Jefferson City, Missouri, is the state’s capital and located in the heart of the state. Jefferson City is rich with historical traditions, beautiful landscapes, fine cuisine and attractive shopping centers. You can spend some time in the magnificent capital and stroll through the quaint downtown with its specialty shops and restaurants; explore the wineries, parks and a number of museums that make up the Jefferson City experience.
Among the major attractions is the Missouri State Capitol building. Completed in 1917, the Capitol covers three acres in downtown Jefferson City. Inside you will find the Missouri State Museum which features exhibits of outstanding historical significance. And, don’t miss the new Lewis and Clark monument, next to the State Capitol, overlooking the Jefferson Landing Historic Site and the Missouri River. The Jefferson Landing Historic Site was the site of the original river landing and the first area settled in the City of Jefferson. The structures in this historic site date back to 1839 making it the oldest riverfront landing on the Missouri River.
Also not to be missed is the lovely Governor’s Mansion and the Carnahan Memorial Garden behind it. The Governor’s Mansion is noted for its beautiful architecture and period furniture, as well as the opportunity to learn about the history of many of the state’s governors. You can also encounter the roots of Missouri government and discover the charm and culture of the early political society at the Cole County Historical Society Museum. The building stands as a historical site, built by Governor B. Gratz Brown in 1871, and contains a museum with a collection of artifacts, antiques and historical documents. This is the only county museum in the country to own and display inaugural gowns of its state’s First Ladies.
Among the city’s more unusual attractions is the Missouri State Penitentiary, now open to the public. Before it closed, MSP was the oldest continually operating penitentiary west of the Mississippi; the prison was 100 years old when Alcatraz began taking inmates. The tour here showcases cells of famous inmates such as heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, who learned to box during his time in the big house.
Jefferson City sits on some of Missouri’s most beautiful terrain and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor retreats at its various parks and golf courses. The Katy Trail State Park attracts bicyclists, hikers, nature lovers and history enthusiasts. As you travel along the trail, the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad, you will encounter many different habitats and a variety of wildlife. At the Runge Nature Center, you can appreciate the natural wonders of Missouri and the fish, forests and wildlife found here by strolling through its extensive exhibits or hiking through the nature center trails.
After a busy day sightseeing, you can relax and enjoy a meal in one of the city's fine restaurants. Included on some of the menus around town are old fashioned country-fried ham and chicken, superb midwestern steaks, fresh seafood or local catfish, even authentic Greek, Oriental, Mexican, Italian and German dishes.
The air gateway for Jefferson City is Columbia Regional Airport. The city is located along Hwy 54, Hwy 50 and Hwy 63, 30 miles south of Columbia, Missouri and almost centered between Missouri’s major cities of St. Louis and Kansas City.