February 18, 2014

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Welcome MSHSAA Wrestling Participants and Fans!

Greetings to athletes, friends, family and fans who will be visiting Columbia during the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) championships over the next few months!

We know you’ll be spending a lot of time over at Mizzou Sports Park, but we want to be sure your entire visit to our city is a success. Columbia has so much to offer both during championship weekends and throughout the year!

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First up on the MSHSAA slate is Wrestling, with matches heating up on February 20th and concluding on the 22nd at Mizzou Arena. Team and individual competitions will make for nonstop excitement over three days. We’re looking so forward to having you here.

Grab a Bite

Wrestling weekend can often be a rush, with meals a blur of quickly procured drive-thru burgers and concession stand hot dogs. Not that those things aren’t delicious, but if you have a just a little extra time maybe give one of these Columbia favorites a try!

-Shakespeare’s Pizza:

Shakespeare’s has three locations, but the original is downtown on 9th Street. Just a few minutes from Mizzou Arena, Shakespeare’s is a local legend when it comes to pizza. With the perfect hand-tossed crust, fresh toppings and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, this is a great spot to get a true taste of Columbia.

-Lutz’s BBQ:

A favorite for years in Jefferson City, Lutz’s BBQ now has a Columbia location! Pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, fantastic sides and homemade chips are all popular choices on their extensive menu.

-The Heidelberg:

Popular with students and citizens alike, ‘The Berg’ has your traditional bar and grill fare with a few fun twists. Try Marty’s Wings, which are deep fried and coated in spices, or the pork tenderloin sandwich, which is always a popular choice. You can also catch the game on one of the many televisions throughout the dining and bar area.

-Sub Shop:

One of Columbia’s favorite sandwich stops, the Sub Shop has four locations and serves up hot, delicious sandwiches. Want our advice? Get the vegetarian on wheat…with bacon. Hint: they also deliver!

In Your Spare Time

We know your wrestling weekend is full of competition, cheering and (hopefully) some rest. But if you do manage to find some spare time, exploring Columbia for just a short while can open you up to a whole new set of possibilities.

Have an hour?

-Take a walk through the Mizzou campus. The entire campus is designated a botanic garden and the architecture of buildings new and old makes it one of the most picturesque places in the state. If you have time, stop into the Museum of Art and Archaeology in Pickard Hall on the Quad.

-If the weather is nice, take a quick drive down to Bethel Park. With play areas, walking paths, shelters, a fishing pond and plenty of open space, Bethel is a nice retreat from all the wrestling action.

Have a little longer?

-Explore The District, Columbia’s vibrant downtown area. Art galleries, boutiques, local restaurants, coffee shops and more all welcome you in to get a distinct taste of Columbia.

-Take in a movie. We have three theaters: the Forum 8, the Stadium 14 and Ragtag Cinemacafe, all of which have movies running all day.

-The Columbia Mall is located on the west side of town just off Interstate 70. The mall is anchored by Target, JC Penney, Sears and Dillards with dozens of other stores throughout the wings. There’s also a Kidz Court and Carousel in the Cafe Court wing for little ones to play.

-Lazer Lanes in south Columbia has it all! Bowling, lazer tag and arcade are all housed in this huge facility. No matter how long you stay, you won’t run out of things to do!

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To find out what’s going on in Columbia, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter or learn more on our website. Welcome!

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February 17, 2014

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Missouri Contemporary Ballet presents Music in Motion

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Missouri Contemporary Ballet (MCB), in collaboration with Odyssey Chamber Music Series, is proud to present Music in Motion. This production will be held at Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts on Friday, March 7th at 8:00pm and Saturday, March 8th at 2:00pm and 8:00pm.

This is Odyssey Chamber Music Series’ 10th anniversary under Artistic Director Ayako Tsuruta. Ayako wanted to collaborate with MCB in celebration of the arts in the Columbia community. In each work, musicians will be set in various places on stage and in the pit. This unique arrangement gives the artists, dancers and musicians, to interact with each other’s space during the performance.

This production will feature four works, three of which are world premieres. The first piece is an original by MCB Artistic/Executive Director, Karen Mareck Grundy, set to ‘Prokofiev Sonata for Two Violins’ performed by Amy Appold and Siri Geenen. There are four sections to the piece: The first focuses on levels, the second has solos driven by the music, the third is an adagio section, and the fourth is a mix of the previous three.

The second premiere is by MCB’s Resident Choreographer, Shannon Lee West. It is set to Jacob Ter Veldhuis’ Billie with members of Trio Chymera. Shannon is using the full company for this high-energy work that embodies the mood of the 30s and 40s.

The third premiere is also by Karen Mareck Grundy, set to Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du soldat” for an ensemble with Amy Appold, violin; Sam Copeland, double bass; Paul Garritson, clarinet; Elizabeth Roberts, bassoon; John D. Perkins, trumpet; Timothy Howe, trombone; Julia Gaines, percussion, and Leo Saguiguit, conductor. “Stravinsky is a very powerful composer. I was inspired by that power and translated it into the choreography,” Karen explains.

MCB will be bringing back May…Or May Not by Giordano Dance Chicago’s Autumn Eckman. Originally premiering in our 2012 show, LIVE: Experience the Journey, this piece explores the different elements of relationships: give and take, miscommunication, and stubbornness. This work is set to an arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s “Meditango,” performed by Trio Chymera.

Tickets are $19-$29 for adults and $10-$15 for students and youth. Our Opening Night, March 7th, is Student Night; Student and youth tickets are only $5-$8. Student and youth tickets are intended for currently enrolled college, K-12, and MCB students. Tickets can be purchased at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 573-882-3781, or at www.concertseries.org.

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February 14, 2014

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It’s Time to Fall in Love with Columbia

We get to profess our love for Columbia every day, but with Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s even more appropriate to shout it from the rooftops! We love Columbia…a lot. Here are just a few more reasons why…

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Big Fantastic Festivals

Columbia hosts over ten festivals each year, and they’re all fantastic ways to experience our destination. To really get a special feel for what we have to offer, come in for the True/False Film Fest or Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ. True/False has grown into one the most important documentary film festivals in the world and also offers music showcases, a game show and a parade (of course). In its first year at Stephen’s Lake Park, Roots ‘n Blues took it up a notch and delivered a classic music festival complete with outstanding acts, delicious food and beautiful art installations.

2.14Trails

Tons of Trails

For your runs, walks and rides, you can’t beat Columbia’s dozens of miles of trails. From short neighborhood trails to the 9-mile MKT trail system that links up with the statewide Katy Trail, you can pick new spot to explore every visit! Take in the scenery all four seasons of the year and hit the trail!

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Superb Chefs

If you like, you could absolutely spend your entire visit eating your way through Columbia. We are fortunate enough to be home to an array of chefs who put out incredible food meal after meal. Often focusing on local and seasonal ingredients, Columbia’s chefs make every dining experience outstanding. So don’t forget to pack your appetite!

2.14Sweets

Splendid Sweets

If you or your sweetheart like sweets, allow us to introduce you to Columbia’s lineup (see above). Buck’s Ice Cream on the University of Missouri campus, is made by food science students and is the official ice cream of Mizzou! Stop into the Candy Factory to enjoy a huge assortment of tasty sweets. Truffles, chocolate covered potato chips and even chocolate pizza await you at the Candy Factory! Finally, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in downtown Columbia offers unique flavors and also has a liquor license (Guinness Float, anyone?).

Keeping Connected

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One of the things we love about loving Columbia is getting to share it with you! Join us on Pinterest and Instagram to see more of what we share. And let us know what you love about Columbia in the comments.

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February 7, 2014

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It’s Almost Time to True/False!

We’re just a few short weeks away from one of Columbia’s hallmark weekends…the True/False Film Fest.

Last year, we gave you a few tips on how to make the most of your festival experience. Before the craziness of ticket reservations (truly the only stressful part of the festival) kick in, here are few more tips for making the most of your fest.

-Remember the buskers! One of the most fun features of True/False is the live music performing before each screening and in special showcases. If you can’t make a showcase, try to get at least one or two of your films early and soak in sounds from around the world.

-Like to get your blood pumping in the morning? With a generous start time of 9:00 a.m., the True Life Run winds through downtown Columbia with a few fun obstacles along the way. Best of all, the entry fees benefit the True Life Fund Film. A great time for a great cause.

-Have just a few minutes between films? Plenty of restaurants in the festival footprint understand your plight. Duck into spots like Kaldi’s Coffeehouse, Pickleman’s, Lakota, Coffee Zone and many others for a quick bite while you walk.

-Many documentary films can have pretty heavy subject matter. May we suggest you add Gimme Truth to your schedule? The world’s greatest documentary game show returns with host Johnny St. John and an array of doc-world celebrities attempting to deduce if local videos are true or false. This Saturday night tradition is the perfect shot of levity for your fest.

-Meet someone new. True/False attendees come from around the world to enjoy the fest every year. Strike up a conversation over coffee, in a Q line or on a shuttle. You never know who you’ll meet!

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January 17, 2014

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It’s a new year! What we’re pinning.

One of the best ways to prepare for a visit to Columbia is to visit our profile on Pinterest. It gives us a great opportunity to show you just what you can expect during your time here using beautiful photos and fun links. For 2014, we’ll be using Pinterest a lot to curate amazing Columbia images ideas to help you make your experience in our destination the best it can be.

Here’s what we’ve been working on…

An entire board titled ‘A Columbia Holiday‘ to showcase that Columbia is cool in the winter.

We’ve added a lot of new pins to our ‘Discover the District‘ board. Get planning and visit one of Columbia’s main attractions!

Check out our new ‘Famous Columbians, Mizzou Fans and Alumni‘ board where you can check out who has ties to our great city!

Keep coming back to visit us on Pinterest throughout the year. We’re excited to share our favorite Columbia places, events and much more!

January 14, 2014

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New Year, New Eats in Columbia

Columbia is well known for its outstanding dining experiences. From a quick sandwich to an upscale feast, Columbia offers visitors an array of choices for any occasion. The restaurant scene is also always changing here, so let’s get you up to speed on what’s new in town.

Günter Hans

Günter Hans Artisan Cafe is open in the former Pasta Factory location, tucked away off of Hitt Street in downtown Columbia. Serving up a small menu of bretzels, gelato and a great selection of beers, everything at Günter Hans is fresh and made from scratch everyday. They also offer up unique cheese boards and specialty drinks. This spot is a perfect fit in Columbia. As they say on their website, ‘our menu is unique and our style non-traditional, but so is Columbia! That’s one of the many reasons we’re excited to be here.’

Zaxby’s

Now that Columbia is officially in SEC country, it’s only right that it’s now home to two Zaxby’s locations. A southern stable since the 90s, Zaxby’s serves up chicken fingers, crinkle cut fries, signature sauces and lots of hospitality. Check them out at Highway 63/Stadium and off Providence Road south of Nifong.

Café Poland

A tiny space with hearty food, Café Poland on Locust in downtown Columbia will warm you up on these cold winter days. Sample their many types of pierogies and enjoy the welcoming owners. In the summer, their iced beverages will keep you cool as you roam around The District.

Cheerleader Pub & Grill

A great destination for food and fun, with a focus on the SEC, Cheerleader Pub & Grill is located at Highway 63 and Stadium, making it the perfect stop for a bite on game days. The menu features items named after your favorite SEC teams, there are televisions aplenty and over 40 beer taps!

Glenn’s Cafe

Around in some form for most years since 1939, Glenn’s Cafe isn’t new to Columbia, but its return is definitely worth celebrating. With its beloved neon sign now hanging proudly on 8th Street, Glenn’s is open for business in The Tiger Hotel. The menu at Glenn’s is rooted in Cajun and Creole flavors with fresh seafood, bold flavors and a gourmet touch.

December 27, 2013

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Ring in 2014 at Columbia Eve Fest!

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve the entire family can enjoy, make your plans now to attend Columbia Eve Fest!

Here’s some information from the organizers:

We are excited to be going into the New Year with new beginnings as Columbia Eve Fest! We  have lots of fresh, fun festivity planned for your New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Columbia, Missouri. We will continue to bring high quality local, regional and national entertainment to our stages. The festival continues as a not-for-profit, culturally diverse, non-alcohol, family friendly event for all ages.

MORE EXCITING CHANGES!! “The Footprint”

The footprint of Columbia Eve Fest will be slightly different from previous years as First Night Columbia. We will be compacting the festival into a “block party” location. We believe this will be safer and more participant friendly in regard to challenging weather conditions. Our popular 5K Run/Walk will continues to inspire our participants to start the new year off  with a healthy beginning at 4:00 p.m. in front of Cyclextreme.

The other venues will be located in the Missouri Theatre, Columbia Art League and the Missouri United Methodist Church (7 venues). We will also be closing off the block of 9th street located between Elm and Locust and utilizing the closed street as a convenient, safe path for participants. It will also be an outdoor venue featuring lots of fun activities, the Children’s Finale and the Grand Finale. If the weather is hazardous, we will be able to move the Children’s Finale into the Methodist Auditorium and the Grand Finale into the Missouri Theatre.

Be sure to check out the schedule for all of the entertainment information and you can purchase your passes at the ARC as well as all Gerbes Supermarkets. Spend a fun, safe and musical New Year’s Eve in The District. Happy New Year!

December 10, 2013

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Finish Your Holiday Shopping in Columbia! One Day, Twelve Ways

‘Tis the season…to panic about holiday shopping! Lists of friends, relatives and co-workers are piling up and making you wonder if you’ll ever get all your gifts bought. Never fear, Columbia is here! We’ve assembled another festive list (one you can even sing along with) that can help you knock out those presents in a snap. Spend one day in CoMo then put your feet up to revel in having your shopping done.

On my CoMo holiday shopping trip, I bought on my spree…

Twelve Velvet Cupcakes

Pick up a dozen of the most delectable, unique treats you’ll come across this season. The cupcake menu at The Velvet Cupcake changes daily, but the guests at your holiday party or your aunt with the sweet tooth will be delighted no matter which flavor you choose.

Eleven Painting Classes

Grab your ten closest friends and have a night out at The Canvas on Broadway. At the Canvas, art is for everyone, and you’ll leave with your very own piece of art and great holiday memories. They also have a bar, so your creativity will undoubtedly be heightened.

Ten Terrific Tootsies

Some days, there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice spa pedicure. For the person in your life who could use some pampering, pick up the gift of relaxation in the form of a gift card for one of Columbia’s many spas. A couple of Columbia favorites, Riversong and Salon Adair, will always be winners.

Nine Gunther’s Tokens

Have someone who always wants the highest score? Gunther’s Games is back in downtown Columbia! Offering classic games as well as new titles, Gunther’s is a great place for your favorite kid or kid at heart.

Eight Tiger Goodies

You’ve probably heard that Mizzou has had a pretty fantastic year sports-wise. Show your favorite fans you care with some Tiger gear from Rally House or Tiger Spirit. From coffee mugs to keychains, pom-poms to Tiger ears, the Mizzou fans in your life will go crazy for your black and gold gift.

Seven Stocking Stuffers

Everyone likes to find a little something special in their stocking! Check out Calhoun’s for fun little gifts ranging from unique jewelry to fun home decor and items for kids. Calhoun’s really is a one-stop-shop for that something extra special for anyone on your list!

Six Local Art Pieces

If there’s one thing Columbia really knows how to do, it’s art! Explore spots like Artlandish, PS:Gallery, Bluestem Missouri Crafts and the Columbia Art League Gallery for pieces with a local flavor at all price points. Whether you’re looking for a small work or a statement piece to last a lifetime, Columbia’s galleries offer some of the most beautiful work around.

Fiiiiiive Flower Arrangements

Everyone needs a centerpiece for the big holiday meal, right? Volunteer to take care of that this year and get rave reviews with an arrangement from Kent’s Floral Gallery on Broadway. Just stepping inside Kent’s during the holidays is an experience. Kent and his team will make your holiday shine with an arrangement that’s ready to go or customize it to your preference.

Four Pints of Sparkys

You can also be the star of the holiday by showing up with dessert! Allow us to recommend stopping by Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream to pick up an array of flavors. You can choose from the ready-to-go freezers or have them pack up any of their available flavors as well. You can go as traditional or outlandish on your choices as you want…Sparky’s has something for everyone!

Three Bags of Coffee

Another thing Columbia does well is coffee. With three colleges and a population of hard-workers, there’s never a short demand for caffeine. Explore the different roasts and local shops like Lakota, Coffee Zone and Kaldi’s to get the java lover in your life something new for their mornings.

Two True/False Passes

The True/False Film Fest is one of the hallmark weekends in Columbia. What started as a small event 11 years ago is now one of the world’s most respected documentary film festivals. Throw in a parade, music showcases, a game show and nightly parties and you have pretty much the most fun someone could have in four days. Passes are on sale now!

And a Gift Certificate Just For You From Me!

Need a gift for that one person who has everything? Let them explore Columbia for themselves! A gift certificate to The District will get that special someone into restaurants, shops and more!

November 18, 2013

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13 Things to do in Columbia, MO before the end of 2013

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Somehow we’ve already made it to November this year! With only a few weeks left in 2013, here are a few Columbia experiences to check off your list before you ring in the new year. Of course, if you wait a little longer, we won’t tell.

13. Peruse a Gallery
Looking for a little inspiration? Wander through some of Columbia’s impressive art galleries for all mediums of art created by artists from across the country. 
12. Explore Campus
There’s not much more beautiful than freshly fallen snow on the University of Missouri campus. Both the historic buildings and majestic trees look even more amazing than usual under a blanket of white. 
11. Take in a Movie

Spend a few hours in another world with the incredible films showing daily at Ragtag Cinema. With a calendar full of documentaries, acclaimed films from other countries and features made by locals, your Ragtag experience will be both relaxing and enlightening.

10. Grab Some Hot Chocolate

Whether you’re cold, thirsty or your hands are just freezing, take time to explore all of Columbia’s wonderful coffee shops. If you need something with a little more pick-me-up, we love the Rocket Fuel at Coffee Zone.

9. Make Your Own Art

Even if you say you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, try your hand at painting with an evening of art at the Canvas on Broadway or Paint the Town Columbia. Both spots have fun projects to sign up for, helpful instructors and a bar!

8. Sip a Drink
If you’re looking for something a little different, head to Bleu to try out some of their seasonal custom cocktails. House-made mixes, syrups and spirits mean you can imbibe in a Red October, a Giggle Water or a Cat on a Hot Gin Roof, all created just for you.
7. Walk on a Trail

Columbia is home to more than 50 miles of trails! Whether you’re a hiker, biker or leisurely stroller, Columbia’s trails are a great escape from the holiday bustle.

6. Get Tiger Gear and Give a Cheer

Time to get some new black and gold gear for the winter season! Rally HouseTiger Spirit and Alumni Hall are great one-stop shops for all your Tiger best. Of course, you’ll want to sport your new clothes at a Tiger sporting event, so make sure to get some tickets too.

5. Attend Living Windows
As the weather turns colder, shopkeepers throughout The District begin planning for the annual Living Windows Festival. On the first Friday in December,from 6 to 8 p.m., shopkeepers move all the merchandise, out of their front windows and stage live holiday performances for onlookers. 
4. Sample Some Sparky’s
Though some may disagree, ice cream is just as amazing in the winter. So amazing, in fact, that Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream is finally going to be open year-round! Those who used to mourn their cold weather closing will be enjoying their incredible range of flavors 365 days a year. 
3. Check Out the UCS
Make the University Concert Series your new holiday tradition. Family-friendly performances including The NutcrackerA Christmas Carol and a Tribute to Trans-Siberian Orchestra go on stage in the historic venues of Jesse Hall and the Missouri Theatre.
2. Buy Your True/False Passes
The True/False Film Festival has become one of the most renowned documentary festivals in the entire world. Get your passes now to experience the films, music, parties and general revelry that True/False brings year after year.
1. Visit the Magic Tree

There’s no better way to end the year than to load up the car and visit Columbia’s Magic Tree. This tradition started in the front yard of a south Columbia home and is now located in the Village of Cherry Hill, where thousands of people stand in awe at the over 40,000 lights on one tree.

November 15, 2013

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Columbia Snapshot: Autumn Arrives

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Columbia’s trees are really showing off their colors this fall! These are just a few views from near the office of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, so our staff is lucky enough to enjoy these every day. We’re also next to the beginning trail head of the MKT Trail, so it’s a great place to start a fall foliage stroll. Be sure to take lots of pictures (and share them with us on Facebook!) before the leaves all fall!