Columbia is located in the central part of Missouri. This awesome town is home to the University of Missouri and plenty of other worthwhile attractions that are full of culture and rich history. You’ll find plenty of cultural activities to experience and outdoors to explore in the area. We at Grindstone Canyon took the liberty of finding the best things to experience around town for you. So next time you’re feeling bored, go out and enjoy any of the following things to do in Columbia, MO:

Visit the Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Location: 5901 South Highway 163, Columbia, MO 65203

If you’re looking for a great outdoor adventure, the Rock Bridge Memorial State Park has got you covered. This amazing park is located just a few minutes south of Columbia and covers over 2,000 acres of land waiting to be explored. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park allows its visitors to scramble, hike, bicycle, and explore the world beneath Missouri. You’ll have plenty to see on the trails and the large underground cave system which connects a rock bridge, sinkholes, a spring, and an underground stream. You can’t go too deep into the caves, but you can explore the lighted area in Connor’s Cave to get a feel of Missouri underground.

Visit Stephens Lake Park

Location: 2001 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201

This 116-acre lake is most popular for its beautiful lake, mature trees, and historical significance to the community. Stephen Lake park hosts plenty of community events including festivals and outdoor concert series at the amphitheater. It also has playground areas, a swimming beach, an art sculpture, waterfalls, and walking trails for the community to enjoy. You’ll notice that the park is also an arboretum due to its various plant species in the area.

Visit the Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area

Location: 1615 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO 65202

Another great municipal park worth visiting is the Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area. It gives its visitors the opportunity to watch exciting soccer, football, lacrosse, softball, baseball, golf, mountain bike, and skateboard tournaments throughout the year. This regional park is also popular for hosting great city events and the Show-Me State Games. It’s the perfect spot to visit if you and your family are trying to stay active thanks to the large playground and trails. Other popular amenities include – horseshoe pits, remote control car track, roller hockey rink, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a leash-free dog area.

Visit Finger Lakes State Park

Location: 1505 Peabody Rd, Columbia, MO 65202

Finger Lakes State Park gives outdoor fun a different meaning. It is one of the only two ATV parks in the state parks system. You’ll find plenty of people who like to motocross around the area and bike around the nature trails. There are also plenty of fun obstacles you can take on with your bike for some extra fun. Finger Lakes State Park also has 4.5 miles of water trails perfect for fishing or enjoying a nice paddle around the water pits. The park also allows visitors to enjoy a night stay around the spacious camping areas.

Visit the Shelter Gardens

Location: 1817 W Broadway, Columbia, MO 65218

These popular gardens are home to over 500 different plants from the Missouri area. Many tourists and locals love to visit this lovely spot to take remarkable pictures with gorgeous backgrounds. Visitors can also use the gardens as a picnic spot, relaxation spot, a place for a  nice stroll. The shelter gardens also feature a waterfall, rock garden, the Vietnam veterans’ memorial, and other culture filled attractions. You can also expect to run into some live music on Sunday evenings during the months of June and July. It helps attract plenty of music lovers that gather around the garden’s cedar gazebo.

Explore the Mizzou Campus

Location: Columbia, MO 65211

You have to visit the Mizzou campus at least one time. The campus is surrounded by plenty of beautiful trees, open grass areas, and students heading towards a class or relaxing on the scene. A nice tour through the Mizzou campus will get you familiarized with some of the students’ favorite campus activities and scenery.

The University of Missouri also uses this large campus as its very own Botanical Garden. The campus boast of over 15 different botanical garden areas in total. Some of the most popular attractions are the Gardens on Francis Quadrangle, Mel Carnahan Quadrangle, and the Wildlife Pond. Both the student body and institution staff are dedicated to preserving the local environment and educating others about the importance of wildlife in the area. It also helps show the historic plants that have been through the university’s historical run.

Visit the Bingham Gallery

Location: University of Missouri Fine Arts Building, Columbia, MO 65201

Make sure you stop by the Bingham Gallery during your tour of the Mizzou campus. It is a contemporary art gallery located in the Fine Arts Building. There, you are most likely to find high-quality, contemporary art exhibits, events, and visiting artists from different parts of the state and country.

Visit the Mizzou Museum of Anthropology

Location: 115 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO 65203

This University of Missouri museum boasts of holding an archaeological collection of artifacts dating that may date back to 9,000 BC. This fine collection of historic artifacts was started in the late 1800s and continues to add valuable collections and research over time. It’s one of Columbia’s best spots for history enthusiasts to visit.

Visit the Shryocks Callaway Farms

Location: 2927 County Road 253, Columbia, MO 65202

The Shryock brothers own a nice country farm where you and your family can go out and learn a bit more about the lifestyle. The farm grows many cash crops and has activities all year round for those who’d like to participate. Of course, the fall is everybody’s favorite season at the Callaway Farms. It offers a fun life-sized corn maze, group hayrides, pumpkin patches, and other fun activities for families to enjoy. Don’t forget to take a ride on the three-story gumball rollercoaster! You can also reserve the farm for private events or purchase some of the awesome products for sale inside.

Enjoy a Meal at Addison’s

Location: 709 Cherry St, Columbia, MO 65201

Addison’s is only one of the city’s most popular American restaurants. You’ll find a wide variety of classic American dishes including – burgers, sandwich wraps, appetizers, and more. It’s also one of the town’s best hang out spots in case you’re looking to sit down with a group of friends and have a nice and cold alcoholic beverage.

Enjoy a Meal at a Shakespeare’s Pizza

This popular Columbian food chain has three convenient locations across town. Their pizzas include traditional and modern twists to the popular finger food. Shakespeare’s is not afraid to show off how creative they can get when it comes to recipes. As long as you can think of it, the restaurant is always willing to work with you and create the perfect pizza for you. This pizza joint is great for having a fun evening with your friends.

Enjoy a Meal at Buckingham Smokehouse BBQ

Location: 3804 Buttonwood Dr, Columbia, MO 65201

If you’re looking for Columbia’s best barbecue, head over to Buckingham Smokehouse BBQ. All of their signature barbecues are wood smoked and made in-house. Make sure you order yourself some of their juicy ribs with some french fries, fried okra, and a drink!

Check Out Columbia’s Own BoatHenge

Location: 11301 South Smith Hatchery Road, Columbia, Missouri

Just west of Cooper’s Landing and across the bridge stands Columbia’s American version of Stonehenge. Boathenge is an art piece created by local artists to mimic the English attraction. This is certainly one of the most unusual attractions in the area worth visiting.

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