Skip to main content


Whether you want family-friendly trick-or-treating or a Zombie Pub Crawl, Columbia has what you’re looking for. Celebrate Halloween with us!

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL EVENTStrick-or-treating with a small jack 'o lantern


Haunted Observatory
Wednesday, Oct. 25th 6-8 PM at Laws Observatory
With the magical help of colleagues from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Laws Observatory is haunted by the ghosts of dead astronomers, including Galileo and Newton. Come and visit with these long dead astronomers and get a tour of the sky from the ghost of Professor Dumbledore.

(Not So) Frightening Friday
Friday, Oct. 27th 4-6 PM in The District
Take the kiddos trick-or-treating in The District for free.

Trunk or Treat
Saturday, Oct. 28th 4-6 PM at Columbia Orthopaedic Group 
Bring your kids in costume for some trunk-or-treating.

Trunk or Treat
Sunday, Oct. 29th 1-3 PM at Columbia Independent School
Dress up in your costume, grab a candy collector and join other families in the cafeteria. There will be sweet treats to share, a parade at 2:30 and games and fun activities. This event is open to the public.

Trunk or Treat
Sunday, Oct. 29th 6-8 PM at Faith Baptist Church
Bring the whole family out to Faith Baptist Church for a night everyone can enjoy. This kid-friendly Halloween celebration is filled with candy, hot chocolate and family photo ops.

GROWN-UP EVENTS:the three witches from movie Hocus Pocus

Brew ‘n View: Hocus Pocus
Wednesday, Oct. 25th 8 PM at The Blue Note
300 years have passed since the Sanderson sisters were executed for practicing dark witchcraft. Returning to life thanks to a combination of a spell spoken before their demise and the accidental actions of Max, the new-virgin-in-town, the sisters have but one night to secure their continuing existence.

Zombie Pub Crawl
Friday, Oct. 27th 6 PM in The District
Take a tour of downtown Columbia, find the cure for the Zombie Outbreak or help spread the plague. The crawl begins at 6:00 pm in the District at participating locations and goes until bars close. Your $10 wristband gets you FREE COVER at all participating locations, drink specials while you’re there, access to the secret scavenger crawl with a chance to win some cool prizes!

Monster Bike Bash
Saturday, Oct. 28th 10AM-8PM leaving from Flat Branch Park
Trail goons reunite for this FREE ghoulish ride back from the grave! The Monster Bike Bash is a Halloween inspired bicycle party on the Katy Trail! Bring out your alter ego and be sure to dress for the occasion.

Rocheport Oktoberfest IV: Monster Mash Edition
Saturday, Oct. 28th 12-9 PM in Rocheport
Free live music all day long from Noon – 9 pm! More beer variety, more vendors, more fun – plus a $250 grand prize for the best Halloween costume.

Brew ‘n View: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Monday, Oct. 30th 8:30 PM 
Kick off your Halloween by experiencing the chaos and delight of the world’s greatest (and only) rock & roll audience participation film, hosted (as always) by Mark “The Master” Chambers!

A Very Decadent Halloween
Tuesday, Oct. 31st 8:30 PM at Rose Music Hall
It is no secret: Halloween is DECADENT NATION‘s favorite holiday. For year’s DN has made an annual tradition of throwing the most festive Halloween parties in Mid-Missouri. $100 prize to the best Halloween costume.

Fear Fest
Thursday, Oct. 26th 8-11 PM 
Friday-Saturday  Oct. 27-28th 8 PM – 12 AM 
Sunday-Tuesday Oct. 29-31st 8-11 PM
Located at the Midway exit,  6399 US-40
FearFest is now in its 15th year of terror and features 4 amazing attractions at one location! Hawthorn State Asylum and The Mortuary (Haunted houses), Terror in the Woods (Haunted trail) and Zombie Safari Paintball (Shoot zombies while riding on our custom trailers!). Also new this year is the ability to customize your scare level.

Have a happy Halloween!


Stop by 300 S. Providence Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM
Call 573-874-CITY (2489)
Tweet us @VisitColumbiaMO

Tag your photos  opens in a new window#ShowMeCoMo!

Continue reading...

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! (Don’t forget – it’s an Artrageous Friday!) Today’s favorites come from CVB Convention Services Manager, Terra Crane.

I absolutely LOVE all that Columbia has to offer, and I’ll always be a country girl at heart so my Friday favorites feature outdoor activities. Some go a little beyond Columbia’s city limits.

Favorite Adventure: Exploring at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Rock Bridge State Parkopens IMAGE file

My husband and I love to take our kids hiking and exploring at Rock Bridge State Park. This beautiful park is covered with magnificent wonders of nature. From throwing rocks in the creek to finding and following animal tracks, there’s never a dull moment. We can walk for miles and miles, and no one adventure is ever the same.

Favorite Girl Time: Enjoying a glass of wine at Les Bourgeois A-Frame

Les Bougopens IMAGE file

(Photo courtesy of Les Bourgeois) 

Having a house full of boys, it’s always nice to find some time for getting together with just the girls. The A-Frame is the perfect location to unwind with sisters and gal pals. It’s a great place to appreciate each other’s company and sip on a glass (or bottle) of Riverboat Red, all while enjoying the breathtaking view of the Missouri River.

Favorite Tour: University of Missouri’s Bradford Research and Extension Center

Bradfordopens IMAGE file

There is so much to see and learn about in the world of agriculture today, and I get my fix by listening to the staff at Bradford. Bradford is a great place to learn about new research methods in crop, soils, entomology, pathology, turf and other disciplines. Tours are given by tractor-pulled bleacher wagons around the farm. I am always amazed by how many different varieties there are of tomatoes, corn, peppers, pumpkins, flowers and more. This farm also raises and harvests fresh water prawn and makes its very own corn maze. It’s abundant with educational opportunities!

Favorite Family Fun Spot: Smiley Lane Park and Smithton Park

Smiley Lane Parkopens IMAGE file

If you’re looking for great playgrounds that aren’t too crowded but still have plenty of equipment, look no further. There are so many little known parks in the Columbia and these are just a couple. Race down the double slides or relax on the swings. The kids will be glad you took them to a playground all of their own.

Favorite Party: Pool party at Lake of the Woods Pool

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of swimming, but I do really like getting together with friends and family to have a pool party. Lake of the Woods Pool is a little off of the beaten path, and it has just enough things to do to make a big splash! The pool can be reserved for after-hours parties at a minimal cost, and food and drinks (non-alcoholic) can be brought in for private rentals.

Favorite Happy Hour:  Hanging with Friends on Shiloh’s patio

Shilohopens IMAGE file

Right in the heart of downtown Columbia, Shiloh’s exciting atmosphere is the place to be for drinks and appetizers after a long day’s work. My friends and I have been known to gather here for a beer or cocktail and some good food, although we tend to linger a while longer than “Happy Hour.”

Favorite Summer Tradition: Boone County Fair and the Ham Breakfast

BCF Ham Breakfast - BCF fb

I’ve been going to the Boone County Fair for at least the past 20 years. Here you can find fun for all ages.  Entertainment includes a Demolition Derby, Truck & Tractor Pull, Motocross Racing and more. My family and I especially enjoy the Children’s Barnyard and livestock shows. The fair kicks off with a parade and continues with experiences that build memories for a lifetime. I particularly look forward to the Boone County Fair Ham Breakfast every year as it is an annual date with my dad.

Have a great weekend!

Continue reading...

Friday Favorites

Hope everyone is having a great week! Today’s favorites come from CVB Senior Administrative Assistant, Billye Clemons.

Columbia is loaded with lots of free activities to do all the time. Having four kids, three still at home and one at the Naval Academy, I’m always watching our budget, so the more free stuff we can do the better, and Columbia has lots to offer! Here is a list of my favorites, complete with an insider tip on what to bring for each:

Fire in the Sky:

Fire in the Sky - P and R fb

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Parks and Recreation)

One of my favorite events! We spend our time before dark at Flat Branch Park enjoying the craft activities provided by Parks & Rec, which change a little bit each year, but have included temporary tattoos, making sparkling hats, wind socks, streamers and my 4-year-old’s favorite, the bounce house, all while listening to live music. We also stock up on the kettle corn – the wait in line is worth it. Then… dark comes.  Tune your radio to 102.3 BXR and listen to the patriotic music while you watch an AMAZING fireworks display that can be seen from almost anywhere downtown. Don’t forget to wear red, white and blue.

Salute to Veterans Air Show: 

The roar of the engines, the smell of the smoke, and the excitement of that one jet that always sneaks up behind you and scares you when you aren’t expecting it. I love a good air show. They have police dogs doing demonstrations, the US Army Parachute Team, The Golden Knights with their Black & Gold canopies and their impressive team aerodynamics… all these things make me feel patriotic. I love every minute of it. Don’t forget your sunblock!

Movies in the Park: 

Movies in the Park - P and R FB(Photo courtesy of Columbia Parks and Recreation)

The 2nd Friday of the month from May to August, Columbia P&R hosts Movies in the Park. We bring a comforter and our own popcorn in a brown paper bag like my mom used to when we went to the drive-in. Movies are displayed on a large blow up screen at Flat Branch Park. The movies are older and usually something we’ve already seen, but the experience of seeing them outside, on a blanket, under the stars is something all my kids love. Bring insect repellent, though!


Spraygrounds at Stephens - P and R FB

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Parks and Recreation)

Hot and humid outside? I take my kids to Stephens Lake Park spraygrounds. My four-year-old enjoys the spraygrounds with water shooting high in the sky, to tickle her toes or her nose. She also loves playing in the sand leading into the swimming beach, where my older kids love to swim. Don’t forget your beach toys and again, sun block.

Shelter Gardens: 

Shelter Insurance(Photo courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism)

A beautiful way to spend an afternoon (or morning if you are an early bird). Spend time walking along the path looking at beautiful flowers, bushes and trees.  Sunday evenings in June and July you can catch a local band playing in the cedar gazebo.  There is also a waterfall, rock garden, Vietnam Veterans memorial and other features to enjoy. You can take your time so if you are with someone with little legs who gets tired fast, there is no rush. Bring your camera!

9th Street Summerfests: 

Randy Houser - Blue Note Flickr(Photo from Randy Houser Summerfest courtesy of The Blue Note)

One place I don’t usually take my kids. I save this one for me, mostly. I did take my son to see Darius Rucker when he was here (I still might call him Hootie). Get there early if you want to be up close! It gets hot and crowded, but it’s a live show with bands that are great and unique. I always leave feeling like I’ve experienced music that I wouldn’t on my usual favorite radio channels. Bring a personal fan.

Family Fun Fests: 

FFF circusopens IMAGE file (Photo of “Circus” Family Fun Fest)

Held every third Wednesday of the summer months in Flat Branch Park, the Family Fun Fests feature different family-friendly activities. This month the theme is “Summer Fun.” Check it out for yourself on July 16th, 6 pm. Bring your bathing suit and let the kids hit the spraygrounds at Flat Branch Park while you’re there.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park:

Rock Bridge State Park

(Photo courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism)

Along with the usual hiking and biking, every Saturday and Sunday through August 31st you can participate in 15 minute tours of Connor’s Cave. Show up between 1 and 4 PM, and park volunteers will assist you once you make it to the cave. Be sure to call ahead of time, though, since weather and a shortage of volunteers could interfere with the tours – 573-449-7400. Bring your sense of adventure.

Art in the Park:

A Columbia favorite since 1958! Stroll through Stephens Lake Park in early June and check out work by more than 100 artists. There is something for everyone.  Buy art to take home with you or let the kids make their own! The festival features entertainment, kid’s activities, and live music. Bring your wallet. This event is free, but there is cool stuff to buy.

Continue reading...

Friday Favorites

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday! Today’s favorites come from CVB Director, Amy Schneider:

10 Favorite things in Columbia? Come on, there are too many things to do in Columbia to narrow it down. The only thing I can say for certain is that my favorite things to do include my family. The items below include places we’ve enjoyed in times past, when my daughter was young enough to enjoy them, and places the teenager I have today still enjoys doing – even the ones she may be too old for! The best part about most of these items is that none of them will break the bank. I encourage you to get out and make your own top 10 family fun items.

Columbia Mall:

Columbia Mallopens IMAGE file

(Photo courtesy of the Columbia Mall)

The carousel, children’s play area, food court – need I say more? You can make a day of it by shopping at your favorite stores, and when a meltdown occurs you have the resources at hand to make everyone happy! Especially great on a cold, rainy day when you’ve exhausted all other efforts.

Rock Quarry Park:

Rock Quarry Playground (2)opens IMAGE file

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Parks and Recreation)

I think Columbia has many great parks, and I encourage you to visit all of them. With that being said, Rock Quarry Park is my personal favorite because it is near the home we lived in when my daughter was young. We could take the dog, walk her on the trail that circled the park, and then play on the playground. The giant climbing tires were always a big favorite! The best part about Rock Quarry? It’s a small park and you can keep an eye on multiple kids without worrying.

Going Bonkers:

Going Bonkers 3opens IMAGE file

Love this place! Where else can you say, “Go ahead, take off your shoes, run wild, climb on stuff, and if you need me just give a yell?” And there’s even a quiet room for parents! The cost is reasonable, and I can guarantee there will be some good sleep in your child’s future!

AMF Town & Country Lanes:

AMF Town & Countryopens IMAGE file

You can’t beat good old-fashioned bowling. Size 8 used shoes, burgers and beer (oops-soda!), gutter guard? Yes please! Don’t forget to call ahead to make sure leagues aren’t playing.

Forum 8 Movie Theater:

Forum 8opens IMAGE file

Summer time, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.: kids movies $1.00. You’ll really love these when it’s 100+ degrees outside.

The ARC (Activity and Recreation Center):

ARC from ARC fb page

(Photo from ARC Facebook page)

What a gem this is! 12 months out of the year the community has a place to swim and work-out, meeting rooms for organizations, play basketball, the list goes on. My favorite thing to do when Danielle was little, was to meet my friends (ahem, I mean her friends and their parents) during the Little Swimmers time – an hour devoted to little ones so they can play and explore.

Spraygrounds and Stephens Lake Park swimming beach:

Stephens Lake spraygroundsopens IMAGE file

Stephens Lake Park beach and spraygrounds (Photo courtesy of Columbia Parks and Recreation)

All outdoors and all free. Stephens Lake is home to a swimming beach and a sprayground. Flat Branch Park hosts a sprayground that I can see out of my office window. I love watching the family picnics at noon and will open my window just to hear the kids play. Corny? Yes, but it’s the truth.

The Mud Room:

Mud Room

(Photo courtesy of The Mud Room)

In our home, as well as family homes throughout the U.S., are items that have been made at places like the Mud Room. It’s a great place to create a gift with your child that means something. (Memories!) My mother-in-law still has a plate on the wall that Danielle made at least 7 years ago, and I remember making it with her like it was yesterday.

Empire Roller Rink:

Empire Roller Rinkopens IMAGE file

Roller-skating never goes out of style. You can choose in-line or the old-fashioned 4 wheel skates (my choice). Birthday parties, teen night, Saturday morning skating, disco music, roller limbo, the possibilities AND the fun are endless!

Tailgating in the fall:

Tailgatingopens IMAGE file

Amy poses here with daughter Danielle, Truman the Tiger, and husband Bill

Ever since I started dating my husband many, many years ago, we have had season tickets to Mizzou football games.  This always includes the coming together of family and friends before and after each home game. As we all started having kids the dynamics changed a bit, but it was just as fun.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, forever friends, washers, bean bags, footballs, Frisbees and lots of food!   My number 1 “family fun” activity!

Have a great weekend, and watch for next week’s Friday Favorites!


Continue reading...

Looking for some activities the whole family can enjoy while you’re visiting Columbia this summer? Of course you are! Fortunately, summer in Columbia means hot weather and cool activities for kids of all ages. Here are a couple of summer favorites that heat up Columbia summers.

The Family Fun Fests!

Kids of all ages love the Family Fun Fests!

Mark the third Wednesday of the month on your calendar for the Parks and Recreation sponsored opens in a new windowFamily Fun Fests! Each month from 6-8 p.m., Flat Branch Park is transformed, with a new theme for each month (June is Explore Outdoors!) for kids of all ages. Entertainment for the entire family will feature music, special performances, and art and hands-on activities.

Outdoor Movies in the Park!

Grab a chair, a blanket and…don’t forget your family! Outdoor Movies in the Park take advantage of Columbia’s ample green space and show movies after dark in the park.  The next movie is coming up Friday, June 8th…The Muppets! It’s only $2 per person and concessions are available. Don’t miss the chance for quality family time in a quality setting.

These are just a couple of great examples of family fun you can have when you visit Columbia, but make sure you check out of opens in a new windowcalendar of events before you come. You never know what might be heating up in Columbia!

Continue reading...

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?

Continue reading...