Jefferson City might be best known for hosting the Capitol dome that graces its skyline, but the city never fails to captivate visitors with its rich history, scenic views, and friendly residents.

You can’t go to the capital of the Show-Me State without seeing the Missouri State Capitol. The building was completed in 1918 and the dome, rising 238 feet above ground level, dominates the downtown skyline. Snap a selfie on the steps in front of the statue of Thomas Jefferson before venturing inside or sign up for a capitol tour and learn everything there is to know about the historic building. After your tour, stroll towards the riverfront and visit the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, home to some of the city’s oldest buildings. The Christopher Maus House, the Union Hotel, and the Lohman Building are all located on the grounds of the site. Check out the 1850s general store inside the Lohman Building, reminiscent of the type of business that once prospered at Jefferson Landing. Complementing the Capitol Complex is the Carnahan Memorial Garden, located next to the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. Constructed in the late 1930s, the garden is filled with flowers, pools, and walkways.

south lawn of the Missouri State Capitol with green grass, grand staircase and dome against blue sky

If you haven’t had your fill of history yet, you can tour the Missouri State Penitentiary, once the oldest operating penal facility west of the Mississippi. This facility opened its doors in 1836. Step back in time and discover the intriguing 168-year history of the decommissioned prison on one of the guide-led tours. Hear about escape attempts, riots, female inmates, and more. Or, jump on a paranormal tour for a guaranteed fun and frightening experience! You will discover a fascinating part of history as you walk through the dungeon cells and other areas of the prison. The Missouri State Penitentiary Museum is located in the nearby Col. Darwin W. Marmaduke House. There, you will find all sorts of memorabilia from the old prison and even a replica cell you can lock yourself in.

msp hu3

Photo Credit: Alvaro Aro

To treat yourself after your exploring, visit Central Dairy. This iconic ice cream parlor has been serving the Jefferson City community since the 1930s; you can get a history lesson along with your ice cream. Their famous banana split is sure to satisfy your taste buds! Grab a seat in one of the building’s original vintage benches and soak up the atmosphere of this illustrious building.

central dairy banana split

For dinner, hit up one of the city’s originals like Arris’ PizzaEcco LoungePaddy Malone’s Irish PubPrison Brews, and more! Satisfy your cravings at one of the local joints that make up our thriving food culture. Whether you are a fan of Greek pizza, burgers, or authentic Irish cuisine, Jefferson City’s variety of restaurants has you covered. 

bbq chicken pizza on a platter in front of dark beer

The perfect place to end your day is at The Mission. Enjoy listening to live musical acts from local and regional artists while enjoying a delicious beverage. The venue’s intimate atmosphere is the ideal place to unwind after your full day of sightseeing while you enjoy a spectacular show.

guitar case in front of drum set and guitar player on stage

Missouri State Capitol

  • 201 W. Capitol Ave.
  • (573) 751-2854

Completed in 1917, the Capitol covers three acres in downtown Jefferson City. Inside the Capitol you…

Carnahan Memorial Garden

  • 101 Jefferson St.

A striking complement to the Capitol Complex, the Garden, located next to the Governor's Mansion…

Missouri Governor's Mansion

  • 100 Madison St.
  • (573) 751-4141

Inside the walls of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion, guests will have the opportunity to step back…

Missouri State Penitentiary

  • 115 Lafayette St.
  • (866) 998-6998

Decommissioned in 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was the oldest continually operating prison…

Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor

  • 610 Madison St.
  • (573) 635-6148

For a refreshing break any time, stop in at Central Dairy for legendary ice cream treats. This ice…

Arris' Pizza

  • 117 W. High St.
  • (573) 635-9225

In September 1961, pizza restaurants were scarce in Jefferson City. The City needed a family…

ECCO Lounge

  • 703 Jefferson St.
  • (573) 636-8751

For more than 150 years, people have gathered in this place for good cheer, tempting food, and…

Paddy Malone's Irish Pub

  • 700 W. Main St.
  • (573) 761-5900

We are a family owned restaurant and pub operating since 2000. Come in and enjoy a perfectly poured…

Prison Brews

  • 305 Ash St.
  • (573) 635-0678

Prison Brews is a unique brewpub located in the historic east side of Jefferson City two blocks from…

The Mission

  • 915 E. High St.
  • (573) 644-6824

The Mission is a live music venue for a variety of genres. From bluegrass to hard rock, we are…