There’s plenty of college town to go around in Columbia. Home to the legendary University of Missouri, this city maintains a small town feel and the energy of a progressive, growing metropolis. Between the university campus, the downtown District, and the expansive nature preserves, Columbia has no shortage of things to do. If you’re in town for a game, a new student, or a lucky Missouri resident looking for a fun afternoon, check out these fantastic things to do in Columbia, MO.
Columbia has a little something for everyone. The heart of the city, the District, is full of food and shopping fun. The surrounding nature preserves offer adventure for city dwellers looking for a fresh air escape.
The best things to do near Columbia include:
Shelter Gardens is one of Columbia’s secret treasures. Located next to the Shelter Insurance headquarters, the garden features a vast array of trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials, as well as a stream, pond, and waterfall.
Here’s some cheap things to do near Columbia:
The Francis Quadrangle, commonly called “The Quad,” is the historic center of the Mizzou campus. The Quad is bisected by six iconic pillars and lined by a number of halls and buildings that together create a National Historic District.
Popular attractions near Columbia include:
Columbia is no stranger to art, ensuring there’s always something new to see. June brings around the annual Art in the Park festival at Stephan Lake Park. Be sure to stop by the kiosks run by local artists and drop the kids off at the Kids Art Spot.
Check out these other exciting activities in Columbia:
The District is Columbia’s downtown area centrally located to the entire city and surrounded by three colleges, ensuring that there’s plenty to do when the sun goes down. True to the “shop local at CoMo” vibe, the district is full of locally owned restaurants, shops, and galleries.
Looking for nighttime activities in Columbia? Check out:
This trendy college town starts the weekend early. Cultural activities like camping, fishing, or attending the symphony add color the weekends in this Missouri city.
Try these exciting weekend activities in Columbia:
Mizzou is just the start of the spectator sports in Columbia. Show-Me State Games is an Olympics style competition for kids of all ages to compete in a variety of sports. Bring your sporty youngster to watch games like soccer, pickleball, mountain biking, and track and field.
Family-friendly things to do in Columbia include:
Symphonies make for a great date idea in Columbia, even in today’s age. In fact, classical music has made a comeback in Columbia thanks to The Missouri Symphony Society.
Some other date night ideas in Columbia involve:
Columbia’s status as a college town ensures there’s many things to do for friend groups of all sizes. Take the whole squad to some of the city’s more unique attractions, like the Museum of Anthropology, the Living Canvas gallery, and the Historic Costume Gallery.
The top group activities in Columbia include:
Done with the sun? Move the city exploration to indoor areas. The University of Missouri’s Museum of Art and Archeology is free to the public. Located in Mizzou North, the museum holds both permanent galleries and changing exhibits, with an emphasis on Greek and Roman Art.
The best things to do indoors in Columbia:
Thanks to its many state parks, Columbia is a natural fit for people looking for outdoor activities. Spend some time at Audubon Columbia Nature Sanctuary, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, and the Grindstone Nature Area.
Here’s some of the top outdoor activities in Columbia:
Columbia’s best kept secrets are waiting to be uncovered. Whether it’s a coffee shop, a hidden-away Instagram spot, or a hole-in-the-wall bookstore, the city is yours to explore.
Try these must-see places near Columbia, MO: