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Not Your Average Afternoon – Fun Activities in Columbia Parks

June 7, 2013

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Parks are probably best known for playgrounds, walking trails and opportunities to frolic. Next time you’re in Columbia, be sure to check out some of the more unexpected activities you can enjoy in one of the city’s beautiful parks.

Toss a Disc

Beautiful Disc Golf course in Albert-Oakland Park

Looking for an alternative to just throwing a disc back and forth? Check out Albert-Oakland Park and try your hand at one of two disc golf courses! Set among beautiful ponds, trees and creek beds, these challenging courses are not your average walk in the park. Try your hand at this growing sport and you may leave Columbia with a new favorite hobby!

Catch a Fish

Fishing is one of the many activities for the whole family at Stephens Lake Park.

Nine spots in Columbia are perfect for taking your fishing pole and spending a quiet afternoon trying to reel in a big one. Check out the full list of park fishing lakes and pick your perfect spot. Many lakes are stocked to make your fishing time even more exciting! There’s nothing like a relaxing few hours enjoying your time in Columbia with family.

Get on a Roll

Catch some air at Cosmo.

Have a daredevil or two in your family? Check out the Columbia Skate Park in Cosmo Park. Completed in 1999, the park has an elaborate street course designed to entertain and challenge skaters, whether they are beginners or experienced. The Skate Park is free to use and is open 6:00 a.m. until dusk each day, attracting skaters from across the country, even hosting a demonstration from world famous Tony Hawk.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, Columbia is exactly What You Unexpect. We’ll see you at the park!

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Jump into Summer in Columbia!

June 5, 2013

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All of the pools in Columbia are now open for the season!

That’s it!

Go swimming. Don’t forget sunscreen.

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Art in the Park Delivers Fun for the Entire Family!

May 20, 2013

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The first weekend in June is home to one of Columbia’s favorite festival traditions…Art in the Park. This year marks the festival’s 55th year and on June 1st and 2nd there will be something for every member of the family to love!

Stephen's Lake Park, Home of Art in the Park.

Stephen’s Lake Park, Home of Art in the Park.

One of the best parts of Art in the Park is its location. Stephens Lake Park is one of Columbia’s most beautiful locations, with a rolling landscape, open spaces, a stunning lake and play areas. Nature combined with the incredible art makes Art in the Park sure to inspire.

ArtInThePark07BoothStrolling

Stroll through the booths in the park to explore the art!

Sometimes people may think Art in the Park is all paintings…but it’s so much more than that! The festival attracts artists from across the country to sell their work in mediums ranging from jewelry and ceramics to weaving and, yes, paintings. You can pick up a new coffee mug for your office, a new painting for that empty wall in the living room or a gorgeous scarf that all your friends will want.

Let the kids get their hands messy!

Let the kids get their hands messy!

Of course, buying and shopping isn’t all you can do. Let the kids get in on the act to make some art! Face painting, tie-dyed a t-shirts and more all await the little ones.

This June, take the first weekend and round up the whole family (and some sunscreen) for Art in the Park. It’s two days of art and play you’ll come to Columbia for every year.

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Finally Farmers Market Season!

May 2, 2013

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‘Tis the season…for the farmers market!

The local enthusiasm for fresh, sustainable produce, meats, baked goods and more means the Columbia is home to three farmers markets! On your next visit to Columbia you can take home something fresh and delicious almost any day of the week.

Boone County Farmers Market

1005 W. Worley Street (The corner of Worley Street and West Blvd)

Saturdays 8 am – 12 pm (April  thru October)

Home to around 20 vendors on any given Saturday morning, the Boone County Farmers Market has an array of produce and goods available. From spring to fall, you can pick up the ingredients for an incredible meal and also buy plants to help you grow your own garden!

Columbia Farmers Market

Main Market Location: The ARC (1701 W. Ash Street)

Monday Market (4:00-6:00 at the ARC), Wednesday Market (4:00-6:00 at the ARC), Thursday Market (3:00-6:00 at Forum Christian Church), Friday Market (3:00-6:00 at Brookside Square), Saturday Market (8:00-Noon at the ARC)

ColumbiaFarmersMarketphoto_by Sam Mead

Columbia’s largest farmers market brings in droves of people throughout the week to their various locations. Their largest market is on Saturday morning, when over 75 vendors fill the lots. The Saturday market often features live music performances, hot breakfast burritos made by local culinary students and other special events in addition to the products available to buy. Try honey ice cream from Walk About Acres, buy fresh cheese from Goatsbeard Farms or pick up something freshly baked from Uprise Bakery. From the salad to the steak to dessert, you can create an entire meal from what’s available at the Columbia Farmers Market.

North Village Farmers and Artisans Market

Wabash Parking Lot in the North Village

Sundays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The North Village Farmers and Artisans Market is Columbia’s newest market, celebrating not only local produce but local art. Artisans from the North Village sell their art alongside local farmers and you may even see one of Columbia’s delicious food trucks serving up breakfast during the market. You can also watch cooking demos and there’s a kids booth for the little ones.

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Uniquely Columbia: The Bur Oak

May 1, 2013

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Bigtree6

Down a quiet road just a few miles south of Columbia is a local treasure. At over 350 years old, the largest bur oak tree in Missouri is a beautiful spot that you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.

The tree stands 90 feet tall and has a stately spot in the middle of a field between the tiny spots of McBaine and Huntsdale. One of the most popular places for photos in the area, ‘The Big Tree’ even has its own Facebook page. Beautiful in the spring and sometimes haunting in the winter, the tree is a majestic sight.

To reach the tree, head south on Providence Road and just keep driving. And driving. As the houses become farther and farther apart, you’ll know you’ve almost reached your destination. You can also reach the tree easily from the Katy Trail trailhead at McBaine, where Columbia’s MKT Trail joins with the Katy. Rain or shine, the tree is a uniquely Columbia gem.

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Columbia Excited to Welcome the SEC Track & Field Championships!

April 30, 2013

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Columbia is thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Outdoor Track & Field Championships this year! This event is a great chance for you and your family to enjoy a weekend full of world-class athletic competition.

When: May 9-12, 2013

Where: Audrey J. Walton Stadium on the University of Missouri campus.

Tickets: Only available at the gate. All session tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Single session tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

Parking: Dedicated parking is available for the competing teams, and specific lots are reserved for use by meet officials, volunteers, media, etc. General-public parking is designated on the map below.

This year’s event will showcase some of the most talented collegiate student-athletes on the nation. 81 total current or former SEC student-athletes competed in track & field at the London Olympics. In 2012, athletes from the SEC excelled in the NCAA Championships with the Florida Men’s team taking the team title, LSU Women’s team taking the team title and over 100 combined All-Americans.

To find out when your favorite event is taking place, check out the schedule. You can also track live results during the event.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic event having its first time in Columbia. We hope you’ll take the time to explore the rest of our city while you’re here, so take some time to experience our delicious local restaurants, vibrant downtown area and beautiful parks and trails. You can plan the rest of your visit on our website.

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Columbia Snapshot

April 19, 2013

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CSSTrail

Now that longer days and warmer temperatures are back, outdoor enthusiasts are back out on the trail! This particular shot was taken just after crossing under Stadium Blvd. going toward the Stadium trailhead. This section of the MKT Trail provides lots of shade, beautiful scenery and a great way to explore Columbia by foot or on your bike!

Columbia has over 50 miles of trails to explore this spring and summer. Put on those running shoes or hop on your bike to start exploring them all!

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Columbia is Poised for Patio Season!

April 11, 2013

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With the trees turning green and flowers starting to bloom, it’s a great time to visit Columbia and experience its outdoor dining options. Last year, we told you about our perfect patios, but we have a few more suggestions for your next trip. Relax with some of Columbia’s most delicious food and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather!

In the District, there’s never a shortage of places to stop and have an incredible meal.

For al fresco dining, check out Teller’s. It only has a few tables out on the sidewalk and they go fast, but it’s a prime location for both food and people watching.

Teller’s in downtown Columbia decked out with Homecoming decorations.

Also in the District, Shiloh Bar and Grill is the perfect spot to sip a drink on their expansive patio, enjoy local music and have a great meal. The large shaded area is perfect for those hot days and the restaurant itself is a restored train station.

Food, fun and festivities.

Heading to the south part of town, a variety of outdoor options await you.

Las Margaritas is a family-friendly and festive place serving up fantastic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant opened this fall, so this spring marks the first time patrons will be able to enjoy their beautiful lakeside patio. Take happy hour outside and take in the view at Las Margaritas.

Fresh and fantastic at Las Margaritas.

If something from across the pond is more your speed, head over to 44 Stone Pub, where a seat on the patio and an extensive beer selection make for a wonderful experience. Dive into welsh rarebit, signature burgers and fish & chips. Be sure to get a side of colcannon. This mix of smashed potatoes, cabbage, bacon, butter and chives is absolute perfection.

44 Stone in south Columbia. Image from the Columbia Business Times.

Now that we’ve introduced you to a few more great Columbia patios, it’s time to come check them out! Did we miss any of your favorites?

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Get Outside! Our Splendid State Parks.

March 29, 2013

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Earlier this week, we gave you some great ideas for hitting the road (ok, trails) on your next visit to Columbia. Our city is known for its fantastic parks and trails system, but there are also plenty of nearby Missouri State Parks, many with exciting and unexpected adventures waiting to be had!

Check out these activities…all an hour or way less from Columbia!

-Rev your engine and explore the 10-acre motocross track at Finger Lakes State Park.

-Explore the shady serenity of the Jewell Cemetery State Historic Site.

-Step back in time and check out the beauty and architecture of the village of Arrow Rock.

-Take a hike and learn about one of Missouri’s first industries at the Boone’s Lick State Historic Site.

-Chill out in caves, hike wood-planked trails and enjoy the scenic environment of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

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Get Outside! Our Tremendous Trails

March 27, 2013

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One of Missouri’s most popular features is the Katy Trail, a statewide trail that connects west to east, with a short spur called the MKT that lands you right in downtown Columbia. Once you’re here, there are so many other trails to explore it’s tough to know where to start! Here are a few options sure to be a hit.

Bear Creek Trail

BCTCollage

With multiple access points, Bear Creek Trail winds nearly five miles through northern Columbia and connects two of the city’s most popular parks, Cosmo and Albert-Oakland. The trail is crushed limestone and runs through wooded areas, wetlands, open spaces and residential neighborhoods. The trail also follows the general direction of its namesake water system, Bear Creek.

Rhett’s Run

RRCollage

Have mountain biking on your mind? Head to Rhett’s Run. This 2.4 mile dirt run is a challenging one and was designed by  Brian Stickel and John Bailey of Mountain Designs, key course designers for the 1996 Olympic mountain bike courses. The trail originates in Cosmo Park and runs through 75 acres of beautiful wooded area.

County House Trail

CHTCollageCounty House Trail is a two-mile long trail in the southwest area of the city that extends from Stadium Blvd. at College Park Drive to the MKT Trail at Twin Lakes Recreation Area. It is an 8-foot-wide concrete trail with a gravel side path between Stadium and the Twin Lakes Recreation Area entrance. Once inside Twin Lakes Recreation Area, the trail routes through the parking lot and around the lake where it connects to the the MKT Trail on the southeast corner of the park.

These are just three options of dozens here in Columbia. Check out the list of community and neighborhood trails here and pick one to explore every time you visit Columbia!

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