The capital of Missouri is Jefferson City, also referred to as Jeff City, Things to do in Jefferson City MO. According to the 2020 census, it had 43,228 residents, making it the 15th most populous city in the state. Additionally, it serves as the county seat of Cole County and the main city of the Jefferson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, the second-most populous and fifth-largest in the state of Missouri.
A little northern portion of the city extends into Callaway County, although the majority of it is located in Cole County. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, is honored with the name Jefferson City.
Your breath will be taken away by the lovely beauty of the city’s tree-lined bluffs and the surrounding natural scenery. Additionally, Jefferson City has a thriving culture and a rich and interesting history. It is crammed with historic landmarks and historic structures.
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List of things to do in Jefferson City MO
Given below is the list of things that you can do in Jefferson City MO during your visit.
1. Architecture of the Missouri State Capitol
The legislative and numerous executive branches of Missouri’s government are located in the Missouri State Capitol, which serves as the city’s seat of government.
The building’s construction was finished in 1917, and since then it has served the city as a showcase for outstanding architecture. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places because of its stunning architecture.
This magnificent structure, which dominates Jefferson City’s skyline, is situated on limestone bluffs along the Missouri River. The building also houses a museum where you can travel and view great works of public art, cultural artifacts, and natural history exhibits.
2. Stark Caverns
You should go to Stark Caverns to see some of the most amazing geologic structures in the United States. You can experience underground rock formations, Native American relics, and much more here as you descend beneath the earth.
Since they are accessible to everyone in your family and are open all year round, everyone can easily take in the beauty. Visit their geode-cracking activities and gift shop while you’re there.
3. Missouri State Penitentiary
The Missouri State Penitentiary, which first opened its doors in 1836, is the city of Jefferson’s oldest prison. The prison was full of prisoners at the time since Texas was hosting the Battle of the Alamo.
You may learn about the jail’s gruesome past, witness the horrifying gas chamber where 40 people were brutally executed, and view the cells of famous heavyweight champion celebrities Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray by taking a tour guide of this historic location’s prison. Due to the Missouri state Penitentiary’s horrific background, the jail was referred to by Time Magazine as the “bloodiest 47 acres in America.”
4. Prison Brews
Three blocks from the Missouri State Penitentiary, Prison Brews is a brewpub where they make their beer.
The design of the eatery has a jail vibe thanks to the barbed wire and prison cell interiors. They also provide products for sale, such as t-shirts. The food is delicious here, but be sure to sample their beers, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza.
5. Cole County Historical Museum
Visit the Cole County Historical Museum to gain a sense of what Cole County has experienced and how it came to be. You should bring the whole family here. There are many different attractions there that will help you learn about Cole County in ways you never imagined.
A visit to the Cole County Historical Museum will take you back in time with its incredibly affordable pricing and a wide variety of rooms to explore and learn from.
6. Missouri Governor’s Mansion
One of the few executive residences in the nation that is open to the public is the Missouri Governor’s Mansion, which is situated at 100 Madison Street just a short stroll from the Missouri State Capitol.
The current home was built in the nineteenth century in 1871 using neo-Renaissance architecture. It is also listed on the American National Register of Historic Places.
The estate, which is situated on a plot of property that is around 10 acres, provides stunning views of the Missouri River. The mansion is open for free guided tours led by vivacious and informed volunteers.
7. Ashford Castle
The 13th-century home Ashford Castle combines 5-star luxury accommodations with traditional Irish design. Ashford Castle offers visitors a glimpse into Missouri that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to see because it is modeled after the actual Ashford Castle in Ireland.
Even if you can’t go inside, simply admiring this scene from a distance will leave you speechless. So, if you want to discover something wholly original about Jefferson City, head here.
8. Missouri State Museum
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is responsible for maintaining the Missouri State Museum. This well-known tourist destination allows visitors to learn about Missouri’s history. The museum’s collection of over 125 battle flags from the American Civil War is one of its most popular exhibits. Throughout the Civil War, Missourian units captured a lot of flags.
Every day of the week, you can visit this museum’s Civil War exhibits. Visitors are not charged for admission. The exhibitions on show here are both temporary and permanent in nature.
9. Binder Park
A total of 644 acres make up Binder Park, the largest park in the city. Frederick C., Frederick H., and Frederick Binder are honored in the park.
As a memorial to his father and son, Fred C. established a trust fund in 1918 to create a park. The Department of Conservation purchased 11 owners’ properties for a 155-acre fishing lake between 1965 and 1966. The Department of Conservation worked diligently to make Binder Park’s lake and fishing pier accessible to those with disabilities.
The park features numerous picnic spots, as well as numerous walking and biking pathways. A playground and covered deck/picnic area offer views of Binder Lake. Northwest of the park is where an 18-hole disc golf course is located.
It contains sand volleyball courts, softball fields Scott and Byrd, a radio control flying field, and a disc golf course and is located near to Binder Park’s southeast corner.
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10. Museum of Missouri Military History
The Museum of Missouri Military History is yet another fantastic museum and a wonderful spot to relax and take in your surroundings. This museum is devoted to honoring and commemorating Missouri’s military heritage, and it contains everything from the Revolutionary War onward.
The entrance to this museum is entirely free, and it is always open. Additionally, there are numerous hiking paths, fishing holes, and boating areas within a short distance.
11. Runge Nature Center
The Runge Nature Center has several paths that showcase Missouri’s natural resources, including forests, wildlife, birds, and marine life. In the indoor wildlife viewing area, you can observe exotic animals, browse the nature library, and purchase gifts.
In the 3000-square-foot portion of the center, the natural habitats of Missouri are on display. Be astounded by the stunning 3,580-gallon fish aquarium. There are also interactive games and activities for kids. There are 2 miles of hiking trails outside the center if you feel like going for a hike.
12. Capitol Plaza Hotel
The State Capitol Building and many other sights in the town’s downtown area are easily accessible from the Capitol Plaza Hotel, which is situated in the center of the city.
For your comfort and convenience, the hotel offers several amenities, including a pool, fitness center, bar, room service, capitol grounds, and more.
You can stay here and take your pet to explore the city because it is pet-friendly. For the ideal escape full of comfort and peace, stay at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
13. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is one of Missouri’s most beautiful state parks, and it’s not too far from Jefferson City. There are a tonne of hiking routes, bike paths, and horse trails available for you to use if you want to go horseback riding. If you have the necessary tools, you could even camp in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.
When you initially arrive, I’d advise printing out a map so you can get acquainted with the state park. Your group and you can investigate safety and assurance in this manner.
14. Lewis and Clark Monument
The Capitol Building is conveniently near the Lewis and Clark Monument. Its ideal location, which looks out over the Missouri River and Jefferson Landing Historic Site, makes it simple for guests to go to other sites.
The website depicts the illustrious Lewis and Clark’s historic trip. The sculptures of Captains Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, George Drouillard, York, and Seaman are available for photo opportunities. After posing for pictures, you can gaze at the captivating cityscape or wander along the picturesque walkways close by.
15. Miller Performing Arts Center
The Miller Performing Arts Center is a charming performing arts venue that hosts concerts, talks, theatrical productions, and more throughout the year. It is owned and run by the Jefferson City MO Public School Historic District.
It boasts luxurious theatre seating and cutting-edge acoustics to provide visitors with the finest experience possible. You can visit the art gallery on the building’s upper level.
Additionally, the staff is friendly and supportive. When visiting this city, make sure to see a performance or two at the Miller Performing Arts Center.
16. Carl R. Noren River Access
The Carl R. Noren River Access is located next to Turkey Creek, which empties into the Missouri River, and offers visitors a place to unwind and observe the river. Visitors can cross a bridge that is intended for pedestrians.
17. Finger Lakes State Park
Finger Lakes State Park, which was formerly a strip mine used for coal mining, is now a sizable outdoor park with activities for every family. The only two state parks in Missouri that permit ATV use are here, so get on your quad and take in the beautiful scenery this park has to offer. You can also swim, kayak, or have a beautiful picnic if that’s not your thing. The choices appear to be limitless.
There is a tonne to do at this state park close to Jefferson City MO, whether you want to camp there for a few days or just stop by for a few hours.
18. Jefferson Landing State Historic Site
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is in charge of overseeing the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site. The Union Hotel, Lohman’s Landing Building, and the historic Christopher Maus House are all located on the property.
The Union Hotel includes the Elizabeth Rozier Gallery, which showcases the state’s history, art, and cultural exhibitions, along with the Amtrak train station on the first floor of the hotel structure. The Lohman Building houses a general store and a warehouse from the 1850s. To learn more about the historical magnificence of the state, take a guided tour of the location
19. Missouri River Pedestrian Bike Bridge
The Missouri River Pedestrian Bike Bridge, which spans the Missouri River, is an eight-foot-wide path for bicyclists and pedestrians. A paved walkway is connected to the bridge for walking.
It makes traveling to downtown, the Katy Trail, and the Noren River Access Park convenient for guests. Additionally, there are two historic or viewing spots on the bridge from where you may enjoy breathtaking views of the Missouri River and the State Capitol Building.
The mood on the bridge is serene and pleasant because there is usually no one else there, and the river is running beneath you and there are gorgeous views all around. Don’t forget to watch the dawn or sunset from this spot.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge. That’s all right! Instead, you can visit the BoatHenge in Columbia by taking a quick journey from Jefferson City MO. Someone has buried a set of odd boats straight up in the earth on their lawn.
This grassy area in Columbia has exactly six boats set up at random, and it attracts almost as much interest as Stonehenge itself.
21. Carnahan Memorial Garden
The Governor’s Mansion is close to the stunning Carnahan Memorial Garden. The garden adds glamour to the Capitol Complex with its stunning display of flowers, lakes, trees, and scenic walks. The garden was given a new name to honor Governor Carnahan’s services after his passing.
Contact the Missouri Office of Administration if you want to book the space for special events or weddings. It shouldn’t last longer than six hours. The lawn must not sustain any harm as a result of your event.
22. Eat Onion Rings at ECCO Lounge
ECCO Lounge is a restaurant that offers wonderful American fare and cocktails. It has a menu that is in the pub style.
The service is outstanding, and the personnel is kind and attentive. The homemade burgers, beer-battered chicken sandwiches, and especially the breaded onion rings are all worth trying (the best onion rings in the whole town).
23. Shattered Screams
If you’re in Jefferson City MO in October, you must go to Shattered Screams. Anyone younger than 13 should probably stay at home since this haunted house has a PG13 rating. However, for those who are a little older, this is a fantastic location to experience some unusual fun in Jefferson City MO while becoming a little spooked.
24. ice-cream treats at Central Dairy
Since 1934, Jefferson City’s top ice cream has been available at Central Dairy. Despite being old, the historic ice cream shop offers ice creams that are suitable for the younger generation. Cones, fountain drinks, sodas, shakes, malts, sundaes, banana splits, polish sausages, and hot dogs are among the menu items.
The ice creams have the best flavor and are inexpensive. Additionally offered here are ice creams that are egg- and gluten-free. In this storied ice cream shop, you may get flavors like burgundy cherry, salted caramel toffee crunch, and many more.
25. Downtown Jefferson City
Jefferson’s downtown is chic because of its great architecture and historical buildings. Several impressive Romanesque and other Victorian-era architectural masterpieces may be found in the downtown area.
This area is home to the oldest synagogue west of the Mississippi River. Stained glass, unusual window designs, historic towers, antique clocks, and other features can be found in some of the structures.
The Lohman’s Opera House, Exchange, and Trust Bank Building, Cole County supreme court building, and Temple Beth El are all noteworthy structures in this region. There are numerous restaurants, stores, bars, and other establishments nearby in addition to all of these ancient structures.
26. Capital Arts Gallery
A lovely public art gallery, Capital Arts Gallery features the creations of regional Missouri and Jefferson City MO artists. For both adults and children, the gallery also provides interactive educational programs.
At any given time, thousands of works of art by diverse local artists are on display. At the gallery, everything is for sale. Every few weeks, new exhibitions and displays are added with various topics.
To raise the public’s knowledge of art, the art gallery also sponsors several events and festivals, including Gallery Crawls, the Capital Chalk Art Festival, Porchfest, and the Salvation Army’s Empty Bowls.
27. Devil’s Icebox Cave
One of the most intriguing caverns you’ll ever hike into is tucked away inside Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. The temperature in the Devil’s Icebox Cave will generally be around 50 degrees throughout the year.
If you like, you can hike directly into the cave, or you can explore the region nearby, which is full of paths, running water, and wildlife. Even sinkholes are something to watch out for.
Going to the Devil’s Icebox is strongly advised if you’re looking for a peaceful, tranquil small experience. It’s serene and remote, and you can take in Missouri’s unspoiled natural beauty.
28. Madison’s Café
Popular Jefferson City MO eatery Madison’s Café has been serving American, Italian, and other cuisines since 1982. In this wonderful restaurant, you may have succulent steaks, delightful appetizers, hot soups, healthy salads, exquisite seafood, tasty sandwiches, delicious pasta, and delectable desserts. In addition to this, you may enjoy the finest wines and modern beverages.
200 people can be seated in the seating area, 40 people can be in the lounge, and up to 120 people can be comfortably seated in two separate banquet rooms.
29. North Jefferson City Recreation Area
After the terrible floods of 1993 and 1995, North Jefferson Recreation Area, once known as Cedar City, was rebuilt.
The city MO funded the FEMA and CDBG purchases of businesses and houses in the areas damaged by the 1993 floods. 198 parcels in North Jefferson City MO were purchased for the creation of future parks and open spaces.
The City Council set aside 165 acres of land for parks to save the area and administer it in the future. An outdoor restroom and a picnic food preparation facility were added in the initial phase of building this new park.
30. Capital Mall
The Capital Mall has been a popular shopping destination since 1978. In this bustling mall, JCPenney and Dillard’s are the two principal tenants. The mall has a food court, a theatre, and entertainment options. The kids’ play area is the ideal place for your children to enjoy themselves while you shop at the mall.
31. Serenity Valley Winery
The only decision you need to make at Serenity Valley Winery is which type of wine you want to drink next. Numerous fine, tasty wines produced at this stunning winery, which is situated right on the lake, will make you understand what Missouri is all about.
Your entire family will have a beautiful, peaceful experience at Serenity Valley Winery, whether you’re there for a wine tasting or a wedding.
32. Runge Conservation Nature Centre
The 3,000-square-foot Runge Conservation Nature Centre has an aquarium, indoor exhibits, places to watch birds, nature trails, and more. The wildlife in this natural setting is diverse and includes live reptiles, amphibians, and a 3,580-gallon fish aquarium with a variety of fish.
Additionally, there is a fantastic museum/library nearby where tourists may view a variety of themed exhibits that describe many kinds of natural ecosystems. Also fantastic are the hiking trails.
The trails offer stunning views of the surrounding foliage and greenery. There are paths nearby, as well as a bird refuge where you may watch birds and feed the birds.
33. Missouri Farm Bureau Log Home
The Missouri Farm Bureau Log Structure, or Wallendorf Structure as it is more often known, is a two-story log home built in the dogtrot style that dates back to the middle of the 1800s.
In 2008, the house was included on the National Register of Historic sites by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Since then, it has provided tourists with a window into the past and a source of inspiration.
By moving the structure to its headquarters in 2004, the Missouri Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture prevented the structure from collapsing completely.
The log house is located just past the Missouri Farm Bureau Center, close to the junction of Missouri Boulevard and South Country Club Drive.
34. Katy Trail State Park
Get out of the city and discover all that Katy Trail State Park has to offer in terms of beauty. To experience all that this location has to offer in terms of nature, you can go for a walk, ride your horse, or go on a bike.
Many of the routes follow the Missouri River directly, providing some of the most breathtaking views in the world. The Katy Trail State Park is the ideal location to visit and spend some time alone in nature. Katy trail has 26 trailheads and several railroad terminals along the way.
35. Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center
Visit the Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center’s exhibits about the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The institution has welcomed visitors since 1982. It covers a wide range of subjects, including drug abuse, crime rates, and traffic safety. There are exhibits of the early vehicles, equipment, uniforms, and other supplies used by the agency.
36. High Voltage Arcade Games
High Voltage Arcade in Jefferson City is the finest option if you need a location to temporarily divert your children.
Since this arcade is situated amid Capital Mall, you can go shopping while your children enjoy these well-liked arcade games. The High Voltage Arcade has an abundance of pleasure thanks to its wide variety of games and larger-than-expected size.
They provide food, gifts, and a lot more. Visit this family-friendly arcade in Jefferson City for a fun break with your family.
37. The Mission
The Mission, a well-known club in the center of the city, frequently presents top-notch live acts. Visit live music venues to enjoy performances of rock, bluegrass, and other genres.
As soon as you enter the club, the pinewood floors, the old brick walls, and the stamped ceiling take you back in time to the 1800s.
The venue’s vintage decor and comfortable furnishings allow you to experience modern nightlife with a dash of old-world charm.
Is Jefferson City MO a good place to live?
The Jefferson area is an excellent place to live and work with a median income close to the average, a cost of living that is roughly 18% below the total average, and a low unemployment rate.
What Jefferson Missouri is famous for?
These are just a few things Missouri is renowned for, with its barbeque, robust agriculture sector, and famous sites like the Gateway Arch being some of the most well-known. As well as, the state is home to many stunning state parks that are great for picnics, camping, and hiking.
There are many wonderful historic sites, art galleries, and recreational opportunities in Jefferson City. Check out our suggested activities to do and see to make lifelong memories in this stunning city. Enjoy the best of the city throughout your vacation while being enchanted by the magnificent Jefferson City.