Archive | December, 2012

Wishing You a Happy New Year

December 31, 2012


From all of us here at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, we want to thank you for visiting Columbia this year. We love to welcome our visitors with open arms and give them an experience they can always remember. In 2012, changes like Mizzou moving to the Southeastern Conference meant new stream of fresh visitors were able to enjoy all Columbia has to offer.

As we move toward 2013, we’re excited for more changes in the coming year. We’re planning big things like a new brand, a new website, the Columbia Tourism Ambassadors program and more. Each big project is for you, the visitor. You can be sure when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s we’ll be ready to make Columbia the best destination it can be. We hope you’ll visit. We’d love to have you.

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Get Active at the ARC!

December 26, 2012


If you indulged a little too much over the holidays or if you’re just feeling cooped up in the cold weather during your visit to Columbia, make your way to the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) for some sweating or swimming to break up the winter monotony.

The ARC in Columbia, Missouri.

This 73,000 square foot facility features two levels of active possibilities. Features include an indoor track, large weight room, dozens of cardio machines, group classrooms, a large gym with basketball courts and an indoor water park.

Make a splash!

The indoor pool area is home to a lazy river, swirly water slide and an in-water playground for little ones. It’s a great escape from the winter temperatures and the perfect place to get over your cabin fever.

Ready to work up a sweat?

If getting your heart rate up is on your to do list, head upstairs and hop on one of the many cardio machines at the ARC. From treadmills to ellipticals to rowing machines, get your workout in and say goodbye to those cookies you ate over the holidays!

The ARC makes a wonderful winter stop while you’re in Columbia. You can pay an easy one-day fee and there’s even a family option so everyone can join in on the fun. Shake off the winter blues and head to the ARC!

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Last Minute Gift Ideas in Columbia

December 21, 2012


The time has come…it’s gift crunch time. Still some people left on that holiday shopping list? Need to cross them off fast? Here are some foolproof choices to make you the most popular elf in town!


-Truffles from the Candy Factory. An edible gift is a beloved gift. Except for fruitcake.

-A scarf from Envy. Your best friend is always cold and loves to be fashionable. Problem solved.

-A poster from the Office of Cultural Affairs. The best of Columbia art for the Columbia (or art) love in your life.

-Gift Certificate to Riversong Spa. Surely someone you know will need some post-holiday stress relief.

-A handmade mug from Bluestem Missouri Crafts. For the coffee lover you know who is tired of the same old mug.

-Pints of ice cream from Sparky’s. Distinct and delicious. You can also get your own cone while you’re there. Bonus!

-A District gift certificate. Some people are tough to shop for. Let them pick out their own darn gift.

-The cutest toy ever from Little Owl Boutique. For that new baby or super fun toddler in your life.

-Luxurious bath products from Makes Scents. For the fancy lady you know who already has everything.

-A spiffy tie from Bingham’s. For the gentlemen in your life who like to look dapper.


Surely this list will help you check off those last few gift getters on your list. And while you’re at it, pick up a little something for yourself too!

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Girlfriend Getaway: Post-Holiday Relaxation

December 19, 2012


Have you been shopping til you drop? Socializing at the holiday parties of everyone you know? Have tired hands from wrapping all those presents? You deserve a break! Round up a few friends and head to Columbia for a little post-holiday you time.

More relaxed already?

Start your getaway to Columbia by sleeping in. That’s right, sleeping in. Enjoy a leisurely late breakfast somewhere like Ernie’s, Café Berlin or Uprise Bakery.

Once you’ve woken up, it’s time to relax. Head to one of Columbia’s day spas like Riversong. Located in south Columbia, this spa will pamper you and your friends from the moment you walk in the door. Pick from various services ranging from facials to manicures to massages. You can also check out their spa packages, which combines a series of services with a built in discount. Need deep tissue relief or want to try something different like a hot stone massage, Riversong is the spot.

Once you’ve spent your afternoon being pampered, it’s time for a night out in Columbia. Here are a few ideas for you and your ladies…


Bleu offers an upbeat and modern atmosphere in a historic building. Located in the former Boone Tavern building, Bleu has signature tastes on their menu (blue cheese creme brulee, anyone?) and their bartenders shake up classic cocktails, drinks with a new twist or something made especially for your taste buds. Bleu also boasts a beautiful outdoor space for festive nights with your girls.

Room 38

Afternoon. After work. After dark. Room 38 offers modern global cuisine in a sophisticated lounge setting. Serving up delicious flat breads and creative small plates, Room 38 also has an extensive martini, wine and spirits list for fun times with your whole group.

The Penguin Piano Bar

Are you the sing along type? Head over to The Penguin Piano Bar that is open Thursday-Saturday with shows at 9:00 p.m. Enjoy the show, sing along to the songs you know by heart and make new friends. The energetic atmosphere keeps the fun rolling and no one will think twice if you decide to get up and dance. Check their website for specials and entertainments schedules and get ready to sing the night away.


Now that the stress of the holiday season is near done, go ahead and plan a weekend getaway for you and your girls. A day of relaxation and a night of laughs, drinks and stories are just what you need to head into the new year.

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Ring in 2013 at First Night Columbia

December 17, 2012


If you’re going to be in Columbia this December 31st, make sure to head down to The District to take in all the action at First Night Columbia. This festive family event begins at 6:30 at venues throughout The District.

With a robust entertainment program, music is a huge component at First Night. Stop by the Columbia Art League Gallery for guitar and banjo music, First Presbyterian Church serves as the rock venue and the Missouri Theatre plays host to an array of acts ranging from Ironweed Bluegrass to classical rock by The Beethovens. All the venues are within close walking distance, making it easy to hop from spot to spot.

First Night Columbia celebrates more than music. Calvary Episcopal Church will be home to the Children’s Art Area, City Hall will have children’s entertainment and First Christian Church is the teen venue for the evening. You’ll also be entertained by street performers as you move from place to place.

Stay out late so you don’t miss the People’s Processions (an impromptu parade) from the Missouri Theatre to Courthouse Square. The new year rings in with cheers and a fireworks show. Definitely a can’t-miss highlight from this family evening out.

Make your plans now to attend First Night Columbia. Get your admission buttons now at The ARC, Columbia Parks and Recreation Department and Gerbes Supermarkets prior to the event or get them that night at First Presbyterian Church, First Christian Church or the Missouri Theatre. Bring the entire family for a night of festive family fun and welcome 2013!

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Warm Up to Columbia this Winter

December 15, 2012


Columbia has had a relatively mild winter so far. But temperatures are bound to drop before too long, and while you’re visiting our city we feel it’s our responsibility to help you stay warm. Here’s how the locals do it.

Bundle Up

Does your winter coat make you feel like Randy from A Christmas Story? You should probably head over to the Alpine Shop, where their staff can find you an incredibly warm coat and we promise you’ll still be able to put your arms down. You can also stay warm and fashionable with hats, gloves and scarves from the likes of the Mustard Seed or Swank Boutique. Now that you’re all bundled up, you’re ready for winter weather. Just don’t put your tongue on a flagpole.

Sip Something Hot

Do you get as excited about coffee as Buddy the Elf? So do we. And when it gets cold in Columbia, you have plenty of places to get your fix. Stop by Lakota for locally roasted beans, the Coffee Zone for their super strong rocket fuel blend or Kaldi’s for the perfect holiday themed concoction. No matter where you choose, the jolt of caffeine will mean you won’t have to stop your holiday shopping anytime soon!

Get Active

We know it’s cold, but don’t be afraid to get outside and get active! Columbia’s beautiful trail system provides serene settings all over the city to walk, jog or cross country ski once snow falls.  You could also take a stroll around the lake at Stephens Lake Park. If the cold air just isn’t your style, head to the ARC and swim a few laps in their indoor pool. Now if your parents accidentally leave you at home over Christmas and someone tries to steal all your presents, you’ll be in prime physical condition.


See? Winter in Columbia is great! All you have to do is follow these simple steps and you’ll be ready for the cold. We’ll see you in line for coffee.

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Columbia Side Trip: Clark and Amish Country

December 7, 2012


We just posted about Christmas shopping here yesterday, but when it comes to the holiday season you can never get enough good gift ideas. Here at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we’re partial to candy. Amish candy to be very precise. Where do these divine confections come from? That would be a little town north of Columbia about 30 minutes called Clark.

The Amish settlement near Clark is the third largest settlement in Missouri. Just head north on Highway 63 and turn onto Highway P to start exploring. You’ll see Amish farmers working their fields with horses and plows. Quilts, molasses, produce, bakery goods and other items are available at various farms.  Gather up decadent peanut clusters, rich fudge, crisp peanut brittle and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Then be the most popular elf ever as you joyfully pass out treats.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop: A Gift for Everyone in Columbia!

December 6, 2012


For those of you who have a long shopping list this holiday season, look no further! Columbia is home to endless options for everyone on your list! We’ve collected a few ideas for how you can spread joy throughout the season and thought it was only appropriate to share in Christmas carol form. And now, our 12 Columbia Gifts

Twelve Bottles for Drinking

Stop by Top Ten Wines in The District and get their expert help in selecting a case of wine! Whether you gift the whole case or use each bottle as a hostess gift at all the holiday parties you’ll attend, the staff at Top Ten Wines will assist you in assembling a delicious variety of wines from around the world.

Eleven Tickets for Concerts

The Blue Note is truly a Columbia landmark. Past performers have ranged from Johnny Cash to the Dave Matthews Band to Snoop Dogg and there’s always a great lineup on their calendar. With shows featuring They Might Be Giants, Calexico, Keller Williams and more coming up the the next few months, treat your friends with tickets for a night at The Blue Note.

Ten Classes of Yoga

Help someone in your life find their center with an Anytime Pass to Alley Cat Yoga. The pass has no expiration and gets them into 10 classes, making it a thoughtful and very flexible gift. Who knows, maybe they’ll even invite you to join them.

Nine Stocking Stuffers

Have lots of stockings to stuff? Head to The District and stop by The Mustard Seed. Featuring jewelry, accessories and other handmade treasures from around the world, you’ll look like the best santa ever.

Eight Bites of Chocolate

A Columbia favorite for over 30 years, the Candy Factory is now making artisan chocolates for their Prestige Collection. Pick up an 8-piece box for your favorite chocoholic and watch them marvel at the beauty (and taste!) of these treats.

Seven Super Shirts

Have lots of cousins you need to buy presents for? Are all those cousins Mizzou fans? Pick them up some black and gold gear at the Mizzou BookstoreTiger Spirit, Jock’s Nitch or Rally House. You can stock up and take care of those cousins in one easy stop.

Six Warm Cookies

Perfect for the neighbor, coworker, friend or any other loved one, Hot Box Cookies will deliver fresh  delicious cookies right to their door. From traditional chocolate chip to snickerdoodles, the recipient of these treats will be sure to think warm thoughts of you as they devour these cookies. Don’t forget to order cold milk to go with them!

Fiiiiiiiive Perfume Oils

Need something for those favorite girls in your life? Head over to Makes Scents and have them whip up a custom blend perfume oil for each one! Their experts have plenty of experience in combining scents ranging from cupcake to fig to peppermint to create a scent that truly reminds you of your girlfriends. And trust us, every time they use it, they’ll think of you.

Four Classy Cookbooks

For the cooks and kitchen lovers on your list, head to Tallulah’s. This beautiful kitchen and home store has an array of cookbooks for cocktails, cakes and anything in between. You can also pick up mixing bowls, utensils and other goodies to help make their newly found recipes come to life.

Three Music Events

A trio of tickets to the University Concert Series will be just as exciting in a stocking as it will be wrapped up under the tree. Give someone a ticket to three different events or send their whole family for a night out. Coming up in February, audiences can be delighted by DRUMline Live, Garth Fagan Dance Company, Shrek the Musical, Boyz II Men, Hair and more!

Two Pairs of Earrings

Stop into Poppy to check out handmade jewelry from nationally acclaimed artists and pick up a stunning pair of earrings for your mom…and one for yourself.

And a Tent for the Entire Family

Enjoy dreams of warmer weather and promises of outdoor adventure with a tent the entire family can enjoy on your next camping journey. Pick up the perfect pop up at the Alpine Shop and grab lots of other outdoor gear while you’re there!


We hope you’re ready to get out there and shop now, but we’ll have little gift guides leading all the way up through the holiday season. Keep checking back to discover new Columbia treasures!

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Uniquely Columbia – Visit the Magic Tree!

December 4, 2012


Photo from the Columbia Daily Tribune

Photo from the Columbia Daily Tribune

One of Columbia’s most popular holiday traditions in recent years has been bundling up, piling the family in the car, and heading out to visit the Magic Tree. This gorgeous display has been delighting residents and visitors since 1995 and has become a part of Columbia’s holiday experience.

Will Treelighter works on the Magic Tree

Will Treelighter works on the Magic Tree

Each year, Will Treelighter (as he’s known) spends over 40 hours wrapping tens of thousands of lights around every branch of the Magic Tree. While the original Magic Tree was located in Will’s front yard, the amount of traffic to the tree necessitated a move to the Village of Cherry Hill in 2010. That first year at Cherry Hill, the Magic Tree was lit up with approximately 37,500 lights!

The Magic Tree’s location change also has allowed for increased interaction with the tree. Visitors can now get out and explore the tree from every angle, take photos, and enjoy special events around the tree, including choral performances. The Village of Cherry Hill is a wonderful setting to take in the tree, sip some hot chocolate in the gazebo and watch children of all ages be mesmerized by the Magic Tree.

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A Columbia Tradition: The Living Windows Festival

December 3, 2012


While the weather in Columbia isn’t nearly as cold as usual this time of year, it will still be time to celebrate the season this Friday at the annual Living Windows Festival.

From 6:00-8:00 p.m. this Friday, Columbia’s downtown area, The District, is turned into a winter wonderland. Participating businesses will be staging live performances of popular holiday scenes in their windows. This annual festival is a celebration of the holiday season and marks the beginning of extended holiday hours for many businesses in The District.

Live window displays are the main feature of the evening´s festivities, but festival goers are invited to enjoy many other activities throughout the evening, including:

· Open houses
· Holiday treats and refreshments
· Carolers and other holiday music
· Free carriage rides through downtown
· Live nativity scene
· A visit from Santa Claus (Stop by the Landmark Bank to see our visitor from the North Pole-and don´t forget to bring your camera!)

Here’s a preview of what some of the shops in The District have planned for Friday:

Artlandish Gallery 
A Merry Jolly Artful Holiday Open House

Bluestem Missouri Crafts
Living Christmas Trees

Gigi and Her Girl

Candy Factory
Live Saxaphone player & refreshments

North Pole Sewing Lab

Makes Scents
A Very Brady Christmas

Maude Vintage 
Holiday After Hours

Hipster Holiday

PS: Gallery
Polar Express

Slackers CDs & Games
Nightmare Before Christmas

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream 
Holiday Night Fever

Rally House 
Celebrate the Holiday’s with the Tigers

Winter Wonderland

You should also be sure to stop by our new Visitor Center in City Hall (corner of 8th and Broadway) to check out our new space and join in some holiday cheer. Bundle up (maybe) and head down to The District and take in the sights at Living Windows!

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