Auburn fans travel. We have our favorite hotels, restaurants, and side trips in SEC towns. Knoxville is an excuse to visit the Smokies. New Orleans is just a quick side trip from Baton Rouge. Gainesville is close to Disney. You can’t visit Lexington without going to Keeneland. Grab ribs at Archibald’s should you find yourself in Tuscaloosa. Trips to Nashville are never dull.
Thanks to SEC expansion, Auburn will play this Saturday in a brand new venue. Auburn has never traveled to Columbia. Missouri has never been to Auburn. This is a quick and dirty guide to visiting Mizzou.
A few years ago, I had several business trips to central Missouri. I spent at least two weeks of my life in Columbia (and neighboring cities like Jeff City and Moberly). Columbia itself is a wonderful college town, on par with Athens, Georgia. It’s home to 120,000 and a lot of good restaurants, bars, and shops. Here are a few of my recommendations for things to see and do.
First thing you have to realize is that Columbia is in the dead center of the state. It’s two hours east of Kansas City and two hours west of St Louis on I-70. It’s over three hours northeast from Branson and the Ozarks. If you choose to stay in one of these places, you will have a long trip back to the hotel Saturday night after the game. If you go to CoMo, stay in CoMo. You can stay in Jeff City (35 minutes south) if the hotels in Columbia are booked, but you’ll have a better time in Columbia.
Everything I’m mentioning below is downtown within easy walking distance of the main entrance to campus. If you get the chance, walk around the campus. The campus is beautiful and takes advantage of green space well. Faurot Field itself is over a mile away from downtown, so you may want to look at transit options.
Broadway is the main drag in Columbia. There are a lot of fun options on Broadway or one block down a side street. If you like shopping for clothes at boutiques, you won’t run short of options. If the place you wanted to eat is packed, just keep walking, you’ll find something else that you’ll love.
The best hotel in Columbia is The Tiger. It’s an old hotel that’s been renovated. I seriously doubt you could find a room there now, but the lobby is worth seeing. Off the lobby there’s a great coffee and pastry shop (the Velvet Cupcake) and two good bars/restaurants (Glenn’s Cafe and the Vault).
Yellow Dog Bookshop is a great used bookstore. The selection is good and the prices are reasonable. If your tastes run towards comics, Rock Bottom Comics is one of the oldest comic shops in the country and has a great selection.
Columbia’s answer to Mama Goldberg’s (addictive, traditional college eats of marginal quality) is Shakespeare’s Pizza. Shakespeare’s has been around for years. The pizza is ok, but the atmosphere and beer selection are great. It’s well worth the experience. If you never set foot in Shakespeare’s you may not have actually been to Columbia at all. If you don’t want pizza, sit down, drink a beer, and move on. Addison’s is another college eats joint with high quality beer and food.
The Sycamore is a good, upscale dining option. You can choose between small plates and entrees. The Wine Cellar and Room 38 are other upscale options. Call ahead if you expect to get a table at any of these places.
Cafe Berlin is your brunch spot. They serve fresh, organic, breakfast foods with an amazing breakfast cocktail menu. I had the Flapjack: Bulleit Bourbon, maple syrup, fresh oj, with a stick of bacon for garnish. I’m not a guy who often takes pictures of his plate, but this was worth a snap and a refill.
Columbia has a huge craft beer scene. Most of the breweries have tap room bars with dining options. The residents are justifiably proud of their beer. Always order local beer in Columbia. Gush over it and you’ll make friends fast. The people in Columbia are really friendly and want you to enjoy their town.
There are several pool halls in Columbia. Booches is an iconic billiard hall downtown with good, tiny hamburgers.
These are just a few options I can personally vouch for. Columbia has a lot of great options and it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
For those traveling this weekend, I’m jealous. Enjoy your time, enjoy the city, and War Eagle.
What is the most important factor you consider when deciding whether or not to travel to an away Auburn game?
This poll is closed
My finances and the cost of the trip
The opponent or the rivalry
The location of the game and opportunities to sight-see or otherwise enjoy the area
Auburn’s chance of winning
Whether you’ve ever been to the stadium or that part of the country before