The Columbia Experience – Amazing Art

Just because you love football doesn’t mean you can’t love art, right? Right. And when you visit Columbia, plenty of can’t miss art experiences await you! Whether you enjoy taking in the works of historical artists or discovering new talent, Columbia has plenty of options for the art lover in you. Here are some highlights:


Those who appreciate the past are sure to enjoy these two great sites on the University of Missouri campus. Each place showcases an array of both permanent and rotating exhibits to explore during your visit.

Museum of Art & Archaeology

A sketch by Picasso at the Museum of Art and Archaeology.

The collection at the Museum of Art and Archaeology is comprehensive, containing objects from a wide range of cultures. The collection of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern art works and artifacts is especially strong, and there are significant holdings from ancient Egypt and Byzantium. The Museum also has important holdings in European and American art from the fifteenth century to the present, including a Samuel H. Kress Study Collection of European paintings.

State Historical Society

The Society holds one of the largest collections of paintings by George Caleb Bingham, including, Order No. 11. The Thomas Hart Benton Collection contains the Year of Peril series, lithographs, and other works. Many other Missouri artists, both past and present, are well represented in the Society’s holdings.

The Society’s extensive editorial cartoon collection includes original drawings by Daniel Fitzpatrick, S. J. Ray, Bill Mauldin, Don Hesse, Tom Engelhardt, and others.

The Main Gallery and Corridor Galleries feature rotating exhibits, with selected paintings by George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton on permanent display.


Columbia Art League Gallery

Sherrie Kueckelhan ‘Canyon Blaze’ from the current exhibition.

The Columbia Art League Gallery is located on 9th Street and is adjoined to the historic Missouri Theatre. The CAL Gallery shows rotating exhibits throughout the year featuring local, regional and national artists. The current exhibit, ‘Give the Gift of Art’ is an annual showcase of Columbia’s wonderful, local artistic talent. CAL also offers classes, workshops and organizes the Art in the Park festival every spring.

George Caleb Bingham Gallery

From the current “Works on Paper” exhibit by Ronaldo Estevez Jordan

The George Caleb Bingham gallery finds its home in the Fine Arts building on the University of Missouri campus. Rotating exhibits showcase the amazing work of MU students, faculty and other honored guest artists. Stop in to see emerging artistic talent and the artists who inspire them.

PS: Gallery

Rural Structure 1 by Joel Sager

PS:Gallery is in the North Village Arts District in downtown Columbia and features rotating exhibits of local, regional and nation artists in all mediums. Their philosophy is that art should be inclusive not exclusive. Art shouldn’t be intimidating, but enjoyed by everyone. Come explore the gallery and let them teach you about the artists we carry and what makes them special. Whether browsing, buying or being inspired, all are welcome.

Take Home Some Art

Of course, the galleries above are outstanding places to buy beautiful art, but here are a few more stops where you can pick up something uniquely Columbia on your visit.


Bluestem Missouri Crafts

Artlandish Gallery


The Columbia Experience – Clever Cuisine

Columbia is home to over 200 restaurants, so it’s no surprise if you haven’t been able to hit them all if you’ve visited before. During your next trip, consider hitting up some of these local favorites you may have missed!

Cafe Berlin

Located in a completely remodeled gas station on the edge of The District, Cafe Berlin serves up local, delicious breakfast (all day!) and lunch items with unique twists.

The Starving Artist: Half biscuit topped with roasted potatoes, sauteed greens, two eggs your way, & our vegetarian chipotle gravy. Not a bad start to the day!

Nearly everything, from the mushrooms to the coffee to the breads, are sourced from local farmers and producers, so your food is incredibly fresh. Both the breakfast and lunch selections come with fantastic homemade sides and coffee is served up in mismatched mugs that add to the charm of the small hangout.

Our recommendation? The Apples & Sausage is a sweet and spicy start to your day. And if you add a pancake, it’s breakfast bliss.

Main Squeeze

The mission at Main Squeeze is simple: Eat good food. One of Columbia’s only vegetarian restaurants started as a juice bar and evolved into a bustling restaurant offering salads, wraps, soups, desserts, smoothies and daily specials.

Tofu tacos anyone?

Main Squeeze also is a great stop for meeting friends, enjoying the local art on the walls and seeing owner Leigh Lockhart’s smiling face. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike can always find something to satisfy on the menu.

A menu tip: Always always always get a smoothie (we like the Berry Berry Good). And if you walk in and the special is the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito, get it. You’ll thank us later.


Teller’s may look like a super fancy spot when you walk by on Broadway, but inside the atmosphere is casual and intimate, with a menu to match. Appetizers are simple and delicious, while entrees include an option to build your own salad or you can dive into a beef tenderloin filet or bowl of pasta.

Art on the walls rotates often, making Teller’s Gallery and Bar a most appropriate name. They also have occasional musical performances in the dining room and the center of the restaurant is occupied by a large bar area, always busy during happy hour and throughout the evening.

Ready to order? The Coconut -Curried Braised Pork Wrap features melt in your mouth pork dressed with a cilantro-cucumber sauce. For a sweet finish, the Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce is a winner.

Bangkok Gardens

Have a taste for Thai? Hit up Bangkok Gardens. Open for over 10 years, Bangkok Gardens prepares fresh, authentic Thai food in a welcoming and warm setting.

A Thai tradition: Phat Thai.

The large menu features an array of traditional and unique Thai food. Once you’ve made your choice, you also get to pick your level of heat from 1 (Mild) to 5 (Volcanic), making your dish a custom treat.

Mouth watering? To start, order up some samosas, fried dumplings stuff with potatoes, peas, onions and curry. We also love the Peanut Sauce Phat Thai and the Demon Chicken (with loads of veggies and cashews).


Now that we’ve made you sufficiently hungry, what’s your favorite place to dine in Columbia?

The Columbia Experience – Fantastic Festivals

We think Columbia is a pretty festive place to be every day of the year. However, some weekends find Columbia hosting an honest to goodness festival, and they’re fantastic. You can find our full list here, but here’s a few weekends you absolutely, positively must come back for once the football season has wrapped up.

Art in the Park: First Full Weekend in June

If you love art and the outdoors, then do we have a festival for you! Art in the Park is mid-Missouri’s oldest and largest fine arts festival. In 2013, the festival will be June 1st and 2nd, so mark your calendars now.

With a setting at beautiful Stephens Lake Park and the early summer weather, Art in Park brings together artists across the country to display and sell their wares to casual and serious art fans alike. And it’s not just painting (though of course there are paintings), it’s coffee mugs, scarves, sculptures, woodworking and all sorts of other amazing products!

You can also take the little ones to enjoy the hands on activity area, where kids can create a masterpiece of their own. You can also explore Stephen’s Lake Park, which is set on a gorgeous lake with walking trails and playgrounds, and enjoy an array of local food vendors. It’s the perfect way to spend a day!

Inside Columbia’s Wine and Food Festival: Every May

Indulge in a week of extraordinary cuisine and wine throughout Columbia! The Inside Columbia Wine and Food Festival celebrates the burgeoning food and wine scene here in Columbia and throws a week of events for attendees to enjoy.

Attendees can choose from a variety of events throughout the week. Special wine dinners let you choose your favorite Columbia chef, who will prepare a multi-course meal paired with wines from around the world. Also be sure to get your tickets for the Sip and Stroll, which will get you great discounts at local boutiques and shops with snacks and wine as you go! The most popular event is the Grand Tasting, with over 400 wines available to taste. Your passport for the event gets you many wine samples and delicious bites from festival chefs. It’s a week of special events that will truly give you a taste of Columbia.

Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Celebration: Memorial Day Weekend

The 2013 Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Celebration will mark the 25th anniversary of this exciting and moving event. An airshow at the Columbia Regional Airport and parade in The District mark the highlights of the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, head down to the Columbia Regional Airport (taking the shuttle from the Hearnes Center is recommended) to take in an entire day of demo teams, flyovers and special events on the ground. Explore aircraft of all sizes and show your thanks to our active and retired troops.

On Monday morning, head down to Broadway and get your spot for the Memorial Day Parade. If you can, get near a corner so you can watch the parachute teams jump down on the parade route. After the parade, attend the Memorial Day ceremony at the Boone County Courthouse. This weekend is one to learn history, pay respects and spend time with family.

The True/False Film Festival: Last weekend in February/first weekend in March

When it comes to the True/False Film Festival, what we have to say could fill pages and pages. But we’ll spare you that and say: True/False is the essence of Columbia and it’s absolutely a must-attend for anyone who enjoys film and music. A must. 2013 will be the 10th anniversary of the festival, so organizers will be pulling out all the stops.

True/False has become world-renowned as one of best documentary film festivals in existence. Filmmakers, musicians and visitors come from around the globe to enjoy four days in The District and on the Mizzou campus celebrating films that sometimes blur the line between reality and fiction. If you’re still not convinced, here are just a few things that make this festival so unique…

-In order to have their film shown at True/False, a filmmaker (director, producer, etc.) and/or the subject of the film must attend with it. This means incredible Q&A sessions after every showing.

-Not only are all the filmmakers in attendance, there are absolutely no distribution deals done at True/False. That means the filmmakers get to relax and truly enjoy the festival-going experience. Maybe you can buy your favorite one a beer when you see them at a bar?

-This film festival is completely walkable. No really, the farthest venues are only six blocks apart! This convenience and small space makes the True/False footprint its own mini-city during the festival.

-You get a show with every film! As you enter the venues to find your seats, enjoy the sounds of a busking musician or band. Acts have ranged from a brass band from New Orleans to a street group from France, so you’re always sure to enjoy an amazing show before the lights go down.

There’s truly no end in describing what a True/False weekend is like in Columbia, so you should probably check it out for yourself. 2013 passes are already on sale!


If this hasn’t put you in a festive mood, we don’t know what else will! Once the football jerseys have been hung up and the tailgating trailer gets put away, make sure you come back to Columbia for one of our fantastic festivals!

Traditions and Tailgating – The Homecoming Edition

Homecoming is a very special time of year at Mizzou. This week is full of special events, festivities and tradition. In this week’s traditions and tailgating, we’ll look at the homecoming queen and king tradition and then give you a couple ideas for your tailgate this Saturday.


The tradition of homecoming royalty is one that dates back to nearly the beginning of homecoming itself. Each year, 30 candidates (15 women and 15 men) are narrowed down to the top ten. The candidates are presented at halftime of the homecoming football game and the winner is crowned in front of all the fans. Here are this year’s finalists:


This year’s homecoming football game has an early start time of 11:00 a.m. It’s also going to be pretty darn cold. That said, a hot breakfast is a sure bet for those die hard tailgaters. Here are a few ideas to keep the fans happy:

Sausage Rolls

Breakfast Potato and Bacon Casserole

You would be our hero if you showed up to the tailgate with this sandwich.

Apple and Cheddar Breakfast Sausage Burger

Now that you know the final homecoming royalty candidates and are ready to wow the other attendees at your tailgate, get out there and have a happy homecoming!

A Few Columbia Favorites

You’ve heard of Shakespeare’s, Booche’s, Tiger Spirit and Harpo’s, right? Of course you have. They’re Columbia traditions that are packed on football Saturday and some plain old Tuesdays too.

But have you checked out all of Columbia’s favorites? Locals in the know might send you the way of these spots…

To Shop

ACME T-shirt Company: Pick from one of the dozens of pre-designed tees hanging on the walls, bring in your own design or let their artists help you create the perfect tshirt. Buy just one or one hundred in a rainbow of colors.

Makes Scents: Browse shelf after shelf of high quality bath, body and home products. Then create a custom scent that can be turned into everything from lotion to hair fragrance. A true sensory experience.

Mustard Seed: Fair trade items from around the world create a unique shopping venture. A scarf from India, chocolate from Latin America, handmade necklaces from Africa. You never know what you’ll find at Mustard Seed but it will always become a treasured purchase.

Calhoun’s: Specializing in unique gifts that everyone loves and no one forgets. For your friend with a new house, a new baby, a new job or for yourself, Calhoun’s has something for everyone who needs a souvenir from your Columbia visit!

To Eat

CJ’s in Tiger Country: Promising hot wings and cold beer, CJ’s in downtown Columbia has been a local favorite for years. Ranging from mild to BYFO (that’s Burn Your Face Off), CJ’s sauces complement their wings perfectly and the atmosphere is casual and sports-centric. Be sure to check in before you go to make sure all the wings haven’t disappeared!

-International Cafe: Ready for one of the best gyros you’ve ever had? Stop by International Cafe on 9th Street in The District, where the food is authentic, the owners are friendly and the hummus…oh the hummus. Dine inside or pick a patio table and watch the action on 9th Street.

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream: We seriously can’t say enough about Sparky’s. Even if you only kind of like ice cream, Sparky’s will make you a believer. Like traditional favorites like chocolate and vanilla? Sparky’s has you covered. What about trying something new like lavender-honey, rice krispie treat, pumpkin pie, chai and Georgia bourbon peanut? Sparky’s constantly rotating menu of flavors means every visit is a new adventure and if that wasn’t enough, make sure you check out the art while you’re waiting in line.

Countdown to Gameday: Kentucky

The Mizzou Tigers kickoff this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Memorial Stadium against the Kentucky Wildcats for the 101st Homecoming.


-Want to take the shuttle to Memorial Stadium? Here’s how to make it happen:

-Make a stop at the Romp, Chomp and Stomp Tailgate on the Carnahan Quad! Gather with thousands of students and alumni as we celebrate Homecoming by rejuvenating a lost tradition from the 1950s. Enjoy live entertainment, a spirit rally, food and drinks. Admission is FREE and food and beverage vendors will be available.


Don’t miss out on these other great events while you’re in Columbia. The game is just the beginning!

-The full Schedule of Events for homecoming

David Nail at The Blue Note – October 26th

Homecoming Retro Night at The Blue Note – October 27th

Halloweenie in The District – October 26th


It’s Football Friday, every Friday of home football games at the Walton Building! Be sure to stop by the Walton Building, location of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, on Friday for visitor information and cookies!

Mizzou Homecoming: Schedule of Events

If it’s your first time at Mizzou homecoming or even if you just want to change up the experience this year, there’s no shortage of events to take up your time! Here are a few highlights…revisit your old favorites or create a new tradition!

The Talent Competition: October 22-24

If you’re in town early, check out the talent competition each night at 6:30 at Jesse Hall. Singing, dancing, slight-of-hand! It will all be on display from Mizzou Students during three nights of talent.

Campus House Decorations: October 26

A tradition at Mizzou for decades, ‘House Decs’ is a collection of funny, family-friendly skits   at the sorority and fraternity houses on campus. From 6:30-9:00 p.m., thousands of students, citizens and alumni descend on Greek Town for this annual event. These giant skits are sure to surprise and entertain the entire family and are always on trend with the homecoming theme for the year. This year, it’s “Many Tigers, One Roar.”

Spirit Rally and Concert: October 26

Gather on Rollins St. outside the Mizzou Student Center for the inaugural campus-wide spirit rally and concert performances from Marching Mizzou and the Spirit Squads as well as comments from special guest speakers and a live performance from national recording artist Imagine Dragons.

Brewer Breakfast: October 27 at 7:00 a.m.

Need breakfast before the parade? Like pancakes? Check out this Mizzou tradition at the Brewer Fieldhouse in the Mizzou Rec Center.

The Homecoming Parade: October 27

Starting bright and early at 7:00 a.m., the Mizzou Homecoming Parade weaves its way through campus and downtown to the delight of thousands of onlookers. See the homecoming court candidates, floats, marching bands from across the state and much more!

Romp, Chomp and Stomp Tailgate: October 27 at 8:30 a.m.

Gather with thousands of students and alumni on the Carnahan Quad as we celebrate Homecoming by rejuvenating a lost tradition from the 1950s. Enjoy live entertainment, a spirit rally, food and drinks. Admission is free and food and beverage vendors will be available.

The Game: October 27

The Mizzou Tigers kickoff against the Kentucky Wildcats at 11:00 a.m. for this year’s homecoming, Mizzou’s first in the SEC. Check back Monday for more about the game!

Mid-Missouri: What We’re Famous For

One of the best parts of traveling to see your team play is getting to experience a new place. These mini vacations give you the chance to cheer on your team, try new restaurants, make new friends and see new sights. There are also new experiences to be had within just a short drive of Columbia! If you have a spare afternoon, here are a few places to check out right here in mid-Missouri.

Only 30 minutes away…


West on I-70 to exit 115, Right on Highway BB

Just a short drive on I-70, Rocheport is a charming town set on the Missouri River. Spend an afternoon exploring the variety of antique shops, taking a walk on the Katy Trail and enjoying the delicious food at restaurants like Abigail’s. In the evening, head up to Les Bourgeois Vineyards to sip outstanding wines and have an amazing dining experience at their blufftop bistro while you watch the sun set over the river bluffs.

Jefferson City

US 63 South

Missouri’s state capital, Jefferson City, is full of rich history. Tour the state capitol building, the governor’s mansion, and experience the city’s newest attraction, the Missouri State Penitentiary Tour. When Alcatraz was built, the Missouri State Penitentiary was already 100 years old. Now the facility is open for tours and it’s an experience you simply won’t want to miss.


East on I-70 to exit 148, right on US-54

While in Fulton, be sure to visit the National Churchill Museum. The museum has resources describing who Winston Churchill was, what he did during the course of his long life and why his legacy continues to inspire new generations today, nearly 50 years after his death.  Come experience the National Churchill Museum and learn about the man many consider to be the man of the 20th century and whose example lives on into the 21st.

Within an hour…


US Highway 63 North to State Highway P

The Amish settlement near Clark is the 3rd largest settlement in Missouri. 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. Please respect the Amish culture and refrain from taking photos of individuals.

Arrow Rock

West on I-70 to exit 98. Right on MO-40 North

The entire village of Arrow Rock is a designated National Historic Landmark and is full of friendly people, charming shops and fascinating historical attractions. If you’re in Arrow Rock in May-November, be sure to see if you can add a performance at the Lyceum Theatre to your agenda. The theatre is one of Missouri’s oldest professional regional theatres and professional actors, directors, designers and technicians from across the country take residence in Arrow Rock for several months to bring the audience outstanding musicals and plays.


East on I-70 to exit 175, right on MO-19 South

Also sitting on the Missouri River, Hermann is a town rich in German heritage. Hermann is also home to a wine trail, featuring seven local wineries throughout the historical town. Each weekend in October, Hermann explodes with its Octoberfest and you can also enjoy dining, museums, shops and biking on the Katy Trail.

Countdown to Gameday: Alabama

The Mizzou Tigers kickoff this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium against the Alabama Crimson Tide.


-Want to take the shuttle to Memorial Stadium? Here’s how to make it happen:

-Make a stop at the Tiger Landing Tailgate! Hosted by the Mizzou Alumni Association, Tiger Landing begins three hours prior to kickoff, is free to attend and is perfect for the entire family! Stop by the Reynolds Alumni Center and Carnahan Quad for delicious concessions, kids activities, botanic garden and campus tours, big screens with other games on and more.


Don’t miss out on these other great events while you’re in Columbia. The game is just the beginning!

Techn N9ne at The Blue Note on Thursday, October 11th

North Village Arts District Pre-game Art Huddle on Friday, October 12th

Honey Island Swamp Bank at the Blue Note on Friday, October 12th

Artrageous Weekend Friday and Saturday the 12 & 13th

Mickey Hart Band at the Blue Note on Saturday, October 13th


It’s Football Friday, every Friday of home football games at the Walton Building! Be sure to stop by the Walton Building, location of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, on Friday for visitor information and cookies!

Countdown to Gameday: Vanderbilt

The Mizzou Tigers kickoff this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at Memorial Stadium against the Vanderbilt Commodores.


-Make your way into The District and enjoy pregame festivities with home and visiting fans alike. Once you’re ready to cheer, take the Spirit Bus to the stadium. It’s only $1.50 each way and will get you to the game on time and back downtown fast once the final play has been made.

-Tiger fans will not want to miss the Tiger Walk, a tradition that’s become extremely popular in recent years. Cheer on the team as they make their way from the training facility to Memorial Stadium two hours before game time. Just follow the trail of black and gold to the pedestrian bridge over Providence to be a part of Tiger Walk!


-In the mood to ‘Hold on Loosely?’ If you’re in town Friday night, head over to the Missouri Theatre to see 38 Special in concert!

-You can also catch Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience at The Blue Note in downtown Columbia. 

-Movies more your style? Check out Ragtag Cinema downtown. Columbia’s home of independent film always has a unique lineup of features, shorts and documentaries. While you’re there, have a Reuben from Uprise Bakery (trust us on this one).


It’s Football Friday, every Friday of home football games at the Walton Building! Be sure to stop by the Walton Building, location of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, on Friday for visitor information and cookies!