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Know anything about Columbia, Missouri?

DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So, I'm very strongly considering moving to Columbia, Missouri for a couple of years to get my Master's at MU. However, I've never actually been to that area, let alone that particular city, and I have no idea what the town is like and whether I would actually enjoy living there for a significant chunk of my life.

So, all-knowing H/A board, can anybody describe the town to me? It seems pretty good from what I can gather on wiki/google, but that's not really first-hand information. Basically, what is the town like, what's the general character of the area, what are the people like as a rule (generalizations of course, but you know what I mean)?

For reference, here's a little bit about myself:

- Grew up in a small town, and I enjoy being somewhere where I can get out into the country if I want to. Stuff like parks, forests and lakes that are available to the public. I can enjoy downtown-ish areas but sprawl-type areas kind of weird me out.

- I'm not deeply political, and don't really care what kind of politics other people have either as long as they don't go on and on about them.

- I have fairly simple tastes in entertainment. A decent night out for me would to go with a few of my friends to a bar, listening to a band and getting drunk - in other words, something very laid back and informal. Maybe throw a concert in there every once in a while for variation. I imagine you can do this anywhere but you never know.

- Other miscellaneous stuff - I like old buildings/parts of town, middle eastern food, used bookstores and libraries, and places to go for drives.

Any help would be appreciated.

Duffel on

Posts

  • ShadowrunnerShadowrunner Registered User
    edited March 2010
    I went to Mizzou as an undergrad for a few years before eventually transferring out, but I always really liked Columbia as a college town. This was ~10 years ago, mind you, so my info might be a little out of date :)
    Grew up in a small town, and I enjoy being somewhere where I can get out into the country if I want to. Stuff like parks, forests and lakes that are available to the public. I can enjoy downtown-ish areas but sprawl-type areas kind of weird me out.

    Lake of the Ozarks is about an hour drive away and there is plenty to do there as far as fishing, boating, skiing goes, although I don't think there are a lot of "beach" type areas. I'm sure there are a lot of parks and camping areas around Columbia, but camping wasn't really my thing.
    I'm not deeply political, and don't really care what kind of politics other people have either as long as they don't go on and on about them.

    Columbia is your generic liberal college town, although I'm sure you can find people on both sides of the spectrum. I remember that there used to be a guy who would dress up in a white tuxedo, walk around downtown with headphones on and dance on the street corners.
    I have fairly simple tastes in entertainment. A decent night out for me would to go with a few of my friends to a bar, listening to a band and getting drunk - in other words, something very laid back and informal. Maybe throw a concert in there every once in a while for variation. I imagine you can do this anywhere but you never know.

    The Blue Note is great place for catching local bands, and they occasionally get bigger acts too. I wasn't 21 at the time, so I can't really comment on the bar scene, but there are a ton in town. Most cater to college students and aren't pretentious.
    Other miscellaneous stuff - I like old buildings/parts of town, middle eastern food, used bookstores and libraries, and places to go for drives.

    There used to be a fantastic used bookstore next to Shakespeare's Pizza that was always fun to go browse around in. I'm sure the city has a public library, but the university library is absolutely massive. Also, the downtown area is close to campus and very pedestrian / bike friendly.

    If you can get over the fact that Columbia is a small town and the nearest "big city" is 3 hours away, you'll probably like the area. Although, if you're considering moving there for school, you should probably go visit in person.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Small. Boring.

    Seems to meet your criteria though.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • Lord MaloryLord Malory Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    One of my favorite and coolest cousins is at one of the big banks in Mizzou, and he and his wife have a killer art gallery. Theyve been trying to get me to go there for a while from New Orleans.

    They say its got a surprisingly progressive vibe, if you find the right people, with decent art and culture scenes even for a college town. I have yet to visit, but just based on how awesome I think they are, I can't imagine it sucking.

    2 cents - good luck in your decision making, player.

    LordMalory.png
  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yeah, the smallness of it really doesn't bother me (I've lived in towns a lot smaller). It's also good to hear that it's bike friendly.

    I've basically already decided to go there for academic reasons, although I do plan on making a trip out there sometime in the next few weeks (still got a month to back out of it I think) to make absolutely sure.

  • Greg343Greg343 Registered User
    edited March 2010
    The only thing I've heard about it are the marijuana laws.

  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    if you're a midwesterner and/or heavily into sports you'll fit in. if not, it's hit or miss and entirely down to luck of the draw.
    it will not be bike friendly, or anything friendly between November and March. Winter is winter but in that region, it's Satan's asshole because of the wind and ice and variable extended periods of cold that can last until April in a bad year.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Ugh. I hate cold weather but honestly it's miserably cold in my home state all through the winter, too, although at least we have hills to keep the wind off of you.

    I'm a Kentuckian (Appalachian I guess, regionally speaking), not a midwesterner, don't know if that makes a big difference. The only sport I give a shit about following is (college) basketball, which I follow zealously. I've never been interested in football but I can watch it, and baseball bores me to tears. The only sport I actually like participating in is swimming.

  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    if you like basketball you can try to get scalp tickets to a Kansas home game :P Missouri is more of a football school, though they back their basketball just as hard. it's cute. The worst thing about the winters aren't the cold, but the wind and ice, which make even walking to your car something to think three times about, because of the burning sensation of death blowing through your coat and the prospect of slipping and eating shit.

    anyway apart from the weather, which truly is death, it sounds like you'd like it just fine, particularly if you have a car to drive up to Kansas City.

    imho though, the Midwest kinda sucks and I'd need a very good reason (i.e money/a scholarship) to go there instead of the coasts or New England.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Honestly, I'm looking at a scholarship opportunity that I can't pass up without feeling like a complete fool. Plus if I went anywhere else it would involve waiting another year, since most application dates for grad school expired in January. I thought about doing that until MU gave me this scholarship offer.

    It also seems to be a pretty good program, and I know that some of their MA students have went on to some pretty good Ph.D programs.

  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    then you should go.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yeah, I'd pretty much already made up my mind to attend there. I was mainly just curious about what kind of place I'd (likely) be spending the next two years of my life in.

  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The town is your standard midsize college town, for stuff like concerts and better food/clubbing and major concerts you'd drive to Kansas City.

  • AlwaysNewDepthsAlwaysNewDepths Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The music scene is actually pretty decent. I go to a University a couple hours away, and have traveled up there for a few shows. If you like indie, midsized acts do frequently pass through. Can't speak for other genres though.

  • BallmanBallman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Just happened to see this while looking for another thread--I could be late on this, but I've lived in Columbia for almost a decade now, and I'm working toward finishing up a PhD now. The cost of living is crazy low, we have a few of decent sized parks for hiking and such, and there's easy access to the Katy Trail, which you can get on with your bike and ride almost all the way to KC or St. Louis if you wanted.

    The summers here are fantastic. Everybody is gone, so there's rarely a wait to get into restaurants and bars aren't too crowded.

    It's a pretty liberal town (for the midwest), but regardless of your political leanings, it's great because of the farmer's market and other local organizations that hold events.

    We've got a good mixture of corporate and local business, but there are some really nice local restaurants. Flat Branch is a brewpub that makes some truly good beer. On October 31st every year they break out their pumpkin ale, which only lasts about 2 weeks because it has gotten so popular. We've got a handful of small Chinese/Middle Eastern/Greek/Indian grocery stores and restaurants. Also, there's a place called Addison's downtown that has $2.50 (incl. tax) pints of a decent selection of beer from 10-midnight every night, including things like Guinness.

    If you care, the public elementary/high schools are pretty decent.

    We have two biggish movie theaters, and one downtown that shows indie movies in front of a room full of old couches, and it has a bar. I don't go there too much, but they have people come out and introduce the movie, and it's always a fun time.

    Traffic around campus is surprisingly heavy at 8am and 5pm, 6pm. I only live a mile away from campus, and it can take me 30 minutes to get home if I leave at the wrong time (I know, boo-hoo, it's not that bad, but it's surprising for a town of only ~100k).

    What else? Downtown and the MU campus have a few big old buildings. There is ALWAYS construction that is re-routing traffic and being a general nuisance, but the end results are usually nice.

    I agree that for good concerts or things like clothing stores, you're going to need to travel to KC or St. Louis.

    The public library has recently been renovated and is really nice. They have a huge CD collection as well.

    Hope this helps, I really like the town, and I am from a rural area. I like bigger cities, but NY makes me a little claustrophobic, just for reference.

    JC of DI wrote:
    Mr. G wrote: »
    So, there's a video of Kurt Cobain in [Guitar Hero 5] out. I feel dirty watching this, he just looks wrong.

    Well Cobain's mo-cap session was completely useless, so you can't blame them.
  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Cool! Thanks a lot for the help, everyone.

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