The key to a Columbia worthy staycation


Courtney Bach

Ah, May. The time of year when people get excited for summer plans and are ready to leave school.
For those who don’t have summer plans, though, life has the potential to get boring. That’s why people should know how to have a Columbia style vacation.
One simple, yet fun, activity for teenagers in Columbia is Breakout COMO, 218 N 8th Street. The objective of Breakout is to find clues and solve puzzles in order to get out of the escape rooms they have.
The obstacle: participants only have 60 minutes. Freshman George Matthes has attempted to elude the time constraints.
“We didn’t end up escaping, but it was a great experience. There’s a bunch of hidden puzzles everywhere, and you don’t really know what you’re looking for until it becomes clear in the end,” Matthes said. “We were one number away from escaping, but then the timer went off.”
Breakout COMO, typically $25 per person, has multiple rooms, all with different themes and background stories. It’s a fun activity to do with friends that’s easy to access, but not as easy to win, Matthes said. Sadly, not all summer activities are as simple to be a part of.
The reason summer can be hard to plan for some students is because of some events are more expensive and exclusive events than others. Coachella, for example, is everywhere this time of year, and why not? It’s a huge music festival with amazing artists. The bad news is it costs about the down payment on a house, and that’s not counting travel cost. The good news is that Columbia has its own music fest.
To compensate, just get some tickets for the 9th Street Summerfest. The music festival, hosted by the Blue Note, will have live music downtown over the next few months. Some of the featured artists include Dierks Bentley on June 13 and Weird Al Yankovic on July 24. They also host a couple of free shows where the only important thing is to show up early.
Freshman Ellie Carver-Horner pointed out the Blue Note’s sense of community brought about through the music.
“I would recommend going to the Blue Note for live music because it supports a local business and the venue brings in a lot of great musicians that a lot of people haven’t heard of,” Carver-Horner said.
Of course, there’s more to Columbia than just a breakout room and a music fest. When it starts to get tedious, it’s time to check out the Columbia Art League, 207 S 9th Street, a small scale art museum that features local artists.
When June 2-3 comes, it will be time to head out to Stephen’s Lake Park for Columbia Art League’s annual Art in the Park. Entrance to this art-based festival is free and provides activities to participate in. Various artists and volunteers will be there to sell paintings, mugs, scarfs; pretty much anything that someone put creative thought into. While walking around, participants can stop at a food truck, get some lemonade or maybe even get their face painted.
Freshman Jessica Mobley participated in the event just last year. She enjoyed the various activities, people and art there, all of which really bring the event together.
“There’s also a ton of cool people there that can do some amazing things,” Mobley said. “It’s really fun and enjoyable for all people and all ages to go to and see different people that are all having a good time.”
Art in the Park is a way to not only experience new things, but have a new sense of community and a calm, creative atmosphere. The various participants provide a new environment for Columbia’s art lovers.
If one is searching for a little more adventure, head to 1201 American Parkway and discover Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park where the floor and walls are made of trampolines. It has areas for obstacle courses, dodgeball, free jump and more. They also serve Manzo’s pizza along with other food and drinks.
“[Sky Zone has] great food, super rad people working there; they even [have] a nerf gun battle area, which is pretty dope,” junior Grant Bentinganan said. “My all-time favorite things were the two big walls that you run up and grab the top of.” He also commented that Sky Zone would definitely be the type of place he would go to with friends to have a party or special event. Sky Zone also has programs available such as workout classes (Skyfit), a night made solely for glow in the dark fun (Glow) and more. The price varies but is typically $10 to $15 an hour with an additional $3 for the special socks that are required to jump.
The difficult part of having a sufficient staycation in Columbia is being used to the environment. Matthes believes that since he has lived here so long, Columbia does tend to lose its fun factor.
“I think Columbia does get boring overtime,” Matthes said. “Right now, a staycation is really difficult, but I feel it’s on schedule to improve overtime with Columbia’s current growth.”
Not everyone agrees with Matthes. Bentinganan thinks that Columbia won’t get any better than it is.
“It’s more of a place for people in their 30’s and 40’s looking to start a family,” Bentinganan said. “Work a 9-5 job, and live a comfortable life.”