A Day at the Capital

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Jefferson City might be best known as home to the Capitol, but Jefferson City also is a place of rich Missouri history, and host to a variety of fall festivals and activities throughout the season.


A. Oscar’s Classic Diner

Cruise in for fabulous 1950s food and fun. Oscar's breakfast favorites include made-from-scratch biscuits with gravy, country fried steak and jumbo omelets. Enjoy the music and nostalgia of the fabulous 50s.

B. Runge Nature Center

Inside, explore more than 3,000 square-feet of exhibits that lead you through a myriad of Missouri's natural habitats. Featured in the exhibit area are a 3,580-gallon fish aquarium, live amphibians and reptiles, hands-on activities for children, an indoor wildlife viewing area, a nature library, a small gift shop and other displays.Venture outside to discover more than two miles of hiking trails.

C. Missouri State Capitol

The Capitol, completed in 1918, covers three acres in downtown Jefferson City. The dome rises 238 feet above ground level; the structure is notable for its architectural features, including: eight 48-foot columns on the south portico; six 40-foot columns on the north side; a 30-foot-wide grand stairway; and 13-foot by 18-foot bronze doors on the south side.


A. The Old Brick House Deli

Enjoy a comfortable atmosphere and a quality meal for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday. Serving a variety of sandwiches, salads and wraps.

B. Arris’ Pizza — Jefferson City

Arris' serves Greek-style pizza, using house-made dough to form a thin crust, smeared with private recipe sauce, loaded with meats and veggies (more than 30 choices, with hundreds of combinations); then it is topped with sliced cheese- the cheese goes on top. Greek specialties, Italian foods, panini, salads and sandwiches also are on the menu.

C. Missouri State Penitentiary Tours

When this prison opened in 1836, the Battle of the Alamo was going on in Texas. The prison was 100 years old when Alcatraz began taking inmates. In 1967, the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) was named the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time magazine. Before it closed in 2004, MSP was the oldest continually operating penitentiary west of the Mississippi River.The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) was decommissioned in 2004. It is now open seasonally for public for tours, operated by the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Visit cells of famous inmates such as heavyweight champion Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray (who escaped in 1967 and went on to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968).Because of the nature and subject of the tours, no children younger than 10 are permitted. Photographs are allowed, but no video may be taken. No smoking. No food allowed. Because of the age of the facility, these tours are not wheelchair accessible. Reservations are required for all tours. Every person on the tour must have a reservation. You may visit the website and call the CVB for details, schedules and reservations. Extended and paranormal (ghost) tours are offered. Special and group tours may be arranged.

D. Missouri State Penitentiary Museum

Just a few blocks away at 100 E. High St., the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum gives Jefferson City visitors an opportunity to learn more about the history of the famous – or infamous – prison.The Museum includes a replica cell with prison bars, a bunk and a toilet to demonstrate what living conditions were like at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Also, the Museum has a number of large displays featuring photographs of the Missouri State Penitentiary through time. Several display cases are filled with artifacts and memorabilia on loan to the Museum.There is a separate entrance to the Museum off Jefferson St. through which visitors can access the Museum by either stairs or elevator. Groups of 10 or more can contact the Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau to make an appointment.

E. Carnahan Memorial Gardens

A striking complement to the Capitol Complex, this Garden, located next to the Governor's Mansion, was constructed in the late 1930s. The site is filled with flowers, pools, and walkways. After the death of Gov. Mel Carnahan, the garden was renamed the Carnahan Memorial Gardens. The garden can be reserved for special events.


A. Madison’s Cafe

Madison's Cafe, a 30-year Jefferson City tradition, offers casual yet elegant dining, with a focus on northern Italian and American cuisine. The menu offers everything from mouthwatering appetizers, to salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta, steaks, seafood and veal, with a variety of signature dishes.
This wine shop and bistro serves lunch and dinner. If you do not drink wine, you will find a short list of beers, soda and tea options. A farm-to-table dinner special is served every Friday and Saturday.