15 Best Things to Do in Jefferson City, Missouri

15 Best Things to Do in Jefferson City, Missouri

Named after the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson City or the City of Jefferson or Jeff City is the state capital of the American state of Missouri. It is the 15th most populated city of the state with nearly 45,000 residents. The town was awarded as the most beautiful small town in America. The city is blessed with Missouri River flowing through it. The charming beauty of the natural landscape with its tree-lined bluffs of the city will take your breath away. Jefferson City also boasts a rich heritage and vibrant culture. Jeff City is filled to the brim with historical buildings and prestigious landmarks. The architecture of the city is also very noteworthy with several gems located all over the city. The city’s museums, art centres, boutiques, and the downtown scene are not to be missed at any cost. Delectable food and fantastic nightlife of Jefferson City are cherries on top. Here are some of the best places to see and best things to do in the delightful City of Jefferson, Missouri.

See The Stunning Architecture Of The Missouri State Capitol

The Missouri State Capitol
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The Missouri State Capitol is the capitol of the city, and it houses the legislation and several executive branches of the government of Missouri. The construction of the building was completed in 1917, and it has since been serving as an example of magnificent architecture in the city. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural prowess. This stunning landmark is located on the limestone bluffs on the banks of Missouri River, and it dominates the skyline of the Jefferson City. There is a museum in the building as well that you can explore and see the amazing public art, cultural, and natural history on display. You can also take guided tours of the capitol throughout the year to know more about it and its history. Visit the Missouri State Capitol to know more about Missouri’s history while gazing at the stunning building and beautiful views of the river.

Take A Guided Tour Of The Missouri Governor's Mansion

Missouri Governor's Mansion
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Located only a short walk away from The Missouri State Capitol on  100 Madison Street, The Missouri Governor's Mansion is one of the only few executive residences in the country open for public. The current mansion was built in the 19th century in 1871 in the Neo-Rennaisance architecture style. It is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The estate covers an area of about 10 acres and overlooks the State Capitol and the Missouri River and serves picturesque views. The interior of the mansion is impressive with elements such as pink granite columns, grand walnut stairway, mansard roof, and much more. You can take free guided tours of the mansion guided by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers.

Witness History And Culture At The Missouri State Museum

Missouri State Museum
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Founded in 1919, The Missouri State Museum is located on the first floor of the State Capitol and showcases the history of Missouri from earlier days before Indian removal to present-day Missouri. It is a showpiece museum and aims to educate the visitors about the culture and history of the state through various artefacts, displays, exhibitions, and other interactive programs. The museum’s impressive collection contains more than 30,000 objects including a vast selection of flags from World War I and the Civil War. Visit The Missouri State Museum to learn about the fascinating history and culture of Missouri that you are totally unaware of.

Catch A Show At The Miller Performing Arts Center

Owned and operated by the Jefferson City Public School District, The Miller Performing Arts Center is a delightful performing arts centre that organises concerts, lectures, theatrical performances, and more throughout the year. It has opulent theatre seating and state of the art acoustics to provide the best experience possible to the visitors. The upper level of the building has an art gallery that you can check out. The staff is very friendly and helpful as well. Do not forget to catch a show or two at The Miller Performing Arts Center when you visit this town.

Step Back In Time At Jefferson Landing State Historic Site

Jefferson Landing State Historic Site is a must-visit historic district in Jefferson City. It is maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and it includes various state-owned landmark buildings such as Christopher Maus House, the Lohman Building, the Lohman's Landing Building, the Union Hotel, and many more. The district is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The place impressively showcases the splendid architecture of the 19th century. There are various museums and art galleries with several displays and exhibits here that you can explore. This historic district is open for the public to explore from March to December. Visit the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site to see what it was to live in Missouri in the 19th century.

Visit The Infamous Missouri State Penitentiary

Missouri State Penitentiary
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Located along the banks of the lovely Missouri River, Missouri State Penitentiary is a former prison that is now open for the public to tour and explore. It was opened in 1836 and served as a maximum-security prison until it was decommissioned in 2004. This prison housed some of the most notorious American criminals including James Earl Ray, Sonny Liston, and Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd. The Times Magazine once named the prison the “The bloodiest 47 acres in America” as more than 40 inmates were executed in this prison. In 2004, it was replaced with the Jefferson City Correctional Center.

Now the prison is a major tourist attraction in the city. You can attend guided tours of the prison to learn about its fascinating history, infamous riots of 1954, intriguing escape attempts, and much more. The informative tour guides will tell you all the inside stories of the prison, and you will also be able to see the death row, gas chambers, and the general cells. The prison is also pretty infamous for its paranormal activities; they even offer ghost tours for visitors. Visit the Missouri State Penitentiary to know how the prison worked and how the inmates lived there, along with other interesting information.

Check Out The Museum Of Missouri Military History

Located in the National Guard’s training centre, The Museum Of Missouri Military History showcases Missouri’s military history through various displays and exhibitions. The artefacts and demonstrations include objects from as early as the Revolutionary war of the 1700s to present day. The exhibits include items such as Sheridan Tank, an F-15 Eagle fighter, Sherman tank, C-130 Hercules, F-4 Phantom II fighter, and more. The exhibitions and displays are always changing so that the museum is up to date. You can take guided tours of the museum to know more about the museum and the displays. Visit the Museum Of Missouri Military History to learn about the state’s military history with various exciting artefacts and displays.

Explore The Downtown Jefferson City

Downtown Jefferson City
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The Downtown area of the City of Jefferson is very popular for its historic buildings and splendid architecture. You will see some impressive architecture in the Downtown of the Romanesque and other Victorian-era styles. The area also has the oldest synagogue west of the Mississippi River. Some of the buildings have stained glass, unique window styles, old towers, antique clocks, and much more. Significant buildings in Downtown Jefferson City that are worth visiting are- Lohman’s Opera House, Exchange and Trust Bank Building, Cole County Courthouse, and Temple Beth El. Aside from all these historic buildings, there are eateries, shops, bars, and much more in the area as well. Make sure to explore Downtown Jefferson City when you visit this delightful town.

Capital Arts Gallery is a charming public art gallery that displays the work of local artists from Jefferson City and the state of Missouri. The gallery also offers interactive educational programs for both adults and children. The exhibits contain thousands of pieces of art from various local artists at every given time. You can even buy the artwork at the gallery. The exhibitions and displays change every few weeks according to different themes. The art gallery also organises several events and festivals to promote the awareness of art in the communities such as Capital Chalk Art Festival, Porchfest, Salvation Army's Empty Bowls, Gallery Crawls, and much more. Check out the Capital Arts Gallery to see the impressive local art scene.

Sunsets Or Sunrises From Missouri River Pedestrian Bike Bridge

Located over the Missouri River, Missouri River Pedestrian Bike Bridge is an eight feet wide bridge for biking and walking. The bridge has a paved pathway attached to it for walking. It allows people to easily access the Katy Trail, the downtown, and the Noren river access park. The bridge also has two vantage or lookout points from where you can see extraordinary views of the stunning Missouri River and the State Capitol Building. There is usually no crowd here, and so the environment at the bridge is very tranquil and peaceful with the river flowing beneath you and splendid views all around you. Make sure to see the sunset or sunrise from here. You’ll thank us later.

Hiking And Birdwatching At Runge Conservation Nature Centre

Runge Conservation Nature Centre consists of 3,000 square feet that includes an aquarium, indoor exhibits, birdwatching spots, nature trails, and so much more. This natural habitat has myriad of wildlife, including live reptiles, amphibians, and a 3,580-gallon fish aquarium with several different kinds of fishes. There is a great museum/library here as well where the visitors can see various themed exhibits explaining different types of natural habitat. The hiking trails are amazing as well. The trails provide beautiful views of the greenery and vegetation surrounding you.
Along with the trails, there is a bird shelter where you can feed the birds and enjoy birdwatching. You can also climb the 60-foot fire tower to see the stunning panoramic views of the entire city. After enjoying and exploring all these things, you can visit the charming gift shop to buy souvenirs and gifts to remember our trip to Jefferson City by. Runge Conservation Nature Centre is a must-visit to witness the natural beauty of Jeff City in its full glory.

Eat Onion Rings At ECCO Lounge

ECCO Lounge is an eatery that serves delectable American food and delicious drinks. It is known for its pub-style menu. The staff is friendly and attentive, and the service is also excellent. Do not forget to try the handmade burgers, beer-battered chicken sandwiches, and especially the breaded onion rings (the best onion rings in the whole town).

Delicious Food And Beer At Prison Brews

Prison Brews is a brewpub located only three blocks away from the Missouri State Penitentiary, and they brew their beer themselves. The decor of the restaurant is prison themed with barbed wire and interiors of a prison cell. They also offer souvenirs such as t-shirts that you can buy. The food here is mouth-watering, but make sure to try the sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and their very own beers.

Delectable Pizza At Arris' Pizza

Arris' Pizza is the best place to get pizza in Jefferson City. This restaurant was opened in 1969 and has since become a culinary landmark of the town. It serves Greek, American, and Italian cuisines. The eatery also serves vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options to cater to its diverse customer base. The restaurant’s speciality is its greek pizza topped with green onions, hummus, Roma tomatoes, and marinated chicken.

Stay At The Capitol Plaza Hotel

The Capitol Plaza Hotel is located in the heart of the city; just a few minutes’ walk away from the State Capitol Building and many other attractions in the Downtown area of the town. The hotel provides several amenities such as pool, fitness centre, bar, room service, and much more to make your stay as comfortable and hassle-free as possible. It is also pet-friendly, so you can stay here and explore the city with your pet. Stay at the Capitol Plaza Hotel for a perfect getaway filled with serenity and comfort.

Jefferson is a treasure trove of history and culture. This award-winning picturesque small town is waiting to be discovered by you. What are you waiting for? Visit Jeff City and do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do and see all these things when you visit this charming city.

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