This article is presented in partnership with the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Nestled in the heart of mid-Missouri, Jefferson City is often thought of solely as the seat of state government, housing the stunning Missouri State Capitol in all her wonder. Home to many notable attractions, including the Governor’s Mansion, the first museum in the United States dedicated to veterinary medicine, and the infamous Missouri State Penitentiary—chock full of history as the formerly oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi River.

Along with its historic portfolio, there is much to explore in the rolling hills that surround the incredible Missouri River. For those feeling a strenuous bike ride or a casual stroll, JCMO has activities for every level of outdoor enthusiast.

The Katy Trail in North Jefferson City is only a river bridge away from the capital’s bountiful downtown attractions, restaurants and shops. Photo—Tyler Beck Photography

A stunning way to experience Jefferson City is by the Katy Trail. Stretching from Clinton to Machens, Missouri, the trail spans 240 miles across Missouri and allows adventurers to take in some of the most scenic areas of the state. Visitors can enjoy the longest rail-to-trail conversion at their own pace. Gliding along the banks of the Missouri River, the trail offers a picturesque view of the Show-Me State’s capital city skyline and is located just a short distance from JCMO’s downtown district full of shops and boutiques, in addition to the tempting scent of multiple, delectable food and drink options.

From downtown, visitors can access Jefferson City’s newest crown jewel: the Bicentennial Bridge to Adrian’s Island. The 12-foot-wide pedestrian/bike bridge connects the Missouri State Capitol complex to the 32-acre Deborah Cooper Park, located on the riverfront. Equipped with a life-size chessboard, hammocks, art, paved paths and nature trails galore, the park is prime for a day of fresh air.

Bicyclists enjoy their ride from the new Bicentennial Bridge to the riverfront Deborah Cooper Park on Adrian’s Island. Photo—JC Parks

Explorers can hop on a chunk of the Greenway Trail on the east end of Jefferson City, which is home to the Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, living up to its name overlooking the Missouri River. The Capital Region MU Healthcare Amphitheater lights up summer nights with concerts and events all season long. The open-air space features a modern stage and backdrop, stadium seats up close, and open lawn seating for guests to throw down a blanket and enjoy the show.

The newly renovated Capital Region MU Health Care Amphitheater hosts local, regional and national entertainment throughout the year. Photo—Notley Hawkins

Binder Park offers a smorgasbord of activities for those looking to escape to the outdoors. Feeling like a hike? You got it. A short row in your kayak or canoe (maybe even with your best doggo friend as your captain)? You betcha. You can even try your hand at disc golf at one of two courses. Binder Park’s picturesque, 155-acre lake sits as a stunning backdrop for family picnics, paddling, and sailing expeditions in addition to serving as the perfect quiet spot for anglers of all ages and expertise.

If these aren’t quite the right speed, 15 miles of trails throughout the park allow visitors to weave their way through the trees by foot or mountain bike.

Whether on a set of wheels or riding the rails, Jefferson City’s central location makes traveling here a breeze. For more info about the adventures and great outdoors surrounding JCMO, head to!