Timing is Everything in Historic Jefferson City


JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Surprises await visitors to Jefferson City, but it's all about timing.  Some of the city's unique features - like the amazing art in the State Capitol Building - are available all of the time.  Others - like special events and festivals - are available some of the time.  But visitors to Jefferson City are sure to have a good time every time they are here.


Fountain of the Centaurs

Art and History Fill the State Capitol - Daytime and Nighttime 

Though the State Capitol Building functions as a workplace for Missouri's legislature and elected officials, visitors might be surprised to find it is also equal parts art gallery and museum.  Lovers of the visual arts would be hard-pressed to find works as impressive as Thomas Hart Benton's famous mural, "A Social History of the State of Missouri," in any museum in the country.  Tours of the Capitol are available daily and feature information about the Benton mural, as well as the many other works of art and statues in and around the building.


Visitors who time their trip correctly also can experience the Missouri State Capitol's Museum After Hours series on the first Wednesday night of each month.  In July and August, the program will feature storytellers "spinning yarns" at special "Summer of Stories" events.


Discover What It Was Like to "Do Time" in Missouri 

A tour of the decommissioned Missouri State Penitentiary is a bit of history that gives travelers a look inside "The Walls."  The prison, which was built in 1836 and held prisoners until 2004, began offering tours in 2009 of several areas of the prison, including a housing unit and even the gas chamber.  The knowledgeable tour guides, most of who worked in this historic facility, are able to bring the tours to life as they share their stories.


Ghost Tours at MSP

"What makes it unique is that they (the guides) can put their own personal spin onto the basic historical facts of the tour from when they worked there," said Mark Schreiber, who has written books about the history of the MSP and is the former Deputy Warden and a current tour guide himself.  He added that guests "like that personal touch."  People often tour the prison site more than once, as there are historical tours, nighttime ghost tours and special events offered.  Schreiber said visitors who visit MSP more than once will not be bored, as no two tours are ever quite the same.  Something said by a guest will often trigger a memory in the guide, who adds that element to the tour.


Those who want to learn more about the history of MSP should plan to visit the newly-opened Missouri State Penitentiary Museum in Jefferson City's downtown.  The museum contains artifacts and memorabilia from the nearly two centuries the prison was in operation. 


For more information on the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum, call (866) 998-6998.  Those who want to book a tour of the prison can call the same number or visit


Revisit Times Past

From cannonballs to ball gowns and even hairballs, Jefferson City's museums will be a pleasant surprise for everyone. Visitors interested in the history of veterinary medicine, military service and law enforcement can find it all in Jefferson City. 

  • The Cole County Historical Society features the inaugural ball gowns of Missouri's First Ladies, among other items of historical importance to the county.  Across the street, in the Governor's Mansion (pictured above), visitors can see portraits of the First Ladies in the same gowns.  Mansion tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Learn more about the Historical Society at: and the Governor's Mansion at:
  • The Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation Museum is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and is also a one-of-a-kind experience.  There are plenty of hands-on exhibits and artifacts dating back to the first century.  Learn more about the museum at or

Take Time for a Stroll through Downtown 

A visit to Jefferson City's vibrant downtown is always time well spent for visitors.  Shopping becomes exploring in storefronts that house a combination of what's new and what's tried-and-true, along with galleries, night spots and more.  Along the sidewalks, welcoming benches and tables with colored umbrellas invite visitors to take a break in their stroll and fortify themselves with everything from coffee, sandwiches or frozen yogurt to fine dining.  Visitors might also find live music being played any time of the day or night - some of it planned and some of it spontaneous.  Learn more about Jefferson City's downtown at:


Good Eats . . .

  • Welcome Inn Again, 130 East Dunklin Street, Jefferson City
    • Welcome Inn Again, in the Old Munichburg neighborhood, brings a Jefferson City institution back to life in a reincarnated fashion.  The Wel-com-Inn bar served customers for decades at the corner of Madison and Dunklin Streets.  Now, the new Welcome Inn Again is a full-service restaurant and lounge in the renovated space on the same corner.  The Welcome Inn Again features American food, including pan-fried chicken.  Food is served until 8 p.m., with the bar open until midnight.
  • Canterbury Hill Winery, 1707 S. Summit Drive, Holts Summit
    • From its perch atop a bluff north of Jefferson City, Canterbury Hill Winery offers a view of the Missouri River and the State Capitol Building.  Its spacious patios offer patrons the opportunity to enjoy this view along with their fine wines and food.  From hamburgers and sandwiches to steaks and seafood, Canterbury Hill offers a menu with food for every appetite.  Visitors will also find a wine for every palate, from the deep, complex Noble Norton red to the King's Choice White, which features hints of honey and pineapple.  Canterbury Hill serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.

Coming up . . .

Here's a look at some of the upcoming family friendly events and festivities around the Jefferson City area:


"Thursday Night Live"

Dates: June 13, 20 and 27

Time: 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Location: Corner of Madison and High Streets

Description: Every Thursday in June will feature live music on Madison Street and High Street in downtown Jefferson City.  Visitors bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy great music on early-summer evenings.  Downtown stores, restaurants and bars offer "Thursday Night Live" specials.

Contact Information:

Cost: Free


Tour de Jeff Moonlight Bike Ride

Date: June 23

Time: 2 a.m.

Location: Start and finish at Hy-Vee, 3723 W. Truman Blvd.

Description: Join other bicycle enthusiasts on a 15-mile moonlit bike ride through Jefferson City. Sponsored by Jefferson City Parks & Recreation, Jefferson City Coca-Cola, Red Wheel Bike Shop and Hy-Vee, this event is free and open to everyone.  Pre-registration is not required.

Contact Information: or 573-634-6563


2013 Salute to America

Dates: July 3-4

Time: Various events on Wednesday, starting with a beer garden at 4 p.m., followed by the parade at 6 p.m.  Thursday's celebration begins at 11 a.m. and continues to 11 p.m.

Location: Downtown Jefferson City

Description: Jefferson City's annual 4th of July celebration, Salute to America, features a variety of attractions throughout a festival district in downtown Jefferson City, including carnival rides, a parade, live music, beer gardens, a classic car show and the largest fireworks spectacular in Central Missouri.

Contact Information: Visit for schedule of events and entertainment

Cost: Free


"A Summer of Stories" at Museum After Hours

Dates: July 10, August 7

Time: 5 - 9 p.m.

Location: Missouri State Museum, located on the first floor of the Missouri State Capitol

Description: The Missouri State Museum will feature storytellers in its summer series of the Museum After Hours program.  Programs will take place in the museum classroom, which is located in the History Hall (east wing).  Museum galleries will stay open until 9 p.m.

Contact Information: call 573-522-9060
Cost: Free


Shelter Insurance Show-Me State Games Torch Run

Date:  July 19

Time:  Noon

Location:  Missouri State Capitol

Description:  The Show-Me State Games Torch Run will stop in Jefferson City at noon on July 19.  The stop at the State Capitol is the last one before the torch wraps up its tour around the state, ending at the games' opening ceremonies in Columbia at the Mizzou Arena.  The Games feature 40 events in an Olympic-style competition for people of all ages and abilities.

Contact Information: Go to for more information.
Cost: Free


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More information about everything to see and do, as well as places to eat and stay, in Jefferson City is available from the the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-769-4183, at or at the city's Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages.   


Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau
Ryan Burns, Communications Manager 

(573) 632-2820  



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For more information, high-resolution photography or to schedule a customized press trip to Jefferson City, please contact Marjorie, Jo, Kyle or Deb of The Beenders-Walker Group at 800-544-8474


The Beenders-Walker Group

125 E. High St. Suite 200

Jefferson City, Missouri