Today is the official first day of summer. Though Missouri has felt sweltering for the past week — gotta love that post-rainstorm humidity, am I right? — and I personally count the season’s start as Memorial Day weekend, June 21 is the summer solstice and boasts the year’s most hours of daylight. Basically, it’s all downhill from here, people.
For me, today is the perfect reminder that summer will be over before I know it — it’s time to start crossing off items from my summer to-do list.
I’m a big list-maker: I regularly make city-specific lists of restaurants to try, I can’t shop without a carefully thought-out grocery list, and every getaway, big or small, requires a list of must-see sites. It’s only natural for me to start each new season with a list of places I must go and experiences I must try. A few weeks ago, I emailed a lengthy summer bucket list to my boyfriend (perhaps to his chagrin, but he’s a good sport). Though I don’t expect we’ll get to cross off all these items this summer, I thought I’d share it here.
If you’re looking for things to do in Missouri this summer, this is a great start. Sometimes the perfect summer vacation is simply exploring the best in your own community…
- Enjoy a drive-in movie. I’ve been dying to do this my entire life (well, pretty much since I first saw that scene in Grease). There are drive-in theaters all over Missouri. This site helped me find the closest one to Columbia, which is the Moberly Five-and-Drive.
- Take a hot air balloon ride. Not sure who I’ll do this one with, since my boyfriend is terrified by the idea, but I think it would be such a majestic experience. It’s on my life bucket list, so why not this summer? I always see hot air balloons floating around Columbia.
- Go to a summer fair, like the Boone County Fair in July and the Missouri State Fair in August.
- Spend an evening at Cooper’s Landing outside Columbia. I’ve only heard great things about this riverside spot, where you can enjoy dinner and live music (and much more, including camping).
- Plan a float trip or camping trip with friends. I’ve never been on a float trip! I honestly had never heard of one before moving to Missouri. If I can’t get a float trip arranged, I’d settle for a night beneath the stars. I miss camping. We went often when I was a kid.
- Go to a fancy movie theater. Have you heard of these high-end movie theaters with cushy recliners, cocktails, and servers? Sign me up. We don’t have one in Columbia, but there are definitely several options in St. Louis and Kansas City.
- Visit a farmers’ market, like Columbia’s Sunday farmers’ market at Wabash Station.
- Enjoy date nights with simple activities reminiscent of childhood, like mini-golf, batting cages, laser tag, and roller skating.
- Go to a local theater production, like Columbia’s Maplewood Barn Theater.
- Explore local parks, like Columbia’s Rock Bridge State Park, Finger Lakes State Park, and Lake of the Ozarks’ Ha Ha Tonka State Park (where there’s cool ruins of a mansion).
- Go to Deja Vu in Columbia for live stand-up comedy shows.
- Day-trip to Hermann wine country for the Berries and Barbq Wine Trail event July 27 and 28.
- Visit Hannibal for a weekend. Activity ideas: Mark Twain Dinner Cruise, the Mark Twain cave, Rockcliffe Mansion tour, and a Haunted Hannibal tour at night.
- Shop the antique stores in Arrowrock.
- Follow up that day with a professional theater show at the Arrowrock Lyceum Theater. (I’m excited to see Steel Magnolias!)
- Escape to Boonville for a night at the historic Hotel Frederick.
- Spend a day at Les Bourgeois winery’s A-frame in Rocheport.
- Enjoy an amazing dinner at Abigail’s in Rocheport. And indulge in their gooey butter cake!
- Dine outside at Les Bourgeois’ bistro.
- Hit up the KC Royals’ $1 hot dog night.
- Go to as many baseball games as we can!
- Party in KC’s Power and Light.
- Spend a day at a theme park. I love, love, love amusement parks! One of the highlights of my childhood was going to my dad’s special work night at Six Flags. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange rented out the place, so there were practically no lines! St. Louis has a Six Flags, and KC has Worlds of Fun.
- And spend another day at a water park. I love amusement parks, but I professed my love too soon — water parks really take the figurative cake here. I was a fish as a kid; I would throw a fit when I had to get out of the lake or pool. Combine swimming with theme rides? There’s nothing better. I haven’t been to a water park in years, so I would love to go this summer. Big Surf in Lake of the Ozarks sounds like a solid choice.
- Spend a weekend at Lake of the Ozarks.
- And finally hit up that sweet skeeball place there!
- TED DREWES.
- Go to a show at St. Louis’ MUNY in Forest Park.
- And visit the St. Louis Zoo.
- Enjoy an Italian meal in The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis.