Founded in 1821, Columbia is a trendy college town in the United States of America in the state of Missouri. Located in the centre of the state, the city offers sweeping views of the breathtaking landscape surrounding the town.
A relatively large town with a population of over 120,000 Columbia is a perfect town to explore and discover with all the amenities of a big city but still with the charm of a small town.
The city has everything, from nature space that deserves to be seen to lively culture with curated museums, live local theatre, professional ballet companies, and much more.
With a young crowd and tonnes of places to explore and visit, the energy of the town is unmatched. Columbia is also famous for its finger-licking barbecue and palatable local wines with more than 130 wineries in Missouri.
The city hosts several events to entertain the visitors and locals all year round. Here are some of the best places to see and things to do in Columbia.
Stroll Around the Town
Columbia is a picturesque town in Columbia with tonnes to explore and see. This college town has a vibrant culture and fantastic architecture.
It is an ideal town to explore on foot. Stroll around the city to appreciate the scenic glory of this beautiful city.
You can also discover the less famous and more superior shops, restaurants, cafes, and much more places and things that are known to only the locals of the city.
Long and peaceful walks in the delightful streets of Columbia will relax your mind and body.
David R. Francis Quadrangle
Located in the campus of the University of Missouri, David R. Francis Quadrangle is an essential centrepiece of the town.
It is even listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is the oldest part of the University and is a popular spot for people to hangout.
The quadrangle consists of six erected towers that stand tall surrounded by the glorious red buildings. Visit the David R. Francis Quadrangle to admire its architecture and hangout like the locals.
Visit Stephens Lake Park
A crown jewel of the parks of Columbia, Stephens Lake Park is a beautiful picturesque park with multi-use trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and the vast 11-acre lake.
The park also features non-motorized boating, seasonal swimming pool, and access to fishing.
The beautifully maintained green grounds are perfect for spending a day while enjoying a picnic or fishing or even strolling around.
Enjoy the sweeping views of the landscape and the waterfall. Visit the Stephens Lake Park to enjoy a tranquil environment with spectacular views.
The Fascinating Museum of Art and Archaeology
Operated by the University of Missouri, Museum of Art and Archaeology is located on the University's campus and features several permanent as well as temporary exhibitions and displays.
The permanent collection has more than 14,000 pieces of archaeological objects and Art that are curated carefully in the five gallery space.
You will find excellent selections of antiques and artefacts from ancient civilizations, including Greek and Roman culture. The entry into the museum is free; however, a donation to maintain the upkeep of the museum is very much appreciated.
See the Devil's Icebox at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Located only a few minutes away from Columbia, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is a 2,273-acre geological preserve open for the public with lush Missouri environment.
This natural gateway is known for its karst landforms along with Devil's Icebox, an underground stream at the cave. The park also provides various recreational opportunities to the visitors.
You can enjoy hiking at the ten hiking trails in the park. There are well-made bicycle paths as well as dogs leash trails so that you can walk in the serene luscious greenery of Missouri with your pooch.
Don't forget to see the caves and the sinkholes at the park.
The Tranquil Surroundings of Shelter Gardens
Located in the heart of the city in West Broadway, Shelter Gardens is an award-winning botanical garden covering an area of about 5 acres with thousands of flowers and over 300 types of trees.
The botanical garden caters to everyone and features a sensory garden for the visually impaired visitors. It also has a stream, a waterfall, along with a reflecting pool.
On top of that, you will also find a Vietnam Veterans memorial along with a replica one-room schoolhouse.
There are plenty of areas in the serene environment of the garden where you can just and read in the middle of all the flowers and trees.
However, the best way to enjoy the beauty of the Shelter Gardens is by merely taking a stroll in the tranquil surroundings with sweeping views.
Stay at The Tiger Hotel
The Tiger Hotel is a 62 room boutique hotel that provides comfortable amenities to make your stay worthwhile. The hotel was built in 1928 and has a rich history.
It is located at a very convenient location in the downtown area where you will have access to the significant popular attractions by foot.
The hotel also has its restaurant and bar where you can wine and dine at the end of the day. Stay at The Tiger Hotel and treat yourself with a luxurious experience and numerous amenities.
Amazing Exhibitions and displays at Columbia Art League
Columbia Art League is an art gallery that showcases the work of both local and national artists with exhibitions and displays. It was founded in 1959 and has become an essential part of the arts and culture scene of the city.
The displays and exhibits comprise ceramics, wooden pieces, glass pieces, jewellery, oil paintings, watercolour paintings, photography, fibre art, and more.
You can even buy most of the articles on the displays. You can also attend art classes in the evening that the gallery provides.
The admission into the gallery is free, and it also hosts the Art in the Park festival every June at the Stephens Lake Park. Visit the Columbia Art League to see the work of talented artists in all mediums.
Hike at Grindstone Nature Area
Located only a few minutes away from the campus of the University of Missouri in Downtown Columbia, Grindstone Nature Area is a 190-acre park with lush greenery and scenic landscape.
It is a very popular spot for dog parents as this nature area does not require your pooches to be on a leash.
They can run free in the beautiful grounds and explore the whole park except for the Hinkson Creek Trail, as this trail is very popular among bikers.
The park also has a designed picnic area with beautiful landscape to look at along with various trails where you can hike, bike, run, or walk in the scenic glory of Missouri.
Birdwatching at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area
Encompassing more than 4,000 acres of unique wetland complex, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is located only about 10 miles away from Columbia, adjacent to Missouri River.
It is very popular locals and tourists alike for hiking, cycling, birdwatching, and even hunting (but only during the hunting season).
There is plenty of plant life and wildlife here that you can explore. It also has a 300-year-old tree that has become a landmark.
You can visit the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area all year round, however, it is stunning and at its peak glory in the fall. Don't forget to carry binoculars for better viewing and spotting the animals from far away.
Ride ATVs and Dirtbikes at Finger Lakes State Park
Finger Lakes State Park is an 11,000-acre county park in Boone county, located only 10 miles away from downtown Columbia.
The park hosts different kinds of outdoor recreational activities including ATVs and off-road motorcycles tracks to enjoy riding in the tranquillity of the rolling hills surrounding the park.
It is one of the only two ATV parks in Missouri. However, not only riding ATVs and dirtbikes, but you can also enjoy the campgrounds of the park.
There are trails to hike and cycle as well. There is a pond in the park as well where you can enjoy fishing or canoeing. Visit the Finger Lakes State Park to enjoy riding ATVs or to enjoy a picnic in the scenic beauty of the park.
Drink at Local Wineries and Breweries
It may not seem like it, but Missouri is very popular for its wineries and breweries. It was once the second-largest wine-producing state in the United States of America.
Missouri has more than 130 wineries, and Columbia has its fair share of them. Some of the best wineries in the city are- Serenity Valley Winery, Dale Hollow Winery, and Les Bourgeois Vineyards.
Columbia also has plenty of breweries where you can fantastic craft beers made by the local brewers.
Some of the best breweries in Columbia are- Logboat Brewing Company, Bur Oak Brewing, and Broadway Brewing. Visit these wineries and breweries to drink the best wines and beers after exploring the city.
Enjoy a Picnic at Columbia Cosmopolitan Park
Locally known as Cosmo Park, Columbia Cosmopolitan Park is the largest park of Columbia.
It covers an area of 533 acres, and there are many sports field in the park including a skateboard park, soccer or football fields, tennis courts, baseball field, golf course, and much.
There are various trails for hiking, walking, cycling, and more. The park hosts the annual Show-Me State Games (a yearly competition for amateur athletes in the town).
The park is clean, and well-taken care of and you can enjoy a picnic in the scenic environment of the park to best enjoy it.
Attend the Festivals
Columbia hosts many fun and impressive festivals in the city throughout the year.
Most famous and elaborate festivals hosted by the town are- Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Weekend Celebration in May, Art in the Park in June, Show-Me State Games in June and July, Heritage Festival & Craft Show in September, Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in September, and Mizzou Homecoming in October.
Make sure to attend at least one of these festivals to enjoy the culture of Columbia and have a good time.
The Quirky BoatHenge
Shryocks Callaway Farms is Columbia's version of the world-famous monument Stonehenge but with boats. It is located along the Katy Trail and consists of 6 boats standing erect to mimic the Stonehenge.
Each boat averages 13 feet in height, 6 in width and 3 in depth just like the English monument. BoatHenge is the most unusual and quirky attraction in town.
Well-Curated Displays at Bingham Gallery
Located on the campus of Mizzou campus, Bingham Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in the Fine Arts Building.
The gallery displays various exhibits and art pieces from local artists. The entry in the gallery is free. Visit the Bingham Gallery to see well-curated displays of the local artists of Columbia.
Scrumptious Pizza at Shakespeare's Pizza
Founded in 1973, Shakespeare's Pizza is an institution of Columbia with fresh and delicious pizza and quirky decor.
The restaurant also offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to cater to a diverse customer base. You can order a custom pizza with your choice of crust, cheese, toppings, sauce, and more.
But make sure to try the meat lovers pizza, pepperoni pizza, and the vegetarian when you visit Shakespeare's Pizza.
Delicious Pies at Peggy Jean's Pies
After eating delicious food you will need something sweet, don't worry Peggy Jean's Pies is a staple of the locals to eat delicious pies.
They have a massive selection of amazing pies for you to choose from. Don't skip the Peach praline, rhubarb, cherry, dutch apple and pumpkin pies when you visit Peggy Jean's Pies.
Eat Ribs and Brisket at Buckingham Smokehouse BBQ
Buckingham Smokehouse BBQ serves the best barbecue in Columbia. They smoke their in-house barbecue meats in the wood-burning hickory fire that gives the meat a tender and subtle smoky flavour.
Don't forget to try smoked juicy ribs, brisket, fried okra, coleslaw, with a lemonade.
Columbia is a fantastic city with tonnes to explore and do with a scenic backdrop of the lush nature of Missouri.
What are you waiting for? Visit Columbia to and do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this delightful city.