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Repeatedly named as one of the best college towns in America, Columbia in Missouri (or CoMo as it’s more affectionately known) is home to three prestigious colleges and 36,000 students. With a huge college sports scene, music and arts festivals, outdoor activities, and a downtown area with lots of places to eat, drink and shop, Columbia really does have it all. So, are you ready to discover the best things to do in Columbia?

The top places to eat in Columbia

Columbia is famous for its growing culinary scene. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll find dishes to satisfy every taste bud and craving here – and at great prices too. 

Big Daddy’s BBQ 🌭

Described as ‘food for the soul’, Big Daddy’s serves the best pulled pork and brisket in town. The pulled pork nachos are epic and perfect for sharing. Or try the baby back ribs with mac and cheese. You definitely won’t leave feeling hungry!

Geisha Sushi Bar 🍱

There are loads of sushi spots in Columbia, but Geisha Sushi Bar is by far the best quality. Either sit in or pick up and take out to enjoy somewhere else. There’s every type of sushi you can imagine, plus ramen, bibimbap, and a very reasonably priced set lunch menu.  

Goldie’s Bagels 🥯

Located just a short walk from the University of Missouri campus, Goldie’s Bagels is a firm favorite among local college students. Inspired by traditional Jewish delis but with a modern twist, we recommend the Bud’s pastrami on rye, only available on Tuesdays. Just be quick because it sells out fast! 

Thai Market 🍛

This Bangkok-market-themed restaurant has an extensive menu serving up the tastiest traditional Thai dishes and authentic street food. The Daikon Cake with spicy soy sauce, bean sprout, egg and scallion is a must-try. 

The best places to drink and dance in Columbia

Being a college town, there’s no shortage of great bars, pubs and nightclubs in Columbia. And the best bit? Most places are dirt cheap. 

Willie’s Pub & Pool 🎱

Located conveniently on Columbia's historic Broadway Street and just three blocks from the Mizzou campus, Willie’s is an iconic student pub. There’s tasty food, drinks on tap, pool and regular bingo and trivia nights during the week.  

The Field House 🎧

Just next door and run by the same owners is The Field House – a full-scale nightclub with three different bars. It regularly plays host to some of Columbia’s best DJs and is the place to go on a Wednesday night. 

Shiloh Bar & Grill 🎯

What was once the historic Katy Station is now a beloved sports bar among locals and students. It’s the number one spot for Missouri Tigers fans who come for games, beer, pub grub and occasional live music. 

Harpo’s 🍺

Harpo’s is a self-confessed loud and lively college bar and grill offering beer, classic American dishes and sport. Featuring a total of six bars, an all-season rooftop, and a lively nightclub, it’s another great spot to hang out with friends on game days.

Campus Bar & Grill 🍔

With three college campuses within walking distance, Campus has the best college atmosphere and nightly drinks specials the town has to offer. It’s known for its generous Happy Hour deals and $1 burger and fries special every Sunday fun-day!  

Top attractions and things to do in Columbia

It might be small, but Columbia is a mighty, vibrant city with so much going on. From sports games to arts festivals and shopping to hiking, there’s something for everyone. 

Catch a Mizzou Tigers game 🏈

M.I.Z…Z.O.U! Game day is an experience in itself. The day usually starts with a tailgate party, where fans gather to share drinks and BBQ food. After that, everyone heads to Memorial Stadium to watch the Tigers in action in a thrilling, high-energy game. 

Hiking and biking 🚵‍♂️

Fancy escaping the buzz of town? Head to Rock Bridge State Park for some incredible hiking trails and an impressive cave system with underground streams and sinkholes. Cycling is also big in Columbia, so why not rent a bike and ride the former nine-mile railroad?

Explore the North Village Arts District 🎨

If you’re into art, check out North Village Arts District. There’s a monthly art crawl through the neighborhood, and a free annual Arts in the Park Festival. Complete with art installations, live music and food trucks, it’s the perfect cultural day out with friends.

Discover Columbia Mall 🛍️

With over 200 stores, Columbia Mall is the best place to go for some retail therapy. Spend the day with friends checking out popular brands or enjoy a bite to eat in the food court where a variety of fast-casual dining options await. 

So, there you have it! Now you know the best things do do in Columbia, including the best places to eat, drink and have fun. Still not sorted your accommodation? Don’t worry – we’re here to help. Find your perfect college living space here and get ready to make awesome memories in CoMo!