Jefferson City is the capital city of Missouri and the 15th most populous city in the state. It is located on the northern edge of the Ozark Plateau and it is the site of the St. Peter Church, the Missouri State Penitentiary, the Governor’s Mansion and the Missouri State Museum. It is also home to Lincoln University which has ranked as a top educational institution for international students.
If you are looking for a great way to spend your Christmas vacation, a trip to Jefferson City may be your ideal destination. Here are some things you can do during your visit.
Jaycees Candyland Christmas Parade
Jaycees Candyland Christmas Parade has been a Jefferson City tradition since 1940. It runs through the downtown area going up High street and then traveling back down Capitol Ave. The parade features dozens of floats as well as musical entertainment. Those participating give out candy to the many spectators that line the street.
Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
The Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony is another annual tradition worth checking out. It takes place in early December in Rotary Park on Bolivar Street. In addition to the tree lighting, guests can also enjoy terrific entertainment, refreshments and meet and greets with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The event is free and open to the public.
Downtown Living Windows
If you want to check out the Christmas displays, Jefferson City’s many shops provide a unique holiday experience. Visitors and residents can stroll through the downtown area to view the storefronts with windows filled with singers, dancers and holiday themes. Horse and carriage rides, refreshments, carolers and live performances are included in the festivities. Santa meet and greets are available at Hawthorn Bank.
Over 50 groups participate each year making for over three blocks of activities and displays.
Visit Santa at Busch’s Florist and Greenhouse
Busch’s Florist and Greenhouse is a local florist shop in the Jefferson area. At Christmastime, they go out of their way to make a great holiday experience for their clients by providing Century Dairy Milk and freshly baked cookies complements of Chez Monet as well as a coloring board where children can create amazing pieces of art while waiting to meet Santa Claus.
Be sure to bring a toy to donate to their Toys for Tots Drive to win a special exclusive visit with Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
Capital City Festival of Lights
Binder Park is a great place to enjoy picnics and outdoor activities. Every year it transforms into a winter wonderland with a drive through event that is over a mile long. The light park is built into a wooded roadway and is synched to holiday music that plays throughout the area. Ride through Binder Lake Road to enjoy displays of Santa Claus and his elves.
The event doubles as a fundraiser and all proceeds are donated to local charities.
Capital Mall’s Breakfast with Santa
The Capital Mall is a great place to get some holiday shopping done. They also host a Breakfast with Santa event that is held in the Center Court area. It takes place on a Saturday morning in early December and kicks off the holiday shopping season.
Guest can enjoy a light meal with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves. Songs are sung and there are reading activities for the children.
Visit the Missouri State Penitentiary
This may not be the most festive activity, but it could be the most fascinating.
At one point, the Missouri State Penitentiary held the largest population of inmates in the U.S. With over 52,000 inmates it was the site of several fights, countless injuries and deaths. When a riot broke out in 1954, it was deemed the “bloodiest 47 acres in America”.
Schedule a tour to find out about the many inmates who called the prison their home and the shocking events that took place within its walls.
Jefferson County Cantorum Sounds of the Season Concert
The Sounds of the Season Concert takes place every year at the Miller Performing Arts Center in Jefferson City. Local musicians including singers and instrumentalists take on a variety of holiday classics for the entertainment of the viewing public. Select items are auctioned off during the event.
Boys and Girls Club Annual Jingle 5K
The Local Boys and Girls Club gets into the spirit by walking a 5K in the name of the holiday season. Children and parents dress up in festive attire and endure the chilly temperatures for this invigorating event.
Candlelight Tours at the Governor’s Mansion
The Candlelight Tours commence when the governor and his wife light the tree outside their mansion. The event includes a performance from the Sparta High School band that takes place on the front steps of the mansion. Student choirs from local schools join in the festivities performing holiday songs.
From then on, select days will be made available when visitors can come to tour the decorated grounds and check out the Christmas Village on the Mansion lawn.
Attractions of the village include a General Store, a Candy Shoppe, Santa’s Candy Cane Lane House and Santa’s Workshop. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to take letters from children and unused toy can be donated for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Visit St. Peter Church
St. Peter Church is a must-see sight for anyone visiting Jefferson City. This 175-year-old facility has arched windows, and a grand arched ceiling. Stop by to enjoy the exquisite architecture or join in on their midnight mass event.
Jefferson City is a terrific place to visit and it makes a terrific Christmas vacation destination. What will you be doing during your trip?