Summertime is officially here, and with it comes many fun and exciting things to experience in this easy-going, eclectic college town. For those unfamiliar with Columbia, one of the best ways to get to know this city is by walking its streets, stopping in at unique shops, chatting with locals and trying all the regional fare. Its historic downtown, also known as "The District," is the perfect place to begin your Columbia experience.

Dining in The District 

The District is comprised of 43 "not-so-square" city blocks and is home to a number of locally owned boutiques, bars, breweries, music venues and myriad dining options. Included in your choices are chef-owned locally-focused fine dining, organic and vegetarian eateries, international and ethnic cuisines, nationally acclaimed burger and pizza joints, and much, much more. Whether itīs coffee in the morning or martinis at midnight, The District's friendly and energetic vibe is up early and stays out late. The District's lively mix of historic architecture, sidewalk cafes and white table cloth dining spots provide the perfect setting for a casual summer stroll, lunch with a friend or a night on the town. Following is just a small sample of The District's community-focused restaurants and cafes, many of which offer comfortable outdoor seating.


Addison's American Grill, 709 E. Cherry Street, offers new twists on American classics set against a backdrop of impressive, colorful murals painted by local artist and former Addison's bartender, David Spear; Bleu Restaurant, 811 E. Walnut Street, features contemporary fine dining along with a great selection of wines and a cocktail menu Hemingway would envy (in fact, there's even one appropriately named after his highly-acclaimed nonfiction story, "Death in the Afternoon"); Booche's Burgers and Billiards, 110 S. Ninth Street, was founded in 1884 and earned national attention when USA Today recognized them for having one of the top ten burgers in America; Broadway Brewery, 816 E. Broadway, features a rotating roster of made-in-house craft beers and a seasonal menu comprised of locally-sourced produce and meats; Cafe Berlin, 220 N. Tenth Street, is home to the most popular breakfast menu in Columbia and also doubles as a music venue in the evenings;  Glenn's Cafe, 29 S. Eighth Street, has existed in various incarnations around the Columbia area since 1939 and its upscale menu has a distinct Cajun-Creole flair; Main Squeeze Cafe, 28 S. Ninth Street, is an environmentally-conscience vegetarian bistro that specializes in making tasty entrees, desserts, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies using locally derived organic produce;  Shakespeare's Pizza, 220 S. Eighth Street, is a Columbia landmark that serves up fresh, hand-tossed, heartily sauced and thick-cut pizza pies and was recently named the "best college hangout" by Good Morning America; Sparky's Ice Cream Parlor, 21 S. Ninth Street, is a quirky local favorite and downtown hotspot and turns out small batches of unique, handmade ice creams, sorbets and sweet concoctions throughout the warmer months; Sycamore Restaurant, 800 E. Broadway Street, is a comfortable fine dining establishment that champions a "farm to table" ethos and features a small, yet thoughtful, ever-changing menu; Uprise Bakery, which shares a building with Ragtag Cinema at 10 Hitt Street, boasts an array of made-from-scratch artisan breads, pastries, soups and sandwiches in a relaxed, thought-inspiring coffeehouse environment, complemented by an impressive selection of craft beers, aged whiskies and worldly wines for its clientele's enjoyment; The Wine Cellar and Bistro, 505 E. Cherry Street, is home to the most expansive wine selection in the city and its menu features a unique culinary blend of traditional and eclectic dishes with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients prepared with classic French flair.


Truly, there are far too many high quality dining establishments to enumerate here, so for a complete list of restaurants and night spots, as well as a full roster of shops, events and attractions throughout The District, please visit 

More Than You Might Expect 

Of course, there's far more to experience in Columbia than just delicious dining. The city has many different cultural offerings to take advantage of during the summer months. Ragtag Cinema, Columbia's outstanding art house movie theater, offers an excellently curated program of entertaining and thought-provoking independent films with fewer lines and wait times. For more information on Ragtag and a schedule of upcoming films, please visit www.RagtagCinema.orgThe North Village Arts District, the city's self-proclaimed "bohemian paradise," will collectively open its doors to the public on the first Friday of every month from 6-9 p.m. for attendees to peruse and purchase artwork, watch artists in the act of creation and enjoy live music. The North Village Arts District is comprised of over 150 artists' work spaces, galleries, dance studios, a music school, distillery and more. First Friday events are free and open to the public and continue throughout the year. For a complete list of First Friday dates, and for more information on the North Village Arts District, please visit Also located in the North Village Arts District, the Farmers and Artisans Market is Columbia's newest resource for farm-fresh local produce, hand crafted art, community yoga classes, informational workshops and live musical entertainment. The Farmers and Artisans Market is open every Sunday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Historic Wabash Station parking area at 126 N. 10th Street. For more information on the North Village Farmers and Artisans Market, visit 


Speaking of live music, visitors to Columbia during the summer can catch live concerts most nights of the week. The District is home to many music venues that host a variety of national and local musical acts covering a wide swath of genres. From rock and roll to blues, country to blue grass, folk to soul and the more ambient and experimental, Columbia's got them covered.


And, with over 3,00 acres of green space, 50 miles of trails, three distinct state parks, numerous city parks and conservation areas, there are ample opportunities to enjoy summer's splendor while hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, camping and more in Columbia's beautiful outdoors. For more information on Columbia's parks and outdoor opportunities, please go to



Columbia features a mix of small town charm and friendliness with the amenities and cultural offerings of a big city. There is always something exciting to see and do in Columbia, so for more information on these and other ways to have fun in Columbia, please contact Megan McConachie at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-652-0987 or at

Attention Media: Let us play host and show you around Columbia. For more information, media assistance, high-resolution photography, or to schedule a press trip hosted by the Columbia CVB, please call The Beenders-Walker Group toll-free at 800-544-8474 or email MarjorieKyle or Jo.


The Beenders Walker Group
125 E. High Street, Suite 200
Jefferson City, MO 65101