Most travelers to St. Joseph don’t have enough time to do everything in one trip, and it can be difficult to decide what to do and when to do it.
However, that just got a whole lot easier with our St. Jo suggestions below. We can’t possibly cram every option into this list, but here is a taste.
From arts and culture to music and entertainment, you’ll find a little bit of everything here.
BOOK YOUR STAY
Nearly 130 years ago, Nathan Ogden built this chateauesque-style mansion on Hall Street and appointed it lavishly with the best of everything that money could buy. High atop a bluff looking down across the city toward the Missouri River, 809 Hall Street is one of several mansions in the Hall Street Historic District known locally as “Millionaires’ Row.” Today, the Shakespeare Chateau still boasts 47 original artisan-crafted stained glass masterpieces and you’ll enjoy the beautifully appointed guest rooms with fabulous art and antiques and luxurious linens. Other amenities include gourmet breakfast, free WiFi, and private baths with jetted tubs and a
luxury Euro-spa shower. Keep in mind though, the Shakespeare Chateau is only one of 3 bed & breakfasts in St. Joseph. Other glorious homes include The Whiskey Mansion and The Vineyard Mansion. Click here for more lodging options.
GET SOME FRESH AIR
St. Joseph Riverfront & Remington Nature Center
At the Remington Nature Center, you’ll be greeted by a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth. The high-tech complex features animal and cultural exhibits, more than 1,200 local Native American items, a 7,000-gallon aquarium, sensory garden, and the adjacent the Riverwalk (a two-mile trail that hugs the Missouri River). The Museum’s Director, Andrea McCoy, will begin your tour of the Nature Center. Make sure to bring your bike for the Riverfront Trail!
The St. Joseph Parkway winds through the City of St. Joseph for 26 miles. Developed in 1918 by architect George Burnap, Saint Joseph was one of the first cities in the United States to develop an imaginative and comprehensive parkway plan. Popular for hiking and biking activities, the completed system connects principal parks and recreation facilities throughout the city. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The Parkway runs roughly, from Northwest to Northeast through the city from Krug Park to Hyde Park a portion runs on Noyes Boulevard.
Fort Smith Park
Fort Smith, named after Colonel Robert F. Smith, was erected in late September 1861 as a safeguard against conflicting armies battling on either side of the state line. With the strong possibility of battles reaching St. Joseph, Colonel Smith stood ready with his 2,500 troops and 12 cannons poised atop the newly created fortification on Prospect Hill. However the conflict was averted and by the spring of 1862, the Union troops at Fort Smith were downsized. The fort was re-discovered in 2003. Amenities at Fort Smith Park include 3 full-scale authentic reproduction cannons, restored redoubts, a lookout point, period flags, informative signage, and an ordnance shed displaying illustrations of various types of artillery shells used in the conflict. The fort is a passive park, where visitors can come, relax, picnic and see a wonderful view of the city and beyond.
Patee House Museum & Jesse James Home Museum
Built in 1858, this National Historic Landmark was a pioneer hotel and headquarters of the Pony Express in 1860. Inside the Patee House, view an incredible collection includes period rooms, an 1861 replica stagecoach, an authentic 1860 locomotive, art, antique toys and more. Next door is the Jesse James Home Museum, where Jesse was shot and killed by fellow gang member Bob Ford. You still can see the bullet hole in the wall!
Pony Express National Museum
Preserving the Legacy and the Legend, the Pony Express National Museum illustrates the need, creation, operation, and termination of the famed overland mail service. The location of the museum is the actual stables used by the Pony Express horses and riders and provides
state-of-the-art exhibits to tell the story.
Walter Cronkite Memorial
The Walter Cronkite Memorial is a tribute to the most famous American news anchor who was born in St. Joseph. Here you’ll see several exhibits devoted to all aspects of his life, from his childhood and family to his time at the anchor desk and his passion for NASA’s Space
St. Joseph Museums, Inc.
You’re sure to enjoy the St. Joseph Museums complex, featuring the unique Glore Psychiatric Museum, considered one of the 50 most unusual museums in the country, with an amazing and astonishing collection of artifacts, interactive displays, replicas and documents that show how mental illness has been portrayed and treated. Also, the St. Joseph Museum is the repository of more than 10,000 American Indian items, the largest in Missouri. And the St. Joseph Black Archives shares our community’s Black history. Sarah Elder, Curator of Collections will be your guide.
SOAK UP SOME CULTURE
Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art
The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art museum rivals any other with their unparalleled permanent collection of 18th-20th-century art. But, this isn’t your mother’s stuffy art museum. The museum is always changing things with traveling art exhibits, young artists collections, and special events, so expect to see something new every time you visit. Head there during the lunch hour on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and enjoy the impeccable menu and beautiful setting at the AKMA Cafe, located inside the museum.
Mount Mora Cemetery
Established in 1851, Mount Mora is the oldest operating cemetery in Saint Joseph, Missouri. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is an interpretive site of The St. Joseph Museums, Inc. Mount Mora was once the most fashionable burial place for many of St. Joseph’s wealthy and powerful citizens. The boom years of the post Civil War period, known as St. Joseph’s “Golden Age,” gave rise to the building of some of the finest residential architecture in the Midwest, and to some of the finest tomb architecture as well. Established in 1851, Mount Mora is St. Joseph’s oldest operating cemetery and the burial site of many prominent citizens. Three Missouri governors, three generals, two Pony Express riders, and an English Baronet are among those found.
Simply put, this opulent theater is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The building is a renovated 1927 movie palace which today serves as Cultural Center for the arts in St. Joseph. The theater, seating 1200, is decorated in a pre-Persian motif and is a true architectural gem. So, what can you see here? The question is, what “can’t” you see. Every year the Missouri Theater is booked solid with Broadway-caliber plays, nationally traveling musicals, world-renowned symphony performances, and unique variety shows. This year’s shows include concerts by The Beach Boys and Dwight Yoakam, the musicals Annie and Legally Blonde, and tributes to The Temptations and Frank Sinatra (and much more). Different local arts organizations host a variety of shows year-round, and each has their own diverse schedule.
Robidoux Landing Playhouse
In July of 2007, the Robidoux Resident Theatre opened their new venue, Robidoux Landing Playhouse and Dinner Theater, to sold-out performances all season. In addition to their regular Tabletop performance season, which this year includes The Savannah Sipping Society, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, and Kitchen Witches, the Robidoux Landing Playhouse is also home to a stand-up comedy club, a jazz club, numerous dinner shows and even a children’s theater summer camp. The small, but quaint venue is equally impressive, allowing for intimate performances between actors and guests, and is located inside one of St. Joseph’s historic downtown warehouse buildings close to the Missouri River.
Live music has always been a part of the heart and soul of our community, having given birth to Coleman Hawkins, the founder of the tenor sax, rock legend Steve Walsh, and the international punk rock band, Radkey…to name a few. But in the last 10 years, the variety and accessibility of live music has, quite literally, exploded. You can’t spend a single night in St. Joseph without finding at least one location showcasing a unique musical experience.
“Local venues support local, national acts. While local venues try to mix it up, the dividing lines between them were never more apparent. In its second year, Cafe Acoustic Concert Hall booked a mixture of guests, from local hard rock and alternative acts like Royal Absinthe Company, Until The Worlds End and Carbon to national acts like former The Misfits lead singer Michale Graves, Bobaflex, and Razorwire_Halo. The Rendezvous has become a haven of rock and punk acts, both national and local, thanks in part to the booking of local music journalist Danny Phillips, under the name “Dr. 47.” Magoon’s continues to book great blues, acoustic and rock acts from all over, and Unplugged continues to be a gem, taking chances and booking a variety of acoustic groups and solo acts. That’s good! The list may be short and sweet, but it’s next to impossible to list all of the amazing entertainment and nightlife venues in St. Joseph.” –