The following is one in a series of blogs prepared by the Convention & Visitors Bureaus of the 14 cities that are home to the universities of the Southeastern Conference. These blogs are presented to enhance fans' enjoyment of the rich history and culture of SEC cities across the 11-state footprint of the Conference.
Here in Columbia, Missouri (but you can call us CoMo), black and gold is just the beginning when it comes to having a great weekend in Tiger country. As the home of the very first Homecoming, SEC fans traveling from all over have fallen in love with Columbia's welcoming community, beautiful sights and proud traditions. Make sure to arrive in CoMo a little early (or stay a little later) to take in the city and all it has to offer.
CoMo is home to over 50 miles of trails and more than 75 parks, and football weekends in the fall are perfect for exploring them by bike or in your hiking shoes. The autumn colors create the perfect escape for a walk on a trail or sunset by the Missouri river with friends and live music.
As the first public university west of the Mississippi River, the University of Missouri is steeped in history. Make sure to visit campus to see the historic columns, which are all that remain from the 1892 fire that destroyed Mizzou's original academic hall, now standing proudly in front of Jesse Hall at the head of Francis Quad. The campus itself is designated a botanic garden with hundreds of species of flora to find and a number of other historic buildings fill campus and honor its past.
One of the biggest advantages of the Mizzou campus is the fact that it's adjacent to The District, Columbia's vibrant downtown area. Take the time to explore The District for local boutiques, and grab a mid-Missouri brewed beer at one of the locally-owned bars and restaurants. You will need to visit CoMo more than once to taste all of the food favorites. You also can check out the dozens of public art pieces ranging from murals to statues to painted traffic boxes that reach all the way up into the North Village Arts District, a former industrial zone now bustling with thriving small businesses focused on the arts.
Game day is an experience in itself. For Tiger fans, tailgating starts when the sun comes up. The air fills with both black and gold tents and the smell of grills firing up. Of course, the usual tailgate fare is on the menu, but Missouri is known for its barbeque, so get ready for fall-off-the-bone ribs, juicy brisket and more to come off the smoker in time for a pre-game meal. The sounds of Marching Mizzou will guide you to Memorial Stadium, where the Tigers take the field by running toward the giant rock "M" at the north end of the field. Cheers of M-I-Z are answered by Z-O-U, filling the stadium with energy after every first down, and Truman the Tiger keeps everyone on their feet.
After taking in the action on the gridiron, you'll already be starting to plan your next Columbia adventure. Football weekend or not, CoMo will be ready to welcome you.