Things to Do in Columbia
Discover the District
Columbia’s unique vibe becomes quite tangible when visiting downtown in The District. Surrounded on three sides by college campuses, The District is a 43 not-so-square-block-area that features over 110 retail shops, galleries and boutiques, more than 70 restaurants and bars, as well as a variety of entertainment venues offering more than 40 live performances per week. The District also serves as headquarters for many of Columbia’s most popular festivals. Find more information at www.discoverthedistrict.com.
Did you know that The District is home to one of the Midwest's best comedy clubs, a cutting edge live music venue and a great independent film house? Déjà Vu comedy club, The Blue Note and Ragtag Cinema Café are all located in Columbia’s downtown district. There are scores of nightclubs, coffee houses and bars that feature live music throughout the city. For a weekly update of who’s playing where, check out VOX magazine’s weekly roundup. The University Concert Series offers a variety of performances including Broadway hits, classical and contemporary music and dance, opera, acrobats, comedians and much more. The Missouri Symphony Society, the “We Always Swing” Jazz Series and local theatre groups also provide diverse entertainment throughout the year. Click here for details. For more information, visit the Columbia Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Calendar of Events.
Columbia loves to celebrate as evidence by the number of high quality festivals held throughout the year.
- The True/False Film Festival is Columbia’s newest festival. Held in early spring, True/False is a weekend long celebration of independently produced documentaries and the people who make them.
- Memorial Weekend Salute to Veterans: Every Memorial Weekend, the Salute to Veterans Corporation honors our country’s veterans and military heroes. The Airshow, held on Saturday and Sunday, is the largest FREE airshow in the Midwest. A variety of Military aircraft is on display or featured in flying demonstrations. A parade on Memorial Day includes a fly-over, parachute demonstrations and more.
- Art in the Park, held the first weekend in June, is one of the oldest fine arts festivals in Missouri. Bring the family, and come see what has made this Columbia’s most enduring celebration of the arts.
- Enjoy the music of the John William “Blind” Boone Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival and discover America’s first music genre, Ragtime.
- Listen, learn and see history come alive at the Heritage Festival held the third weekend of September. Take the kids on a hayride, visit an 1859 town, see artisans demonstrating their trade, listen to music or shop for arts and crafts. Held the third weekend of September.
- With The District’s Living Windows Festival, holiday shopping has never been so much fun. Live window displays, carolers, carriage rides, holiday lights and great shopping make the first Friday night in December truly special.
- Join the crowd and ring in the New Year with First Night Columbia. There is something for everyone with music, dancing and fireworks in venues at Stephens College and through out The District.
For additional information, please call the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (800/652-0987), or visit www.visitcolumbiamo.com.
Columbia has a variety of small shopping developments and major shopping destinations. The Columbia Mall is located right off I-70 at Stadium Boulevard. It is anchored by four major department stores with numerous nationally known stores and restaurants in the mall area. The Stadium Shops area features Macy's, Old Navy and other national retail establishments. Columbia’s south side has independent shops, gourmet markets and large retail developments such as Kohl’s. Main intersections in south Columbia include Providence Road and Grindstone Parkway and Forum Boulevard and Nifong Blvd. The East Broadway and Hwy 63 shopping areas include large retail stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and Wal-Mart Super Center. Bass Pro and Furniture Row are just north of I-70 on US Hwy 63. The District – Columbia’s vibrant downtown area is home to an eclectic mix of shops, galleries and boutiques. Shops such as Bluestem Missouri Crafts and Poppy are known for their artisan pieces. Both have been honored as Top 100 Retailers of American Craft by NICHE magazine. In fact, Bluestem took the number one spot in NICHE magazine’s 2005 listing. The Columbia Art League’s Gallery has been nominated for consideration in the NICHE 2006 Top 100 list. Columbia’s gallery guide is a great resource for finding quality art and fine crafts.
Thanks to an outstanding city parks system, public and private golf courses, ATV, bike and horse trails, public gardens and local state parks, Columbia offers a variety of outdoor activities and adventures for all ages. Guests can rent a bike in The District and travel 8.9 miles on MKT Trail to the junction of the 227- mile long Katy Trail State Park. The Katy Trail, the longest single rails-to-trails conversion project in the US, features a comfortable flat, compact, crushed limestone surface. The central Missouri portion of the trail travels primarily along the Missouri River and the towering limestone “Manitou Bluffs” which were noted in the Lewis and Clark Journals. For a more invigorating experience, visitors can sign up for a guided canoe or kayak tour on the Missouri River with Mighty Mo River Adventures in Rocheport. Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department offers quality parks and playgrounds, a skate park, mountain bike trail, aquatic facilities, fishing lakes and much more. Rockbridge State Park features hiking and equestrian trails, while Finger Lakes State Park is known for swimming lakes and exciting trails for motorbike and ATV enthusiasts. The Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website has more information.
Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau: http://www.visitcolumbiamo.com/
Last updated: August 12, 2011