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Experience the Heart of Missouri in Jefferson City

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Nestled in the heart of mid-Missouri, Jefferson City is often thought of solely as the seat of state government. Yet along with housing the stunning Missouri State Capitol in all her wonder, “JCMO” is home to many notable attractions, including the Governor’s Mansion, the first museum in the United States dedicated to veterinary medicine, and the Museum of Missouri Military History. Whether you’re in the mood to explore history or take in the sights, Jefferson City never fails to captivate visitors with its rich history and scenic views.

Start off your day with a scrumptious breakfast or brunch. Watch the planes come and go as you eat on the patio at The Landing Zone or enjoy the sights of downtown with a coffee in hand and a plate of breakfast tacos at High Rise Bakery.


Photo courtesy of The Landing Zone

After breakfast, soak up some history with a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP). Opened in 1836, MSP was once the oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi River. Guides tell stories of escape attempts, the 1954 riot, inmates, and much more as you explore housing units and dungeon cells. The brave can hop on a paranormal tour in the evening for a fun and frightening experience. For more history, head to the MSP Museum, located in the nearby Marmaduke House, formerly home to penitentiary wardens. There, you will find memorabilia and even a replica cell.

Photo courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism

You can’t go to the Show-Me State’s capital city without seeing the Missouri State Capitol in all her glory. Completed in 1918, the dome dominates the downtown skyline. Venture inside to explore the stunning artwork of Thomas Hart Benton and Sir Frank Brangwyn and the awe-inspiring rotunda. Inside you will also find the Missouri State Museum, chock full of exhibits showcasing Missouri’s layered history and resources.

After your tour, stroll toward the riverfront and visit the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, home to some of Jefferson City’s oldest buildings, including the Christopher Maus House, Union Hotel, and the Lohman Building. Visitors can check out the 1850s-general store inside the Lohman Building, reminiscent of the business that once prospered at Jefferson Landing.

Take a break at the Carnahan Memorial Garden, located next to the Governor’s Mansion. Constructed in the late 1930s, the garden is filled with flowers, walkways, and a fish pool. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view.

Photo courtesy of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

Whether you’re in the mood for Greek food, burgers, BBQ or authentic Irish cuisine, JCMO’s restaurants have you covered. For dinner, hit up one of the city’s originals like Sweet Smoke BBQ, Paddy Malone’s Irish Pub, or Prison Brews. Satisfy your cravings at one of many signature food joints loved by locals and visitors alike.

After a day of exploration, treat yourself with dessert from Central Dairy. This iconic ice cream parlor has been serving the Jefferson City community since the 1930s. Their famous banana split is sure to satisfy your taste buds!

Explore Missouri’s beautiful capital city and discover what it has to offer your groups!