Summer is full of fun traditions, but they are often activities we do on autopilot. Traditions like swimming at the pool, taking a family vacation, or hosting a backyard barbecue are ones that are easily forgotten in a sense of excitement when experiencing something new. As American painter Jasper Johns said, “When something is new to us, we treat it as an experience. We feel that our senses are awake and clear. We are alive.”
Jefferson City Magazine has put together a summer list to awaken the senses —including recommended experiences and local hot spots to check out. It can be a solo endeavor, or invite the entire crew. The more, the merrier!
For competitors who are up for an impressive food challenge, check out the West Main Pizza Challenge. Contestants are given a 26-inch, one-topping pizza to complete in one hour or less. If eaten within the allotted time, contestants win the jackpot money and get full bragging rights. If the pizza isn’t finished, competitors pay for the pizza, but leave with very full stomachs. Follow West Main Pizza on social media to check out the challengers and get information on upcoming live music and drink specials.
Last Flight Brewery, which opened in March 2021, offers a cozy indoor space and a family- and pet-friendly outdoor space to enjoy craft beer and conversation with friends. In addition to creative beers, such as the oatmeal cookie brown ale or the schnozberry sour, Last Flight offers a rotating menu of local food trucks. They also host trivia night every Tuesday and beer yoga on Sundays.
Steele’s Fine Custom Meats, located in the old Zesto Drive-In location on Jefferson Street, offers a variety of premium cuts of meat. You can get custom cuts of your favorite protein or try a unique selection of Mid-Missouri meats — such as lamb gyro brats. Families can even buy a protein pack of pork steaks, hamburgers, brats, eggs, bacon, and sausage.
For those who see the Capitol building every day, it can be easy to forget what a gem it is for the city. The architecture is amazing and, of course, all the history is a great learning experience, but the paintings hanging on the second floor can truly change perspectives (hint: one features a bridge). Those who are lucky enough to know someone who works at the Capitol can often get tours that end at the very top of the dome with a spectacular view of Jefferson City.
For biking adventures, try a moonlight ride to see the stars and how the city changes in look and feel at night. Participants can join a group ride through JC Parks or a gathering through Red Wheel Bike Shop. Be sure to check out their upcoming events.
Summer affords the perfect opportunity to soak up the fantastic colors borne out of an end-of-day sunset. Look no further than the sunset views at the Carl R. Noren Access along the Missouri River (take Hwy-54 east across the Missouri River, take the Route W exit, turn north on Route W, then 4th Street west, and then Cottonwood Drive south). Look left at Noren Access to see the bridge and the Capitol in the distance. The view to the right is all river and trees, plus, they have plenty of places to sit and soak up the view.
Capital Arts, located at 1203 Missouri Blvd. near the ice arena, promotes and supports local artists by displaying their work in their gallery. They also off er hands-on art classes for budding artists and creative thinkers, like molding clay on the pottery wheel. One can also take drawing, photography, crocheting, and art classes throughout the year. Learn more and register for classes at capitalarts.org.
Kids love to use their senses, especially touch. Check out the sensory play day for kids, ages 3 and under, at Missouri River Regional Library. The free, educational pro-gram allows kids to enjoy learning and playtime through a variety of sensory and activity stations. No registration is needed.
Westphalia Trading Co. is also a fun place for both kids and adults. They have a little bit of everything — including customized, creative chicken coops, a greenhouse for buying plants and flowers, and they even feature a cute vacation rental house on the property. In the fall, be sure to check out the petting zoo and the pumpkin patch for fun that fits the whole family.
Summer is not always stress-free. It can be hard to slow your mind and stop the worry. That’s where the sound bath at Catalpa Wellness comes in. There is no water involved in this bath, but instead, it’s an immersion of sound through Himalayan bowls and gongs. The sounds and vibrations relax the body and allow the mind to check out or unwind — including helping those dealing with anxiety, depression, and grief. Baths can be scheduled for just one or a private group session for friends. Catalpa Wellness also offers community sessions at their location (1802 W. Main Street) each month.
But when hearing music floating through the air in downtown Jefferson City, it’s most likely the Thursday Night Live event. The downtown streets are filled with people, food and drink, and great live music. The music starts around 6:30 p.m., and the lineup of bands can be found on the Thursday Night Live Facebook page. Live outdoor entertainment can also be heard at the Capital Region MU Health Care Amphitheater at Ellis-Porter Park. This venue features stadium seating for 500 people with room for an additional 2,000 visitors on the open lawn area. Find summer and fall event lineup to order tickets at crmuamphitheater.com.
The sense of smell can evoke wonderful memories. For those scent-seeking adventurers, start the day at Unique Creations Candle Bar on High Street. Guests can smell hundreds of different scents and narrow down their favorites to make a custom candle. Staff will guide guests through the entire process, including helping mix the scents, pour the wax, and label each unique smelling creation. This also makes a great group outing!
Jefferson City is home to some amazing, local coffee shops — including some that are super close to the candle-making shop. Pop into High Rise Bakery or Coffee Zone downtown for a great cup of coffee and something delicious to eat. Don’t be afraid to sit outside and enjoy the full downtown experience like chatting people who pass by.
And flowers aren’t just for holidays and special occasions. They can brighten your day all summer long and smell terrific on the desk or kitchen table. Pick up some native flower bouquets from Almost’a Farm in Lohman. They can be purchased at local farmers markets in town (Cole County or Lincoln University), or check out their social media to order directly.