Between textbooks and tuition, college is expensive-but having fun in college doesn’t have to be. The University of Missouri Columbia’s campus and downtown Columbia have plenty of free activities. Keep reading for 18 free things to do around the University of Missouri Columbia!
This is a collaborative piece by: Zara McDowell and Amanda Dwyer
1. Take a drive to the big tree (The Big Burr Oak Tree, for the sake of Google Maps) and admire the beauty of the Midwest.
Watch the sunset with your BFF or be a hopeless romantic and admire the stars with your SO. It will definitely make for some Instagram worthy moments!
2. Get active on Stankowski field, or better known as STANK.
Right in the heart of campus, there are free volleyball courts, a track and empty fields to play whatever sport your heart desires.
3. Grab a friend and be a tourist on your own campus.
Mizzou offers free audio tours through, Mizzou On Your Own. Click here, dial the number and you’re now walking through Mizzou’s campus- slowly being reminded of everything you heard on your first tour. *AWW THE MEMORIES* Or, you can walk or run through the absolutely stunning campus and admire the columns and Jesse.
4. Wander through downtown Columbia on Broadway St. and window shop through the boutiques of things you can only afford when your family is in town.
For real, what college aged individual can afford $198+ on a pair of jeans without the help of their parents?!
5. Stroll through Shelter Gardens.
Shelter Insurance Companies has a registered botanical garden, waterfalls and a gorgeous gazebo on their property. During the summer months they have free concerts in the garden.
6. Explore one of Missouri’s 742347102347 (or something like that) state parks.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors you can hike, bike, run or walk through one of the many state parks that surrounds Mizzou’s campus. The Katy Trail runs through the entire state of Missouri and is across the street from campus. You can also venture out just a little off campus to Finger Lakes or Devil’s Icebox.
7. Listen to live music at The Blue Note.
The Blue Note has been a historic part of downtown Columbia since 1980. Every so often The Blue Note offers free live music on the weekends! The Blue Note makes for one of the best free things to do around The University of Missouri Columbia.
8. Tailgate for a Mizzou football game. Tailgating is absolutely free and a great social experience.
The best part is that some Mizzou fans don’t actually make it to the game. So, maybe you’ll get to take their ticket for free. (Seriously this happens all the time)
9. If you’re a Mizzou student, go to a free sporting event!
Such as: A Women’s Basketball game, swimming and diving meet, softball or baseball game!
10. Click here to find something free to do almost everyday on campus, including free jazz concerts, dance lessons, movies, Mizzou sports games, and more!
11. The District
Well, you may want to bring a few dollars for this one. But you could keep it free if you have the self-control that I don’t have. Grab a friend and walk through the streets of the District while you window shop. The District never disappoints with its urban and creative vibe even if you don’t spend a dime!
12. Sporting Events
With a student ID, you can get into a lot of sporting events for free! Not all, but a lot. Enough to fulfill your athletic side. Make sure you check the athletic schedule to make sure which ones are free before you go!
13. The Shack
Step into a little bit of MU history by coming over to the Shack for a bite to eat, a game of pool, or just to hang out with friends. Some of the tables from the original Shack are scattered through the restaurant just waiting for you to carve your mark on them as well. Become a part of history and enjoy a free hangout place minus the cost of food!
14. Mizzou After Dark
Mizzou After Dark is the place to be if you want to have a different kind of night out for FREE! And don’t be discouraged by the name, they usually don’t go past 10 p.m. Anything from Pinterest parties to Be A Kid Night (which includes Kindergarten dinner, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we will NEVER pass up food that brings us back to our childhood).
Click here for more info!
15. Museum of Art and Archaeology
For those who love art museums, GO HERE!!! It is completely free and just a few minutes off campus. There many different exhibits to enjoy as well as artwork to see. It is such an easy and fun way to spend an hour doing something out of the ordinary.
16. Rec Center
If you’re a student at Mizzou, one of the many amazing things on campus is the Rec Center. Head to the Jungle Gym or indoor track for some cardio, the 50M competition pool (which is one of the best in the nation), or Tiger Grotto which includes a lazy river, hot tub, and sauna (and so much more!!). These aren’t the only things available to you at the Rec Center and with so many option to choose from, you’re bound to find one of them capable to ease your mind of the money you don’t have.
17. First Fridays in the North Village Arts District
On the first Friday of each month enjoy a FREE “art crawl” which is pretty much what it seems like. Walk around the North Village Arts District from 6pm-9pm to see the various galleries, shops, and businesses open to give you music, art shows, and refreshments. Get in touch with your artistic side and plan your next Friday night!
18. The Columns
A landmark of Mizzou. Although a simple one, this landmark has so much history behind it. On warmer day enjoy the peacefulness of campus on the fresh green grass with a book, homework, or even a picnic. At night, head over and sit on the columns while Jesse is lit in a golden light against the night sky. You may want to wait until its a bit warmer though, but you could be adventurous!
So although you may be running short on money, please don’t start a GoFundMe account. Just check out these 18 free/cheap things you can do. There is so much more waiting for you out there that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!