AM at Silverthorne Arena

Brew ‘n View

Home alone character Kevin McCallister

Beer and holiday movies – enough said. The Blue Note has two Christmas Brew ‘n Views planned: opens in a new windowHome Alone December 15th and opens in a new windowElf, December 22nd.

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Just because the temperatures get colder in the winter months doesn’t mean you can’t still get outside and enjoy yourself! Maybe you want to put jingle bells on your shoes and run a 5K or perhaps cross country skiing on a quiet trail is more your speed. No matter your interests, get outside on your next winter visit to Columbia!

Cross Country Skiing

There are few spots more peaceful after a snowfall than the opens in a new windowMKT Trail. The trail is made of crushed limestone, so instead of plowing snow, the trail is open for cross country skiing. Take in the beautiful scenery throughout Columbia and enjoy the quiet of the MKT.

Sledding and Ice Skating

If you’re looking for a little more noise, head to opens in a new windowStephens Lake Park to check out Columbia’s home for winter sports. On the east side of the park, hit the sledding hill when snowfall is at least 4-6 inches deep. Also, when the lake is deemed to have thick enough ice, it opens for skating! Check out the outdoor winter sports safety tips and be sure to check online to find out if the lake is open to the public for skating.

Winter Races

Ready to run? Columbia has three races coming up this holiday season, so lace up your shoes for one of these!

opens in a new windowAdvanced Radiology Turkey Trax 5k – Columbia

Thursday, November 22, 8:30 am – 10:00 am at Rock Bridge High School

Thanksgiving can challenge any routine, whether it be cooking, family events or travel. The TurkeyTrax 5K Run provides friends and family a chance to do something active before they start their traditional Thanksgiving celebration. More importantly, the TurkeyTrax Run is designed specifically to benefit a select group of local charities – you choose the one you want to support! This year’s charities are Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri, Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run, and Children’s Miracle Network.

opens in a new windowJingle Bell 5K for Arthritis – Columbia

Saturday, December 8, 8:00 am – 9:30 am at 6th and Ash St.

Get in the spirit this holiday season at the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis®. Be one of the thousands of runners and walkers who hit the nation’s pavements, pathways and parks this winter to fight arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk® is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving

First Night 5K – Columbia

Monday, December 31, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 19 S 6th St

Ring in 2013 with this downtown 5K put on by First Night Columbia. Weave your way through downtown and the University of Missouri campus then join the celebration of First Night!

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Now that you know what your options are, bundle up and head outside for some winter fun in Columbia!

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