Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Heart My City: Columbia, Mo.

I've very excited about my combination What I'm Loving & Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday post today. As you might remember, I had the opportunity to return to Mizzou to visit my friends this past weekend, so now is a perfect time to finally publish a post I've been working on since graduation (literally). National Geographic Traveler's Intelligent Travel blog has an excellent series called I Heart My City, and I wanted to contribute to the collection with my own "I Heart Columbia" post. I apologize in advance for it being so Mizzou-centric, but the campus is where I spent most of my time in Columbia. And, of course, it includes what I love about Columbia and uses some great pins to illustrate (hence the link-ups). Enjoy!

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the columns. As a University of Missouri student, the columns are the single most iconic thing about Columbia to me. Plus, Francis Quadrangle is just so dang pretty! Then, if he or she is of age, we head to Tropical Liqueurs for a delicious frozen drink.

When I crave sweet tea I always go McAlister's. Honestly, I like the tea at Jazz better, but it's further away from school and more expensive. Plus, I had a cold cup for McAlister's that gets me cheaper refills.

To escape college students I head ... well, I never quite figured this one out. Got any ideas, Columbians?

If I want to get a good workout in I go to MizzouRec. Each student gets a certain amount of free guest passes per year, so when I had a visitor the Rec was a great place to go to A) show off our awesome facility, B) get a nice sweat going and C) show my visitor my place of employment.

For complete quiet, I can hide away in one of the many corners of Ellis. I didn't make it there often, but I remember my freshman floormates likening it to Hogwarts because of all the staircases.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the columns (duh!).

If you have to order one thing off the menu from any Mexican restaurant it has to be the queso dip.

Locals know to skip Andy's (though delicious!) and check out Sparky's instead. I mean, they had cicada ice cream this summer. And it sold out!

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Campus Bar and Grill for dollar burger Sundays.

For a huge splurge I go to Addison's or Flat Branch. Okay, so this isn't a huge splurge, but when you're a college student, any meal over $8 seems like a splurge. These are the two restaurants I usually went to when my parents were in town and wanted to foot the bill.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Brad Pitt. Because that's the only alum anyone ever wants to talk about. (Unless it's the 100th Homecoming, in which case we have to listen to Sheryl Crow sing on Mizzou commercials 3,458,104 times a day.)

The most random thing about my city is the food truck that serves Thai food down at Cooper's Landing. But hey, I don't hate it.

My city school has the most geographically confused men. Seriously. They think they live in the South. I once saw pale green pants on a straight man at a local bar. And we weren't even officially in the SEC yet!

My city school has the most ambitious women. Maybe this is just a college female thing, and not a Mizzou female thing, but my friends and I all agreed that it was way harder to get chosen for things as a woman because there were so many more qualified women who applied for things than men (sorry, boys). Example: My secret society chose its members anonymously, without knowing out identities. The final count? Sixteen women and four men. Usually, when application processes weren't anonymous, the gender division ended up being pretty equal, but I think that was deliberate.

 The Friars Chapter of Mortar Board at our end-of-year "Smarty Party." (I'm in the geek glasses and Sperry's with socks at the top right lol.) Notice the gender disparity? And usually it's worse because we're only missing one man in this picture but five women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves Stephens Lake Park or Rock Bridge State Park. At my school, an active day outdoors involves Ultimate Frisbee on the quad, shirts vs. skins on Stankowski, or a bounce house and/or petting zoo on the front lawn of my sorority house. Thanks, fraternities who wanted to be with us for Homecoming! :)

My city’s best museum is now closed. So I guess you could check out the Museum of Anthropology or the Museum of Art and Archeology on campus. We have lots of art galleries, too.

My favorite jogging/walking route is to Starbucks and back, but I guess if I were to actually jog, I would recommend the MKT Trail.

For a night of dancing, go to Tonic (hahaha ... Columbia people will know why this is funny). Or, for live music, check out The Blue Note.

El Rancho is the spot for late-night eats. And it's right across from the piano bar!

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Twitter or Vox magazine.

You can tell a lot about my city from the way everything is plastered with black and gold and many business names have "Tiger" in them. Definite college town.

At a Mizzou football game in 2011.

You can tell if someone is from my city if he or she sees you wearing something with Missouri/Mizzou on it and says "M-I-Z!" (Or is it just me who does that to strangers?...)

In the spring you should cherish every second of every beautiful day! And walk through Greektown in mid-afternoon to be entertained by loud music and gallivanting frat boys.

In the summer you should grab a frozen yogurt at Yogoluv or Red Mango to cool off from the nasty humidity.

In the fall you should watch the Mizzou Tigers play at Faurot Field. Arrive early. Stay late. Wear gold. Be responsible. Respect the game. Celebrate our traditions.

In the winter you should visit the Magic Tree!

At the magic tree one last time senior year!

A hidden gem in my city is Booche's. The burgers are small, though, so order two, and you need cash to pay your bill.

For a great breakfast joint try Ernie's! Or Cafe Berlin. Both of which I just tried on my last visit, and I'm so glad I did! Ernie's is a typical greasy diner; it's very small so expect a wait. Cafe Berlin has some more unique menu items and its own parking lot (score!).

Don’t miss the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ festival in September. Or Mizzou Homecoming.

Just outside my city, you can visit Jefferson City, which is the least known U.S. state capital according to Sporcle.

The best way to see my city is on foot. Parking is a nightmare, and most of the good stuff is on campus or downtown anyway. :)

If my city were a pet it would be a cuddly yet ferocious tiger. Duh. (Wait, is that not a pet?)

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in an old farmhouse surrounded by trees with no need for a fence and no neighbors.

The best book about my city is yet to be written, I believe.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is the "Mizzou Rap." Or maybe now it's "We Are Mizzou"? Gosh, we just have so many wonderful student-made rap songs to choose from....

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss _________. (Sorry, I have no idea. Ask a local!)

Tearing down a goalpost and carrying the pieces of it to a downtown bar could only happen in my city.

My city/school should be featured on your cover or website because it looks like this ('nuff said):

Where did you go to school? What were your favorite things about your university and/or college town?


Erika said...

Cute post! I like learning about new places, especially things that only a local would know.

Kristen said...

I was born in Columbia! I only lived there as a baby but I'm sure its a wonderful city! May have to go back for a visit someday :)

Lindsay Cochrum said...

Oh how I miss C-BAG as we affectionally called it... And I totally say M-I-Z to strangers. When I had the privilege of introducing Mizzou to the A&M Division of Student Affairs I tol them to greet people in Mizzou gear in that way! Magic tree. Yes. CAFE BERLIN IS SO GOOD. Mmmm I miss it. But you chose Roots 'n Blues over True/False??

Holly said...

Sounds like a very cool city - very different to Christchurch, New Zealand, where I live! :)
Dropping by from WILW. :)