Spring is a great time to get outdoors and brush off the winter blues. Hop on your favorite wheeled vehicle and hit the highway to the State Capital. Follow the route we supplied or make your own way. Be sure and stop and get a bite to eat followed by some great ice cream.

The trip to Missouri’s Capital begins at Painted Rock Conservation Area in Westphalia. Hike the Osage Scenic Bluff trail to take in views of the Osage River and the oak and hickory tree forest. Afterwards, head southwest on MO-133 until turning into Meta. Once on State Highway B, drive 11 miles to State Highway E. Follow the Brazito and Scrivner backroads to Routes AA and U, to your next stop at Shirk’s Country Market, packed with deli and bakery items, fresh produce, and Amish-made products. Next, head east on Highway 50 until exiting onto US-54E/US-63 N. Take the Missouri W exit, turn left, and follow the signs to Carl R. Noren Access. Joe Wilson’s Serenity Point grants you an up-close view of the Missouri River. Grab a seat on a porch swing and admire the capital’s skyline before you go back the way you came, heading east on W. Main St. to the iconic Missouri State Capitol.

Missouri State Capitol. Photo Courtesy of Jefferson City CVB.

The Capitol is open to the public to wander its halls and through the Missouri State Museum. On the northern exterior is the Bicentennial Bridge to Adrian’s Island, offering views of the city’s oldest buildings and the river.

Jump a street over to downtown High St., lined with eateries and shops. Craving ice cream? Drive half a mile down Madison St. to the beloved Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor where it boasts a vast variety of tasty flavors! Head back north on Madison St. to the Missouri Governor’s Mansion.

The Mansion has been the official residence of Missouri’s governors since 1872 and is one of the oldest executive residences in the US. Go east on Capitol Ave. until you reach the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum, which houses contraband, artwork, and additional information about the infamous prison.

Across the street sit the stone walls that once surrounded the penitentiary property. Follow the wall down Lafayette St. to Housing Unit #1, which serves as the entrance for scheduled history and ghost tours. Book a tour and walk through former housing units and the gas chamber.


1. Painted Rock Conservation Area, Westphalia
2. Shirk’s Country Market, Centertown
3. Joe Wilson’s Serenity Point at Noren Access, Jefferson City
4. Missouri State Capitol & Museum, Jefferson City
5. Downtown (East High St.), Jefferson City
6. Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor, Jefferson City
7. Missouri Governor’s Mansion, Jefferson City
8. Missouri State Penitentiary & Museum, Jefferson City

Plan your trip at VisitJeffersonCity.com.

Article originally published in Missouri Life’s Scenic Rides and Drive Guide 2023.