Get the Insider Scoop to All the Best Events

Our staff provides great tips on the most exciting things to see and do in the area. There’s something for everyone to enjoy!

  • Santa Claus with full white beard glasses and red hat

    Here Comes Santa Claus

    November 05, 2018

    It may seem crazy to already start thinking about Christmas, Thanksgiving has not even arrived yet, but it is never too early to get into that holiday spirit. One place where you can start the celebration is Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops. The Columbia Bass Pro is located less than 15 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia. The festivities begin with the arrival of Santa Claus himself on Saturday, November 10. In addition to photos with Santa, there will also be stocking decorating, the lighting of the Christmas tree, and the unveiling of Santa’s Winter Wonderland. The fun continues all month long with activities and giveaways like Christmas drawstring bags, polar bear plush toys, letters to Santa, and other assorted craft stations that will change weekly. Additionally, Santa’s Wonderland is filled with a wide range of games so that there is fun available for the entire family.

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show poster with Tim Curry in costume on a couch shaped like red lips

    Halloween Brew and View

    October 01, 2018

    Those who are too old for Trick or Treating, those too scared of Haunted Houses, and those who are looking for a more fun Halloween experience, should head to the Blue Note for the Brew and View event on Halloween night. You and your friends can grab your beverage of choice and enjoy a screening of the classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This popular event will be hosted by Mark “The Master” Chambers and only costs $10. The Blue Note is only about 10 minutes from Holiday Inn Columbia, and the trip is definitely worth the experience. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is notorious for encouraging audience participation, and this screening will be no different. You will not want to miss your chance to “Do the Time Warp Again” with Dr. Frank N. Furter, Rocky Horror, Janet Weiss, Dr. Everett V. Scott, and the rest of the memorable cast. 

  • MIZZOU football player in gold jersey number 28 against a black background

    MIZ-ZOU

    September 04, 2018

    To many football fans, the atmosphere at a college game surpasses the intensity and excitement of an NFL game. After all, college students passionately root for their school’s team, as do the fans that grew up with the school as well as the alumni. The atmosphere at a Missouri football game rivals just about any atmosphere in the entire country. The exciting Tigers team is led by Coach Barry Odom, Quarterback Drew Lock, Running Back Damarea Crockett, Safety Cam Hilton, and Linebacker Cale Garrett, and they have high hopes for a Bowl Game victory to cap off a strong season. This season features home games against SEC rivals South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee as well as non-conference bouts with Purdue and Idaho. When you take your seat at Faurot Field, you will be amazed by the Gold and Black shirts throughout the stadium and the buzzing atmosphere of excited fans.

  • Outdoor Concert with arched stage blue sky and fans in the crowd

    Fortune Favors the Bold

    August 06, 2018

    In 2017, Longboat Brewing and The Blue Note put on the first ever Fortune Fest. The concert was such a success that they are doing it again this year on August 18. To celebrate all of the great people who have helped Columbia grow in recent years,  Fortune Fest 2018 will feature delicious food, cold drinks, and lots and lots of live music. Food trucks from vendors like Pepe’s of Columbia, Pizza Tree, Smokin’ Chicks, Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company, and Kona Ice. With Longboat Brewing as one of the sponsors, you know that the beer will be flowing all festival long. There will also be plenty of musical acts taking the stage in Rose Park like funk and soul band Black Joe Lewis, Punk group Radkey, Nashville Darlings Liz Cooper and The Stampede, Rockband Amasha Hines, local psychedelic dance rock stars The Royal Furs and the dynamic Rae Fitsgerald.

  • Glass mug of beer with foam head and a black backgroung

    Cheers to You

    July 03, 2018

    It is no secret that there has been craft beer and microbrewery explosion in the United States in the last few years. Columbia has seen its fair share of new breweries and brewpubs, but the Broadway Brewery is one of the best in the area. Located about 10 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia, Broadway Brewery has been serving delicious house-brewed beer since 2009. Some of their most popular beer offerings include the APA, Black Honey Brown Ale, 11 Point IPA, Kolsch, Porter, and Blue Heron Organic Apple Cider. In addition to incredible beer, Broadway Brewery prides itself on serving locally sourced, not to mention amazing, food. Be sure to try the Trout Hushpuppies, Porter Dip, Lamb Burger, or one of their brilliantly crafted pizzas. Sometimes, the best part about visiting a new city is finding your new favorite restaurant. After one visit to Broad Brewery, you will have found your favorite in Columbia.

  • Small Orchestra performing in front of a screen in red uniforms

    Movie Music Comes Alive

    June 04, 2018

    Some of the most iconic films in movie history have equally iconic soundtracks, scores, and musical cues. From Jaws to Star Wars and Superman to Indiana Jones, the music in a film can be just as important and memorable as the story and stars. The Missouri Symphony Orchestra will celebrate over 60 years of Oscar-winning and nominated movie music in their event “A Night at the Oscars” on June 22. The show takes place at the Missouri Theatre which is only about 10 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia. Some of the films featured in the program include Harry Potter, The Godfather, Psycho, and Exodus. Guest Zoe Melcher and David Nevergall will help bring the music of film composers like John Williams, Nino Rota, and Bernard Herman to life. Hearing the Missouri Symphony Orchestra perform the scores to your favorite films will transport you back to the first time you saw them in the theater.

  • Close up of american bald eagle with white head and brown feathers

    Fly Like An Eagle

    May 08, 2018

    With the high paced nature of our modern lives, sometimes it is necessary and important to lose yourself in the serenity and beauty of nature. You can do just that at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area which is located only about 25 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia. During your visit, you may catch a glimpse of some incredible wildlife like eagles, seagulls, ducks, deer, and turkey vultures. The plant life is equally breathtaking with fields of sunflowers, wildflowers, and a variety of native trees. There are numerous trails for hiking, some of which are perfect for more experienced adventurers. Pack a lunch, bring a blanket, and enjoy a nice afternoon picnic away from the hustle of bustle of city life. After all, it is sometimes good for the soul when there’s not another soul in sight. In the summer, the trees are in full bloom, but you will want to be prepared for the bugs. They are the only thing that could possibly spoil the amazing scenery at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

  • Game used baseball with black background

    Root Root Root for the Tigers

    April 02, 2018

    Even though the Major League Baseball season just started, college baseball has been going strong for a couple of months now. The Missouri Tigers are hoping to have a strong season in the talented SEC that results in a College World Series bid. So far, the Tigers are 21-7 with plenty of time for improvement. The team’s home field, Taylor Stadium, is less than 15 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia. As they prepare for the stretch run of the season, Mizzou has important home games against SIU-Edwardsville, Alabama, Chicago State, Vanderbilt, and Georgia all in the next month. Games at Taylor Stadium are family friendly events. Current National League Cy Young pitcher Max Scherzer is a proud Mizzou alum, so you know he will be watching the season with great interest. Who knows, maybe taking your family to a Missouri baseball game will inspire the next great Mizzou ballplayer.

  • Black and White Photo of Kurt Cobain Holding a Guitar

    Come as You Are

    March 05, 2018

    Even though it seems impossible, Nirvana’s smash album Nevermind will turn 30 in just a few years. That album brought grunge to the mainstream and changed the musical landscape of an entire decade. On Friday March 23 at the Blue Note, you will have the opportunity to relive the glory days of grunge at the Seattle Royale 2018 performance. The venue is only about 10 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia, so this is one concert that you will not want to miss. The Hipnecks will perform some of Alice in Chains’ biggest hits like “Rooster,” “Man in the Box,” and “Them Bones” to get things started. They will be followed by The Many Colored Death who specialize in Soundgarden classics. Decadent Nation will play Pearl Jam hits like “Jeremy,” “Daughter,” and “Even Flow” while Madora/Down Side Up will close the show with Nirvana favorites like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “ Come As You Are,” and “Lithium.”

  • Gold Pocketwatch with Roman Numerals

    Escape, If You Can

    February 05, 2018

    Conari Escape Rooms is the most exciting new escape room adventure in the entire Columbia, Missouri area. You and up to 7 other people have to solve riddles, find clues, and unlock the mystery in time to escape the themed room that you choose. Located less than 10 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia, Conari Escape Rooms has 3 unique themed rooms. In the first, Scarlet’s House, you and your team have one hour to release the tortured soul of a witch named Scarlet after you are forced into her house by a vicious storm. The second room, Conari Lockup, gives players one hour to escape from their holding cell after being wrongfully imprisoned. In the third experience, VLAD, you have one hour to outwit the bloodthirsty Vlad and save your king before all hope is lost. No matter which room experience you choose, you and your group are sure to have an exciting and mentally stimulating adventure.

  • Apples with Leaves as Art

    Columbia Art League

    January 07, 2018

    From January 16 through March 9, you have the extraordinary opportunity to indulge your artistic side with a special exhibit from the Columbia Art League. The exhibition, titled Indulge, takes place at the art league home base, which is only about 10 minutes away from the Holiday Inn Columbia. This unique exhibition is all about food, specifically the foods that inspire the submitting artists. After all, we have all been inspired by delicious food in our lives. Submissions include paintings, photography, sketches, and many other mediums which are put through a vigorous judging process before they are approved for the exhibition. Additionally, all of the displayed works will be available for purchase. The Columbia Art League dedicates themselves to providing visitors with exciting and one of a kind art displays. The volunteers who staff the special exhibits are all knowledgeable, friendly, and informative. After just one afternoon exploring the galleries, you will start planning your next trip to the Columbia Art League.

  • Santa sitting on a chair with two elves sitting on the floor in front of him

    Elf Jr. The Musical

    December 04, 2017

    Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color? Buddy’s catchphrase is repeated more and more as we get closer to the holiday season. From December 14-17, you have the opportunity see the Broadway adaptation of the popular film, Elf Jr., as performed by the Pace Youth Theatre Company. All performances will take place at C.E.C. theatre which is only about 10 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia. The Elf in the title is of course Buddy, who is actually a human who was raised by elves after accidentally climbing into Santa’s bag of presents. When he grows up, much larger than his elf peers, he journeys to New York City in search of his long lost father. Along the way, he makes new friends, falls in love, and even helps the world rediscover its Christmas spirit. This exciting production is the perfect way for you and your family to start celebrating the holidays.

  • Mizzou Arena

    Mizzou Basketball

    November 07, 2017

    The entire city of Columbia is buzzing about the potential of this year’s Men’s Basketball team. Led by Coach Cuonzo Martin, the team is hoping for a deep post season run with freshmen stars like preseason All-American Michael Porter Jr., his brother Jontay Porter, and Jeremiah Tilmon. They join upper classmen like Kevin Puryear and Terrence Smith in their pursuit of Missouri history. Their beautiful home court, Mizzou Arena, is only about 10 minutes from the Holiday Inn Columbia. In the next 2 months, the local Tigers have exciting home games against, Iowa State, Wagner, Emporia State, Long Beach State, Miami of Ohio, Green Bay, North Florida, SFA, and the yearly bragging rights game against rival Illinois. There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a college basketball game, and Mizzou promises to be one of the best venues in all of college basketball this year. You do not want to miss your chance to witness history in the making. 

  • Two men in period dress for Renaissance festival

    The 12th Annual Central Missouri Renaissance Festival

    October 07, 2017

    Who among us hasn’t imagined what it would have been like to live in that great intellectual, artistic, and civic blossoming that defined the Renaissance Europe? Now’s your chance to live that fantasy firsthand at the 12th annual Central Missouri Renaissance Festival. Located at the Boster Castle Fairgrounds, just a short 25-minute drive from our hotel, this exuberant festival brings together live musical entertainment, period appropriate games, and a vibrant collection of artisans ready to impress you with their handcrafted wares. Marvel at expert archers as they deftly strike bulls-eye after bulls-eye, enjoy demonstrations of playful steel and blunted weapon combat, and chow down on the hardy helpings and libations that keep the party going strong. Festivities run from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. on October 21 and 22, and while period costume is encouraged, all that’s required for entry is a good attitude and a zest for a most chivalrous era.

    Address: I-70 - 144/Hatton Exit, 4274 County Rd 220, Kingdom City, MO 65262

  • Cowboy and horse walking away from viewer

    Step Back into the Past at the Heritage Festival and Craft Show

    September 04, 2017

    From Saturday, September 15, through Sunday, September 16, the 40th Annual Heritage Festival and Craft Show will offer locals and visitors alike the opportunity to travel back in time to witness the ways of a bygone era firsthand. Chat with tradesmen and artisans outfitted in 19th-century attire appropriate to their stations as they present their wares and demonstrate their crafts to curious onlookers. Dancers and musicians from various traditions—from folk to bluegrass, from Irish to Native American, from country and western to Cajun—will perform on three separate stages in front of enthusiastic crowds. Children will love the cowboys with their horses and the many hands-on activities in the “Young’uns Area,” including candle dipping, rope making, paper pumpkins, stilt games, hayrides, and more. There will also be a variety of delicious foods for sale throughout the festival, as well as a separate area for contemporary, handmade arts and crafts.

    Address: Historic Nifong Park, 3700 Ponderosa St., Columbia, MO

  • Marshmallows in frying pan and graham crackers for smores

    Making Summer Last

    August 07, 2017

    Now that summer is winding down, you’ll want to get out and enjoy the warm weather while you still can. To that end, here are some free outdoor activities this month that are great for the whole family:

    Family Fun Fest: Mad About Science | Wednesday, Aug 16, 6-8 P.M. | Cosmo Park

    Family Fun Fest includes music, live entertainment, interactive learning, face painting, food trucks, and more. This month’s FFF is science-themed, in honor of the upcoming solar eclipse.

    Kaleidospoke | Saturday, August 19, 7:30-10:30 P.M. | Start at Flat Branch Park, bike to Twin Lakes

    In this family-friendly nighttime bike ride (not a race—we keep it relaxed here), you’ll cycle along an illuminated trail from Flat Branch Park up to Twin Lakes and back. Decide when to start and what pace you’re comfortable with. S'mores await you at Twin Lakes.

    Movies in the Park | Saturday, August 19, 8:30 P.M. | Cosmo Park

    Stretch out on your most comfy blanket and enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy under the starry dome of the great outdoors. Food trucks will be on hand.

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    Join the Missouri Symphony Orchestra for Hot Summer Nights

    July 02, 2017

    One of the most venerable symphony orchestras in the heartland, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra emerged in 2005 under the direction of Kirk Trevor. As an internationally acclaimed conductor who has worked tirelessly to make classical music relevant and exciting for today’s audiences, Maestro Trevor has spearheaded many initiatives, including the founding of the Hot Summer Nights Festival, which has become the Midwest’s biggest classical and pops summertime extravaganza. Among the upcoming HSNF concerts are Chamber Recital #3, which will feature small ensembles performing works from the 17th century to the 21st, on July 10; Let’s Build an Orchestra, a performance for kids and adults who want to see how an orchestra is put together from the ground up, on July 12; and Rock On!, which will showcase full orchestral versions of rock classics made famous by such luminaries as The Eagles, Aretha Franklin, and Queen, on July 14. And that’s just a small taste of what's ahead. For the full Hot Summer Nights Festival line-up with complete time and location information, check out

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    Down at the District

    June 03, 2017

    Take a stroll down Columbia’s 9th Street, known to locals as “The District,” for a fun summer outing that exudes college town charm. In 2004 the District was officially recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, and with iconic establishments like Shakespeare’s Pizza, Pete’s BBQ Shack, and Main Squeeze, we can certainly see why. As fans of live music, we’re especially fond of the Blue Note, a historic Vaudeville theater located in the District at 17 N. 9th St. The vintage marquee outside the club has featured some big names over the years, including The Pixies, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Arcade Fire. This summer the Blue Note will welcome up-and-coming artists as well as crowd favorites like Jonny Lang, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, A Thousand Horses, Hellyeah, and more. So grab a bite on 9th, see a live show, then enjoy a drink or two as you wind down the warm summer night.

  • sparkys

    Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream

    May 01, 2017

    Now that spring is here and the weather is finally starting to warm up, we recommend you take a trip down to Columbia’s most famous dessert joint, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, just a short drive from our Holiday Inn hotel. Sparky’s features a quirky list of flavors, including mandarin orange dark chocolate, pancakes, and lavender honey, many of which are made with fresh, local ingredients (we are big fans of Uprise Candied Bacon and Les Bourgeois White Russian). While you’re enjoying Sparky’s sweet, frozen treats, you’ll also be able to treat yourself to the mini-museum of deliciously bad paintings the shop has acquired over the years. On your way out, you might even feel inclined to pay your respects to the original Sparky, the dopey and lovable bulldog immortalized by one local artist’s surprisingly lifelike ceramic statue.

    Address: 21 South 9th Street, Columbia

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    Chasing the Sun

    April 01, 2017

    We Missourians take a lot of pride in our beautiful countryside, which is why the Holiday Inn Executive Center of Columbia is inviting all our guests who enjoy running to participate in the 5th annual Chasing the Sun 5k walk-or-run the morning of Saturday, May 6. All proceeds from Chasing the Sun will go to Renew Missouri, a non-profit organization working hard to elevate our great state into the top 20 in terms of renewables and energy efficiency by 2020. The starting line is at the entrance to Stephen’s Lake Park, located about 10 minutes from our hotel. Both seasoned marathoners and folks new to running are welcome to join. Every participant will leave with a special t-shirt to commemorate the event, and all will be entered into a contest for dozens of special prizes as well.

    Located at 2001 E Broadway, Columbia, MO

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    A Train Ride Through the Expo Circuit

    March 04, 2017

    Open wide for these tributes to slaking thirst and bounding from place to place.

    March 18th @ 10:00 am

    All board, y’all. Heed the conductor’s call when the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts its Annual Train Show, where you’ll find a great variety of models on display from the early days of rail transportation right into the present.

    March 18th @ 1:00 pm

    In case locomotion isn’t your cup of tea, the Holiday Inn Expo Center has reserved plenty of room for the 7th Annual Missouri Beer Festival. Attendees receive a keepsake glass for sampling more than fifty booths, including delicious snacks.

    March 25th @ 8:30 pm

    North 9th Street

    Funk is Missouri’s fastest growing music scene! Squeeze into a pair of pleather pants and "get on up" for a fresh time. Columbia’s rich music venue, The Blue Note, is your gracious host for this evening of loud mouths and blazing horns.

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    Dip Your Valentine in a Lovely Afternoon

    February 03, 2017

    It’s a year-round love affair for those who live in Columbia, but the passion really picks up in February, when love birds flock to the city for Valentine’s Day.

    Nearly all of the city’s most popular restaurants and bars will offer specially designed menus for the occasion. If you’re in love with food then you’re already in the right place! Columbia’s chefs whip sourced ingredients into everything from tempting pizzas and juicy steaks, to satisfying smoothies and salads with a real crunch. Visit Main Squeeze for a tofu taco or freshly squeezed juice, made to go.

    Sycamore is an excellent choice for hungry locavores, while the Wine Cellar and Bistro has plenty of pink Prosecco and a larder full of sharp and gooey cheeses. Make your valentine’s day whole with a final trip to The Candy Factory for their famous chocolate-covered strawberries or Patric Chocolate, where they’re busy handcrafting American-style cacao. Is there anything not to love?

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    Artful Beginnings to the Next Year

    January 08, 2017

    Putting a little art in your step can be a beautiful solution to lingering last-year funk.

    January 30th through February 3rd

    Keep your eye out for the next Picasso during the University of Missouri’s Visual Art & Design Showcase, a remarkable opportunity for the university’s undergraduate artists-in-training to spread their colorful wings in a real exhibition space. It’s free and open to the public!

    February 3rd @ 7:00 pm

    The university’s own Missouri Theatre is proud to stage Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey, a remarkable melting pot of early 20th-century words and music coming to life before your very eyes, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.

    February 3rd through 5th

    Based on the beloved Jane Austen novel of 1815, the Macklanburg Playhouse’s production of Emma is a fresh imagining of a classic story. Filled with high hopes Emma Woodhouse’s matchmaking art finds her tangled in a web of marriage and gossip.

  • Sheet music with a bell, red ribbon and piece of pine tree on top

    A Healthy Dose of Christmas Hospitality

    November 28, 2016

    Around the holidays, Columbia produces theatrical shows to warm hearts, deck the streets with bells of holly, and invite friends for an evening of musical entertainment. It’s like they say, Missouri loves company.

    December 4th through 7th @ 7:30 pm

    Catch one of four performances of A Dickens Holiday Christmas. Dust off that derby because this is going to be a frivolous evening of English song and merriment - not to be missed!

    December 11th @ 3:30 pm

    Murry’s laid back restaurant atmosphere and American menu is once again playing host for Tim Warfield’s Jazz Christmas. Enjoy the earthy sound of Warfield’s saxophone when he plays your favorite holiday tunes.

    December 18th @ 3:00 pm

    The Missouri Symphony Orchestra presents Symphony of Toys Holiday Concert, rumored to include a special guest who’s flying in from the North Pole. Children admitted free when they bring an unopened toy to donate to underprivileged children.

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    Get on Track Before Thanksgiving

    November 07, 2016

    Guests will likely be taking a break from the holiday’s typical cooking and baking routine, but you can take an alternative challenge with the Boone Foundation’s TurkeyTrax 5k Run. Before lifting a fork this Thanksgiving, pick out your favorite seasonal fare at the Thanksgiving Farmers Market in Parkade Plaza, November 22nd at 3:00 pm. And participate in the Boone Foundation’s TurkeyTrax 5k Run, a race designed to raise awareness of the hospital center’s outreach programs and sophisticated patient care services. Guests staying with the Holiday Inn Columbia through November 24th will likely be taking a break from the holiday’s typical cooking and baking routine, but you can take an alternative challenge.

    In addition to complimentary snacks and beverages following the race, everyone who joins will receive a commemorative t-shirt emblazoned with the humorous TurkeyTrax mascot. Register as a team or individually. Results will be posted as they happen in real-time, which will be decided according to age group and for overall fastest time. Best of all, winners in each division take home a Thanksgiving dessert pie.

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    Costumes & Cocktails

    October 04, 2016

    There appears to be a theme of handcrafted food, drink, and outdoor fun through the month of October. Just in time to celebrate the end of summer and enjoy the cooler weather up north. Join Holiday Inn Columbia as we point out a couple great ideas for stepping into a month filled with healthy and family-friendly festivities.

    A regional favorite, the South East Craft Beer Fest, on October 14th and 15th, is two days filled to very top with beer enthusiasm. There will be over 40 breweries on deck to sample and sell their craft beverages. Located at 1306 Hathman Place, right in Columbia.

    But for a good time that’s certain to please anybody look no further than the Central Missouri Renaissance Festival (October 22-23). Take a step or two back in time—there’s every opportunity to grab a turkey leg, challenge a pirate, or seek the king’s royal blessing. Located at Boster Castle Fairgrounds.

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    A Natural Transition into Fall

    September 12, 2016

    As the midwestern United States moves into fall through the end of September, there's plenty in Columbia to get you into the sunshine.

    September 17th & 18th @ 10:00 am

    Return to a simpler time when tradesmen and women in 19th-century period dress demonstrate the crafts they have helped to preserve. Holiday Inn Columbia couldn’t be prouder to direct your attention to this year’s Heritage Festival & Craft Show. Bring a beautiful, skillful ware home to your family.

    October 1st @ 8:00 am

    The always popular Columbia Farmers Market, now located in the lot behind the Activity and Recreation Center, encourages guests to sample their way through the taste of central Missouri. All proceeds of the market benefit regional farmers and help sustain our local agriculture industry.

    October 1st @ 10:00 am

    Entering its first decade of promoting science—rain or shine—the University of Missouri’s South Farm Research Center Showcase is a free event encouraging the public to appreciate the our natural world. Adults and children alike can share in the great discoveries.

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    The Great, Great Outdoors

    August 14, 2016

    Let Holiday Inn Columbia be your guide to ripe fruit and vegetables, belly laughs, and backyard barbecue. In late September, what better way to round off the sizzling weather with a few days of outdoor fun? Columbia has a variety of activities perfect for adults and kids. One of our favorites is Cosmo Park, which will be transformed for Family Fun Fest (September 21st from 6-8pm) and includes live entertainment and hands-on arts and crafts booths.

    Attention early birds—the Orr Street Farmers & Artisans Market pulls back the curtain on fresh produce and hand-crafted artwork, informative workshops, and much more each Sunday morning between the hours of 9am and 1pm (located at 126 N. 10th Street). If you are seeking bolder flavors be sure to check out the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Stephens Lake Park, the weekend of September 30th. It’s a celebration of food with an international music ensemble you won’t want to miss!

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    Fire in July

    July 01, 2016

    It’s hot in Missouri, and this year’s predicted to be another scorcher. There’s just no beating that July heat during the day. Of course, our Holiday Inn Executive Center knows a thing or two about staying cool indoors while having fun. Then again, everyone’s bound to feel a little cooped up at some point, which is why so many of Columbia’s downtown hot spots are staying open late into the night, when the temperature at last begins its slow descent and begins to resemble something comfortable. Although the Fourth of July always promises fireworks, you’ll be having too good of a time to notice when the air jumps up a few degrees.

    The city of Columbia’s department of Parks and Recreation has set itself up once again in Flat Branch Park, a quick 10-minute drive east of our hotel. As usual the festivities will begin to kick off early, so that children of all ages can get in on the fun. There’s an inflatable obstacle course for kids to climb through and whimsical crafts and activities. Groups are encouraged to camp out and picnic up a storm (alcohol and cooking grills are not permitted) throughout the afternoon. As evening begins to set in, local radio station BXR presents the Ironweed Bluegrass Band, who will take the stage followed by the Kansas City Street Band.

    The greatest show in red, white, and blue screams across the sky promptly at 9:15 p.m. Fireworks, coming up! This most patriotic of big bangs will be choreographed to music simultaneously. Be sure to tune into 102.3 FM and crank up the volume, or you might not hear anything under the sparkle, crackle and ka-boom. One final helpful tip comes courtesy of the city’s website are: Instead of rushing to find your car, stay after the fireworks are gone and stroll around the local businesses. You’ll kill two birds with one stone, stretching those criss-crossed legs and avoiding the traffic congestion.

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    A Leisurely Stroll Down Cloud Nine

    June 06, 2016

    Familiarly referred to by local residents as "The District," downtown Columbia’s 9th Street competes for its fair share of Missouri’s year-round visitors with friendly shops and eateries built for every appetite. In 2004 the district was place on the National Register of Historic Places. When you catch a glimpse of what this cultural avenue has to offer (with names like Shotgun Pete’s BBQ Shack, Shakespeare’s Pizza, and Main Squeeze) you’ll find it’s easy to see why.

    This midwestern college town, a sprawling population of new families and esteemed regulars, app launchers and small business moguls, has much to show for itself. Each season it does so with the help of a variety of contemporary and historic venues, many of which are located within a hop and skip of your Holiday Inn Executive Center. Columbia’s notable music halls include the University of Missouri’s own Jesse Hall, which routinely acts as the school’s central administrative center (a continuing symbol of endurance following its partial destruction by electrical fire in 1892), and The Blue Note, a thriving popular indie rock hub nestled in the remains of a restored vaudeville theater. On May 25th Melbourne record label Butter Sessions presents their Brutalist Block Party, with live musical acts and immersive light shows.

    If you’ve touched down in Missouri and only just missed a show, nothing to fear! The Blue Note once again assembles a lineup of favorite bands to perform before an enthusiastic live audience, and roster highlights include The Dear Hunter and aficionados of rock HellYeah and The Sword. Also finding a place on that national register is one of Missouri’s only remaining movie palaces. Built in the pre-depression decade of the 1920s and modeled after the Paris Opera House, the Missouri Theatre features an ornate European interior and soaring lavender cupola and gives performances throughout the calendar.

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    Running for the Sun

    April 11, 2016

    Earth Day might be on April 22nd, but caring for the Earth doesn’t have to end after that. On April 30th, visitors to our Columbia hotel can take part in the 4th Annual Chasing the Sun 5k at Stephen’s Lake Park, at the Happy Hollow Shelter, located just ten minutes from the Holiday Inn Executive Center. Ticket proceeds and all donations go to Renew Missouri for advancing efficient and renewable forms of energy. No matter if you’re a regular runner or a rare one, all are encouraged to participate and will receive a special t-shirt, along with a chance to win a whole host of fun prizes. After the run, stick around for the post-race barbecue, with burgers, hotdogs and beer from Broadway Brewery! So do something nice for the planet – and your body – and chase the sun!

    Address: 2001 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201, Columbia

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    We All Scream for Ice Cream

    March 18, 2016

    Spring in Missouri is still a little on the chilly side, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting the scoop on a Columbia institution, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream! Located less than ten minutes from our Columbia hotel, Sparky’s is known for two things: First is its incredibly eclectic menu of ice cream flavors, including lavender honey, maple sea salt, pancakes, cucumber melon and much, much more! The second thing is the quirky and strange art that adorns the walls, like its own tiny museum of terrible paintings, so folks can enjoy their ice cream while checking out the odd and humorous paintings. A must-visit for locals and visitors alike, don’t wait for the weather to warm up before grabbing a cone and enjoying some homemade goodness. 

    Address: 21 South 9th Street, Columbia

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    Tap into Good Times

    February 16, 2016

    Sometimes, you want to go out and get crazy, but other times, you’re just looking for a relaxing place to feed your need for delicious pizza and amazing local craft beer. With twenty-four rotating taps, award-winning pizza and a comfortable patio with a roaring fire for the winter, 1839 Taphouse is that place. 1839 Taphouse was named both Best New Bar and Best New Restaurant when it opened in 2011, and has quickly become a favorite among locals. Located just ten minutes from our Columbia hotel, if the huge variety of local and international beers and special "beerdough" pizza doesn’t win you over, their game room includes an old-school skee ball game that dispenses tickets towards free beer! A great place to start or end the night before heading back to your cozy room at our Holiday Inn Executive Center. 

    Address: 212 East Green Meadows Road #2, Columbia

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    It Belongs in a Museum!

    January 21, 2016

    If you’re looking for a quiet afternoon away from the cold, we recommend checking out the Museum of Art and Archeology on the University of Missouri campus. This underrated gem of a museum is less than ten minutes away from our Columbia hotel, and boasts an impressive range of exhibits, including Picasso, Cassat and Bingham as well as galleries of Ancient Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia, Africa and more. With a collection that spans centuries, styles and mediums, the museum does not disappoint, and manages to fit an incredible amount of things into a fairly small space, so you won’t be exhausted by the time you reach the end. Great for a gloomy winter day and with free admission, there’s no reason to pass this unique collection by! 

    Museum of Art and Archeology: 115 Business Loop 70 West, Columbia

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    Stephens Lake Park

    December 14, 2015

    Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you need to be stuck inside, especially during what’s so far been a record mild winter season. There’s plenty of great places to enjoy outdoor activities in when visiting the city, including Stephens Lake Park, a 116-acre park located just ten minutes from our Columbia hotel. Enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, Stephens Lake Park features walking trails, a lake for swimming as well as ice-skating during the winter months, two waterfalls, three playgrounds and a boardwalk for fishing off of. The city’s center for winter recreation, visitors can ice-fish, there’s a designated hill of sledding, as well as heated restrooms, bonfires and more. So get out and play, after all, you’re on vacation! 

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    Let's Make (Turkey) Tracks

    November 09, 2015

    Everybody loves Thanksgiving, but nobody loves the weight gain that seems to always come with it! Luckily, we know an event that can offset it: The Turkey Trax Run, which will begin at Ultramax Sports, located less than ten minutes from our Columbia hotel, and will wind its way around the city. On Thanksgiving, visitors can sign up and do something active before indulging in Thanksgiving dinner. All participants get a Turkey Trax t-shirt and the chance to win awards for being the fastest in their age bracket. There will also be drinks and snacks after the race, (just enough to tide you over until dinner time!). The proceeds go to charity, so you can feel good about helping out and getting in some vigorous exercise before turkey time! 

    Address: 700 East Broadway, Columbia

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    Spooky Cinema

    October 02, 2015

    If ghosts and ghouls wandering the streets isn’t your cup of tea and you’re looking for something a little more laid back this Halloween but still in the spirit of the season, we recommend checking out the Fright Night Double Feature at the Missouri Theater located just ten minutes from our Columbia hotel. As part of its University Concert Series, the theater will be showing a Halloween double-feature on Saturday, October 24, with the family-friendly (though still fairly thrilling) Disney movie, "Hocus Pocus" at 6:30pm, followed by the classic horror film, "Friday the 13th" at 9pm. So grab some popcorn and enjoy some big-screen scares from the comfort of your theater seat.

    Address: Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th Street, Columbia

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    Best Brews in Town

    September 02, 2015

    If you’re on the hunt for quality craft beer, consider checking out Flat Branch Pub and Brewing, Gold Medal Winner for Best Overall Restaurant for six years running in Inside Columbia Magazine’s "Best of Columbia" poll. Located less than ten minutes from our Columbia hotel, Flat Branch brews all their beers in-house, creating beer that’s as diverse and delicious as their food. If you’re not in the mood to grab a bite and are strictly in it for the beer, Flat Branch also offers tours and tastings by appointment. If that weren’t enough of a draw, they also craft their own small batch scotch and bourbon. Cheers! 

    Address: 115 South 5th Street, Columbia

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    Summer Cinema

    August 02, 2015

    Summertime means a lot of things: it’s hot, there’s no school, but in Columbia it also means free summer movies at the Rose Music Hall! Continuing into September, movie buffs can gather in Forrest Rose Park outside the Rose Music Hall, located less than ten minutes from our Columbia hotel, for free movies on the lawn. The movies on the screening schedule range from classics to cult favorites: on August 5th, they will be showing "Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark," on August 12th, "Field of Dreams," August 19th, "The Goonies" and on September 2nd, "Mean Girls." Bring a chair or blanket, and a few bucks to buy tacos and beer right on site.

    Address: Park Avenue, Columbia

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    We're Not Bluffing

    July 01, 2015

    If you're in the mood for the great outdoors, it doesn't get much greater than Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, a massive, untouched natural area just twenty minutes from our Columbia hotel. With over ten miles of rivers, and both easy and difficult designated trails, the park is a great place for fishing, hiking and also bird-watching, as the park is designated as an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri and is home to various, geese, swans, herons, and yes, eagles. Visitors can also expect to see deer, rabbits and various other forms of wildlife. Beautiful, relaxing and still close to town, Eagle Bluffs is a wonderful way to spend a day enjoying the nature of Missouri.

    Address: 6700 W Rt K, Columbia

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    Ham(let) and Pineapple Pizza

    June 02, 2015

    People will tell you that New York has the market cornered on pizza, but those people haven't tried Shakespeare's Pizza, a local institution with a huge following, ranked on TripAdvisor in the top five of all the restaurants in Columbia and just ten minutes from our Columbia hotel. Shakespeare's Pizza is a quirky pizza joint where fun is always on the menu. Try the Pizza Lover's Passion, or the Darwin, named in honor of a former mayor of Columbia, and then head to the gift shop for a Shakespeare shirt, or something more unique, like a pet bowl or a flask. Or duck behind the counter for a "Shakespearience," where you and a group of friends can make your own pizzas (and have a few rounds of drinks!). As Shakespeare himself might say, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women should go grab a pizza."

    Address: 225 S 9th St, Columbia

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    Relax and Recharge at Rock Bridge State Park

    May 01, 2015

    Ready to explore outdoors? Not far from our Columbia, MO hotel lies Rock Bridge State Park, a must-see for anyone who enjoys trail hiking, biking and horseback riding amid wildflowers in full bloom around beautiful natural rock formations. If it's hot outside, you can duck into the cooler environs of Connor's Cave. Guided tours are also sometimes offered of the larger, aptly named, Devil's Icebox Cave, home to grey bats and its own unique species of flatworm, not found anywhere else. Aboveground, there are weekly tours pointing out the different species of wildflowers that grow here, as well as ample trails and boardwalks open to hikers, bicyclists, and even horses. Afterwards, head back to the Holiday Inn Executive Center Columbia for a bite at the Sports Zone.

    Address: 5901 South Hwy. 163, Columbia

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    This Summer, Beat The Blues

    April 01, 2015

    The most beloved music venue in Columbia, MO, The Blue Note has hosted plenty of headliners in its 30-year-history - everyone from Willie Nelson to Johnny Cash to the Red Hot Chili Peppers have made Columbus a must-play date on their tours. Located in a restored Vaudeville Theater in the heart of the North Ninth Street Historic District, it's a Columbia classic you can't miss whenever you happen to be in town. This summer, mark your calendar for the venue's annual Summerfest, Downtown Columbia's outdoor concert series kicking off April 16 at 6 pm with Eli Young Band & Brentt Eldredge with Old Dominion, the first in five-part series of toe-tapping summer tunes.

    Address:17 N. 9th Street

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    Fresh From The Farm

    March 17, 2015

    The farm-fresh goodness of the Columbia Farmers Market moves inside in the colder months but – even indoors – it's a welcome taste of Missouri deliciousness and a favorite Columbia, MO event among locals. With spring arriving at last, take a break and head to Parkade Plaza on Saturday mornings, 9 am to noon. You'll find everything from cheeses and honey to fresh eggs, meat, winter vegetables and fruit. It's a producers-only market, so the bounty you find here is sold by farmers and artisans who work their magic right here in mid-Missouri. The mood is fun, with children's activities, live music and take-away prepared food – plus spring plants and cut flowers to brighten up any winter-weary space.