Although Columbia has a developed downtown scene, it also has numerous spots to get outdoors and enjoy mid-Missouri's climate. The best part? The city bus can take you there!

The city's Go COMO bus service features six different routes that can take you through much of Columbia. The Wabash Bus Station is conveniently located downtown at 126 N. 10th St. and from there, all six lines can be accessed.

Bus routes to all of the following locations can be found online at Go COMO's website or at the bus station.

Stephens Lake Park

Stephens Lake Park on East Broadway is just a short bus ride from the MU campus on the city's green line.

The park features a large lake, footpaths, a playground and picnic areas. Additionally, the park serves as an arboretum with many species of flowers, shrubs and trees.

Highpoint Park

On the south end of Columbia, Highpoint Park provides a half-court for basketball, a short walking trail and a sand volleyball court.

Cosmo-Bethel Park

Cosmo-Bethel Park, a stop along the black route, is a 40-acre community park next to Gentry Middle School and Rock Bridge High School.

Aside from 12 tennis courts that are shared with Columbia Public Schools, the park has a fishing lake, nature trail and a baseball/softball field.

Flat Branch Park

Flat Branch Park offers a two-block creekside walk near the heart of downtown. Additionally, the park acts as a trailhead for the MKT Trail.

Although an extension of the park is currently under construction, the sculpture "Marathoners" is still on display, and a graffiti art wall can be found under a bridge at the park. City WiFi is accessible to the public at the park as well.

MKT Trail

The 8.9-mile MKT Nature and Fitness Trail serves as a connector to the longer Katy Trail. The 10-foot-wide trail is made of an all-weather crushed limestone surface that provides opportunities for walking, running and cycling.

Cosmo Park

Cosmopolitan Park is Columbia's largest municipal park. Featuring both 6 miles of multi-use trail along with 5.4 miles of nature trail.

There are four bocce ball courts, a skate park, 12 horseshoe pits, a remote control car track, roller hockey rink, eight lighted tennis courts and seven volleyball courts.

There are also 14 fields for baseball or softball, six football fields, an 18-hole golf course and 19 soccer or multipurpose fields.

Shelter Gardens

Shelter Gardens is more than 5-acres of gardens with over 300 varieties of trees and shrubs as well as at least 15,000 annuals and perennials. This huge collection makes the park an excellent spot to picnic, take a stroll or paint.

Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. owns and operates Shelter Gardens.

  • Photo Editor and Photographer Student Staff hmhntr@umsystem.edu

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