The Columbia neighborhood, located in mid-Missouri, is bustling with activities with a youthful feel. They offer something for everyone since there is so much to see and do. But, just because you are not a college student or a young professional does not imply you will not like visiting the region.
During a recent vacation, I experienced so many new and fascinating things that it was difficult to select! When you decide to come, below is a list of highly suggested activities. They describe themselves as the coolest neighborhood in the big metropolis, and I think you’ll agree. The community is kind, pleasant, and lively, and it has a lot to offer.
Visiting other places in Missouri? Check out our other tasty guides:
- 8 Best Columbia MO Restaurants
- 9 Best Lake Of The Ozarks Restaurants
- 8 Must-Try Restaurants in Springfield Missouri
- 5 Must-Try Fulton Restaurants
- 8 Best Restaurants In St Charles MO
- 1 The Top 5 Things to Do in Columbia, Missouri
- 1.1 Visit Rock Bridge Memorial State Park to get some fresh air.
- 1.2 Explore a Vibrant Downtown
- 1.3 Take in the Gardens
- 1.4 Bicycling Along The Missouri River And Seeing A Lavender Farm
- 1.5 Discover classic automobiles, history, and creative craftsmanship.
- 1.6 Which of these top Columbia MO activities to do do you want to do first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 5 Things to Do in Columbia, Missouri
Visit Rock Bridge Memorial State Park to get some fresh air.
5901 S. Highway 63, 573-449-7402
Missouri has an excellent state park system, and Rock Bridge is no exception. When trekking around the park, there are several instances of nature’s variety. It’s interesting, with everything from woods and streams to natural bridges and caverns.
I had the pleasure of being shown around a section of the park by a young guide called Ethan. He is a park naturalist and a University of Missouri student. He described the karst terrain, which is made up of numerous sinkholes, caverns, springs, and subterranean springs. The trip lasted at least 90 minutes (around 1.5 hours) and was fascinating.
We climbed up and down the paths, eventually arriving at the Natural Rock Bridge. The incredible power of nature can be witnessed throughout the park, particularly near the rock bridge. The stream and rock formations are incredible.
Have you ever heard about Devil’s Icebox Cave? It is a natural cave with a 6.5-mile documented path. Regrettably, visits have been halted in order to preserve endangered gray bats from a fungus that affects the bats that reside in the cave. But, you may climb to the cave’s mouth and observe the massive cavern’s entrance. A kind of flatworm also lives in Devil’s Icebox; it is the sole known home for this organism in the globe.
Another natural cave that I was allowed to visit was Connors Cave. Happily, Ethan provided helmets and torches, since banging one’s head is practically certain in this 166-foot-long cave, and natural light is non-existent. As you reach the end of the cave and switch off the flashlights for a minute or two, you will experience an unnerving sense. The enormous blackness you will encounter will leave you speechless.
As you emerge from the cave and rejoin the route, you have a newfound understanding for nature’s inherent power.
Explore a Vibrant Downtown
Columbia’s downtown is known as The District. It consists of 50 blocks and is flanked by three college campuses. There are five separate neighborhoods within this area: the Sharp End, the Government District, the North Village Arts District, the Stollway, and Flat Branch.
The downtown area includes about 5000 inhabitants and 600 companies, which explains the lively environment. There are several activities to do in the area, depending on your degree of interest. Although universities are the center of attention, numerous government buildings, medical facilities, and other local stores, restaurants, and pubs contribute to the city’s lively environment.
Walking along 9th Street was one of my favorite parts of my stay. The Mizzou Campus, as well as several boutiques and galleries, as well as excellent restaurants, may all be found here. Shakespeares Pizza, where the cuisine was wonderful, and Booches, Columbia’s oldest restaurant, were notable. The street was bustling with activity, and the beauty of the buildings as you wander around is breathtaking.
If you like all things creative, you should pay a visit to the North Village Arts District. Downtown’s creative heart is located here. Explore art galleries, dancing studios, unusual stores, film firms, and many other small enterprises, some of which are situated in rehabilitated and refurbished structures, showcasing the neighborhood’s creative character even more. The gifted nature of the people and the environment in which they work and live is extremely interesting.
Take in the Gardens
573-882-4240 The Missouri Botanic Garden
These two spots in Columbia are a must-see for those of us who like the capacity of beautiful gardens to calm whatever is on our minds.
Mizzou Botanic Garden is located on the downtown campus of the University of Missouri. The whole site has been declared a botanic garden, with many themed parks and distinct collection gardens. All are open to the public and free to enjoy. Self-guided trail maps are available at Alumni Hall, or you may just roam about and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Considering my love of history, one of my favorite spots was west of the Francis Quadrangle, near the Chancellors Mansion.
An assortment of flowers originally found in Thomas Jefferson’s Garden may be found here. Virginia bluebells and columbine are two examples. A bronze statue of Jefferson and his original gravestone are also on display.
Shelter Gardens is another example of a public garden in the heart of a bustling metropolis. This garden, located on the grounds of Shelter Insurance’s corporate headquarters, is a delightful retreat into a gorgeous environment filled with over 15,000 perennials and annuals, as well as over 300 species of trees and shrubs.
To mention a few highlights, there is a rock garden, a pond with fish and a whispering waterfall, a reproduction 19th-century one-room schoolhouse, a gorgeous gazebo, and a Vietnam Veterans Monument.
Shelter Gardens is ideal for a walk, a picnic, or just spending some peaceful time admiring the beauty that surrounds you.
Bicycling Along The Missouri River And Seeing A Lavender Farm
573-449-7402 State Park Katy Trail
573-821-6699 The Farm of the Lookout
The quiet, lovely neighborhood of Rocheport is just a 15-minute drive from the busy metropolis of Columbia. It is certainly worth the short travel to see another Missouri State Park, some amazing history, and a fantastic learning opportunity at a lavender farm.
The Katy Trail is the country’s longest constructed rail-trail. It extends for 240 miles along the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railway and sections of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail route. Rocheport has one of the trailheads (there are 26 along the route). My friends and I biked for a few kilometers along this path.
The walk follows the scenic Missouri River. There are seats along the walk where you may sit and take in the breathtaking views of the river on one side and the limestone cliffs on the other. This location also has the Katy Trail’s sole stone tunnel. The tunnel is 243 feet long and nicely arched, composed of brick, stone, mortar, and soil. It is a relaxing approach to appreciate both nature and history.
The Lookout Farm was an unexpected delight. I had never been to a lavender farm before, so I was eager to be taken around and hear about this unique family company, which began with a dream and a lot of hard work. I had no idea lavender could be produced in Missouri and was astounded when I looked out over their fields. I was disappointed because the lavender was not in bloom when I came.
They have a small store on the grounds where guests may purchase a variety of homemade goods, including soaps and sprays, lotions and oils, and even the scent of dried lavender bundles. You may also purchase dried culinary and craft lavender. It’s an intriguing site to visit.
Discover classic automobiles, history, and creative craftsmanship.
573-544-4500 The Automobile World Museum
573-592-5369 Churchill’s National Museum in America
573-592-0331 Green Meadow Barn Enterprises
Fulton is often referred to be Columbia’s younger sister. It is a short trip east of Columbia, and I would be negligent not to include these great activities to do while in the region. These are distinctive in their own right, and I truly liked discovering them while in the Columbia region.
The Auto World Museum is a fantastic old vehicle museum. It houses automobiles from from the late 1800s through the 1980s. Stepping through the building seems like going back in time.
Each region is set up with automobiles from that period, and as you go, you’ll be pulled through some of the most amazing old autos you’ve ever seen. The only automobile you can sit in is one of the DeLorean Coupe cars featured in the film Back to the Future, complete with flux capacitor.
In a nutshell, America’s National Churchill Museum is enthralling. It is not just rich with information on Winston Churchill’s life and legacy, but it is also located inside St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury Church. The church is 900 years old and was largely damaged in the bombing of London. The church was redesigned and rebuilt stone by stone in its current position, which is an incredible effort. Westminster College, where Mr. Churchill delivered his famous Iron Curtain speech, is nearby. The museum also has the biggest undamaged portion of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany, known as the Breakthrough sculpture. A visit here will captivate the history enthusiast.
Green Meadow Barn Company is the epitome of creative craftsmanship. Exclusive, hand-crafted furniture pieces made entirely of salvaged and reused wood from ancient barns await you here.
Carolyn has been crafting one-of-a-kind furniture that is really pieces of art since she was a youngster. She is a joy to talk to as she discusses the history and craftsmanship that goes into her furniture. Carolyn’s work will be recognized by everybody who gets it. The item’s history, date, and provenance are always recorded somewhere on it. Her works are the epitome of one-of-a-kind.
The region surrounding Columbia, Missouri, is brimming with activities and attractions for individuals of all interests. Its lively and warm environment will alter your perception of mid-Missouri. I’m excited to return and explore even more of what it has to offer.