Shortwave Coffee in Columbia MO

12 Things to Do in Columbia

In a college town like Columbia, Missouri, you may think there’s nothing to do than watch a Mizzou football game or dodge some wild college kids.  But I’ve found Columbia to be a charming small city with a good number of activities and eats.  (You know you’ve been waiting for the best French toast of your life and a cute little cactus!)  If you’re driving through COMO, here’s a list of 12 things you absolutely must hit up.12-things-to-do-in-columbia-mo-round-trip-travel

  1. Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream– When is the last time ice cream inspired you to change your Instagram bio to profess your love for hot fudge?  Slightly ashamed but not really.  Sparky’s radiates a fun vibe with its quirky paintings of poodles and owls along with its wide variety of flavors from Nutella Latte to Spicy Chocolate, Lavender Honey to Mango Red Bull.  Abby and I went with the classic hot fudge sundae, and oh, snap!  I know my hot fudge, and this rich hot fudge had us begging to go back a matter of days later.  Another time I ordered Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel and fell in love with its rich fudge-like consistency that lingered on the spoon.  Two words: just go.sparkys-ice-cream-columbia-mo-round-trip-travel
  2. The Roof – I was pleasantly surprised with the big city feel of this high-end restaurant in the not-so-big city of Columbia.  I felt so classy with my glass of orange juice topped with a fresh orange slice and the stunning view of the city from the rooftop patio.  Not to mention the array of eggs, bacon, seasoned potatoes and fruit that I completely downed.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the nighttime atmosphere with the city bright and the mocktails fruity.the-roof-broadway-columbia-missourithe-roof-broadway-columbia-missouri-brunch
  3. Lakota Coffee-With Starbucks and Kaldi’s both within one block of this shop, Lakota offers an alternative experience for those not wanting to go with the basics.  My go-to drink is an iced caramel macchiato with two shots which is full of flavor and not too bitter.  Lakota is the perfect place to knock out hours of homework or have a good heart-to-heart.lakota-coffee-columbia-missouri-como
  4. Shortwave Coffee-Once I walked down Alley A and into Shortwave, I immediately sensed a tavern-like atmosphere with the dim lighting and low ceilings.  (I promise you won’t hit your head!)  A large cherry wood bar, suspended lights and walls collaged with wooden pieces decorate this quaint coffeeshop.  I ordered the vanilla Gateway latte, and I don’t mean to sound like a Care Bear when I say that one sip felt like a warm hug on my lips.  I can’t get the thick, creamy coffee out of my head. Processed with VSCO with g3 presetProcessed with VSCO with p5 preset
  5. Uprise Bakery-While I’m almost always down for coffee, I knew I needed a break from the caffeine and opted for a hot chocolate.  And I was not disappointed; the chocolately, rich goodness ended entirely too soon.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
  6. Shakespeare’s Pizza-Step aside, Domino’s and Pizza Hut.  The casual pizza joint houses wood panels and brick walls.  You may have to wait 20-30 minutes, but a charismatic employee will call your name over the loudspeaker.  The pizza is set to satisfy with its crisp yet full crust and its mouth-watering cheese.  Pepperoni and Canadian bacon are always win-wins!
  7. Muse Clothing-Four words: I had a coupon.  Of course, when you know you’ll save money, you’ll probably go out of your way.  I stepped into Muse and didn’t know if I was quite prepared for this high-end boutique (read: $$).  Walking into this cute store, your eyes are instantly drawn to the stylishly dressed mannequins, the rack of vintage shorts, a large black dog laying on the ground by the register and a grand staircase leading upstairs.  While I was bummed that I missed the “with the purchase of $35+” on my coupon, I was so pleased that I poked around (and left with a pair of fleece-lined leggings and a dress).  While I was bummed that the leggings started pilling after one wash, the dress met and exceeded my expectations.  I bought a cutest red sequined flapper dress with a feather headband in the vintage section for $30.  Boo to the ya.  Halloween and every single future costume party, here I come.  It fit like a glove, and I felt so glamorous.  (And if anyone has Jay Gatsby’s number, hmu so I have a date to match my outfit!)muse-clothing-vintage-flapper-dress-columbia-mo
  8. Yellow Dog Bookshop-Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a book worm.  And yet, this shop held my interest quite well.  Your feet will wander the black and white checkered floors loved with scuffs through the hundreds of books ranging from the works of Joyce Carol Oates to Émile Zola.  I actually really enjoyed myself strolling through the idyllic aisles ranging from foreign language to cats.yellow-dog-bookshop-bookcase-columbia-missouriyellow-dog-bookshop-columbia-missouri-como-travel-round-trip
  9. Ingredient-Build Your Own Burger is always fantastic, but when your toppings range from prosciutto to gorgonzola, you know it’s legit.  I ordered the Roadhouse burger (gluten-free, of course), and oh, friends: my mouth savored each bite of the crispy patty, meaty bacon and tangy barbecue sauce.  Included with the price of the food, Ingredient offers a casual dining experience with a bit of ambience created from the single spotlights suspending from the black ceiling.ingredient-burger-bacon-cheeseburger-columbia-missouri-como
  10. Broadway Diner-Walking into this tiny establishment, you’ll instantly see an old juke box and an open kitchen.  It may not be fine dining, but the narrow walkway and the red booths with tears exude some charm.  My ham and cheese flat top scrambler satisfied my appetite with its gooey cheese and generous helping of hash browns.Processed with VSCO with b1 presetbroadway-diner-columbia-missouri-scramble-round-trip-travel
  11. Breakout CoMo-The little girl inside of me who spent hours playing Nancy Drew computer games threw an internal party when she saw Breakout CoMo on the agenda.  I really didn’t know what to expect of this escape room, but I know I like to win and be competitive.  My mind hurt a bit, but it was exhilarating even still.  I would definitely recommend and will do it again, but only tip: a sizable group (think 5-8 people) is ideal.  I didn’t expect to do incredible, but our group set the record for Room 13 with a time of 46:50!
  12. The Pinnacles-While this isn’t technically in Columbia, it’s not too far a drive to reach this fun hike.  I was very pleased with the difficulty of this hike: relatively easy but still got my heart rate up at times.  This trail offers many different views and leads you right up to the pinnacles.  Lyndsey and I had fun sitting on these together and chatting about life.  Take a look at our hike here.pinnacles-hike-sturgeon-mo-round-trip-travelpinnacles-hike-sturgeon-mo-columbia-round-trip-travelpinnacles-hike-columbia-mo-round-trip-travel

Whether your heart desires a good cup of coffee or a vintage find, Columbia has you covered.  Here’s to happy travels in mid-Missouri!



{Are you more excited for shopping or dining in a city?  P.S. I’d like to thank reader Carrie for her suggestion of Shelter Gardens and hope to visit when the weather is warmer!  As always, I love suggestions and want to hear your tips!}

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