Columbia festivals turn town into a tourist destination

Over the past 15 years, Columbia, Mo. has transformed from a destination for football and basketball games into a tourist destination for festivals, art, entertainment and dining.

Today, the downtown area is a vibrant, multiblock location for myriad small retail businesses known as “the District.” According to Megan McConachie with the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the area boasts 110 unique shops, 70 restaurants and bars, and 45 different live performances a week.

A few blocks north of the District, an area that was once light industry is transforming into what street banners proclaim as the “North Village Arts District,” boasting art galleries, studios and “First Friday” events.

The revitalization of the city core began in 1990 when the Blue Note, a live entertainment venue, moved from the outskirts of Columbia into the heart of downtown. Soon after, festivals such as True/False Film Festival, The Citizen Jane Film Festival and the Roots ’n Blues ’n BBQ festival started as restaurants, art galleries and new entertainment venues opened downtown.

This revitalization has resulted in the quiet town becoming a year-round tourist destination that continues to grow in culture and arts.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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