13 Best Places and Things To Do in Jefferson City, Missouri

Jefferson City, Missouri, the capital of the state, is a charming city that offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Nestled along the banks of the Missouri River, Jefferson City combines natural beauty with a rich historical and cultural heritage.

1. Missouri State Capitol

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Start your exploration of Jefferson City with a visit to the magnificent Missouri State Capitol building. Take a guided tour to admire the stunning architecture, learn about the state’s history, and visit the legislative chambers. The Capitol grounds also feature beautiful gardens and monuments.

2. Jefferson Landing State Historic Site

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Immerse yourself in history at the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, a restored 19th-century riverfront complex. Explore the Lohman Building, which houses exhibits on the city’s history, and visit the authentically furnished historic homes, including the Governor’s Mansion and the Lohman Building.

3. Runge Nature Center

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Nature enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Runge Nature Center, located just outside the city. This state-of-the-art nature center offers interactive exhibits, hiking trails, wildlife viewing areas, and educational programs that showcase the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

4. Missouri State Penitentiary

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For those intrigued by history and a touch of the macabre, a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary is a must. Once the oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi River, it now serves as a museum and offers guided tours that provide insight into the facility’s fascinating past.

5. Jefferson City Museum of Modern Art

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Art enthusiasts should not miss the Jefferson City Museum of Modern Art, which showcases a diverse collection of contemporary art. The museum frequently hosts rotating exhibits featuring local and regional artists, providing a vibrant cultural experience.

6. Missouri State Museum

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Located inside the Missouri State Capitol, the Missouri State Museum offers a comprehensive look at the state’s history through exhibits and displays. Learn about the Native American heritage, the Civil War, and notable Missourians who have left a lasting impact on the state.

7. Governor’s Garden

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Take a break from exploring the city and relax in the Governor’s Garden. This peaceful oasis is a beautifully landscaped park that offers serene walking paths, benches, and vibrant flowers, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or a moment of tranquility.

8. Cole County Historical Society Museum

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Visit the Cole County Historical Society Museum to delve deeper into the local history and heritage. This small yet informative museum exhibits artifacts, photographs, and displays that highlight the area’s rich cultural and historical significance.

9. Binder Park

Photo of Binder Park

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Enjoy some outdoor recreation at Binder Park, a spacious park located along the banks of the Missouri River. The park features picnic areas, playgrounds, walking trails, and a boat ramp, providing opportunities for relaxation, family outings, and riverfront activities.

10. Museum of Missouri Military History

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The museum features a wide range of exhibits that chronicle the military history of Missouri from the early days of settlement to the present. Explore displays of military artifacts, photographs, documents, and memorabilia that highlight the role of Missouri and its residents in various conflicts and wars.

11. Lewis and Clark Monument Trailhead Plaza

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The Lewis and Clark Monument Trailhead Plaza is a significant historical and cultural landmark located in Jefferson City, Missouri. It commemorates the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who led the Corps of Discovery on their famous journey to explore the western territories of the United States in the early 1800s. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the Lewis and Clark Monument Trailhead Plaza.

12. Carnahan Memorial Garden

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The Carnahan Memorial Garden is a beautiful and serene public garden located in Jefferson City, Missouri. It is dedicated to the memory of Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, who served from 1993 until his untimely death in a plane crash in 2000. Here’s what you can expect when visiting the Carnahan Memorial Garden. The garden offers a peaceful and tranquil environment, providing a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. With its well-manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and carefully planned landscaping, it is a place of natural beauty and serenity.

13. Turkey Creek Golf Center

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The center features an 18-hole, par-70 golf course that provides a challenging and enjoyable experience for golfers. The course is well-maintained and offers a mix of open fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and water hazards, providing a variety of shots and challenges for players.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, outdoor activities, or cultural events, Jefferson City, Missouri, offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Take your time to explore and immerse yourself in the charm of this captivating city.