Monday, June 29, 2020

A Quick Trip to Columbia, MO (with Kids)

After trying to figure out how to spend our 7th wedding anniversary, we ended up jumping in the car and going on a short trip to a place that's special to us both: Columbia, MO. With everything going on right now, and with the age of our kids, going somewhere far away or overnight alone wasn't really an option. Even though we didn't technically attend Mizzou at the same time, we both went to and graduated from MU, so a trip to Columbia means visits to our favorite restaurants and sentimental memories of our college days. If you're going to make a little road trip to Columbia, here are a few places you can't miss, as well as some tips for navigating the trip with little kids. 

A Quick Trip to Columbia, MO with Kids

The Food

This place is amazing, and if you go to Columbia and you don't stop here to try the Nachos Bianco, you're missing out! They recently added another location, but we love the downtown one. We stopped in here for a delicious dinner on our second night. 

This is THE pizza place you hear about when you're in Columbia. They actually just opened their "dine in" options again (with precautions of course) on the night of our anniversary, so this was our fancy anniversary dinner ha! I personally love the Darwin, and Aaron is a big fan of their meat pizza. We actually prefer the South location just because it has so much space and isn't usually quite as crowded as the recently remodeled downtown option.

Say what you will, but when it comes to late night, Gumby's Pokey Stix take the prize! We ordered them one night before heading back to our hotel to get the kids to bed. Their pepperoni rolls are also delicious. 

This place is normally so so busy (we're talking a 90 min wait that you stood around and waited for on special weekend), but with COVID we were able to walk right in! I personally love the Hobgobbler with their delicious mashed potatoes, and they also have their own brewery if you're interested in a flight. 

This is a kind of a hidden gem downtown, but it is delicious! I had the Pulled Chicken Club and Aaron enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken Wrap. My side of Mac and Cheese was amazing- and Eli gave a big thumbs up! They also have their own brewery and lots of special theme nights. 

We have recently gained (and are gaining) Andy's in the KC area, but during our college days it held special memories of late night concretes and sweet YoungLife friends. 

Shockingly, Columbia isn't just about food, although I could go on with other options. But these are the ones that we were most excited to have again, especially in light of COVID and what all was open for either dine in or carry-out. Also, a small shout out to Trops, which sadly closed earlier than we expected. Until next time!


Obviously, we had a 3 year old and 5 month old with us, so we weren't going too crazy with activities. But we did find a few fun things to do together. 

First of all, we had to go on a nostalgic couple of walks around the Mizzou Campus. This may not mean as much to you if you didn't actually attend the University of Missouri, but it is still a gorgeous campus and worth a visit. Since there are not currently any in-person classes occurring, the campus was pretty much dead, which was weird but also kind of nice. We of course had to make some special visits to both the Quad/Columns, and also to Greek Town to see the Theta house where I lived for three years! 

The view across the street from Theta is crazy these days, as the dorm I lived in during my freshmen year no longer exists! Just trees there now, and you can see the football stadium. 

I remember coming to Stephen's Lake to go on runs or to study outside with friends in college. I was excited to come here with our kids, as they have a great playground, a couple of different options for walking paths, and a spray park! We were excited to have an option at the spray park, as the pool in our hotel was currently closed, and many spray parks in Kansas City are also closed right now. 

Located in the Columbia Mall, Level Up was our answer to finding something fun that Eli could enjoy for an hour or two. Aaron paid for the two hour pass, and then he and E could play as many games (almost like a Chuck E. Cheese) as they wanted during that time. Poor Addie was a little over-stimulated by the bright lights and loud sounds, but E had the time of his life. Level Up also had a bowling alley and a ropes course inside. 

Tips for Traveling with Kids

One of our little life hacks for traveling with kids is making sure we anticipate their need for naps, and then ensure that our room will provide for that option while also giving us a place to hang out without having to be completely silent for hours. Enter, the suite. 

Stay in a Suite 
This time around, we stayed at Staybridge Suites, a recently remodeled hotel located where 63 meets 70. They had individually packed breakfast we got for free each morning. It was quiet and comfy, and we had a huge room. The bedroom was separate and had two queen beds, and then a door shut to separate from our full kitchen, desk, barstools, couch, TV, and chairs. It was a perfect space to hang out and watch TV or get some work done while the kids napped.

Call Ahead
I called our hotel ahead and they had a crib on site, so we didn't have to bring our pack and play along for Addie. They also were able to confirm early check in for us so we didn't miss nap time.

Be Flexible
Eli sleeps in a full at home with a bumper under his bed. Since we had two queens in our hotel, I put one of his big pillows under the fitted sheet of his queen, and it created a similar bumper type feel so that he wouldn't roll out of bed. I also realized that our room didn't have a bathtub for bathing the kids, so E took a shower with Aaron and I gave Addie her bath in our room's kitchen sink! 

Have Low Expectations
Set the bar of your expectations low...and then lower it some more. I had a hard time initially transitioning from our old travel experiences to those with kids. But once I reminded myself that we would have to be back in the room for nap time, and earlier for bedtime, it got easier. This time around, I brought books and work, or went to work out during nap time so that I wouldn't feel "locked in the room". I also planned things for us in the morning and in the evening, and then saw what all we could fit in. 

At the end of the day, it's about having fun and making sweet memories together- even if that has to look a little slower or less exciting than you're used to. We were initially planing to have a kid free date day on our anniversary, but I had multiple moments where I watched our kids laugh on this trip and I felt like I couldn't have come up with a better way to celebrate seven years together. Cheers to a fun family getaway! 



Post a Comment

Have a question or comment?