We've broken The District into six different area for you to explore. You can choose to concentrate on a single area or you can walk or drive the entire route. The complete walk, not including side trips, is approximately two miles. All sites are listed in a logical, walking order.
Flat Branch is the site of Columbia's original settlement and the perfect place to begin your tour. In the early 1820's, the first homes in Columbia were built here. A few years ago though, this historic location was nothing but an old warehouse district with an abandoned rail line. Now, Flat Branch is quickly becoming The District's most popular area, offering everything from restaurants to recreation to residential. Anchored on each side by Flat Branch Pub & Brewing and The Candy Factory, this area is also home to our newest park and river walk, located at the head of the MKT-KATY Trail. Bicyclists and hikers can now take KATY Trail's MKT Spur right into The District for a day of touring, shopping and dining. Travelers will also be drawn to the historic Blind Boone Home, undergoing restoration and transformation into a ragtime museum, and a hands-on science and health adventure center opening May of 2006.
The best place to start is Flat Branch Park on the corner of Fourth and Cherry. From there, you will travel north across Broadway. This will take you directly into the Government District.
New meets old here in the Government District as several branches of government come together around a public square. The old Daniel Boone Tavern and the County Courthouse hold their own against the new Courthouse Square complex, created through the efforts of both public and private entities. Once a downtown thoroughfare, this section of Eighth Street was closed off and redesigned to create a gathering place in the center of The District. Home to both the Twilight Festival and the Festival of the Arts, this section of The District is a wonderful mix of public and private, work and play.
Travel along Broadway to see some of Columbia's oldest civic buildings. You will end up in Courthouse Square, the perfect place to begin your walk down the Avenue of the Columns.
Flanked on each end by Columbia's famous columns, the Avenue of the Columns is The District's most historic thoroughfare. It's also our newest and most promising project. Home to numerous banks, university offices and city buildings, this section of Eighth Street is currently undergoing an exciting transformation. Property owners, with the help of the city and the county, have hired a design consultant to turn the Avenue of the Columns into an area that is vital, attractive and a sure draw for pedestrians. Possibilities include new landscaping, artwork, mixed-use and residential development, and a constantly changing tableau to entice people to this section of The District.
After your last stop, you'll travel south down Eighth Street, turning north to reach Ninth Street and the beginning of The Strollway. Don't forget to pause and take in the view of the University of Missouri columns flanking Jesse Hall on the south end of the Avenue--one of the state's most photographed vistas.
The Strollway has always been The District's prime shopping, dining and entertainment area. Centered around the crossroads of Broadway and Ninth, The Strollway has long drawn shoppers from across the Mid-Missouri region. Once home to J.C. Penney's and Woolworth's, it now boasts one-of-a-kind gift stores, clothing stores and art galleries on Broadway and a hip selection of stores, clubs and coffee shops on Ninth. The Strollway is also home to some of our finest historic renovation projects.
Begin your walk on the corner of Ninth and Elm, traveling North. After touring Broadway, you'll turn north onto Ninth Street to visit the North Village.
Years ago, the merchants north of Broadway came together and named themselves the North Village as a way to distinguish themselves from the rest of downtown. Today, you can still feel the difference as you stroll through this National Historic District. Known for it's more Bohemian atmosphere, the North Village is the perfect place for a tie-dyed dress or a healing massage. Or if you're in the mood for entertainment, enjoy a jazz concert or catch an indie film at a small cinema cafe.
North Village spans Walnut, North Tenth and North Ninth Streets. Make sure you stop on North Ninth to explore this National Historic District. When you're done, consider some of our historic side trips.
Are you a true history buff? Then try one of our historic side trips. They'll take a little more time but are well worth the effort.