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Traveling Tigers

Traveling to Athens, GA to cheer on the Tigers? Why not take the time to explore the city while you’re there? Thanks to our friends at VisitAthensGA for sharing their suggestions and insider tips!

Whether you’ve been to Athens several times or this is your first visit, all you Mizzou Tiger fans who are heading to Athens, GA in October should move beyond Sanford Stadium and enjoy the inspiring culture that Athens has to offer. A road trip to Athens is a special experience for those who are following the visiting team. So our team at has compiled a list of can’t-miss things to do in Athens just for Tiger travelers.

Come Friday for the UGA Homecoming Parade, headed right through downtown Athens.  You don’t have to be a Bulldog fan to enjoy the ornate floats, Redcoat band, cheerleaders, carnival, concert, and more.

Explore Vibrant Downtown

Every visitor should explore Athens’ vibrant downtown located just across Broad Street from the University of Georgia’s historic north campus. UGA is the birthplace of public higher education in America, with buildings dating back to 1806 and picturesque quads modeled after Yale University.  Cross through the Arch (one of the most instagrammable spots in Athens), wander the streets and explore inside vintage stores, record shops and boutiques with the latest trends and locally made items. You will feel the creative energy within downtown’s restored historic setting. Downtown Athens is known for a wide range of acclaimed restaurants offering everything from an amazing burger at The Grill or Clocked, to Kalbi Steak at Iron Factory and authentic Mediterranean flavors at The National with world-renowned Chef Peter Dale.

downtown street at night time with people walking

Courtesy VisitAthensGA

Catch Live Music

No visit to Athens would be complete without sampling a bit of Athens’ renowned music scene. Known worldwide as the birthplace of R.E.M., Widespread Panic and the B-52’s, hundreds of bands still call Athens home. Venues throughout downtown like the famous 40 Watt Club attract rising stars and old favorites. Between famous Athens venues such as the Georgia Theatre, The Foundry, and 40 Watt Club, and intimate venues such as Caledonia Lounge and Live Wire, there is always a great show to be seen.  Don’t miss out on the Music History Walking Tour with Paul Butchart; Download a self-guided copy or reserve a guided tour with Classic City Tours.  Guarantee your spot by reservation at 866.455.1820 for groups of 5 or more.

marquee sign for Georgia Theatre

Courtesy Chelsea Kornse

Indulge in Local Food

No football fan will be underfed this season with dozens of delectable restaurants lining the streets of downtown Athens, in walking distance of Sanford Stadium. The Classic City’s food scene is booming and has caught the attention of national media in recent years. Among the most recognized eateries are Five and Ten, James Beard award winner Hugh Acheson’s restaurant, and The Last Resort Grill, which is always a family favorite. Mama’s Boy, Heirloom Cafe, Five Bar and Porterhouse Grill are also popular choices for weekend brunch. A complete list of Athens restaurants, (plus foodie itineraries!), can be found at

Don’t be afraid to venture out of downtown for amazing eateries – Athens has no shortage of can’t-miss restaurants.  Looking for a vegetarian option?  The Grit has been recognized by, Peta, and GoDairyFree, and no, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to love it!  Want to be transported to the coast?  Try Marker 7 Grill or home.made.  But don’t take our word for it, Sports Illustrated, Conde Nast Traveler, The Local Palate, Eater Atlanta, the AJC, and others have a lot to say about the Athens food scene too.

downtown sidewalk with people walking and sitting at tables

Courtesy VisitAthensGA

Taste and Tour Award Winning Craft Breweries

Athens is also a growing star on the craft brewery scene. Terrapin Beer Company is one of Georgia’s largest craft breweries, now pouring in 15 states.   Voted Top Brewer in Georgia from RateBeer Best Awards in 2016 & 2017 and as the Official Beer of the The Walking Dead, Terrapin offers year round and seasonal brews like Hopsecutioner, Luau Krunkles, and White Chocolate Moo-Hoo.

Downtown Athens is home to Creature Comforts, who has recently garnered national attention from USA Today and the Local Palate.  Creature Comforts offers a range of styles, including IPA, pilsner, and their award-winning Berliner Weisse, Athena.

Southern Brewing Company is the most recent brewery to open and sources local ingredients whenever possible.  They are one of less than 50 breweries in the nation to preserve and recultivate a yeast strain that is used to brew the beer onsite.  They offer a large dog-friendly yard, giant Jenga, cornhole, and two stages which host live music on the weekends.

Visit one or all three breweries during a weekend in Athens for tours and tastings.  Want to learn all about how your beer is created?  Ask for a free tour and wow all your friends back home with your new-found knowledge and behind the scenes photos!

interior of creature comforts tasting room with bar and empty tables

Courtesy Creature Comforts

Explore a Uniquely-Athens Neighborhood

No matter your personality, you can find your niche in Athens.  Are you a creative sort that loves art and innovation?  Check out the Chase Park Warehouses, home to Canopy, which boasts trapeze and movement arts, Athica, a nonprofit gallery that focuses solely on local art, and the Tree Room, which you guessed it, brings the outside in.

Do you love the finest of everything?  Head to Five Points, just 1.5 miles away from Sorority Row and UGA campus, take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy the historic architecture.  Acclaimed eateries like Condor Chocolates and Marker 7 Coastal Grill will not leave you hungry.  Enjoy a day of retail therapy at upscale boutiques like BMA at home and Andree’s Essential Soaps that offer the newest fashions and luxury cosmetics.

Want a hipster experience?  Be sure to visit Normaltown, complete with neighborhood bakery Ike & Jane and townie bars The Old Pal and Normal Bar.  Stop by Normal Hardware Company, Inc. and P&M Army Surplus Store for a unique souvenir that is sure to start a conversation.

Enjoy an Athens Attraction or Tour

tree that owns itself in Athens, GAThere is a quiet side to Athens as well. Athens is home to Georgia’s official museum, the Georgia Museum of Art.  But you don’t have to be an art-expert to enjoy the over 10,000 pieces in the permanent collection, 20-25 temporary exhibitions, and the Jane and Harry Willson Structure Garden. Athens also boasts the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, which includes five miles of trails and has been designated an Important Birding Area by the Georgia Audubon Society. The Special Collections Libraries, located on the University of Georgia campus, house impressive exhibits including the Peabody Awards and Georgia History artifacts.  The Sandy Creek Nature Center is a local family favorite attraction with interactive exhibits as well as outdoor areas.  Athens’ 17 historic districts are a pleasure to drive through.  Roadside wonders include the Tree that Owns Itself and the Double Barreled Cannon.

For more ideas and itineraries to make your road trip to Athens unforgettable, please check out the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website.

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Thanks to our friends at opens in a new windowVisitLEX and Patti Nickell, travel writer for the Lexington Herald Leader, for the insider tips!

We know the primary reason Show-me-Staters are coming to the Bluegrass October 7th is to watch the Tigers collide with the Wildcats on the gridiron. But there’s no reason they can’t take advantage of what else our beautiful city has to offer.

Lexington skyline at duskJeff Rogers, courtesy VisitLEX

Let’s start with horses as this is the Horse Capital of the World. Book a tour through Horse Country, and you’ll be able to visit a number of the 450 Thoroughbred farms that surround Lexington.

The 1,200-acre Kentucky Horse Park is the only park in the world dedicated exclusively to the horse. Watch a parade of breeds – from the stately Arabian to the stalwart Appaloosa; visit retired equine superstars in the Hall of Champions, or learn all about these magnificent creatures at the International Museum of the Horse.

horses and riders at Keeneland fall meetKeeneland Fall Meet, courtesy Cornett

You’ll be here during the fall race meet at Keeneland Race Course, often described as America’s most beautiful race track. If you’re lucky enough to score tickets, and you can work it in, dress up in your finest, order a mint julep and learn the difference between an exacta, a trifecta and a superfecta.

exterior of Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, KYPaul Atkinson, courtesy VisitLEX

Okay, a history lesson may not top your “to-do” list for the weekend, but just in case it was your favorite subject in college, take time to visit one (or all) of the four historic homes in the city: Mary Todd Lincoln House (the 16th president’s wife was a Lexington native); Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate (pictured); John Hunt Morgan House and Waveland, a plantation built by a descendent of Daniel Boone who, as you already know, has a Missouri connection.

Feeling a bit dry after all that history? Wanting to celebrate your victory or drown your sorrows after a defeat? That brings us to the “hooch” part. This is not just Horse Country; it’s also Bourbon Country.

There is no shortage of places to sample the commonwealth’s native spirit. Town Branch Tavern in downtown Lexington offers tours and tastings, or take a short drive through rolling horse country to Woodford Reserve Distillery. Situated on the banks of picturesque Glenn’s Creek, this National Historic Landmark is the oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky.

5 women sitting in visitors center lounge at Woodford ReserveSarah Jane Sanders, courtesy VisitLEX

Savvy a sample, but don’t have time for a tour? Check out one of the bars in Lexington’s Distillery District; head to the rooftop bar at Belle’s Cocktail House, or indulge in a few of the 200 bourbons (bet you didn’t know there were that many) at Bluegrass Tavern, named one of the 10 Best Bourbon Bars in America by Men’s Journal Magazine.

One more tip: If you have time before or after the game, you can wander over to the Arboretum, located just across from the football stadium. Kentucky’s state botanical garden is a 100-acre paradise offering year-round color.

Finally, while we won’t welcome a Tiger victory, we will happily welcome all Tiger fans.

thoroughbred farm with three horses running, autumn treesBrett Hait, courtesy VisitLEX

For help with planning your trip, go to

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Our friends from Visit Knoxville put some information together for our Tiger fans heading to Tennessee this weekend:

Even the visiting team is treated like a local. Someone suggested we put that in an ad for Knoxville and well, we did. Cause it’s true. The locals may not say, “good luck” but they’ll always say “have a great time” – and we know you will. Knoxville is a favorite town for SEC fans, but it’s gotten even better since you were here in 2014.

Since then, the city has added several new downtown restaurants, including opens in a new windowMaple Hall – a bowling alley/restaurant, a opens in a new windowBrew Tour to give you a true taste of our expanding craft beer scene, and Pretentious Beer Glass Company- a one-of-a-kind spot where you can not only try a local beer, but watch your very own beer glass be crafted by glass artisans. And the best part? It’s all in and around Market Square – within walking distance of campus – so you can work a few things in before and after that 3:30 kick off.

We expect (and hope) you’ll be here for an extra day or two, so plan now for a trip to opens in a new windowZoo Knoxville  (home to more than 800 animals, including 3 adorable baby gorillas) or our popular opens in a new windowUrban Wilderness (a 1000-acre stretch with 50 hiking and biking trails just minutes from downtown). Bike rentals are available if you don’t want to haul your own. Just contact us ahead of time; our Visitors Center will point you in the right direction.

Speaking of our opens in a new windowVisitors Center… Let’s talk about that for just a minute. This is not your typical ‘maps and gifts’ Visitors Center. Yes, we have all of that (including the appropriately sized opens in a new windowclear bags you’re going to need at Neyland Stadium; and no, they aren’t ALL orange), but we also have live music. Yes, The Knoxville Visitors Center, located at 301 Gay Street – across from the Crowne Plaza where some of you are no doubt staying – is home to WDVX, a very popular independent radio station well-known for its mix of Bluegrass, Americana, Classic and Alternative Country, Western Swing, Blues, Old Time and Appalachian Mountain Music, Bluegrass Gospel, Celtic and Folk. Whew! Every Monday – Saturday at noon, the WDVX broadcasts “The Blue Plate Special” – a free, live concert. So make plans to stop by!

Visit KnoxvilleWhile you’re at the Visitors Center, you can find out more about all of the other music, entertainment, history and culture this city has to offer. If you haven’t been here, you’re going to be surprised at how much you’ll find. If you HAVE been here, you’ll be surprised by how much more you’ll find. Head to opens in a new to learn more.

So travel safely and good… er, rather… have a great time.

Follow opens in a new windowVisit Knoxville on Instagram.

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There’s plenty of time before and after Saturday’s game to get out and explore some of Columbia’s offerings! Here are some suggestions from the opens in a new windowColumbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau to give you a jump-start on making your weekend plans:

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Soda City Market

Get a feel for Columbia culture at opens in a new windowSoda City Market! Locals and visitors alike flock to Main Street every Saturday for the downtown farmer’s market. Fuel up for the big game with delicious food items from local and regional vendors and shop the stalls for some art or handmade products to take back home with you.


(Photo courtesy of The Southern Belly BBQ)


For a hearty sandwich with an array of toppings and sauces, stop in to opens in a new windowThe Southern Belly BBQ located right by the stadium on Rosewood Drive. For a lunch with no limits, check out the buffets at Doc’s Barbecue or Palmetto Pig. For traditional barbecue passed down from generations before, settle in to one of The War Mouth’s picnic tables and dig in to their Heritage Pork Barbecue Plate. Although our barbecue can stand on its own, round out the meal with some collard greens, mac-and-cheese, hash and fried okra.

Models kayak on the Congaree River, under the Gervais Street Bridge, near the West Columbia Riverwalk on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (© 2012 Brett Flashnick/flashnick visuals, llc.)

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Outdoor Adventure

Enjoy the fall weather and spend some time outside! Go hiking in opens in a new windowCongaree National Park, mountain biking at Harbison State Forest or kayaking on the Congaree, Saluda or Broad Rivers. Or simply take a walk at Riverfront Park and admire the fall foliage!


(Photo courtesy of River Rat Brewery)

Craft Beer and Cocktails

Win or lose, an after-game celebration will definitely be in order! Sip on something from one of our local breweries – opens in a new windowRiver Rat, Conquest, Swamp Cabbage and Twisted Spur – or hop on the Columbia Brew Bus and try them all. Not a fan of beer? Not to worry, Bourbon, The Oak Table, Motor Supply Co. Bistro and The War Mouth serve up expertly crafted cocktails.

Dining at the Gourmet Shop in Columbia's Five Points, Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. (© 2009, Brett Flashnick/ flashnick | visuals)

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau)


You can’t leave town without indulging in the best meal of the week! Dine on Hangover Hashbrowns and Cinnamon Pancakes at Café Strudel, Three Potato Hashbrowns at 116 State, a Breakfast Panini at opens in a new windowThe Gourmet Shop, the Bacon and Cheddar Stuffed Waffle at Henry’s or the Biscuit of Champions at Bourbon. You’ll be stuffed and satisfied for your journey back home.

Thanks to our friends at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau for the tips! 

unnamed1101 Lincoln St.
Columbia, SC 29201


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Thanks to our friends at opens in a new windowVisit Gainesville for providing this little guide to get the most out of your visit to Gainesville.

Fossil Hall

Florida Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Rainforest
Enjoy hundreds of flying butterflies in a rainforest, walk through history at a Calusa Indian welcoming ceremony, and a life-size limestone cave. The current exhibit, Wicked Plants, puts you in an eerie environment with Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. opens in a new windowMuseum entry is free; Wicked Plants and opens in a new windowButterfly Rainforest tickets may be purchased at the front desk.2-poe-springs-swimming-hdr-small


Dive into the the Springs
Gear up in the town of High Springs and make a visit to one of the nearby freshwater springs. Fed by the Florida aquifer, these springs are crystal clear with a year-round water temperature of 72 degrees. opens in a new windowPoe Springs Park and Blue Springs are popular swimming holes. Ginnie Springs is a global destination for cave-divers. Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a scenic destination for tubing, a gentle float down the spring-fed river.hippodrome state theatre


Live Theater
Gainesville is home to exceptional theater. The Gainesville Community Playhouse hosts ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre hosts ‘Commander.’ At the opens in a new windowHippodrome, it’s opening weekend for the mainstage production of ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,’ a recreation of the 1962 thriller.harn museumof art

Harn Museum of Art
opens in a new windowThe Harn is home to over 10,000 objects including African, Asian, modern and contemporary art, and photography. Current exhibitions include Aftermath: The Fallout of War, Intra-Action: Women Artists from the Harn Collection, and Mirror Mirror … Portraits of Frida Kahlo. Admission is free, donations are accepted.stage with drum set

Live Music
The Free Fridays Concert Series at Bo Diddley Plaza features Gram Fest, a tribute to Gram Parsons. On Saturday, opens in a new windowHigh Dive hosts Ordinary Boys – A Tribute to The Smiths & Morrissey. Rick Ross performs at the Florida Theater and an 80s & 90s block party will be at The Atlantic and Arcade Bar.kanapaha labyrinth

Natural Attractions
opens in a new windowKanapaha Botanical Gardens includes the largest public display of bamboo in Florida and the largest herb garden in the southeast. You can travel down 232 wooden steps into a 120’ sinkhole at opens in a new windowDevil’s Millhopper Geological State Park. Sweetwater Wetlands Park has 3.5 miles of trails and is a birding hotspot. You can even see real alligators on La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie State Preserve.swamp head brewery

Award Winning Craft Breweries
Gainesville is home to opens in a new windowSwamp Head Brewery, First Magnitude Brewing Company and Alligator Brewing. Swamp Head’s tasting room is called The Wetlands featuring regular and seasonal beers on tap with exclusive bottle releases. The Source is the name of First Magnitude’s tasting room which is adjacent to a family friendly beer garden. Alligator Brewing can be found inside Tall Paul’s which houses games, TVs and regular live music.downtown gainesville at night

opens in a new windowDowntown Gainesville
Multiple restaurants, bars, and boutiques are all within walking distance under live oaks and Spanish moss in the symbolic heart of the city. Tour the murals of 352walls or hop on a peddle-pub to see the most out of downtown. Bo Diddley Plaza hosts concerts and the Hippodrome hosts mainstage performances. Newly opened Depot Park features a large playground, a splash pad and is a hit with families.deep dish slice at satchels

opens in a new windowThe Food Scene
Tempt your tastebuds with everything from exotic coffees and teas, craft ramen, down home southern favorites, ethnic flavors, pizza and burgers, and casual or fine dining. Head to opens in a new windowSatchel’s for great pizza and salads where you can even dine in a 1965 Ford Falcon van. Downtown features numerous options like Dragonfly Sushi, Emiliano’s, Big Lou’s Pizza, Crane Ramen, Manuel’s Vintage Room, Flaco’s Cuban Bakery, and Volta Coffee Tea & Chocolate. Small towns boast big eats at Pearl Country Store, Blue Highway, or Coffee n Cream in Micanopy, or The Great Outdoors in High Springs.

For assistance planning your trip or more information about Gainesville, click on opens in a new or call (866) 778-5002.

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Thanks to our friends at the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau for sharing! 

  1. Get in the holiday spirit with the Lights of the Ozarks festival

1 Light of the Ozarks Fest

Each holiday season, the Downtown Fayetteville Square gets transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 400,000 lights. Nightly carriages, pony rides, fresh hot chocolate, and festive holiday music make the Lights of the Ozarks an event that cannot be missed.

  1. Explore the trails along the Razorback Regional Greenway

2 hiking

The new 36-mile bicycle and pedestrian friendly RazorbackRegional Greenway connects the downtown districts of six cities in Northwest Arkansas, offering easy access to dozens of restaurants, shops, art galleries, parks, playgrounds, and entertainment venues. To start exploring the trail, visit

  1. Cheers to the game on the Fayetteville Ale Trail

3 ale trail

The Fayetteville Ale Trail, Arkansas’ first craft beer tasting adventure, features nine local breweries. This self-guided craft beer tour lets visitors and residents experience local breweries and engage with brewmasters while learning about their craft. There is no cost to participate, and those interested can pick up a Fayetteville Ale Trail passport at the Fayetteville Visitors Center or at any of the participating breweries. Stamps are collected at each brewery and completed passports can be mailed or brought to the Visitors Bureau for a free prize.

  1. Take in a show at the Walton Arts Center

Add a bit of theatrical flair to your family’s football plans! This Thanksgiving, the world’s best-loved musical returns to Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville’s premier performing arts venue. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro, this production of Annie is a brand new incarnation of the iconic original.

Performances run November 24-29, to purchase tickets visit

  1. Tour the historic University of Arkansas campus

4 arkansas campus

There’s no better way to learn about the University of Arkansas than to visit our campus! The flagship campus of Arkansas resides on a former hilltop farm overlooking the Ozark Mountains. Don’t miss iconic Old Main, the oldest building on the university campus and one of the oldest buildings in the state. Senior Walk is the university’s longest tradition in miles as well as years. Each graduating class since 1904 has had their names engraved in the walk. More than 120,000 graduates are now listed on Senior Walk.

  1. See the magical art in Terra Studios

5 terra studios

The home of the Original Bluebird of Happiness, Terra Studios is a wonderland of art, and one of the coolest free things to do in Northwest Arkansas. Watch as skilled artisans blow the collectible glass bluebirds. The grounds are full of wonders from the sculpture garden to the stone labyrinth.

  1. Go shopping

You’ll find no shortage of funky boutiques and trendy flea markets in Fayetteville. Pick up some vinyl at Block Street Records, some new candles and kitchen towels at The Anchor, antique books at the Dickson Street Bookshop, or a vintage garment at Grey Dog Boutique.

  1. See Sam Walton’s first plane at the Arkansas Air & Military Museum

Follow the colorful history of aviation in Arkansas and American military conflicts through numerous displays of original artifacts and aviation memorabilia! The historic aircraft are unusual among museum exhibits, because many of them still fly. Static displays at the museum range from the golden age of aviation to the jet age, including Vietnam-era Army helicopters and a Navy carrier fighter.

  1. Dance the night away on Dickson Street

6 dickson street

Located just off campus, Dickson Street is the heartbeat of Fayetteville. From food trucks to martini bars to karaoke, Dickson Street offers late night fun for all.

  1. Eat up!

What’s a college town without some delicious eats? Grab breakfast at Arsaga’s at the Depot, a burger at Hugo’s, barbecue at Penguin Ed’s or handmade chocolates and French pastries at Bouchee Bistro. You’ll never go hungry in this town.

While you’re in town, stop by and say hi at the Fayetteville Visitors Center on the Downtown Square (21 South Block Avenue) or call (479) 521-5776opens phone dialer.

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Thanks to our friends in Lexington for providing this blog to help our Traveling Tigers – be sure to add a few of these activities to your weekend itinerary!

You’ll be traveling East on I-64, but you’re definitely headed in a Southern direction to get to Lexington. Our hospitality and cuisine is distinctly Southern, and our history is truly American with the influences of Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln and the Great Compromiser Henry Clay.

donamire-farm-running-horsesopens IMAGE file

Horses at Donamire Farm – Jeff Rogers

Missouri has Clydesdales and the King of Beers, but Lexington also has something to offer when it comes to horses and cold beverages. Come early and stay late because SEC football isn’t the only event on the books during the last weekend of September.

From historic horse farm and distillery tours to culinary programming and libations, Lexington serves up hospitality at its finest. You’ll understand why people say “Southern Starts Here.”

Historic Horse Farm Tours: Lexington is known as Horse Capital of the World. And although you may not be able to decide whether the rolling landscapes or majestic horses are more beautiful, there’s no question that scheduling a horse farm tour should be on your list of places to visit. There are about 150 horse farms in Lexington alone, many with grand estates dating back to the 1800s.

Keeneland Race Course, with its tranquil setting and lovely stone fences and buildings, is one of the most genteel and beautiful racetracks in the world. The next Live Thoroughbred racing meet won’t start until October and will culminate with the Breeders’ Cup featuring Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah, but visitors are welcome year-round to this National Historic Landmark. You can hang out with jockeys and owners as they eat breakfast in the track kitchen, which is open to the public. Or get an up-close view of horses as they go through their early-morning workouts.

horses-kids-khpopens IMAGE file

Kids love horses – Lee Thomas

And the Kentucky Horse Park is home to more than 50 different horse breeds at work and play. The horse is showcased through daily equine presentations, horse-drawn tours, riding, museums and special events.

Bourbon Distillery and Brew Tours: Heritage and history is bottled in the region’s bourbon distilleries. From the large household name bourbons to the hidden gems of small batch distilleries, you’ll have an opportunity to see how they have blended time-honored methods, added a dash of science and restored spirits to an art form. And you just might have time for a sample – or two.

country-boy-beer-flightopens IMAGE file

Craft Beer Flight – Lee Thomas

Or, be one of the first to travel the newly created Brewgrass Trail, where craft brewers are infusing a local variation on the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage.

Beyond Grits: Lexington’s artisan chefs are constantly exploring and redefining Southern cuisine by adding a local flair — a dash of irreverence, paired with a passion for the land and the hand-crafted, time-tested traditions of past generations. But they also embrace innovation and twists that enliven in all things culinary in Lexington. Sure, they do all the Southern staples, and do them well. But in Lexington, Southern goes way beyond grits! More than 100 independent restaurants will help you sample the local flavor.

Check out more things to do at Or ask a local. There are no shortages of opinions on where to get the tastiest breakfast, best burger or finest filet.

Welcome to all my fellow alums. I hope you love my adopted home of Lexington as much as I do.
Carla Blanton
BJ ‘91

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Are you traveling to Florida to watch the Tigers take on the Gators? Check out these 8 “don’t miss” activities from Visit Gainesville!


 (Mizzou visits The Swamp)

1. Discover the largest collection of bamboo in the southeast at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.
Twenty five major collections make up Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. The collections include the largest herb garden in the Southeast and Florida’s largest display of bamboos. During warm months visitors can see giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums. June – September offer the most color. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is very user friendly, with benches and gazebos – you may come across a wedding, reception or conference as you stroll. Kanapaha offers a gift shop that offers original art and treasures from the natural world. Kanapaha hosts the Annual Spring Garden Festival, the region’s premier horticultural event featuring more than 200 booths offering landscape displays, arts and crafts, plants, educational materials, and food. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. The name is derived from the Timucua Indian words for “palmetto leaf” and “house” referring to thatched dwellings of the village on the shore of nearby Lake Kanapaha.

2. Tour the historic campus of the University of Florida
The atmosphere inside The Swamp is electric, especially on game day. Enjoy walking around the stadium and checking out statues of UF’s Heisman winners. You can also wander through campus to discover beautiful architecture and centuries old Live Oak trees.

Butterfly Rainforest by ALMopens IMAGE file

 (Butterfly Rainforest)

3. Visit the UF Cultural Plaza and see the Butterfly Rainforest and Harn Museum of Art.
At the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Rainforest exhibit, you’ll come face-to-face with exotic free-flying butterflies within a large screened enclosure. Visitors can stroll through tropical foliage and flowers to the sound of waterfalls. Between 60-80 species from all over the world reside here at any given time. The Wall of Wings exhibit inside the museum showcases thousands of preserved and photographed butterfly and moth specimens. Visitors can get a close-up view of scientists working in the world’s largest butterfly research facility. The butterflies in the exhibit become active when temperatures are 60 degrees or higher. The Harn Museum of Art opened in 1990, dedicated to promoting the power of the arts to inspire and educate people and enrich their lives. More than 8,300 works are represented in the museum’s various collections, which include photography and Asian, African, modern and contemporary art. The museum also displays numerous traveling exhibitions throughout the year.

Harn Museum of Artopens IMAGE file

(Harn Museum of Art)

4. Watch a show at The Hippodrome.
A slice of Broadway in downtown Gainesville, the Hippodrome presents musicals, comedies, dramas, and holiday productions. The Hipp is the region’s only professional theatre and has been Gainesville’s most celebrated performing arts institution, celebrating 40 years of artistic excellence. The Hippodrome presents the highest quality theatrical programming with Broadway, off-Broadway and regional titles. For over 40 years, the Hippodrome has been a “must-see” destination in downtown Gainesville.

5. Check out Greathouse Butterfly Farm.
Started by a former elementary school teacher, Greathouse Butterfly Farm offers tours of their butterfly gardens seven days a week. They also raise butterflies and caterpillars for television and film. They are the only USDA certified organic butterfly farm in the country.

Greathouse Butterfly on Flowersopens IMAGE file

 (Greathouse Butterfly Farm)

6. Go antiquing in Micanopy.
Many Floridians consider Micanopy to be the top antique shopping destination in the state. “The little town that time forgot” presents shoppers with antique shops housed in historic buildings framed by massive old live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Not trendy boutiques, but the warmth, charm, and friendliness of the people, in the tradition of Southern hospitality, are what make shopping in Micanopy a unique experience. Micanopy’s vast array of antique shopping is set in unique historic buildings downtown and in Smiley’s Antique Mall, just off of I-75, which offers another 24,000 square feet of shopping. Cholokka Boulevard, the main street through downtown, is lined with antique shops. Other attractions include The Shop, located in Dr. Daily’s old drugstore building. The Shop has 3500 square feet lined with home furnishings, folk art, seasonal decor, and other eclectic treasures. O. Brisky Books, also located on Cholokka Boulevard, is one of Florida’s largest sources of used and rare books, drawing bibliophiles from all over the state. At Mosswood Farm Store, which bills itself as offering “organic, earth-friendly stuff we need,” you’ll find clothing, soaps, kitchenware and, well, stuff we need – all from years ago. Native plants are for sale out back. Mosswood Farm Store also hosts a Farmers’ Market every Sunday afternoon next to the Historical Museum. Downtown Micanopy offers shoppers a number of options for lunch or ice cream. One favorite is the Old Florida Cafe, known for its Cuban sandwiches and homemade orange pie. Just outside of downtown, you will find The Blue Highway, some of the best pizza in North Central Florida.

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7. Try a Pint at First Magnitude Brewery.
The newest brewery in town just opened this fall, and you don’t want to miss it. Named after our proximity to the largest concentration of freshwater, high magnitude springs in the world, First Magnitude Brewery is located close to downtown and the UF Campus. There’s a different food truck on site every day, so you’ll get a taste of local eats while you’re there too!

8. Enjoy a slice at Satchel’s
Every college town has their share of pizza joints and so do we. Only in Gainesville you can enjoy an amazing slice of deep dish inside a 1960’s Ford Van, or at one of the other unique tables in the restaurant. Visiting Satchel’s is as much about the experience as it is the pizza. The entire restaurant is decorated in art and found objects, and you can enjoy live music or play bocce ball while you wait for your table. It’s cash only, but they have an ATM and all the fees go to local charities.

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 (Satchel’s deep dish)

If you have any questions, be sure to contact VisitGainesville at (866) 778-5002 or (352) 374-5260.


Thanks to Anna Mikell with VisitGainesville for sharing these great activities with us!

All photos courtesy of VisitGainesville

Also check out opens in a new window25 Things to do Outdoors in Gainesville, FL

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As you prepare to travel from one Columbia to another for the upcoming face-off against the Gamecocks, we encourage you to spend some time exploring all the wonderful offerings of “The New Southern Hot Spot” outside of Williams-Brice Stadium! With so much to do and see in  opens in a new windowColumbia, SC, the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau is providing you with a rundown of some of the area’s “hot spots!”

Fans with famously hot painted on there chest and stomachs.

The New Game Day Hot Spot

Game day in Columbia is like nothing else. The energy surrounding the stadium is a (sand) storm of activity and excitement as fans hop from tailgate to tailgate, playing games of cornhole and counting down the hours until kickoff. Carolina Fair Park in the South Carolina State Fairgrounds, Gamecock Park and Seawell’s are all popular tailgating locations around the stadium and no matter which team wins the game, the celebration will last well into the night at bars in the Congaree Vista, Five Points and on Main Street.

BBQ Palmetto Pig 12.20.13 

The New Culinary Hot Spot

Be sure to bring your appetite and sample the local flavor! From barbecue and burgers to fine dining and food trucks, we have it all!  opens in a new windowThe Southern Belly BBQ and  opens in a new windowPalmetto Pig will have you going hog wild while  opens in a new windowRockaway Athletic Club and opens in a new windowPawleys Front Porch serve expertly crafted burgers with unique Southern flair. For the more refined palate,  opens in a new windowThe Oak Table opens in a new windowTerra and  opens in a new windowMotor Supply Co. Bistro offer fresh, locally-sourced dishes. If you can track down these meals on wheels,  opens in a new window2 Fat 2 Fly will have you stuffed and  opens in a new windowThe Wurst Wagen will get you in the Oktoberfest spirit with authentic German recipes. Bon Appétit!

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The Brew Southern Hot Spot

The craft beer scene in Columbia exploded this past year. The region went from no breweries to three successful operations and a fourth in development.  opens in a new windowConquest Brewing Company opens in a new windowRiver Rat Brewery and  opens in a new windowSwamp Cabbage Brewing Co. are all located in close proximity to Williams-Brice Stadium and all but the latter are available as tailgating locations! Quench your thirst with an ice-cold pint and get ready for game time!

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The New Adventure Hot Spot

Situated at the convergence of three rivers and boasting a temperate climate, Columbia offers year-round outdoor adventure. Stick around and spend the day after the game kayaking or tubing on the Broad, Saluda or Congaree rivers, hiking in  opens in a new windowCongaree National Park or sailing the beautiful waters of  opens in a new windowLake Murray. You’ll have a fresh burst of adrenaline for your journey back home!

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The New Historic Hot Spot

Take in Columbia’s fascinating history with a free tour of the  opens in a new windowSouth Carolina State House or by meandering through renovated  opens in a new windowHistoric Columbia properties such as the  opens in a new windowWoodrow Wilson Family Home and the  opens in a new windowRobert Mills House & Gardens. The  opens in a new windowSouth Carolina State Museum is a must-see, having just completed their $23 million “Windows to New Worlds” expansion that includes a 55-foot digital planetarium dome and theater, an online observatory, a 4-D multisensory theatre and an outdoor telescope-viewing terrace. The museum is the first facility in the nation to house all of these properties under one roof! 

The New Artistic Hot Spot

Absorb the beauty of the Columbia area through its expansive and diverse art scene!  opens in a new windowColumbia Museum of Art houses masterpieces by Monet and Botticelli, as well as a constant rotation of traveling exhibits throughout the year. Public displays of art can be found along Main Street and throughout the city, adding a unique aesthetic to the region. Columbia is also home to the only nonprofit, art house theatre in the state,  opens in a new windowThe Nickelodeon, which hosts the Indie Grits Film Festival each year.  opens in a new windowTin Roof, Music Farm,  opens in a new windowTownship Auditorium and  opens in a new windowColonial Life Arena attract musical talent from all genres, while  opens in a new windowTrustus Theatre pushes the envelope with their daring and edgy plays.

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For more information or assistance in planning your trip, please visit  opens in a new or call  opens in a new window803-545-0002opens phone dialer. Come back soon!


Thanks to Dayna Cantelmi with the Columbia, SC Convention and Visitors Bureau for providing us with all these great tips!

All photos courtesy of the Columbia, SC CVB

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