Are you searching for fun things to do in Jefferson City MO? If the answer is yes, then you have come to the right place!
As the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City is a popular destination in the Midwest with a lot to offer.
This charming town, situated next to the Missouri River, boasts a rich history and culture.
Visitors can explore a variety of museums, parks, and unique attractions, making it an ideal destination for all types of travelers.
The city is home to some of Missouri’s best attractions, including the Missouri State Penitentiary, State Capitol, and more.
This is why one of the best things to do in MO is planning a visit to Jefferson City to learn more about the history and culture of this state.
Curious about what you can do at one of the best Missouri vacation spots? Don’t worry, we got you covered.
Read on to learn about the 10 best things to do in Jefferson City MO for a memorable visit!
10 Best Things To Do in Jefferson City MO
Visit the Missouri State Capitol
One of the top places to visit in Missouri is the Missouri State Capitol which is modeled after D.C.’s Capitol.
The architecture and the various artworks found both inside and outside this building are amazing, making it one of the top things to see in Missouri.
The Rotunda of the Capitol is admire-worthy. Plus, you can explore lots of sculptures and works of art outside the Capitol as well.
If you are an art or history buff, then don’t forget to take a guided tour of this attraction. Also, don’t forget to visit the artwork that changes as you pass it. I mean, how cool is that, right?
You can easily spend 2 hours walking and uncovering hidden gems of this place.
Due to its architecture and its significance in the state’s legislature, this is one of the popular Missouri attractions to visit.
Trust me, one of the top things to do in Jefferson City MO is take a tour of the Missouri State Capitol.
Explore Around the Missouri Governor’s Mansion
As a history buff, one of the best things to do in Jefferson City Missouri is taking a tour of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion at 100 Madison Street.
It is a New-Renaissance-styled building that was built in 1827 just outside the city.
The site is called the Missouri State Capitol Historic District and overlooks the Missouri River on the bluff. Earlier, this site was used for the first Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City.
However, the capitol burned down in 1837, after which it was rebuilt in the new location.
An amazing example of Victorian architecture, the Mansion has undergone a lot of changes and governors over the years.
This red brick historic building is also the place where the First Family resides.
So, if you wish to learn more about this mansion and want to experience the history here firsthand, then one of the top things to do in Jefferson City MO is take a tour of this mansion.
Free guided tours of this place are provided throughout the day.
Discover the Katy Trail State Park
For nature and outdoor adventurists, one of the top things to do in Missouri is to explore the Katy Trail State Park.
This is a 240-mile train that runs through the state of Missouri and passes through Jefferson City MO as well.
The trail runs mostly along the Missouri River and is a paradise for hikers, joggers, and cyclists.
Some of the best hiking in Missouri can be found here.
So, you can choose to enjoy a walk on this trail, bike around to explore the area, or ride a horse here.
With so many trails and the view of the scenic Missouri River, this trail is one of the top things to see in Missouri.
If you are bored of the indoor attractions in Jefferson City MO, then plan to spend some time at the Katy Trail State Park.
Missouri State Penitentiary and Museum Tour
If you are looking for unconventional places to visit in Missouri, then Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City definitely tops the list.
The prison was built in 1836 and boasts of 180+ years of history within its decaying walls.
This was once the oldest operating penal facility in the Mississippi but that’s not the case anymore. It was decommissioned in 2004.
One of the top things to do in Missouri is to take a guided tour of this prison to learn about its history and the infamous inmates that lived there.
Don’t forget to visit the oldest buildings of this prison i.e., the dungeon, the housing unit, and the upper yard.
Once you are done with the historical tour, take the ghost tour as well. It is scary but a lot of fun to see this old prison from the paranormal perspective.
You can also visit the nearby Missouri State Penitentiary Museum in the Col. Darwin W. Marmaduke House.
The museum features memorabilia from the old prison that you can explore.
Plus, there is an actual prison replica with bars, graffiti walls, and bunk beds that visitors can experience for themselves.
Overall, a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary and the museum is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Jefferson City MO.
Jefferson Landing State Historic Site
Are you a history buff? Well, then you certainly cannot miss out on visiting the famous Jefferson Landing State Historic Site.
It is a collection of historic buildings that will show you how life was in Missouri during the 19th century.
There are lots of famous buildings, galleries, and a few museums inside the historic buildings that you can explore.
The three main historic buildings that you will find in this district are the Union Hotel, the Christopher Mars House, and the Lohman’s Landing Building.
All these buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
Inside the Union Hotel, there is an Elizabeth Rozier Gallery that exhibits art, history, and culture. You will also find the city’s Amtrak train station on the ground floor of the hotel.
If you wish to learn more about the history of the state, then one of the top things to do in Jefferson City Missouri is to visit Jefferson Landing State Historic Site.
Visit the Lewis and Clark Monument
One of the top things to do in Jefferson City Missouri is to visit the Lewis and Clark Trailhead Plaza near the State Capitol building.
This is a public park that celebrates the historically famous Lewis and Clark expedition.
In the park, you will find sculptures of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark along with York, George Druillard, and Seaman.
Apart from the sculptures of the expedition members, you will also find other historic displays here including the expedition’s keelboat, telescope, guns, and more.
The sculpture commemorates 4th June 1804 when the Corps of Discovery settled in the area.
Apart from the statues, you will also find several benches, walkways, and waterfalls in the plaza, making it an extremely scenic location to visit.
Lohman Building Jefferson
Also known as the Jefferson Landing Building, Lohman’s Landing Building is a historic commercial building that was built in 1834.
This is a rectangular limestone building located in the Jefferson Landing Historic Site.
Earlier, the building was used as a grocery store, hotel, tavern, warehouse, and telegraph office. Currently, it is maintained as a historic building where tourists can visit to learn the history of the town.
In this building, you will find several exhibits showcasing the general store and the warehouse from the 1850s.
So, if you wish to explore around and shop a little, then one of the best things to do in Jefferson City MO is to tour the Lohman’s Landing Building.
Enjoy a Drink at Prison Brews
Are you searching for fun things to do in Jefferson City Missouri?
If so, then you should definitely hang out at this unique brewpub on the historic side of Jefferson City MO.
Prison Brews doesn’t just offer great food and delicious brews but is also the sole place where you can play Bocce Ball in the city.
One of the most fun activities in Jefferson City MO is to visit this creative bar and relax while enjoying some high-quality brews.
The most unique thing about this brewpub is that it follows a prison theme and inspires the visitors to ‘break free’ from the ordinary.
This is certainly one of the most unique things to do in Jefferson City MO that you cannot miss in the city.
Having Fun At the Binder Park Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Jefferson City MO
Another top attraction to visit in Jefferson City, one of the top Missouri vacation spots, is the largest city park – Binder Park.
This 644-acre park is perfect for families and friends in all seasons and has a lot of activities to keep the visitors occupied.
One of the best attractions in Jefferson City MO, Binder Park features softball fields, plenty of picnic sites, sand volleyball courts, and more.
But that’s not even the coolest part about this city park.
Did you know this park also includes a 155-acre fishing lake named Lake Escape?
Yes, that’s right! Anglers can enjoy fishing in this lake using a boat or from the ADA fishing pier. Plus, the lake makes a scenic backdrop for picnics, biking trails, nature walks, and more.
You also have 15 miles of biking trails to explore. But the fun doesn’t end here.
Visitors can also enjoy the 18-hole disc golf courses and the ropes challenge courses here.
For camping enthusiasts, there is an 18-site campground featuring a full hook-up, laundry, and a shower house for RV camping.
Trust me, if you are looking for fun things to do in Jefferson City MO, then do visit Binder Park.
Watching Wildlife at Runge Nature Center Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Jefferson City MO
Located in the centre of Jefferson City Missouri, Runge Nature Center is one of the best things to do in MO.
This Midwest attraction located in Jefferson City MO is a must-visit for all nature and wildlife lovers.
Visitors can climb the 60-foot fire tower to enjoy the city views and click some amazing photographs.
This wildlife outpost also offers visitors a chance to admire the Missouri wildlife and the natural scenery surrounding this area.
The 3,000-square-foot area offers plenty of hiking and bird-watching trails for tourists to explore.
And guess what?
There are many trails that can be easily accessed by people with disabilities as well!
One of the best attractions in Jefferson City MO for families, Runge Nature Center allows you to see both cute live animals and aquariums found here.
So, whether you wish to learn more about conservation practices or wish to take a guided nature walk, one of the best things to do in Jefferson City MO is to visit this nature center.
Where to Stay in Jefferson City MO
There are plenty of amazing accommodation options available in Jefferson City, Missouri.
From bed and breakfasts to vacation homes, you can easily find a place to stay in the city that suits both your requirements and budget.
If you are planning a fun Midwest weekend getaway to Jefferson City MO, then here are a few options for you to consider:
Packing List When Visiting Jefferson City MO
Whether you will be traveling by plane or by car to Missouri, here are some tips on how to pack lightly.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when looking for things to do in Jefferson City MO.
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone as I have. And wow is it fast!
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking photos.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
And here are the carbon filter replacements.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car.
Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.