College Towns: Columbia, Missouri

Learn more about Columbia, Missouri -- Home of the University of Missouri.

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The Town: Columbia, Missouri

In the middle of the Missouri River Valley you’ll find Columbia, a city of 108,500 nicknamed “College Town USA.” St. Louis and Kansas City are within 100 miles to the east and west, respectively. You’ll experience four distinct seasons, ranging from snowy winters to extremely hot summers.

The University of Missouri campus is designated by the state as an official botanical garden.

The School: University of Missouri

The University of Missouri campus is designated by the state as an official botanical garden. On the “red” campus, you’ll find older, historical buildings, while on the “white” campus you’ll find the school’s union in a more modern setting.

The first-ever school of journalism was founded at the University of Missouri, and it is still rated as one of the best in the country. The university is also one of only six public schools to have a school of medicine, veterinary sciences, engineering and law.

In the David R. Francis quadrangle you’ll find Thomas Jefferson’s original tombstone and a statue of former Gov. David Francis. It’s considered good luck to rub his nose, which has been replaced three times because of wear and tear.

What to Do

Freshmen are welcomed onto campus with the Tiger Walk: Just before the start of the school year, new students meet in the quad and various organizations set up booths to talk to new students about campus life. The ceremony ends with students marching through the five columns that can be found on the quad, symbolizing their entrance into the university.

In addition to founding the first journalism school, the University of Missouri started the tradition of having a homecoming celebration each fall.

Catch a concert at The Blue Note, one of Columbia’s classic venues, which has hosted the likes of Johnny Cash and Willy Nelson. Each summer, it hosts a five-part concert series called “Ninth Street Summerfest,” which is free to the public.

As you’re welcomed back to school in the fall, the city hosts the Roots n Blues BBQ festival. Blues, folk and bluegrass artists perform free concerts, and the event is highlighted by a Kansas City-style barbecue contest.

Where to Eat and Drink

Flat Branch Pub on Fifth Street attracts everyone from college students to children and their families. Everything on the menu is homemade, from the Italian sausage to a variety of local beers.

Did You Know?

Truman the Tiger, the University of Missouri’s (or Mizzou's) official mascot, is named after former President Truman, who was born and raised in the state.

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