Date Night: 10 Romantic Things to Do in Central Missouri

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10 romantic things to do in Missouri by Florida turned Missouri blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante

Kyle and I moved to Columbia about six months ago. It feels like we moved yesterday. Luckily, CORT Furniture Rental was there to handle even the complicated moving headaches for us. Instead of worrying about moving cross country and/or selling off all our furniture– just to buy new stuff as soon we moved in, Kyle and I got to spend the time discovering our new city. CORT provides services and solutions for individuals facing life’s most unpredictable transitions, much like we were. They provide on-demand furniture that’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t. If you ever decide to rent furniture, they’re lifesavers!

To say that I miss home is a gross understatement, but this little midwestern town is starting to grow on me. It’s quaint, charming, and full of fun and romantic things to do. Even for a college town, it has a nice young professional presence– and assuming you know where to go, you can map out a pretty darn perfect romantic weekend. In today’s post, I’m sharing ten of our personal favorite romantic things to do in Missouri. 

1. Explore the Devil’s Icebox

Fun fact– Missouri is known for its caves. I’ve watched too many lifetime movies in my life, so I’m afraid of any form of extreme cave diving and/or exploration. The Devil’s Icebox is perfect for newbies or anyone with claustrophobia. Devils Icebox Trail is primarily a boardwalk with several short spurs, viewing platforms, and lots of  stairs. For couples looking for some adventure, exploring Devil’s Icebox Trail is as cool (literally) as it romantic. Just remember to pack a picnic lunch and a flashlight! 

2. Taste Wine at Les Bourgeois Winery

Yes, Central Missouri has vineyards! Although there are a few, Les Bourgeois Winery is our favorite. It’s hands down one of the most romantic places in Missouri. The grapes may not exactly compare to those in Napa or Sonoma Valley, but the atmosphere makes up for all that in spades. From complimentary wine tastings to dinners in the Bistro, it’s a gorgeous spot to spend the afternoon or evening. You can read more about Les Bourgeois here

3. See an Indie Film at Ragtag Cinema

Ragtag Cinema is the perfect spot for a date night. Kyle and I go 2-3 times per week, and we use our Movie Passes to watch movies for free. No other movie theaters in Columbia serve alcohol, so Ragtag is the place to go to watch an indie movie in an intimate setting with your favorite glass of wine or beer. Plus, you can opt to sit on couches and comfy chairs instead of traditional folded cinema seats. 

4. Catch a Concert at the Blue Note

The Blue Note is Columbia’s favorite music venue– and for good reason. It’s gorgeous inside, and it hosts some pretty incredible artists. The Blue Note also presents movie showings and other fun live action entertainment, as well. Check out their calendar for upcoming events.  Also worth mentioning is Rose Music Hall. It’s often referred to as The Blue Note’s little sister. As its nickname implies, Rose Music Hall usually hosts smaller-name brands, but it’s hard to beat the lively outdoor atmosphere on a warm summer night.

5. Take a Scenic Nature Hike

If you enjoy spending time outdoors together, Central Missouri’s trails are the place to do it. Columbia has no shortage of absolutely stunning scenic nature hikes, especially in the fall. Two of our favorite spots are the MKT Trail and Gans Creek trailhead. Anyone eager to explore the Columbia’s natural beauty on foot (and occasionally on horseback when parks permit) can rough it as much or as little as they like. Neither leisurely strolls nor difficult hikes are in short supply in Central Missouri.

6. Go Brewery Hopping

If y’all are beer fans, Columbia is filled with absolutely amazing breweries. Yes, “breweries” is very much plural. You can grab a beer, and in the warmer months, relax outside on the outdoor patio at Flatbranch. You can hop from Broadway Brewery to Bur Oak Brewery and then end the day with my personal favorite, Logboat Brewing Company. All are within walking distance, and all are well worth the walk. When you’re tuckered out, hop into Ragtag and enjoy a movie!

If you’re more of a liquor fan, grab a hand-crafted cocktail at DogMaster Distillery! The outdoor atmosphere is a blast, and their seasonal drinks are to die for. 

7. Catch a Tigers Game

Ladies, treat your SO to a testosterone-filled Missouri game day! We’ve yet to attend a basketball game, but let me tell you– Mizzou football fans know how to tailgate. The games are reasonably priced, and regardless of who you’re rooting for, you’ll have an absolute blast. My only caveat is to be aware of the SEC’s “clear bag” policy. Kyle and I had to Uber back to our apartment not once, but twice to meet their guidelines. 

8. Browse Local Art Galleries

You wouldn’t expect a small town in Central Missouri to have a strong art presence, but it does. There are a bunch of incredible galleries, all of which feature talented local artists. Although there isn’t a heavy saturation of wall murals, you’ll see impeccable works of art in surprise nooks and crannies downtown. We’ve been in Columbia for six months, and we still find new little hidden gems every day. 

9. Walk through Shelter Gardens

Shelter Gardens is five acres of over 300 varieties of trees, shrubs, and more than 15,000 annuals and perennials. It’s basically a botanical oasis in the middle of the midwest, and it’s one of the most romantic places in Missouri. Shelter Gardens is also a fabulous place to take couples pictures, at least in the warmer months. Color-wise, it looks pretty bare November through March. The gardens are open to the public daily from 8AM to dusk.

10. Dine at a Romantic Restaurant

One of the next travel posts I plan to write is a Columbia Missouri Restaurants Guide. I’m not even kidding, y’all– the food here is incredible. Columbia is surrounded by farms, so we literally have the freshest produce and protein around. Here are some incredible restaurants with an effortlessly intimate and romantic atmosphere:  CC’s City Broiler, Barred Owl Butcher & Table, Murry’s Restaurant (they have awesome jazz certain nights, as well), and Sycamore Restaurant

Photo of Columbia restaurants in Columbia, Missouri (Number 10 of 10 romantic things to do in Missouri by Florida turned Missouri blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante)Photo of Columbia restaurants in Columbia, Missouri (Number 10 of 10 romantic things to do in Missouri by Florida turned Missouri blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante)

To learn a little bit more about just how integral CORT was in facilitating our move to the midwest, check out this fun collaborative video. You can also check out this temporary apartment tour, which shares my tips for furnishing a temporary apartment and shows the exact collections I rented from CORT, too. 

If you’re a fellow Columbian, what are your favorite romantic things to do in Missouri? Please share your suggestions in the comments! We’re always looking for new date night ideas!

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2 thoughts on “Date Night: 10 Romantic Things to Do in Central Missouri

  1. Ali

    I’m impressed with this list considering you’re relatively new to Columbia! I might also add taking a bike ride on the MKT, driving out (or biking) to Katfish Katy’s or Cooper’s Landing, and drinks at Vault or the Roof. And no a list of romantic restaurants here is complete without Wine Cellar—it’s a must! It’s our favorite fine dining spot in Columbia and our go-to for special date nights.


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