CoMo Summer Fun

9 More Ideas For Summer Fun In Columbia


A visit to Mugs Up is a great place to start, and here are nine more ways to enjoy this summer in Columbia.


  1. Celebrate freedom at Fire in the Sky. Columbia’s 63rd Fourth of July celebration kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with concessions, children’s activities and two entertainment stages, one at Flat Branch Park and one at Peace Park. Be sure to catch Columbia’s own Theron Denson present his Black Diamond show, a Neil Diamond tribute that Denson has performed nationwide. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. and are choreographed to music simulcast on BXR 102.3. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Do not bring fireworks, alcohol or a grill. Find more information, including tips for parking, at
  2. Go for a stroll on the MU campus. With most of the students gone for the summer, now is the time for a leisurely walk on the MU campus, also known as the Mizzou Botanic Garden. There are 11 thematic and seven special collection gardens to explore, and three tree trails for meandering through campus. The Mizzou Botanic Garden also boasts famous icons and sculptures, such as President Thomas Jefferson’s original grave marker. You can download a map for self-guided tours at or pick one up in the Reynolds Alumni Center.
  3. Stop for ice cream at Buck’s. As long as you’re strolling around the MU campus — or even if you’re across town with no other reason to go to the MU campus — be sure to make a stop this summer at Buck’s Ice Cream Place, located on the south side of MU’s Eckles Hall (west of College Avenue and south of Rollins Road). The favorite Buck’s flavor is the famous Tiger Stripe — a gold-colored French vanilla ice cream with dark Dutch chocolate stripes. The shop, which first opened in 1920, is open from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  4. Catch an outdoor concert. From May through September, Columbia Parks & Recreation puts on the Stephens Lake Park Amphitheater Concert Series. The free concerts take place at 7 p.m., Thursday July 9, Aug. 6 and Sept. 3. Visit for details. Also free, the Shelter Gardens Concert Series runs every Sunday from June 14 through July 26; concerts start at 7 p.m. Find details at A third free concert series, the Summer Gazebo Concert Series, takes place at Olivet Christian Church, 1991 S. Olivet Road, each Wednesday in July at 7:30 p.m. For all three of these series, bring blankets or lawn chairs. Summerfest is another popular outdoor concert series in Columbia. Although June brought the summer’s last concert on Ninth Street, Summerfest will continue at Forrest Rose Park with $5 concerts July 9 and 19. Get more info at
  5. Enjoy a Hot Summer Night. The Missouri Symphony Orchestra will continue its annual Hot Summer Nights Festival with six performances at the Missouri Theatre between July 1 and July 11. With shows ranging from a masterworks piano concerto to a concert featuring “American Idol” finalists, the Hot Summer Nights Festival transforms the concert hall from an intimidating venue into a friendly place of sizzling hot entertainment. Find more info on July events in this issue’s Prime Time calendar, and check out the full schedule at
  6. See a show at Maplewood Barn Community Theatre. The 2015 season of outdoor live theater continues with “Leading Ladies” in July, “Shrek: The Musical” in August and “Much Ado About Nothing” in September. Founded in 1973, Maplewood Barn Community Theatre suffered a devastating fire in 2010 that consumed the 133-year-old barn structure that had been the theater’s home. But in 2012, the show went on in a new barn closely resembling the old. Learn more about this family-friendly theater at Also, be sure to check out the summer season at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, a professional theater offering musicals, dramas and comedies in nearby historic Arrow Rock. Visit for show details.
  7. Eat fresh from Columbia’s farmers markets. Succulent strawberries. Tasty tomatoes. Crisp cucumbers. Summertime in Columbia is a treat for the taste buds, thanks to local farmers markets. Boone County Farmers Market,, is open Saturdays from 8 to noon and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. in its new location in the Columbia Mall Parking lot, northeast of Sears and south of Wendy’s. The Columbia Farmers Market,, is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. outside the ARC, 1701 W. Ash St. And the North Village Arts District Farmers and Artisans Market,, is open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wabash Station, 126 N. 10th St.
  8. Take a trail ride. Take in the beauty of summertime in mid-Missouri with a bike ride from Columbia to Rocheport. You can start in the heart of Columbia on the MKT Trail, which has six major access points, or drive just south of Columbia and start riding at the Katy Trail access near McBaine. Either way, once on the Katy Trail, be sure to look for The Big Tree, the largest bur oak in Missouri, located just south of the trail at Mile 170. Bike just past Rocheport to reach the MKT railroad tunnel, built in 1892 and the only tunnel on the whole trail.
  9. Scuba dive at Finger Lakes State Park. This is just one creative way to get out and enjoy Columbia’s many parks. You could also find your inner Robin Hood at American Legion Park’s archery range; throw horseshoes at Cosmo Park; take the grandkids to a Family Fun Fest at Flat Branch Park; challenge a friend to a pickle ball match at Rock Quarry Park; let Fido run free in the leash-free, fenced dog park at Twin Lakes Recreation Area; or cool off in Devil’s Icebox at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park — just to list a few possible adventures. Find a Park Directory for more ideas at


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