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We checked out the photos posted around Columbia to find out what people are Instagramming the most, and there are definitely some favorite spots! Take a look at our list of ‘must-Instagram’ places in CoMo:

The Columns

Duh, right? Mizzou’s opens in a new windowiconic Columns are the 2nd most photographed spot in Missouri – so obviously it’s a can’t-miss for any Instagrammer visiting CoMo.

City Hall

City Hall is a beautiful building but to make it even more Insta-worthy, there’s this unique  opens in a new windowKeys to the City sculpture in front commemorating Columbia’s history.

CoMo trails

We have 60+ miles of trails, and the MKT has even been voted the 2nd opens in a new windowbest urban trail in the nation. Lucky for us we also have a great Parks and Recreation department to keep the trails in good shape and looking beautiful.


While not exactly a ‘place,’ Columbia is home to so many awesome  opens in a new windowfestivals like Roots N Blues N BBQ, opens in a new windowTrue/False Film Fest, Art in the Park, Citizen Jane Film Fest, the Heritage Festival, Unbound Book Festival, and more.

Capen Park

opens in a new windowCapen Park provides picture-perfect views from the bluffs, and who doesn’t want to Instagram fall colors, a bluff-top sunrise, or cute pups on a hike? (We know there are daredevils out there but we do not recommend getting close to the edge.)

Memorial Union

The tower of Memorial Union was completed in 1926 as a tribute to students who lost their lives in World War I. One of opens in a new windowMizzou’s many traditions involves always tipping your hat and whispering when walking underneath the tower to honor the fallen soldiers. The tower is popular on Instagram because of the gorgeous architecture (and it reminds Harry Potter fans of Hogwarts, so there’s that, too).

Columbia’s Skyline

From parking garages, The Roof, hot air balloons… you name it, photos of Columbia from above are another ‘must-have’ for Instagram.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

opens in a new windowRock Bridge is kind of like our hidden secret: not many visitors know about the caves, natural rock bridge, sinkholes, and everything else that can be found in the park. There are eight major trails for you to explore – but definitely check out the plank trail that takes you to Connor’s Cave (Devil’s Ice Box is currently closed to protect the bats) and by the rock bridge for great photo opportunities.

Food from Local Restaurants

Nachos from opens in a new windowAddison’s, ice cream from opens in a new windowSparky’s, opens in a new windowHarold’s Doughnuts, Shakespeare’s Pizza, etc. We have so many opens in a new windowdelicious restaurants – foodies (and Instagrammers) rejoice!

Public art

Columbia is full of random art – opens in a new windowtraffic box art, wall murals, opens in a new windowstorm drain paintings, sculptures, and more. Learn more about our public art and how to take a self-guided public art tour from the opens in a new windowOffice of Cultural Affairs.

Honorable mention: The Big Tree

opens in a new windowThe Big Tree is just south of Columbia off of Route K, and is worth the short drive or bike ride. If you have never seen it, you’re probably thinking, “what’s the big deal about a tree?” We think the photos speak for themselves, but if you want stats: this tree is the largest bur oak tree in Missouri, and is around 350 years old, 90 feet tall, and has a circumference of 287 inches. It has survived floods, lightning strikes, and the occasional vandalism, and locals and visitors love stopping by The Big Tree for picnics and photos. Just trust us on this one.

What do you think? Did we include everything or did we miss something? Tag us on opens in a new windowInstagram and use #ShowMeCoMo!

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Hello! My name is Andrea and I am a sales manager for the
Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau.6697small- Andreaopens IMAGE file I am an avid traveler, and I love the experience of meeting new people, experiencing new unexpected environments, the FOOD, the art, music and just soaking it all up.

Each month I am going to introduce you, our visitor, to all things Columbia, especially our fabulous arts community.  Along the way we will explore some of our fabulous locally- owned restaurants or one of our many music venues or fabulous festivals.   I hope you enjoy this city as much as I do, and of course, we would love to have you back many times to take advantage of WHAT YOU UNEXPECT.

Let’s start with the art of coffee! I love coffee, especially this time of year when the air has turned crisp and refreshing – I enjoy the warmth of the cup in my hand, the wonderful aroma and the work of art.  Columbia’s baristas are artisans, turning ordinary foam into a work of art. Columbia is lucky to have some amazing coffee shops, each awesome in their own unique way.  Take for example: Coffee Zone. If you want to be amped and ready for the day, Rocket Fuel will take you there! Also, Lakota has a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages a slower, more relaxed pace. Not to mention a particularly delightful mocha. fretboardopens IMAGE file

A recent discovery is Fretboard Coffee. They are located in the North Village Arts District, tucked away next to the Catacombs beneath Artlandish. If you haven’t been to this great area, GO!

Fretboard, like many of Columbia’s great coffee shops, roasts their own certified organic, free trade coffee beans. But what is so interesting about Fretboard is their unique way of customizing each cup of coffee. They have several different delivery methods to choose from – the tfretboardraditional French press delivers a full bodied cup, while the Chemex – invented by a chemist many moons ago, delivers a delicate cup, and the Aeropress, which is similar to an espresso and will give you quite a jolt. But my favorite, not only because I enjoy the end product, but because it looks so darn cool – is the Siphon pot. This pot truly looks like a science experiment and always results in a great pot of coffee. Stop by and watch these coffee artists work their magic and deliver you a wonderful work of art – in a cup.

So as you are strolling around the District, enjoying the magic tree and the holiday lights, please grab a coffee from one of our many, wonderful local coffee purveyors. Enjoy the public art, support our great locally owned businesses, and dine at one of our many fabulous, locally- owned restaurants.

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Sarah Dresser from the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs offers a monthly snapshot of what gallery exhibits to check out around town.

Columbia Palette Group has an exhibit at Columbia College’s Sidney Larson Gallery, on display through July 9. Featuring work by Colette Brumbaugh, Richard Dutton, Kerry Hirth, Linda Hoffman, Kaj Lofgreen, Eva Robb, Mike Seat, Mariel Stephenson, and Jerry Thompson.

ColumbiaPaletteGroup (June July 2015)














(Artwork by Jerry Thompson)

Sager Braudis Gallery

The 2015 Summer Exhibit is on display at the Sager Braudis Gallery (formerly known as PS:Gallery) in the North Village Arts District through August 1. Featuring artwork by Dana Brown, Ken Nichols, Joel Sager, Tom Pfannerstill, and Kristen Martincic.

Kristen-Martincic (Sager Braudis)




















(Kristen Martincic)

Tide (Sager Braudis)













(Tom Pfannerstill)

Columbia Art League
Feast on display through June 19 at Columbia Art League. The CAL Members’ Summer Show opens June 23, reception June 27, 6-8pm. There is no theme for this unjuried show, which is only open to current CAL members. Artists are invited to submit one 2D or 3D work.

CAL summer









State Historical Society

New exhibit titled, Audubon’s Paper Menageries: Birds and Quadrupeds, opens June 20 at the State Historical Society. John James Audubon (1785–1851) traversed North America studying and painting the nation’s birds and animals. Working with printmakers, he translated these experiences into spectacular hand-colored engravings and lithographs depicting American wildlife. The exhibit features selected original prints from Audubon’s gigantic books, The Birds of America (1827–1838) and The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–1848). Viewers will see bison, bears, hawks, and bluebirds. Perhaps the most poignant image is the life-sized, hand-colored engraving of a pair of passenger pigeons, members of a species that became extinct in 1914.

Audubon SHS














Also around town…

  • Craft Studio: East-West Dialogues II through June 19.
  • CPS Art Teachers Exhibition on display at Orr Street Studios through June.
  • Halation with artwork by Marcus Miers at Imago Gallery & Cultural Center through July 3.
  • Montminy Art Gallery: Final Approach: The Photographic Art of Oliver Schuchard is currently on display through July 19 at the Boone County Historical Society.
  • First Fridays in the North Village Arts District on July 3, 6-9pm

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Thanks to Sarah Dresser, from the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, who will be offering a monthly snapshot of what gallery exhibits to check out around town.

Craft Studio

Women in the Arts

(Street Minstrel by Deby Gilley)

The 22nd annual Women in the Arts Gallery Show highlights talented women artists, on display through March 20. In conjunction with Women’s History Month at the University of Missouri, the Craft Studio Gallery presents this exhibit as a tribute to women – past, present, and future whose artistic creations are often overlooked and forgotten. Stop by the opening reception on March 12, 4-6pm.

Columbia Art League

CAL remix

Everything is a Remix is currently on display through April 17 at Columbia Art League.)

An unconfirmed rumor, perpetuated by Steve Jobs, claims that Pablo Picasso once said, “good artists copy; great artists steal.” In contemporary art we know it as appropriation; to adopt, borrow, recycle, or sample from the anthology of visual culture. Though many artists push the boundaries of creative and intellectual property, we are compelled to wonder, is pure originality an impossible cause? And if so, in derivative is there not also homage? As film-maker, Kirby Ferguson, explores in ‘Everything is a Remix’, all evolution is based on three things: copy, transform, and combine. In this show artists are invited to remix their own artistic influences, be it that of another artist, a writer, musician, film-maker, or a specific piece of their work, and offer up an homage to the creativity they have inspired.

Orr Street Studios

Amy Meyer
(Amy Meyer)

Orr Street Studios presents a new exhibit by local artist Amy Meyer, on display March 5-April 25. Opening reception during First Fridays in the North Village Arts District, March 6, 6-9pm.

In the artist’s words…

“My foray into the world of working with only color, texture and composition was not intentional. It developed over time. Having primarily been a representational artist, I find it challenging to explain a certain piece from this body of work. There really is no correct explanation. As I work, the painting evolves over time, beginning with no real plan, but primarily the intrigue of working with color and texture. Composition comes as the work progresses, layer by layer, which can be days or months from the time it began. My goal, if I were to have one, would be to create work that stands on its own, intriguing the viewer with the complex yet simple marriage of color, composition, and texture.” – Amy Meyer

Bingham Gallery

Stop by the Bingham Gallery on MU’s campus for two MFA Thesis Exhibitions this month. Vivarium, an exhibit by Laura Tyler is up through March 13. Closing reception is March 13, 5-7pm with a gallery talk from 4:30-5pm. Matrices Metamorphosis by Tamryn McDermott is on display March 16-April 2.

Also around town…

In case you missed it in February, these exhibits are up through March and the beginning of April:

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Everyone loves to bring home a little piece of the places they’ve visited. A key chain, a shirt, a tiny jar of sand. But what if you could bring home something handmade…and we’ll even take it one step further, handmade by you! Columbia has a variety of options to make your very own art to remember your visit. So get ready to get your hands dirty and plan to check out one of these uniquely Columbia spots.

The Canvas on Broadway

Open since April, opens in a new windowThe Canvas on Broadway is ‘your artistic outlet even if you don’t think you can draw a straight line.’ Owners Stephanie and Angie will walk you through the steps of a great painting that you can take home with you. They’re also focused on an artistic and social experience, so bring everyone on your trip to create this special memory. In addition to their regular sessions, they have special events, so check the calendar before you come!

Hands on Ceramics and The Mud Room

Both of these fun spots are great if you’re going to be in Columbia for awhile. Both opens in a new windowHands on Ceramics and opens in a new windowThe Mud Room offer a great arts experience customized just for you. Stop in, pick out your piece and paint away! They’ll glaze and fire the piece for you in just a few days and just like that you’re heading home with your very own Columbia memory.

Bonus: Inside Columbia Culinary Adventures

Ok, so you’ll mostly be eating what you’re making, but we had to include opens in a new window Inside Columbia’s Culinary Adventure classes! Check out their opens in a new windowclass schedule to find out what’s going on while you’re in town. You’ll get hands on instruction from some of Columbia’s amazing local chefs and each two and a half hour class offers a different topic from appetizers to desserts. The classes are fun, social, detailed and delicious!

So go ahead and and grab your trinkets, but for a truly memorable Columbia experience take a piece of the town home with you!

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The beautiful spring and summer weather here in Columbia provides numerous opportunities for families during the warm months. We’ll be covering them as they come along…and here are a couple you won’t want to miss!

Family Fun Fests

Go ahead and mark the third Wednesday of each month on your calendar for the opens in a new windowColumbia Parks and Recreation Family Fun Fests! Each month, a new theme transforms Flat Branch Park into a fantastic place for families! Kids can participate in games and hands-on activities, enjoy entertainers,  and benefit from new learning experiences with themes ranging from ‘Around the World’ to ‘Explore the Outdoors’. Located on the edge of downtown Columbia, Flat Branch Park is a wonderful spot to attend the festival and then head into The District for dinner!

Art in the Park

Child participating in activities at art in the park.

opens in a new windowArt in the Park is the oldest and largest fine arts festival in mid-Missouri. On Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd and 3rd, Stephens Lake Park will be home to over 100 visual artists from across the country. Mom and Dad can shop for pieces in a variety of media including painting, drawing, photography, pottery, jewelry, fibers, sculpture, wood and glass. The kids can participate in hands-on activities, live music and come home with art of their own. Food vendors will also be on hand, so your family can enjoy an entire day immersing yourself in everything Art in the Park has to offer!

We hope you can make it out to these two fabulous family events and we’ll keep them coming all summer long. What’s your favorite Columbia summer activity?

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