Discover Columbia, Missouri, a captivating city that seamlessly combines small-town charm with big-city excitement. This traveler’s paradise offers a diverse range of activities and experiences for all interests.
Explore the vibrant downtown area with its unique boutiques, art galleries, and cozy coffee shops.
Immerse yourself in Columbia’s thriving arts scene, where captivating exhibits and live performances await.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy the city’s scenic parks and trails, such as Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and Cosmo Park, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnicking.
Foodies will delight in the culinary delights of Columbia, from traditional heartland flavors to innovative gastronomy. Don’t miss local favorites like Shakespeare’s Pizza or the Columbia Farmers Market.
Experience the spirited atmosphere of college sports by cheering on the Mizzou Tigers at a football or basketball game.
Throughout the year, Columbia hosts a variety of events and festivals that showcase its vibrant characters, such as the True/False Film Festival and Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival.
The city’s warm hospitality and the genuine smiles of its residents will make your visit truly memorable.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first adventure, Columbia, MO, promises a journey filled with wonder and endless possibilities.
Pack your bags and let Columbia be your next unforgettable destination.
Best Things To Do in Columbia MO
Below are the places you must plan to visit in your trip otherwise you will miss the most fun things to do here.
43. Logboat Brewing Company
Located in Columbia, Missouri, Logboat Brewing Company is a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts. This vibrant craft brewery offers a laid-back atmosphere, where visitors can relax and enjoy a wide variety of handcrafted beers. With its commitment to quality and innovation, Logboat Brewing Company has gained recognition for its unique flavors and excellent brews.
Fun fact: The name “Logboat” pays homage to the Native American history of the region, as logboats were used by early settlers for transportation along the Missouri River.
Inspired by the famous Stonehenge in England, BoatHenge is an intriguing and offbeat attraction in Columbia, Missouri. This quirky outdoor sculpture features a collection of upturned boats arranged in a circular pattern, creating a captivating sight. Visitors can wander around and marvel at this artistic interpretation while learning about its significance as a symbol of creativity and community.
Fun fact: Each boat at BoatHenge has its own unique story, having been donated by local residents who wanted to contribute to this unusual landmark.
41. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Nestled just south of Columbia, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is a natural wonderland waiting to be explored. The park is known for its magnificent rock formations, lush forests, and enchanting caves, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails wind through the park, offering breathtaking views and opportunities to discover hidden gems like the famous Devil’s Icebox cave.
Fun fact: The “rock bridge” for which the park is named is a natural formation created by the erosion of limestone, providing a striking sight for visitors.
40. Harpo’s Restaurant
For a delightful dining experience in the heart of Columbia, Harpo’s Restaurant is a go-to destination. With its welcoming ambiance, extensive menu, and friendly staff, Harpo’s is beloved by locals and travelers alike. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger, delectable pasta, or refreshing cocktails, this restaurant has something to satisfy every palate.
Fun fact: Harpo’s has been a popular gathering spot for sports fans, as it features a lively sports bar atmosphere with multiple screens showing live games.
39. Columbia Civic Orchestra
Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Columbia by attending a performance by the Columbia Civic Orchestra. Comprising talented local musicians, this community orchestra showcases a diverse repertoire, ranging from classical masterpieces to contemporary compositions. From orchestral concerts to intimate chamber music performances, the Columbia Civic Orchestra offers a rich cultural experience for music enthusiasts.
Fun fact: The orchestra has been entertaining audiences for over 40 years, fostering a love for music and supporting aspiring musicians in the community.
38. The National Churchill Museum
Situated on the picturesque campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the National Churchill Museum is a captivating tribute to one of the world’s greatest leaders, Sir Winston Churchill. Housed within the historic Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, the museum features immersive exhibits, including Churchill’s famous Iron Curtain speech. Visitors can explore Churchill’s life and legacy, gaining insights into his influential role in shaping history.
Fun fact: The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, was relocated to Fulton from London, brick by brick, as a gesture of solidarity between the United States and the United Kingdom.
37. Columbia’s Public Art Trail
Embark on a delightful journey of artistic discovery along Columbia’s Public Art Trail. This vibrant outdoor gallery showcases a diverse collection of sculptures, murals, and installations that are seamlessly integrated into the city’s landscape. From thought-provoking contemporary pieces to whimsical creations, the trail invites visitors to explore and appreciate the creativity of local and international artists.
Fun fact: The Public Art Trail is ever-evolving, with new artworks regularly added to surprise and inspire both residents and visitors.
36. The District
Experience the vibrant heart of Columbia by strolling through The District. This lively downtown area is brimming with boutique shops, eclectic restaurants, charming cafes, and live entertainment venues. From live music performances to art festivals, The District offers a dynamic atmosphere where visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s cultural scene and enjoy a memorable day or night out.
Fun fact: The District is known for its colorful and Instagram-worthy murals, providing the perfect backdrop for capturing memorable moments.
35. Mizzou Botanic Garden
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find tranquility at the Mizzou Botanic Garden. Located on the University of Missouri campus, this serene oasis showcases a stunning array of plant species, enchanting gardens, and peaceful walking paths. Visitors can marvel at the seasonal blooms, learn about sustainable gardening practices, and appreciate the beauty of nature.
Fun fact: The Mizzou Botanic Garden is home to the Thomas S. Mickel Memorial Butterfly Garden, where visitors can observe a variety of native butterfly species in their natural habitat.
34. Stephens Lake Park
Stephens Lake Park is a picturesque recreational haven in Columbia, offering an array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. With its expansive lake, sandy beach, and lush green spaces, the park is perfect for picnicking, swimming, fishing, and hiking. Visitors can also enjoy paddleboat rides, visit the children’s play area, or simply unwind while surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Fun fact: Stephens Lake Park hosts various community events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and outdoor movie screenings, providing entertainment for all ages.
33. Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
Located in Columbia, Missouri, Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts and food lovers alike. This popular brewpub offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, where you can relax and indulge in their handcrafted beers and delicious cuisine. Their extensive menu features a range of mouthwatering options, from juicy burgers to fresh salads, all made with locally sourced ingredients.
Fun fact: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is known for its award-winning Root Beer Stout, a unique blend of flavors that perfectly combines the richness of stout with the sweetness of root beer.
32. Finger Lakes State Park
Escape to the serene beauty of Finger Lakes State Park, situated just a short drive from Columbia. This picturesque park spans over 1,128 acres, offering visitors a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy. From hiking and biking trails to fishing and boating opportunities on the lake, there’s something for everyone to explore. Don’t miss the exhilarating UTV rides, where you can navigate through rugged terrains and experience an adrenaline rush like no other.
Fun fact: Finger Lakes State Park was once a strip-mined area, but now it has been transformed into a stunning recreational area that showcases the resilience of nature.
31. The Columns (Francis Quadrangle)
Steeped in history and architectural grandeur, The Columns at Francis Quadrangle is a significant landmark in Columbia. These iconic white columns stand as a testament to the University of Missouri’s rich heritage. Take a stroll around the Quadrangle and admire the beautiful campus scenery, featuring lush green spaces and charming buildings.
Fun fact: The original building that once stood behind the columns was destroyed in a fire in 1892, but the majestic columns were preserved and have since become a symbol of the university.
30. Ragtag Cinema
For movie buffs seeking a unique cinematic experience, Ragtag Cinema is a hidden gem in Columbia. This independent theater showcases a diverse range of films, including art-house, foreign, and documentary movies that often go beyond mainstream offerings. The cozy and intimate setting creates an immersive atmosphere, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the captivating stories on screen.
Fun fact: Ragtag Cinema is operated by the True/False Film Fest, an acclaimed documentary film festival held annually in Columbia, attracting filmmakers and enthusiasts from around the world.
29. Missouri Symphony Society
Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of music with the Missouri Symphony Society. This esteemed organization hosts a variety of concerts and performances, showcasing the exceptional talent of musicians and captivating audiences with their melodious tunes. From classical symphonies to contemporary compositions, the Missouri Symphony Society offers a diverse range of musical genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Fun fact: The Missouri Symphony Society’s “Hot Summer Nights” concert series brings renowned guest artists and conductors from around the world to perform alongside the talented musicians of the orchestra.
28. Garth Nature Area
Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the tranquil surroundings of Garth Nature Area. Nestled amidst the bustling city of Columbia, this urban oasis offers a peaceful retreat where you can reconnect with nature. Meander along the scenic trails, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home.
Fun fact: Garth Nature Area is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 120 species of birds recorded in the area, making it a paradise for avid bird enthusiasts.
27. Columbia Culinary Tours
Embark on a culinary adventure and discover the vibrant food scene of Columbia with Columbia Culinary Tours. Led by knowledgeable guides, these guided tours take you on a delectable journey through the city’s top culinary establishments. From farm-to-table restaurants to local food trucks, you’ll have the opportunity to savor a wide array of flavors while learning about the city’s rich culinary history.
Fun fact: Columbia Culinary Tours often include visits to local farmers’ markets, allowing participants to engage with local producers and learn about sustainable food practices.
26. Shelter Gardens
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find serenity in the breathtaking beauty of Shelter Gardens. This meticulously landscaped garden offers a peaceful oasis, featuring vibrant flowers, meandering pathways, and charming gazebos. Take a leisurely stroll, unwind on one of the benches, and soak in the tranquility of this enchanting space.
Fun fact: Shelter Gardens is home to the nation’s largest outdoor train display, delighting visitors with its intricate model train sets that traverse through the lush greenery.
25. UTV Ride at Finger Lakes State Park
For thrill-seekers looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, the UTV rides at Finger Lakes State Park are a must-try. Hop aboard these all-terrain vehicles and embark on an exhilarating journey through the park’s rugged landscapes. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you navigate through challenging terrains, including steep hills and muddy trails.
Fun fact: Finger Lakes State Park is known for its extensive off-road trail system, attracting UTV enthusiasts from across the region who come to test their skills and enjoy the thrill of off-roading.
24. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden
Pay homage to one of the most influential figures in American history at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Battle Garden. This serene memorial provides a space for reflection and remembrance, honoring Dr. King’s enduring legacy. Discover inspiring quotes, sculptures, and artwork that celebrate the life and teachings of this remarkable civil rights leader.
Fun fact: Battle Garden, where the memorial is located, was named in honor of MU Chancellor A.W. Taylor, who served as a Confederate general during the Civil War and later became a prominent figure in education.
23. The State Historical Society of Missouri
Step into the captivating world of Missouri’s past at The State Historical Society! Nestled in the heart of Columbia, this vibrant museum immerses you in the rich history and cultural heritage of the state. Explore well-curated exhibits that showcase fascinating artifacts, documents, and photographs, preserving tales from eras gone by. From early Native American settlements to pivotal moments in the Civil War, you’ll embark on a captivating journey through time.
Fun fact: The society houses the world’s largest collection of newspapers, making it a treasure trove for history buffs and researchers alike. So, history enthusiasts, make sure to add this gem to your itinerary!
22. Treeline Music Fest
Music lovers, get ready to groove at the electrifying Treeline Music Fest! This annual extravaganza celebrates the best of local and national talent, set against the picturesque backdrop of Columbia’s natural beauty. From soul-stirring melodies to foot-tapping beats, the festival promises an unforgettable musical experience for all. Immerse yourself in the soulful tunes and embrace the vibrant atmosphere of camaraderie.
Fun fact: The festival organizers are committed to sustainability, with eco-friendly initiatives like recycling stations and solar-powered stages.
21. Art & Archaeology Museum
Discover artistic wonders and ancient marvels at the Art & Archaeology Museum. Located within the University of Missouri’s inspiring campus, this cultural gem beckons art aficionados and history enthusiasts alike. Admire an exquisite collection of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, spanning various periods and styles. Step back in time as you explore captivating archaeological artifacts that shed light on bygone civilizations.
Fun fact: The museum features a remarkable Egyptian mummy exhibit, offering a glimpse into the mysteries of ancient burial practices. Uncover the beauty of the past and embrace the artistic legacy of Missouri.
20. Hot Box Cookies
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Hot Box Cookies! Tucked in the heart of Columbia, this delightful bakery offers an irresistible array of freshly baked cookies that will tickle your taste buds. From classic chocolate chip to inventive flavors like s’mores and red velvet, each bite is a mouthwatering delight.
Fun fact: Hot Box Cookies has a “warm cookie delivery until 3 AM” policy, ensuring you can enjoy warm, gooey goodness even late at night.
19. Skylark Bookshop
For all the bookworms out there, a trip to Skylark Bookshop is an absolute must! This charming independent bookstore in Columbia offers a curated selection of literary treasures and a cozy ambiance that invites you to get lost in the world of words. Browse through shelves filled with bestsellers, hidden gems, and works by local authors, all waiting to be discovered.
Fun fact: Skylark Bookshop hosts regular book readings, signings, and author meet-and-greet events, fostering a thriving literary community.
18. Ernie’s Cafe
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Ernie’s Cafe, a beloved culinary institution in Columbia. This family-friendly diner serves up a delectable spread of classic American breakfast dishes with a dash of Southern charm. From fluffy pancakes to mouthwatering omelets and savory biscuits with gravy, Ernie’s promises a delightful morning feast.
Fun fact: The cafe’s walls are adorned with vintage memorabilia, taking you on a nostalgic journey through the town’s history.
17. Columbia Art League
Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Columbia at the Columbia Art League. This dynamic gallery showcases the works of talented local artists, providing a platform for creativity and fostering a sense of community. From contemporary paintings to captivating sculptures, each exhibition offers a unique visual experience.
Fun fact: The Columbia Art League hosts art classes and workshops for all ages, inviting you to unleash your inner artist and explore your creative potential.
16. Auto World Museum
Rev up your engines and embark on a captivating journey through automotive history at the Auto World Museum. Located near Columbia, this impressive collection of vintage automobiles takes you on a nostalgic ride through the decades. Admire sleek classics, iconic muscle cars, and rare vehicles that showcase the evolution of automotive engineering.
Fun Fact: The museum also features a fascinating collection of antique toys and memorabilia, providing a glimpse into the playful side of automotive culture.
15. Shryocks Callaway Farms
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience the charm of rural Missouri at Shryocks Callaway Farms. This family-owned farm offers an array of delightful activities for visitors of all ages. From picking fresh produce and navigating corn mazes to hayrides and farm animal encounters, there’s something for everyone.
Fun fact: The farm hosts a popular fall festival, where you can enjoy pumpkin patches, a barrel train ride, and even shoot corn cannons!
14. Drury Plaza Hotel
Indulge in comfort and luxury at the Drury Plaza Hotel. Located in the heart of Columbia, this elegant accommodation offers a delightful blend of modern amenities and historic charm. From spacious rooms and plush bedding to a rooftop pool and complimentary breakfast, every detail is designed to ensure a memorable stay.
Fun fact: The hotel is housed in a beautifully restored building that was once home to a prominent bank, adding a touch of architectural grandeur to your experience.
13. Crane’s Country Store
Crane’s Country Store is a charming destination nestled in the heart of Boone County, Missouri. Steeped in rich history and small-town charm, this store is a haven for travelers seeking a taste of authentic Americana. Step inside and peruse the shelves stocked with a delightful array of handcrafted goods, locally sourced produce, and unique treasures.
Fun fact: Crane’s Country Store has been serving the community since 1889, making it a true time capsule. Whether you’re in search of homemade jams, fresh-baked pies, or one-of-a-kind souvenirs, this hidden gem has it all.
Situated in a cozy corner of Boone County, Marlene’s is the ultimate destination for a delightful lunch experience. This charming eatery combines warm hospitality with a delectable menu inspired by local flavors. From farm-to-table salads bursting with fresh produce to savory sandwiches made with artisanal bread, Marlene’s offers a culinary adventure that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.
Fun fact: The restaurant’s owner, Marlene, personally selects ingredients from the nearby Boone County Farmers Market to ensure the highest quality and support local farmers.
11. Boone County Farmers Market
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Boone County Farmers Market, a haven for food lovers and agriculture enthusiasts alike. This bustling market, located in the heart of Boone County, showcases an abundance of seasonal produce, handmade crafts, and local specialties. Stroll through the rows of stalls, engaging with friendly farmers who are eager to share their knowledge and passion.
Fun fact: The market is a true community hub, offering live music, cooking demonstrations, and educational workshops throughout the year.
10. Museum of Anthropology
Step into the captivating world of human culture and history at the Museum of Anthropology. Located in Boone County, this museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts and exhibits, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lives of people from around the globe. Explore ancient civilizations, discover traditional crafts, and learn about cultural practices through interactive displays and informative presentations.
Fun fact: The museum boasts an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, including pottery, textiles, and ceremonial objects.
9. True/False Festival
Get ready to embark on a cinematic adventure unlike any other at the True/False Festival. Held annually in Boone County, this unique event celebrates the art of nonfiction filmmaking, showcasing thought-provoking documentaries from around the world. As you immerse yourself in the carefully curated selection of films, you’ll be transported to different cultures, explore pressing social issues, and gain a fresh perspective on the world we inhabit.
Fun fact: From interactive installations to lively discussions with filmmakers, this festival offers a dynamic and engaging atmosphere that will leave you inspired and enlightened.
8. Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area
Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is a pristine paradise nestled along the banks of the Missouri River in Boone County. With its lush forests, scenic trails, and abundant wildlife, this conservation area offers a sanctuary for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. Hike along the picturesque trails, keeping an eye out for bald eagles soaring overhead or beavers busily building their dams.
Fun fact: Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is a popular destination for birdwatching, boasting over 200 species of birds that inhabit the area throughout the year.
7. The Roof at The Broadway
Experience breathtaking views and vibrant ambiance at The Roof, located atop The Broadway Hotel in Boone County. This stylish rooftop bar is a perfect spot to unwind and indulge in refreshing drinks while taking in panoramic vistas of the cityscape. Whether you prefer handcrafted cocktails, fine wines, or local brews, The Roof offers an extensive menu to cater to every taste.
Fun fact: The bar’s design draws inspiration from the natural beauty of Missouri, with elements like reclaimed wood and greenery, creating a chic and eco-friendly atmosphere. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the vibrant energy of The Roof.
6. Ride The Katy Trail
Discover the enchanting beauty of the Katy Trail, a 240-mile-long recreational trail that traverses through picturesque countryside and charming towns in Boone County. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or a leisurely explorer, this scenic trail offers an unforgettable journey through Missouri’s natural wonders. Pedal along the path, passing by rolling hills, peaceful rivers, and quaint communities.
Fun fact: The Katy Trail is the longest developed rail trail in the United States, following the former route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MK&T) Railroad. With multiple access points and diverse landscapes, this trail caters to all skill levels, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and serenity.
5. Missouri Symphony Society
Immerse yourself in the world of classical music at the Missouri Symphony Society. Located in Boone County, this esteemed organization showcases a lineup of exceptional orchestral performances and musical events throughout the year. From captivating symphonies to mesmerizing solo performances, the Missouri Symphony Society offers a feast for the ears and a chance to appreciate the talents of world-class musicians.
Fun fact: The society also hosts the annual Hot Summer Nights Festival, a series of concerts featuring a wide range of musical genres, including jazz, rock, and pop.
4. Walters-Boone County Museum and Galleries
Delve into the rich history and culture of Boone County at the Walters-Boone County Museum and Galleries. Situated in a beautifully restored historic building, this museum showcases a captivating collection of artifacts, artworks, and exhibits that chronicle the region’s past. Step back in time as you explore the interactive displays, which offer insights into the lives of early settlers, notable figures, and significant events that shaped the county’s identity.
Fun fact: The museum also hosts rotating art exhibitions, featuring the works of local and regional artists, providing a glimpse into the vibrant artistic scene of Boone County.
3. Las Margaritas
Indulge your taste buds in a fiesta of flavors at Las Margaritas, a lively Mexican restaurant in Boone County. From sizzling fajitas to zesty enchiladas, this vibrant eatery serves up a delectable array of authentic Mexican dishes that will transport you south of the border. Pair your meal with a refreshing margarita or choose from an extensive selection of tequilas to enhance your dining experience.
Fun fact: Las Margaritas takes pride in using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations, ensuring an authentic and mouthwatering meal.
2. The Candy Factory
Indulge your sweet tooth at The Candy Factory, a whimsical confectionery wonderland located in Boone County. Step inside and be greeted by an array of colorful candies, chocolates, and treats that will awaken your inner child. From classic favorites to unique creations, this enchanting store offers something for every palate.
Fun fact: The Candy Factory prides itself on creating handmade sweets using traditional techniques and high-quality ingredients, ensuring a delightful and nostalgic experience with every bite.
1. Meriwether Cafe & Bike Shop
Combine culinary delights with outdoor adventures at Meriwether Cafe & Bike Shop, a unique establishment nestled in Boone County. This multifaceted venue offers a delectable dining experience coupled with bicycle rentals, allowing you to explore the scenic surroundings at your own pace. Start your day with a hearty breakfast or savor a gourmet lunch crafted from locally sourced ingredients.
Fun fact: Meriwether Cafe & Bike Shop is strategically located near the Katy Trail, making it a convenient starting point for your cycling adventures. After fueling up, rent a bike and embark on a thrilling ride along the trail, soaking in the natural beauty of the region.