From A to Z: A guide to life in Columbia

From Anheuser Busch to the Zou, there's a lot more to our school than just M-I-Z.
Diners can find themselves sharing tables with strangers (or new friends?) when Ernie’s Café and Steakhouse is crowded.

As an MU student, you’ve surely mastered the English language. But that doesn’t mean you can't brush up on your ABC’s with our A to Z guide of all things MU and Columbia.

Anheuser Busch Natural Resources Building: This is more than just a classroom building — it’s a Mecca of Missouri taxidermy for more than just agriculture majors to enjoy. Whether you’re taking Psychology 1000 or some fancy animal science class, you’ll likely find yourself in this building at some point during your college career. Watch out for the animal heads, especially when you find yourself there late at night after a long day of class.

The Blue Note: When your favorite band is passing through the Midwest, chances are they will make a stop at The Blue Note. It’s quirky and cool, and concert tickets generally cost about $15. The venue can even be rented out for weddings.

Columbia Public Library: When Ellis Library can’t meet all your literary needs, pay a visit to the Columbia Public Library. Besides books galore, the library has CDs and DVDs available for checkout. All you need is a library card, which you can easily get by proving you have an address in Missouri (your residence hall works!).

Dobbs: It’s the most overrated underrated dining hall. Conveniently located near Greektown and Faurot Field, it’s got a grill, deli and always-stocked vegetarian section. Plus, they use paper plates and cups, something that the rest of the dining halls can’t say.

Ernie’s Café and Steakhouse: Try the banana pancakes. You’ll be stuffed for the rest of the day. With the classic '50s diner vibe, a breakfast in the café will set your morning off right. Hopefully you like making friends, because when the Walnut Street café is crowded, you might be sharing a table with other diners.

Fine Arts Building: This is just one of those quirky buildings that you have to walk through at some point. A stroll through the music wing will give you a glimpse at students vigorously practicing. Plus, if you’re in need of a cheap date idea, it’s not uncommon to catch a concert at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Grindstone Trails: Keep off the Freshman 15 (or the Mizzou 22) by going on a run, bike ride or hike along the Grindstone Trails. These are handy for those of you on the southeast side of campus who don’t want to spend your whole workout just running to the MKT Trail.

Hot Box Cookies: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a freshly baked cookie, ranging in flavor from classic chocolate chip to a cookies-and-cream cookie. A group of MU students started the downtown Columbia-based company, which even delivers.

Infusion: When you’re running late for class but can’t resist the temptation to satisfy your caffeine needs, pick up a cup of joe from Infusion. Conveniently located inside the MU Student Center, it’s centrally located and offers up an array of pastries as well.

Jesse Hall: Attribute your present location to this colossal building; since it’s the school’s admissions office, it was your first contact with MU as a student. Scaling the dome is one of the toughest of the “Seven things to do before you graduate Mizzou” to accomplish.

Kaldi’s Coffee: It’s finals week. The library is stressing you out. The dorm is too sterile and the student center has just got too many students in it. Grab your MacBook and take a walk down Ninth Street to this coffee shop. Don’t forget to check out Lakota Coffee Company and the Coffee Zone, other coffee shops on the same street.

Lowry Mall: A hub for many things MU, the red brick path leads the way to Ellis Library, the Student Success Center, Memorial Union and more.

MKT Trail: Working out in the Student Recreation Complex is great, but working out at the MKT Trail is better. It’s peaceful, woodsy and all-around fantastic. Catch the trail on the north end near Flat Branch Park and head south, where you’ll "run" into the fitness course.

Ninth Street: One of the main streets you’ll cruise down while visiting downtown Columbia, it’s home to lots of coffee shops, restaurants and quaint little shops. It also boasts the famous Shakespeare’s Pizza, one of the top-ranked college hangouts in America.

Old Heidelberg Restaurant: Conveniently located near campus but still off-campus, it’s a popular hangout for birthdays, meetings and general get-togethers. The restaurant serves a buffet on Sunday mornings and half-priced entrees on Friday nights. Also, The Maneater editorial board likes to frequent The ‘Berg on Friday evenings.

Peace Park: Embrace the tranquility of nature in Peace Park, sandwiched between the J school, the Quad and downtown Columbia. You can still get Wi-Fi here, so grab your laptop and do some homework from the park.

Quad: Known in its entirety as Francis Quadrangle, this is where you’ll find the columns, the J school, Jesse Hall, the Geological Sciences building and more. You’ll feel especially collegiate as you’re walking to class down the Quad, or maybe just walking downtown to grab some lunch.

Ragtag Cinema: So the movie theater is too mainstream for you? Ragtag probably isn’t. This hip theater shows the latest in indie movies, and also is one of the focal points of the True/False Film Festival. Visit on Halloween and catch a showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but you better be dressed up in your most outlandish garb.

Stephens Lake Park: Grab your sandwiches, picnic blankets and Frisbees and spend a day at the park. Covered spaces can be reserved for your organization’s event, or just grab some friends and organize a game of Capture the Flag. It’s close to Stephens College, so seize the opportunity to meet some non-MU students.

Tiger Grotto: Unwind after a long day in class at the Tiger Grotto, otherwise known as the pool. Palm trees surround it and it’s got a lazy river, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and jacuzzi. What more could you ask for in a college?

University Bookstore: So you decided to add that statistics class at the last minute? Pick up your textbook in the University Bookstore, along with all the other school supplies you forgot to bring from home. You can also stock up on MU apparel to wear on game days or to use as gifts for friends and family.

Vault: When you’re really trying to impress that girl from Spanish class, take her on a date to The Vault, one of Columbia’s swankiest restaurants. It’s located inside The Tiger Hotel, so enjoy an evening exploring the charming downtown Columbia along with a romantic dinner at the classic location.

Wrench Auditorium: And when you’re in need of a cheap date, catch a $1 movie on Friday and Saturday nights at Wrench Auditorium. Memorial Union’s own theater typically shows popular movies from within that year for $1 on weekends as well as free movies on Wednesday nights.

MO-X: You may have ridden this to get between the airport and CoMo; that’s because MO-X is one of the most popular forms of transportation to help you get home. The shuttle can pick you up from pretty much anywhere in Columbia and take you to the St. Louis or Kansas City airports for a nominal fee.

YogoLuv: Can’t choose just one topping? Get your frozen yogurt fix at this Columbia staple, where you can serve yourself and pay per ounce.

The Zou: Freshmen can paint the “M” here, and alumni can cheer on their alma mater here at MU’s football stadium. Also known as Faurot Field, the Zou is likely where you will spend many weekends cheering on the Tigers.

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