COMO SOCIAL: Find the best of CoMo with TripAdvisor and Yelp

Monday, December 2, 2013 | 3:38 p.m. CST

The Missourian sometimes reports on social media websites and conversations to offer a window into Columbia's online communities. See previous stories about how to use Reddit and Meetup

Although Columbia may be small to some, there's a lot here. We have a robust arts and music scene, museums, varied cuisine and a beautiful surrounding landscape. In this edition of CoMo Social, we'll take a look at two websites, TripAdvisor and Yelp, that can help you get to know an area and plan your great CoMo adventures.

What are TripAdvisor and Yelp?

TripAdvisor allows users to find and compare flight prices and times, book hotels, view restaurant reviews and find lists of things to do.

Yelp helps users navigate a city and can be used for travel or day-to-day tasks. There are reviews of restaurants, bars, spas, entertainment spots and even hospitals.   

How do I join?

There is no need to officially join either site. You may browse lists and view and write reviews without making an account. But if you'd like to keep track of what you've viewed and/or written, it's best to make an account via Facebook or email.

How do I find what's going on in CoMo?

Each site makes it quite easy to do searches. On TripAdvisor, type "Columbia, MO" in the search bar and you'll land on the Columbia homepage, which lists the best restaurants and attractions. To find out what's popular for the day in Columbia, go to the "Trending Now" tab. 

Yelp's search process is similar, but it allows you to find what you want more quickly. In the search bar, there are two boxes to fill out: find and near. In the find box, type in words and/or phrases such as: food trucks, arts and entertainment, parks, family fun, or date night to narrow the search. In the near box, type in "Columbia, MO."

Note: It's important to include Missouri in your search. Otherwise, you might be looking at listings for Columbia, S.C.

How can I find the best places/activities/restaurants in each list?

TripAdvisor and Yelp have filters to help you navigate through lists. TripAdvisor filters its restaurant lists by ranking, name, price, cuisine and dining options (such as buffets or delivery).  The attractions are filtered only by rank or name. 

For Yelp, lists are filtered by best match (based on the search term you used), highest rated and most reviewed.

Which site is best for certain searches?

TripAdvisor is best used for finding an easy list of things to do. Yelp is better for finding places to eat. According to Yelp, 78 of the top 100 search terms in Columbia relate to food.

Let's get to the good stuff. What are the best restaurants in CoMo? (According to Yelp, using the highest rated filter)

What should be on my to-do list? (According to TripAdvisor)

Interested in learning more about these sites? Check out TripAdvisor's and Yelp's FAQ pages.

Do you use TripAdvisor and/or Yelp? What tips or links do you have to share? Do you agree with these lists or have places you would add? Comment below, or email supervising editor Joy Mayer.

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