I was honored to be asked to share about downtown Jefferson City because it’s so much a part of who I am. Three generations of Tergins have strolled downtown streets and owned businesses. Downtown is a place of rich history and stories, but you’ll feel a part of that story whether you’re new to town or have been here for generations. 

Mayor Carrie Tergin standing by a car in Jefferson City.
Mayor Carrie Tergin

Downtown is the heart of our Capital City. Parades run through it, homecomings and holidays are spent here, Fourth of July events are here, as are stages and music, sometimes dancing, shopping, or dining. Any and all adventures can be enjoyed from a sidewalk café or a downtown bench with flowers blooming overhead.  

Downtown’s Unique and Ever-Changing Landscape

Each building has unique architecture; you can see the city’s historic storefronts come alive along with hip new shops and eateries like BarVino. And of course, there are still the longtime favorites like Madison’s. It’s ever-changing, always renewing. It’s uptown, it’s downtown. 

We all remember our favorite places — where we found that one-of-a-kind dress for a special occasion, did our Christmas shopping, celebrated a special meal with family, had drinks with friends, or took a quiet walk in the evening. Maybe it was some early evening Yo-Yums or a bustling trip to the bank during the workday, or perhaps you went to talk with your travel agent to plan your next vacation.  

Outdoor dining along the streets of downtown Jefferson City MO

Fond Memories of Jeff City

Maybe you bought your wedding dress at Jacques, and perhaps your daughter will find hers at Ana Marie’s, and her fiancé or your son might find their tux at Samuel’s. You might have bought toys at Mattingly’s — I still remember buying a goldfish downstairs — and now you frequent Downtown Book & Toy (minus the fish). We all remember visiting Santa in the trailer, and now kids will remember the Ice Cream Splash and sand in the streets and the Jefferson City Museum of Modern Art!

Makes you want to live there . . . that’s how it started, after all. Families lived above the stores, and thankfully that trend is back in style. Loft living is in high demand, and luckily there is still space yet to be remodeled. I can’t wait to see what’s behind the metal façade of the Dallmeyer building, formerly home to JC Penney’s and newly purchased by a new generation of entrepreneurs.  

The capitol and governor’s mansion and gardens are within a short walk, and the hotels, churches, and event spaces like High Street Retreat, Millbottom, and Revel are just a short bike ride from Red Wheel. Capitol Avenue is nearby, as are antiques at Encore, and don’t forget what a treasure the Missouri River Regional Library holds. Even our News-Tribune is headquartered here, as are the local and Missouri chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureau, and Historic City of Jefferson. 

Aerial view from a drone camera of Downtown Jefferson City
Photographer Levi Willis

There’s the shade of the trees during the annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale, the fun of shopping in your favorite stores from Whaley’s to Tolson’s. Take off with some Rocket Fuel from Coffee Zone, grab a slice at Arris’ Pizza, and bring home a bouquet from River City Florist. Maybe your clothing is from A Fine Mess, or Snob Shop, or American Shoe. Foodies will fall in love with Sweet Smoke BBQ. Catch a game or music or a brew at J.Pfenney’s, Spectators, Gumbo Bottoms, Bones, or High Street Pub. Enjoy a quick sandwich at Subway or Jimmy John’s, Sunday brunch and mimosas at High Rise Bakery, a stroll down Jefferson for Merle Norman, Towne Grill, and Divinity. Pop into Southbank or the Grand Café, then catch a film at Capitol City Cinema or showcase your inner artist at Unique Creations.

High Street corner in downtown Jefferson City Missouri.

And, of course, if you need a quick gift, there’s my namesake shop, Carrie’s Hallmark! Check out DowntownJeffersonCity.com for a complete list or to join the downtown association! The group adds colorful flowers in summer, shovels snowy sidewalks in winter, and lines the buildings with Christmas lights. May downtown always be your place to create memories! #DowntownJCMO

While you’re in the area


River City Florist
212 Madison St.

Sweet Smoke BBQ 
127 E High St.

Capitol City Cinema
126 E High St.