View Map

Overview

The Osage and Missouri Native American tribes were the first to settle in this region back in the late 18th century. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through on the Missouri River. The first village, Smithton, was established in 1818, and when it moved across the river in 1821 it was incorporated into what is now the city of Columbia. Visitors will be surprised to note that even though Columbia started off as a small settlement in what was the backwoods of Missouri, today the city boasts several fine colleges. These colleges have been a benchmark in the city’s historical and cultural development. The University of Missouri ...

The Osage and Missouri Native American tribes were the first to settle in this region back in the late 18th century. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through on the Missouri River. The first village, Smithton, was established in 1818, and when it moved across the river in 1821 it was incorporated into what is now the city of Columbia. Visitors will be surprised to note that even though Columbia started off as a small settlement in what was the backwoods of Missouri, today the city boasts several fine colleges. These colleges have been a benchmark in the city’s historical and cultural development. The University of Missouri was founded here in 1841 with just a handful of students; today enrollment is more than 22,000. In 1851 Columbia College was founded as the Christian’s Female College by the elders of Christ Church. It was the first all female institute for higher education founded west of the Mississippi. Stephens College was founded in 1855 as a Baptist female college; today it is widely respected as one of the top women’s colleges in the U.S. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy walking, jogging or biking the Katy Trail. The entire length of the trail is 225 miles with 9 miles of it immediately around Columbia. This was the route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas rail line and is America’s longest rails-to-trails conversion project. There are visitors’ centers and railroad memorabilia at various points along the way.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

view full overview

Frances Folsom for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Seventy miles west of St. Louis, Columbia is in central Missouri and home to the University of Missouri.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, autumn and late summer are the best times as the weather is more temperate. June, July and August can be warm and humid.