Columbia, MO

Travel Guide
Encounter sinkholes and caves in the city’s outskirts and see the majestic buildings of the magnificent Red Campus in the historic university.

Columbia is a lively town known for its university. It is considered one of the main college towns in the U.S. and has plenty of cultural events and activities year-round. Explore the two complementary parts of the diverse campus and head into the countryside for scenic state parks.

The main attraction in Columbia is the University of Missouri, an impressive campus divided into two parts. Admire the historic brick structures that adorn the Red Campus, whose core is marked by the six columns of the Francis Quadrangle. Gaze up at the tall dome of the imposing 19th-century Jesse Hall.

The other half of the college is the White Campus, which contains a range of neo-Gothic buildings, including the Memorial Union. Wander through the pleasant park areas of the university this campus doubles as a botanical garden.

Enter the old schoolroom in the Shelter Gardens, where a stream flows beside eclectic floral displays. Use your senses of smell and touch in its sensory garden. Get around the downtown area by bus and take photos of the intriguing design of the Daniel Boone Regional Library. Attend one of Columbia’s many events, such as the True/False Film Festival in March and the Columbia Heritage Festival in September.

Anticipate fairly wet and hot summers, when lightning storms provide exciting shows in the sky. Snow covers the charming university campus in winter. For a change of scenery, explore the pockmarked terrain of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in the city’s southern outskirts. Delve into the Devil’s Icebox, a vast cave network through which a constant gush of cool air flows.

The city is in the center of Missouri, just north of the state capital, Jefferson City. It is between the very large cities of St. Louis and Kansas City. Fly into the Columbia Regional Airport. Drive north for 13 miles (21 kilometers) to get here in about 20 minutes.

Columbia is a college town with fun events and picturesque parks.

Where to stay in Columbia

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North Central Columbia

While North Central Columbia isn't home to many top sights, The District Downtown Columbia and Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium are some notable places to visit nearby.

North Central Columbia
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When in Thornbrook, you can plan a visit to Mizzou Arena and Shelter Gardens, some noteworthy sights in the nearby area.