Make the most out of Columbia’s downtown venues

Enjoy everything that Columbia’s culture has to offer just a few blocks away from your dorm.


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Columbia may seem like a small town for those who come from bigger cities, but it can still have a busy cultural life. From live music venues to independent film theaters, there is always something happening downtown.

The Blue Note is the main live music venue in town. It’s a short walk to the location at 17 N. 9th Street if you’re coming from campus, and it’s close to a number of restaurants and cafes. Tickets can be bought at the venue’s box office during ticketed shows, online or at the MU Student Center Ticket Office on the first level of the Student Center.

The Blue Note’s calendar has had bands like Portugal. The Man and Hippocampus in the past, and for this fall semester, it includes names such as the electronic indie duo Matt and Kim on Sept. 5, the pop punk band State Champs on Sept. 26 and the singer and songwriter Lauv on Oct. 14. Most of the shows at the Blue Note are all ages, but some specific events are 18 and older.

Another popular live music venue is Cafe Berlin, a smaller place that, unlike the Blue Note, is also a restaurant. This downtown venue is situated at 220 N. 10th Street, and it’s past calendars have featured performances by artists like the indie rock group Snail Mail and the alternative singer Lomelda.

This fall, Cafe Berlin is having concerts from bands like the indie rock players Bad Bad Hats on Sept 14, and the indie/post-punk band Slow Hollows.

When it comes to movies, Ragtag Cinema is a close downtown venue focused on independent and international productions. Situated just a couple blocks away from campus, on 10 Hitt Street, the place offers two theaters and is also home to the independent record store Hitt Records and Uprise Bakery.

Ragtag is now showing the films “Eighth Grade,” a middle school comedy written by Bo Burnham, “BlacKkKlansman,” a true story directed by Spike Lee, the 1996 thriller “Bound,” by the Wachowski Brothers and the Japanese animated film “Night is Short, Walk On Girl,” directed by Masaaki Yuasa.

Still during the fall semester, Ragtag’s calendar will feature many titles such as the True/False Film Fest’s official selection documentary “Three Identical Strangers” starting on Aug. 31, which was directed by Tim Wardle. Also, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” a female-directed drama selected by the Citizen Jane Film Festival, written and directed by Desiree Akhavan, will start on Sept. 2.

Details about all of the events, screenings and performances mentioned can be found on each venue’s website. There, you can find complete and updated calendars or schedules with additional information, such as times and prices.

Downtown Columbia offers a diverse set of cultural experiences for MU students, and different performances can match various preferences and tastes. So whether you’re a freshman or a senior, these venues will have something for you.

Edited by Alexandra Sharp |

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