Top 25 Things To Do In Jefferson City, Missouri - Updated 2021

things to do in jefferson city mo

Jefferson City is a beautiful destination named after the third President of the US, Thomas Jefferson. The gorgeous Missouri River, stunning shrines, lovely parks, and remarkable museums decorate Jefferson City with splendors. This city is a bundle of outstanding historical attractions like The Missouri State Capitol, Missouri State Museum, Governor’s Mansion, and Jefferson Landing State Historic Site. The city is also packed with plenty of nature, art scenes, and entertainment options to satisfy all types of travelers. With a wide array of attractions, you might be unsure of what to see and do in Jefferson City. Hence, we have presented the top things to do in Jefferson City, Missouri.

1. Book a prison tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary

things to do in jefferson city mo | book a prison tour of the missouri state penitentiary
Source: kclassie on Instagram

Missouri State Penitentiary is the oldest prison in Jefferson City which was opened in 1836. During that period, Battle of the Alamo was taking place in Texas and inmates were filled in the prison. By taking a prison tour in this historic destination, you can see the cells of renowned heavyweight champion celebrity Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray, learn about the dark past of the prison, the horrid gas chamber where 40 people were prosecuted brutally, housing units and yards. The prison was named by Time Magazine as the ‘bloodiest 47 acres in America’ due to its ghastly past.

Missouri State Penitentiary

Address: 8200 No More Victims Rd, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Missouri State Penitentiary

Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 9.30am - 1.30pm, 2.30pm - 6.30pm (closed from Mon - Thu)

Price: 15 USD

2. Immerse yourself in history at Missouri State Museum

Missouri State Museum is maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. You can discover the history of Missouri in this famous tourist attraction. The museum exhibits around 125 Civil War battle flags which is one of the popular displays. Many flags were captured by Missouri units during the Civil War. You can explore Civil War exhibits in this museum on all days of the week. Admission is completely free for the visitors. Some of the exhibits seen here are permanent while some are temporary.

Missouri State Museum

Address: 201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Missouri State Museum

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

3. Pay a visit to Missouri State Capitol

Missouri Capitol 1979
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Johnmaxmena used under CC BY 3.0

Missouri State Capitol was completed in 1917 and it was considered one of the most reputed buildings in Jefferson City. Missouri State Museum is located inside this building. You can tour the Capitol building to learn about the glorious Missouri State and the structure of the Capitol building. Highly famed artists like Thomas Hart Benton and Sir Frank Brangwyn have done the stunning artworks in this building. One of the popular paintings in the Capitol is three-point perspective paintings. You can take a guided tour free of cost on any day of the week.

Missouri State Capitol

Address: 201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101-1556

Website: Missouri State Capitol

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

4. Take a look inside Missouri Governor's Mansion

Missouri Governor’s Mansion is a wonderful historic place to understand the history of Missouri. There are very few administrative residences which allow the public to explore. So, get to know the executive structure by booking a tour. You need to reserve the tour 24 hours in advance. For security reasons, a photo Id and some basic information are mandatory in order to visit the structure.

Missouri Governor's Mansion

Address: 100 Madison St, Jefferson City, MO 65101-3061

Website: Missouri Governor’s Mansion

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

5. Enjoy bird watching at Runge Nature Center

Runge Nature Center includes various trails which exhibit natural resources of Missouri, marine life, birds, wildlife, and forests. You can see the exotic animals in the indoor wildlife viewing area; explore the nature library and buy souvenirs at the gift shop. Natural habitats of Missouri are displayed in the 3000-square-foot (278.7-square-meter) area of the center. Be amazed by the 3,580-gallon (13550-liter) beautiful fish aquarium. Interactive activities are also available for children. If you feel like hiking, there are 2 miles (3.2 km) of hiking trails outside the center.

Runge Nature Center

Address: 330 Commerce Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA

Website: Runge Nature Center

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

6. Plan a picnic at Binder Park

Binder Park is a 644-acre (260.6 hectares) natural preserve which is blessed with a pristine lake. Due to the presence of the lake, visitors can indulge in boating and fishing activities. You can enjoy picnicking in this picturesque landscape to admire nature. If you feel like stretching, you can play a softball game in the softball fields. The campground is open every day of the year to get connected to nature. Around 17 RV campsites are available with amenities such as a sewer, water supply, a shower house, a laundry, barbecue grills, campfire rings, and electrical hookups.

Binder Park

Address: 5840 Rainbow Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA

Website: Binder Park

7. Pose for pictures in front of the Lewis and Clark Monument

Lewis and Clark Monument is located conveniently next to the Capitol Building. Due to its perfect placement overlooking Jefferson Landing Historic Site and the Missouri River, visitors can access other attractions easily from here. The site portrays the historic journey of renowned Lewis and Clark. You can click photos with the sculptures of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, George Druillard, York, and Seaman. After posing for the photos, you can admire the enthralling cityscape or stroll the scenic walkways near the site.

Pose to click pictures in front of Lewis and Clark Monument

Address: 101 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

8. Check out the exhibits at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site

Jefferson Landing State Historic Site is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. At the site, you can find the historic Christopher Maus House, Lohman’s Landing Building, and the Union Hotel. The Lohman Building has a general store and a warehouse from the 1850s; the Union Hotel houses Elizabeth Rozier Gallery which exhibits the state’s history, art & cultural displays along with the Amtrak train station on the ground floor of the hotel building. Take a guided tour of the site to get more information about the historical greatness of the state.

Jefferson Landing State Historic Site

Address: 100 Jefferson St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Jefferson Landing State Historic Site

9. Browse through the artifacts at the Museum of Missouri Military History

The Museum of Missouri Military History is located at Ike Skelton Training Center which was opened to the public from 1808. The Missouri Military force was started in the year 1808. You can sightsee the war exhibits dating from 1812 to the current day. Entry is free in this museum. You can discover the exhibits from the Civil War, both the World Wars and other significant conflicts. Magnificent military vehicles such as C-130, F15 Strike Eagle, F4 Phantom, helicopters, jeeps, war tanks and so on are on display.

Museum of Missouri Military History

Address: 2405 Logistics Rd, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 8am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: Free

10. Enjoy a leisurely stroll in Carnahan Memorial Garden

Carnahan Memorial Garden is a beautiful attraction located next to the Governor’s Mansion. The garden adds glamor to the Capitol Complex with its marvelous display of flowers, pools, trees, and picturesque walkways. The garden was renamed after the death of Governor Carnahan to honor his works. If you wish to reserve the venue for special occasions or weddings, contact the Missouri Office of Administration. The event should not exceed six hours. It is required that the lawn should not be damaged during your event.

Carnahan Memorial Garden

Address: 101 Jefferson St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Price: Free

11. Stop for ice-cream treats at Central Dairy

Central Dairy has been selling the best ice creams in Jefferson City since 1934. Though the historic ice cream parlor is old, it does sell ice creams to suit the modern generation. The shop serves cones, fountain drinks, sodas, shakes, malts, sundaes, banana split, polish sausage, and hot dogs. The ice creams are low priced and offer the ultimate taste. Gluten-free and egg-free ice creams are also available here. Burgundy cherry, salted caramel toffee crunch, and many more unique flavors are sold in this legendary parlor.

Central Dairy

Address: 610 Madison St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Central Dairy

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 6pm; Sun: 10am - 6pm

12. Try out American dishes at Madison's Café

Madison’s Café is a popular restaurant in Jefferson City which has been serving American, Italian and other cuisines since 1982. You can savor succulent steaks, mouthwatering appetizers, hot soups, healthy salads, delicious seafood, tasty sandwiches, delectable pasta, and yummy desserts in this wonderful eatery. In addition to this, you can also drink the finest wines and innovative cocktails. The seating area can accommodate 200 guests while the lounge can occupy 40 guests and two private banquet rooms will be ideal for up to 120 guests.

Madison's Café

Address: 216 Madison St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Madison’s Café

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri: 11am - 10pm; Sat: 4.30pm - 10pm (closed on Sun)

13. Take your children to the Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center

"Otto - The Talking Car" & "Bumper" coloring books teach children the importance of safety. #NationalColoringBookDay

Posted by Missouri State Highway Patrol on Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center display exhibits related to Missouri Highway Patrol. The center was opened to the public since 1982. You can find traffic safety information, law enforcement data, drug abuse, and many more. You can see the old patrol cars, weapons, uniforms, and other equipment kit used during the earlier days of the department. You can witness the law enforcement practices used right from 1931 to the current day. “Otto-The Talking Car” is the star exhibit in the museum. Admission is free here.

Take your children to the Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center

Address: 1510 E Elm St, Jefferson City, MO 65101-4118

Website: Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Fri)

Price: Free

14. Gulp down traditional drinks at Paddy Malone's Pub

Paddy Malone’s Pub is a family-owned tavern which is located three blocks from the Capitol Building. You can experience Irish pub ambiance once you enter the pub. They serve tasty appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and chops. The 12 brews on tap include Guinness, Kilkenny Cream Ale, Magner’s Cider, Smithwick’s, Harp, wonderful microbrews and fabulous domestics. The bar serves a wide array of wines along with more than 20 Scotch and Irish whiskeys. Monthly Irish music sessions are arranged here to entertain the guests.

Paddy Malone's Pub

Address: 700 W Main St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Paddy Malone’s Pub

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 3pm - 1am (closed on Sun & Mon)

15. Go hiking in Katy Trail State Park

Katy trail at hwy 364
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gvolk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Katy Trail State Park is filled with nature to offer wonderful recreation to visitors. The park is found along the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. It is the longest rail-trail available for recreation in the country. Katy Trail State Park is the perfect spot for hikers, cyclists, history buffs and nature lovers. The trail extends through 225 miles (362.1 km) between the areas of St. Charles and Clinton. The trail is located close to the Missouri River, which enables the visitors to admire the marvels of the river during the activity.

Katy Trail State Park

Address: Katy Trail, Holts Summit, MO 65043, USA

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

16. Hit the dance floor at Mission LLC nightclub

Mission LLC nightclub is an ideal hang out spot for night owls. In this venue, you can listen to some mesmerizing live music programs of diverse genres such as hard rock, bluegrass and so on. Once you enter the club, you will find the old brick walls, pinewood floors, and stamped ceiling which will take you back to the 1800s. The retro interiors and comfortable furnishings will enable you to enjoy modern nightlife with an old-world charm.

Mission LLC nightclub

Address: 915 E High St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Mission LLC nightclub

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 4pm - 1am; Sat: 6pm - 1am (closed on Sun & Mon)

17. Take a tour of the Missouri Farm Bureau log home

The Missouri Farm Bureau log home is listed as one of the important historical sites in Missouri. The home is located at the back of Missouri Farm Bureau Center near the Missouri Blvd. Get to know the structure and interiors of rooms that were used in the 1800s. In addition to this, the tour will enable you to learn the agricultural history of the state during that time, by viewing artifacts, exhibits, and informative videos. Both entry and a tour guide are available free of charge.

Missouri Farm Bureau

Address: 701 S. Country Club Drive Jefferson City, MO 65102

Website: Missouri Farm Bureau

Price: Free

18. Be pampered at Riversong Spa & Salon

Pamper your body and soul at Riversong Spa & Salon and experience rejuvenation. They offer relaxing massages, beauty facials, and fabulous body wraps which are bound to transport you to the world of tranquility. For beauty-conscious guests, they offer a variety of pedicures, manicures, hair design, and waxing treatments. You can also indulge in a couple’s massage in this salon. Experienced therapists and beauticians are employed here to assist you in the process of serenity. If you love their service, you can also buy their health, hair & skincare products.

Riversong Spa & Salon

Address: 09 W Ashley St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Riversong Spa & Salon

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 9pm; Sun: 9am - 5pm

19. Enjoy fishing and canoeing in Hough Park

Hough Park is a beautiful park with a serene lake. The park can be reached from Iven Road in Jefferson City. Many visit this park to indulge in canoeing and fishing. You can find plenty of sunfish, catfish, bluegill, crappie and black bass in this enchanting lake. You can also admire the amazing lake and hill views when you visit. Oak Hills Golf Center is located on the other side of Hough Park

Hough Park

Address: Jefferson City, Missouri

20. Go shopping in Capital Mall

Capital Mall is a historic shopping destination which has been operating since 1978. JCPenney and Dillard’s are the main occupants of this lively mall. You can find a food court, theatre and entertainment venues in the mall. The children’s play area is the perfect spot for your kids to have fun while you shop in the mall. For physically challenged guests, they also offer wheelchair service. There is a party room in the mall to accommodate 30 guests for special events.

Capital Mall

Address: 3600 Country Club Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA

Website: Capital Mall

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10am - 6pm

21. Watch a movie at GQT Capital 8

GQT Capital 8 offers the best movie experience with advanced projection. The theater includes around eight screens with a picture-perfect digital experience. Crystal clear images and bright pictures are the added features of this digital theater. The plush seating in the theaters enhances comfort during the movie screenings. The Dolby Atmos sound technology can engross you in the movie completely. They offer free drink refills to keep you energized. Kids under the age of two are allowed free entry.

GQT Capital 8

Address: 3550 Country Club Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA

Website: GQT Capital 8

22. Catch a live performance at Miller Performing Arts Center

Miller Performing Arts Center is another historic attraction in Jefferson City, opened in 1926. You can enjoy splendid music and dance performances from the school and local talents. Jefferson City Public Schools manages this performance art center. Though the center has historic value, the structure is refurbished with modern amenities and it provides a world-class experience. The auditorium offers brilliant acoustics and enriches the performances. All the seating arrangements have a wonderful view of the stage. Railton Art Gallery is located on the upper level of the center.

Miller Performing Arts Center

Address: 501 Madison St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Miller Performing Arts Center

23. Plan a bowling night at Capital Bowl

Capital Bowl is one of the popular bowling alleys in Jefferson City. You can also play arcade games at this venue. You can join the bowling league to participate in the tournament and get competitive with a bowling game. Book the venue for birthday parties and private celebrations and enjoy fabulous bowling and arcade games. There is an eatery, “Capitol’s Grille” in the venue to keep you refreshed during the game. It serves appetizers, burgers, pizzas, salads, subs, and beverages.

Capital Bowl

Address: 2017 Christy Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Capital Bowl

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 10pm; Sun: 12pm - 9pm

24. Attend a service at Concord Baptist Church

Concord Baptist Church is a famed bible-based church located in many parts of the world. Through Sunday programs, they connect to the visitors and spread Christianity. You can learn many things about Jesus Christ in this remarkable church. Their core belief is to love God and other humans. After attending the service, you will feel uplifted and positive towards life. They also conduct training and impart the knowledge of church history, bible, cults, false religions, and many more.

Concord Baptist Church

Address: 3724 W Truman Blvd, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA

Website: Concord Baptist Church

25. Play a round of golf at Oak Hills Golf Center

Oak Hills Golf Center enables guests to enjoy golfing throughout the year, subject to weather conditions. You can check out the driving range and practice area during the opening hours of the course. This course is in great shape, with a beautiful green landscape. The holes are challenging to play and offer golfing opportunities at an affordable price. The surrounding hill area enhances the gaming experience to the players. Golf carts are available for rent.

Oak Hills Golf Center

Address: 932 Ellis Blvd, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA

Website: Oak Hills Golf Center

Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)

Enjoy the best of Jefferson City

Source: Photo by user Americasroof used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Jefferson City is lined up with plenty of fabulous historic attractions, art venues, and recreational activities. Create everlasting memories in this striking city by checking out our recommended things to do and see. Be charmed by the glorious Jefferson City and enjoy the best of the city on your holiday.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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