History & Tourism

So Much to See in St. Joseph!

When it comes to tourist attractions, St Joseph is known for being the location where the Pony Express began, and where Jesse James ended; it’s also the area where fur trapper Joseph Robidoux set up a trading post, and a region rich in Native American history – but that’s just part of the story. Contemporary galleries and dining remind residents and visitors of the city’s modern amenities and unique atmosphere while numerous museums and historic sites allow visitors to peek into a time when St. Joseph was truly an integral part of the business of the Wild West.

  • Numerous National Register neighborhoods and historic sites
  • Pony Express and Patee House museums; more than 13 museums to explore
  • Home of Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp
  • Award-winning Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art
  • Multi-million dollar Remington Nature Center, set alongside the Missouri River
  • Miles of parkways and trails connecting the city’s parks and many neighborhoods
  • Riverfront casino
  • Professional Symphony and nationally-known musical and theater entertainment
  • 13 arts organizations
  • Downtown boutiques, dining and events amongst large 19th century building collection
  • National concerts at Civic Arena and historic art deco Missouri Theater

Go Downtown

Downtown St Joseph is rich in architectural interest and beauty, and recognized across the Midwest for having one of the largest collections of intact 19th century structures. Spend a day walking and take in magnificent 1890s churches and original downtown business structures, or visit the historic Patee House Museum, once a bustling 120-room hotel for westward travelers. Visit a turn of the century Gothic mansion and stop for lunch or tea in a charming neighborhood tea room or enjoy original Louisiana cuisine at Boudreaux’s along Warehouse Row, where wagon trains heading west loaded up on dry goods before starting their journey.

Bring the Family to a Baseball Game

Although it is a quick drive from St Joseph to watch the Kansas City Royals, baseball fans take in all the atmosphere and family excitement at the St. Joseph Mustangs games. This wooden-bat league team competes regionally with other M.I.N.K. (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas) teams and makes enjoying America’s pastime easy and affordable.

Minutes from Wineries and Day Trips; Plus Renowned and Historic Theater

Anytime of year is a good time for a drive into the countryside around St Joseph where small wineries dot the rolling hills. Most wineries offer daily tastings, tours and picnic baskets. For arts and theater fans, the beautiful art-deco Missouri Theater is one of the nation’s best 1920s theater examples, incredibly ornate and featuring national and local theater acts throughout the year. The Allied Arts Council works with more than 12 local arts, music and theater organizations, including the Performing Arts Association and the St. Joseph Community Chorus, featuring both local performances and drawing in exciting global and national artistic experiences.

From great museums, historic neighborhoods and architecture, to sporting events and art happenings, St. Joseph offers everything to see and do of larger metropolitan areas – plus the convenience and affordability of a smaller- sized city, with a Midwestern community spirit.

Pony Express Museum and Stables

Hear the hoof beats. Learn the whole story. Experience the birth of long-distance communication at the Pony Express Museum and visitor’s center, the place where the Pony Express began. The Pony Express Museum is also home to the annual Pony Express Pumpkin Fest, drawing thousands of visitors for fall fun.

Patee House Museum, built in 1858

Built in 1858 as a luxury hotel, Patee House served as the Pony Express headquarters from 1860 to 1861. It ‘s located just one block away from the home of infamous outlaw Jesse James, where he was shot and killed by Bob Ford. Today, the Patee House Museum features a walk-through replica of the Streets of Old St. Joe; a full size historic locomotive; a hand-carved carousel for kids of all ages; and extensive Civil War, Native American and regional history exhibits, including restored Ball Rooms visited by many past presidents.

The St. Joseph Museum

The St. Joseph Museum is well-known for its extensive Native American collection and exhibits include clothing, accessories, fans, pottery, pipes, weapons, kachinas, jewelry and archaeological artifacts from ten cultural regions of North America. Also currently featured are exhibits on the Lewis and Clark Expedition with emphasis on the journey through northwest Missouri.

Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp in St. Joseph

Sports fans here also love summer because that’s when the Kansas City Chiefs come to St. Joseph for Summer Training Camp. St. Joseph was chosen as the summer training site over a number of other cities across the Midwest. The three week camp draws 60,000 attendees, 30,000 of which are visitors to the city who come to enjoy watching professional football training on the campus of MWSU. The University partnered with the Kansas City Chiefs in constructing the new Indoor Sports and Recreation facility, which houses a full size indoor football field, weight room, offices, locker and meeting rooms. The Camp is free to the public and provides concessions and a Kid Zone for smaller children. The camp is typically held during the first three weeks of August.

Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art

Featuring more than 3000 works of art, ranging from classical to contemporary, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art is a longstanding favorite for residents and visitors. The exhibits are housed in a restored 19th century mansion, including a large expansion of galleries, courtyards and a dining café. Year-found family arts education programs and special events are hosted at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art.

Wyeth-Tootle Mansion

This 1879 sandstone mansion is St. Joseph’s showcase example from the City’s extensive collection of 19th century mansions. The massive and ornate home was built by successful early merchants, as were many of the city’s historic homes, and features hand-painted ceilings; incredible woodwork; rare stained glass; and exotic animal displays and artifacts derived from global travels of early owners. With three floors and more than 30 rooms, the Wyeth Tootle Mansion delights residents and visitors with year-round tours and events.

Missouri Theater, circa 1927

The Missouri Theater, set in beautiful downtown St. Joseph, is one of only three theaters left in the country that still has a rare suspended ceiling, a must-see for everyone. This 1927 art deco structure is incredibly ornate and recently restored to its original glory as one of St. Joseph’s original theater and motion picture palaces. You can catch Broadway shows and nationally-known entertainment year-round, along with comedies, dramas and musicals from one of the city’s award-winning arts organizations.

Historic Downtown St. Joseph

Enjoy a walk along St. Joseph’s historic downtown streets, and look up – you’ll see ornate architectural surprises at every corner. Many of the city’s original 1880s and 1890s business buildings remain, and are dotted with cafes, nightclubs and parks. Festivals throughout the year bring guests downtown, especially the annual Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival. Boutiques, art galleries and great restaurants await in Downtown St. Joseph, where new loft housing and downtown revitalization projects are capturing the spirit of this area.

Remington Nature Center

This multi-million dollar facility is a recent addition to St. Joseph’s impressive set of museums and outdoor recreation sites. Set alongside a three-mile hiking/biking trail that winds along the Missouri River banks, the Remington Nature Center showcases the area’s important and fascinating history, from prehistoric man, Native American artifacts from the nearby hills and the city’s role in westward expansion. Diverse animal exhibits and a 7,000 gallon aquarium also help tell the story of the region’s wildlife, both past and present. Children’s and family programs are offered year-round at the Remington Nature Center.