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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 (that’s me with a glacier in Alaska), 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!


Brenna and me at a CBT event

Autumn in Columbia is my very favorite season. I love the crispness of the air, the leaves changing, the sound of drumlines that signal football is back. It’s also the perfect time to get out and spend time with friends. My favorite days spent out in CoMo lately are with my pal Brenna, who is the Editor over at the Columbia Business Times.

We like to mix something active with a nice dose of leisure, so this fall day out is perfect! This itinerary is more of a suggestion, though Brenna and/or I have done all of these things here in Columbia. Brenna would like you to know that I promise action photos from our next day out (Winter) because we’re going to plan it now and then document our day! Ok, ready to spend a great autumn day here in CoMo? Let’s do it!

Ladies’ Day Out – The Fall Edition

First thing’s first: sleep in a bit. You thought we were going to get up at the crack of dawn for our day out? Ha! You do not know Brenna and me well enough yet.

Ok, so you got some extra rest because you worked hard this week. Now the day out can begin. Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one of the best stops in Columbia is at Café Berlin. It’s down in the North Village Arts District and the food is amazing. Look at this weekend brunch menu and salivate:


Only Café Berlin could make something called the Compost Pile mouthwatering.

One of the local favorites is the Starving Artist because gravy, but for my money it doesn’t get any better than the Apples & Sausage on a Pancake. A heaping plate of food plus coffee in one of Café Berlin’s random mugs means you’re ready to shop. Or take a nap. No! On to shopping…

The District, Columbia’s downtown, is full of fun little shops to explore. We have a few favorites that we always stop by so we can see what’s new!

Route used to be known as The Mustard Seed, but it’s still the incredibly unique free trade shop you always loved. The beautiful handcrafted pieces from around the world range from jewelry to scarves to décor. Last time we were in, I picked up a beautiful silver vase for my mantle at home and a black and gold ring I can wear when I want to look fancy while supporting Mizzou.


Every time I walk into Poppy, I decide I probably need one of everything. Photo from Poppy’s Instagram (@poppymadebyhand).

Poppy is also home to a great array of handcrafted pieces that make it very difficult to leave without something new. The fabulous owner, Liz, curates the best in jewelry, greeting cards, baby clothes, art and so much more, so that Poppy is the perfect place to shop for a gift. I’ve gotten everything from wedding shower gifts to Mother’s Day gifts at Poppy. They also partner up with Christy at The Ink Café for calligraphy classes that are a blast – even for people like me who have terrible handwriting and can only draw stick people.


Yellow Dog always has the best window displays! Here’s theirs from the True/False Film Fest this year. Photo from Yellow Dog’s Instagram (@yellowdogbookshop).

One place we absolutely never ever miss (ever) is Yellow Dog Bookshop.  This small shop is owned by a wonderful married couple and is stuffed full of used books. They have a huge non-fiction selection on all sorts of topics, a Missouri section, and a fiction section that I love looking through to find treasures to add to my to-read list.  Anyone who knows me even a little knows I cannot leave a bookstore without buying at least one book (and usually more), so Yellow Dog is my favorite downtown escape.

Alright, I managed to keep myself from running out the door to go book shopping. Once our shopping has finished, it’s time to spend the afternoon outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Sometimes this is as simple as a walk on the MKT Trail here in Columbia, but when the fall colors are really out I love heading south of town to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.


Fun fact, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is even more beautiful than this picture makes it look.

Trail options are plentiful at the park, but my favorite is the wood-planked trail that leads you through the heart of the park. The trail allows you to take in the most impressive geological features of the park, including the actual rock bridge the park was named for, and you can also explore Connor’s Cave. The trail itself is under a mile long, but is has plenty of stairs and offshoots that allow hikers to experience the best the park has to offer. Plus, we’ve been shopping, so a lengthy hike isn’t really needed, right? Right.

After a long day of shopping and outdoor adventure, a nice dinner is in order. Brenna and I both have plenty of favorites when it comes to restaurants in CoMo. One of the most difficult decisions to make when you have such a great culinary scene is where to go for dinner. Just in opens in a new windowThe District alone, it’s almost impossible to choose!

For this fall ladies’ day out, we’ll stay in the south part of town near the park and hit Sophia’s for dinner. Like most places in Columbia, the atmosphere is casual but sophisticated, and their patio is a great spot for a fall evening. The menu ranges from incredible pasta dishes to flavorful tapas and flatbreads. With an impressive wine list, Sophia’s is also the perfect spot to linger and make the day out last a little longer.

Now for some ladies’ day out enthusiasts, there would also be another activity like dancing or cocktails somewhere fancy. But, to be honest, that’s not how Brenna and I roll. After dinner, our day ends with a big hug and a retreat to our homes where we can put on pajamas and watch Netflix. Of course, if I’ve really done a day out right, there will also be some Sparky’s Ice Cream waiting in the freezer for me.

Thanks for spending a ladies’ day out with Brenna and me! We’ll be working on our next day out as the weather gets colder and bring it to you in January. Next month I’ll feature some of my favorite CoMo dishes from all over the city. See you then!

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Autumn just might be the best time of year in CoMo: the cooler weather is perfect for patio dining, our parks and college campuses become gorgeous scenes of fall colors, and of course, we have the return of four great festivals.

Native American Dancer

38th Annual Heritage Festival and Craft Show
September 19-20 | Nifong Park, 3700 Ponderosa

Step back in time at the Heritage Festival, and bring the whole family. This free festival features crafts, entertainment, traditional tradesmen presenting the ‘lost arts,’ activities for children, ghost stories, and delicious food. While you’re there, you can also tour the historic Maplewood Home, Boone Junction Village, and the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum. History buffs and craft lovers will not be disappointed. We suggest not leaving the festival without buying some homemade fudge.

Roots and Blues Performers

Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
September 25-27 | Stephens Lake Park, 2001 E. Broadway

Roots N Blues is one of Columbia’s largest festivals and showcases over 25 artists in the genres of roots, blues, country, folk, and soul. This year’s lineup includes some big names like Dwight Yokam, Brandi Carlile, The Punch Brothers, NEEDTOBREATHE, and Buddy Guy. The festival isn’t just about the music, though – over the weekend, Stephens Lake Park is home to craft vendors, food trucks, art installations, and delicious BBQ. Sounds like an awesome time, right? Get your tickets now, and don’t forget to pack a blanket or chairs.

 Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival
October 10-11 | Hartsburg, MO

Just south of Columbia, the tiny river town of Hartsburg (population 105) has been known to bring in up to 50,000 people for the annual Pumpkin Fest. Browse through the 150 craft vendors while munching on fresh kettle corn, help your kiddos pick out the perfect pumpkins to take home for carving, and enjoy traditional fall activities: pumpkin painting, hayrides, straw mazes, and more. If you love fall and picture-perfect small towns, you absolutely cannot miss this festival. Be sure to get an early start – the town really is tiny, which means there will be traffic from the visitors flocking in.

citizen jane institute at stephens college

Citizen Jane Film Festival
October 22-25 | Various venues in downtown Columbia

The Citizen Jane Film Festival was founded with Stephens College (the only women’s college in the Midwest to offer a film production program) to celebrate female filmmakers, who are typically underrepresented in the film industry. While this festival showcases female filmmakers, it isn’t just for women – everyone is encouraged to attend. Enjoy a weekend filled with films, after-parties, and lectures, and although the film fest continues to grow each year, it still boasts an intimate environment where you can interact with fellow festival-goers and filmmakers. It’s the perfect unique experience for any film fan, and you can get the Insane Jane Pass for only $100.


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Fall into Columbia!

The weather is getting colder, college football has started back up, and there is pumpkin spice in the air.. it’s Autumn in CoMo! We’ve put together a rundown of upcoming festivals, returning events, and other fall favorites!


Heritage Fest 2008299opens IMAGE file

Heritage Festival | September 20-21 at Nifong Park | Enjoy music, dancing, crafts, traditional artisans, historical re-enactors, and a children’s area.

Rocheport Wine Stroll | September 20, 4-7 PM in Rocheport | Sample great wines from 16 wineries at our local shops and afterwards enjoy live entertainment on Central Street.

Roots N Blues N BBQ | September 26-28 at Stephens Lake Park | Along with live music (from international, national, regional, and local artists), fans enjoy delicious BBQ from local and national vendors. Included in the festival is a ½ Marathon and 10K race on Saturday morning.

Wine and Food Festival | September 29-October 4 | Now in its seventh year, the Wine & Food Festival draws visitors from throughout the Midwest and beyond to Columbia, Mo., for an unforgettable wining and dining experience.

Paws in the Park | October 4-5 at Stephens Lake Park | See the return of the Big Muddy Dock Diving Competition along with a  Kid Zone, Silent Auction, and Mutt Strut, the fun run for everyone.

Crush Festival | October 4, 2-6 PM at Les Bourgeois | Grape stomping, pumpkin painting and barbecuing are something to wine about. Les Bourgeois will also host a live performance from local band, Primitive Soul.

Harvest Hootenanny | October 4, 3-8 PM at 1209 Smith St. | The event will include a Missouri-rasied meal, music, games, a live auction and fun for the whole family. The event is a celebration of the year’s successful growing season.

Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival | October 11-12 in Hartsburg | Enjoy food, crafts and family fun, and catch the parade and pick out your pumpkin!

Citizen Jane Film Festival | November 7-9 | Check out this festival, which celebrates and showcases the work of female filmmakers from around the world and features some of the best in independent film making.

The Return Of:

MU Football

Mizzou Football: home games September 20, October 11, October 25 (Homecoming), November 1, and November 28
Check our Gameday Blogs for more information

“We Always Swing” Jazz Series | Catch shows at Murry’s or check the schedule for special events.

Great on-stage shows: Avenue Q, She Kills Monsters, Paper Daddy, Ride, Road Show, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Light in the Piazza, Precious Little, The How and Why, Other Desert Cities, The Orphan Sea, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Check our events calendar for more information

Susan G. Komen Race for Cure | October 4, 8 AM at Peace Park | The Komen Race for the Cure is an opportunity for thousands of women, men and their families, running or walking, to spread the breast cancer message within their communities.

Bear Creek Run | October 18th, 8 AM at Albert Oakland Park | This 13.1 mile run/walk will start and finish at Albert-Oakland Park and take participants to Columbia’s Cosmo Park and back.

Holiday Shop Hop | November 8 in The District | Enjoy complimentary refreshments while you stroll through your favorite District shops and galleries. Visitors will also enjoy exclusive offers from Columbia’s finest retailers and restaurants, not to mention live demonstrations, trunk shows and more!

And Don’t Forget:

Schryock’s Corn Maze | Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays September 12-November 2| Enjoy the huge corn maze, group hayrides, campfires, pumpkins, and the 3-story gumball coaster!

Harold’s Doughnuts | Opening soon to 114 S. 9th St | This doughnut shop is just taking orders as of now but will be opening soon! Their creations include: Maple Bacon Ring, White Chocolate Red Velvet Cake, Boston Creme Pie, and the Columbia Faurotnut.

Strange Donuts | Coming soon to 9th St. | No word yet on when this donut shop will be opening in CoMo but their delicious looking creations include: the Chocolate Lab, Cookie Crumble, Homemade PB&J, Pumpkin Spice, and gluten-free options.

Flat Branch Pumpkin Ale | On tap starting Halloween Day | Once a year Flat Branch raids the pumpkin patch and adds over 275 pounds of pumpkin to the mash to create this beer.

Baked Maple Pumpkin Latte | Available for a limited time at Kaldi’s | The baristas make this latte with baked pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon syrup, whipped cream, and a little nutmeg on top.

Caramel Apples | The Candy Factory, 701 Cherry St. | It’s that time of year again and caramel apples are back. Try plain caramel; campfire apple with pecans, marshmallows, and chocolate; triple chocolate; and jumbo cashew covered with chocolate drizzle. More flavors coming soon!

Pumpkin Ale Goat Cheesecake | Available at 44 Stone | Try this Pumpkin Ale Infused Cream & Goat Cheese Custard, Buttery English Walnut-Graham Cracker Crust, Pumpkin Ale & Brown Sugar Syrup.

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream | 21 S. 9th St. | We’re not sure what’s coming but Sparky’s always has great seasonal options up their sleeve!

These are just a FEW of CoMo’s great fall events and specials. Keep an eye on our calendar of events and blog for more!

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Columbia’s trees are really showing off their colors this fall! These are just a few views from near the office of the opens in a new windowConvention and Visitors Bureau, so our staff is lucky enough to enjoy these every day. We’re also next to the beginning trail head of the opens in a new windowMKT Trail, so it’s a great place to start a fall foliage stroll. Be sure to take lots of pictures (and share them with us on opens in a new windowFacebook!) before the leaves all fall!

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With a population of just over 100, Hartsburg is a quiet spot on the Missouri River about 20 minutes south of Columbia. Home to friendly people and a charming landscape, Hartsburg is the perfect calm retreat. However, once a year Hartsburg explodes with people…all in the name of pumpkins!


Now celebrating its 21st year, the opens in a new windowHartsburg Pumpkin Festival brings thousands upon thousands of fall enthusiasts to Hartsburg for a weekend of fun. This year, the festivities are this weekend (October 13th and 14th), so it’s not too late to enjoy this event. Dozens of vendors will line the streets with crafts, cuisine and, of course, pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes.

Other events, including a parade on Saturday, make this charming town come alive during the festival. Open to the public with free admission and free parking, this is a family fall tradition not to be missed.

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