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Now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to end your hibernation and check out Columbia! One of the best ways to celebrate is by enjoying the flavors our destination has to offer. Spend a couple days exploring Columbia’s clever cuisine…we’ll help with a few can’t miss spots.

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To really soak up the season and the sun, head over to the opens in a new windowColumbia Farmers Market. The market has moved back outside for its Saturday mornings and is already offering up fresh vegetables, pork, lamb, beef, organic produce, chicken, goat cheese, baked goods, eggs, fresh pasta, and seedlings from local farmers and producers. This popular spot is a great way to start your morning and truly appreciate spring.

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Photo by Patrice Raplee

If you want to keep the love going for fresh, local ingredients, head over to opens in a new windowMain Squeeze Natural Café and try out some of their exceptional vegetarian dishes. The restaurant in Columbia’s downtown works with local farmers to serve up delicious wraps, sandwiches, salads and much more. Don’t forget to round out your meal with one of their signature juices or smoothies.

Think no meat means you’re missing out? Spring means hauling out the grills, but you shouldn’t have to cook when you’re on vacation! Columbia has you covered with plenty of BBQ joints, each with a mouthwatering menu. opens in a new windowShotgun Pete’s on 9th Street in downtown Columbia is one of the city’s best kept secrets, and their hickory smoked meats, unique sides (BBQ Sundae, anyone?) and spicy sauce are all favorites. Also popular is opens in a new windowLutz’s BBQ in south Columbia. Lutz’s has been famous in Jefferson City for years and their new location beings their incredible ribs, homemade chips and award-winning sauces to Columbia.

Another event that returns this time of year? The patio happy hour of course! Columbia is home to plenty of places where you can sip a frosty beverage while enjoying the warm sun and blooming flowers. For expertly crafted handmade cocktails, check out the patio at Bleu on Walnut Street or try a flight of microbrews at opens in a new windowFlat Branch Pub and Brewing. Both spots feature delicious appetizers to have alongside your drinks and patios that are always full of fun-loving happy hour goers. If you’re looking for something even more casual, order a pitcher or two at  opens in a new windowQuintons. Boasting beautiful patios with views of the University of Missouri campus, these hangouts are always full of students, locals, alums and visitors who love to relax and unwind after a long day.

Need more ways to savor spring? Follow us on opens in a new windowTwitter (@ColumbiaMOCVB), opens in a new windowFacebook (Columbia Missouri CVB) and on opens in a new windowInstagram (@VisitColumbiaMO).