20 Things To Do In Hannibal

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Hannibal is on the Mississippi River in northeastern Missouri. If you are a fan of Mark Twain then you may know Hannibal as having a strong connection with the author. Many visiting Hannibal will go because of a love for Mark Twain but there are plenty of other fun things to see and do in the city. From lighthouses to conservation areas and parks, there’s something for all age groups in Hannibal.

Hannibal, Missouri

20 Things To Do In Hannibal

the famous white Tom Sawyer's Fence
Checking out the history Tom Sawyer’s Fence is one of the cool things to do in Hannibal. This is where Tom Sawyer persuaded is gang to pay him for the privilege of whitewashing.

1- Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

A lighthouse in Missouri? Anyone good at American geography will know that Missouri is a landlocked state! The Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse sits on top of Cardiff Hill in a 10-acre park.

One of the reasons it’s named in memory of Mark Twain is because his character Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn liked to play there.

Climb up the 244 steps to the lighthouse for panoramic views of downtown Hannibal and the Mississippi River.

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse is at E Rock St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

2- Julian Steyermark Woods Conservation Area

The Julian Steyermark Woods Conservation Area is named after Dr Julian Steyermark, a notable botanist and the author of Flora of Missouri.

The woodlands in the conservation area are filled with mature sugar maple, blue ash, black walnut, Kentucky coffee-tree and much more.

This conservation area is filled with an array of plants and trees which in turn attracts numerous animals. This place is excellent for wildlife viewing, hiking and studying nature.

Julian Steyermark Woods Conservation Area is at Hannibal, MO 63401.

3- Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

Many people visit Hannibal to check out the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum.

In this museum you can explore Mark Twain’s roots and how he became one of America’s most beloved writers.

The museum has an interpretive center where you can see how Twain transformed his childhood friends into the focal characters of his novels like ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’.

The Museum Gallery has an assortment of original paintings as well as artifacts from Twain’s life.

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is at 120 N Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

4- Explore Historic Downtown

Hannibal’s downtown is an excellent place to visit for vibrance, fun and history.

The downtown area hosts an array of festivals including the Twain of Main, Chocolate Extravaganza and the Haunted Hannibal Halloween Festival.

The downtown area has something for everyone from excellent eateries, to classic architecture and parks.

5- Mark Twain Cave Complex

Visiting the Mark Twain Cave Complex is a unique thing to do in Hannibal and a wonderful attraction if you have kids. 

Take a short drive outside of downtown Hannibal and you will discover the caves.

These caves are referenced in five of Mark Twain’s books.

The Mark Twain Cave Complex is also a National Natural Landmark.

A tour guide will lead you into the cave.

The tour lasts about an hour and is fun and informative.

It’s a truly exciting experience to see the vast caves and one which is amplified if you have read Twain’s works.

If you visit in summer be sure to bring some warm clothes as temperatures do drop when you enter the cave.

Mark Twain Cave Complex is at 300 Cave Hollow Rd, Hannibal, MO 63401.

6- Cave Hollow West Winery

Cave Hollow West Winery is inside the Mark Twain Cave Complex.

This winery may be small but it offers some excellent wines all of which are locally produced.

This was Hannibal’s first winery and it opened in 2011. Y

ou will find the winery just two miles south of downtown.

There are a total of 10 Missouri grown wines on offer including award-winning wines.

You can enjoy a tasting by the glass or even enjoy their craft beers.

There’s a restaurant next door to the winery so you choose to dine in making for an excellent romantic date.

Cave Hollow West Winery is at 217 Cave Hollow Road, Hannibal, MO 63401.

7- Huckleberry Park

Huckleberry Park is a 70-acre park that consists of beautiful rolling hills, woodland, and a fishing pond.

The park has a number of shelters and picnic areas which are perfect for eating in summer.

There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course, two tennis courts, pickleball, softball, basketball and the Hannibal Ramp Park for BMX and skateboarders.

It is a great park to be active and it’s especially good for the whole family.

Huckleberry Park is at 1300 30th St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

8- Take a Hannibal Ghost Tour

The Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tour is well worth it for those who like a spooky excursion.

If you love ghost stories and want to learn more about Hannibal this is a super fun thing to do in the city.

This is a history-based guided tour but one with many spooky stories and surprises.

They have a shuttle that will take you to their top haunted locations like Old Baptist Cemetery, and the Millionaire’s Row mansions.

The Hannibal Ghost Tour departs from the Hannibal History Museum which is at 200 N Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

9- Hannibal History Museum

If you want to learn more about Hannibal then it’s a great idea to check out the Hannibal History Museum.

This museum allows you to discover Hannibal’s famous residents throughout time and learn more about the city’s landmarks.

You can also purchase tickets for the Hannibal Ghost Tour from the museum.

Hannibal History Museum is at 200 N Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

10- Riverview Park

Another lovely outdoor spot in Hannibal is Riverview Park.

The park is set in 465 acres of forest and provides visitors with excellent views of the Mississippi River.

This is also one of the best free things to do in Hannibal.

In the park you will find the Riverview Trail.

This trail leads you towards the Mark Twain memorial which was erected in 1913, three years after he died.

This trail is three miles (4.8 km) which leads to plenty of lookouts over the Mississippi River.

There are picnic tables, a playground and restrooms to cater for your day spent in the park.

Riverview Park is at Hannibal, MO 63401.

11- Sodalis Nature Preserve

The Sodalis nature Preserve is a 191-acre park that was originally given to the city to help preserve the endangered bats that lived there.

It is also the second largest park in Hannibal.

Head to Ely Street and you will find access to the park.

The park is ideal for those looking to go hiking, biking and running.

There are around two miles (3.2 km) of trails.

Around 211,000 federally endangered Indiana bats hibernate in a limestone mine that closed around 50 years ago.

The bat population in Hannibal accounts for around one-third of the known Indiana bat population.

Sodalis Nature Preserve is at 800 Ely St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

12- Mark Twain Riverboat

sunset as a cruise ship floats beneath the mark twain memorial bridge
Going on a cruise is one of the things to do in Hannibal MO. Pictured here is the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge.

If you are searching for a relaxing and exciting Hannibal activity then head out on a Mark Twain Riverboat.

This sightseeing cruise is an hour long and includes dinner, music and there’s also a cash bar.

Their dinner menu is large so there are a plethora of options for the whole family to choose from.

They have many beers on tap including many local delights.

You will be able to view the Mississippi River just like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Mark Twain Riverboat is at 100 Center St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

13- Rockcliffe Mansion

The Rockcliffe Mansion was built between 1898 and 1900.

It was built by John J. Cruikshank Jr for his daughters and wife.

The estate is extremely grand and 13,500 square feet.

The mansion is situated on a limestone bluff providing the mansion dwellers with beautiful views of the Mississippi River, Hannibal and Lover’s Leap.

The mansion is open for guided tours daily between mid-April and mid-November.

It is also possible to stay at the mansion overnight in one of their historic bedrooms.

Rockcliffe Mansion is at 1000 Bird St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

14- Molly Brown Birthplace Museum

Molly Brown was an American socialite who was born in 1867 in Hannibal, Missouri.

She is perhaps best known as being a survivor of the RMS Titanic and it is believed that she urged the crew onboard her lifeboat to return to look for survivors.

The Molly Brown Birthplace & Museum is a great place to learn more about the fascinating life of Molly Brown. Take a guided tour and learn more about the rags-to-riches story of Margaret Brown.

Molly Brown Birthplace Museum is at 600 Butler St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

15- Nipper Park

Walk to the end of Broadway and you will find Nipper Park Marina that sits right on the Mississippi River.

In 2020 the riverfront and marina were completely renovated.

The area’s new amenities include slip rental and a boat launch.

It is a lovely place to relax and feel the breeze of the Mississippi River.

As it is so close to downtown Hannibal it is an excellent place to walk to from other city attractions.

Nipper Park Waterfront is at 103 Broadway, Hannibal, MO 63401.

16- Lover’s Leap

the view of hannibal from lover's leap
One of the things to do in Hannibal is to admire the view from Lover’s Leap.

Lover’s Leap is a 5-acre park that sits on a bluff on the edge of Hannibal just off Highway 79.

This park offers picturesque views of the Mississippi River as well as panoramic views of Hannibal itself.

Throughout the park there are historical information signs that detail local stories and the legend of Lover’s Leap.

It is a lovely place to breathe fresh air as well as take photographs.

Lover’s Leap is at 1132 MO-79, Hannibal, MO 63401.

17- Discover Street Murals

Those who appreciate art will love downtown Hannibal because there is an array of street art pieces and murals to see.

Head to North Main Street, North 3rd Street, Broadway to spot some amazing street murals.

It would be a shame to spoil exactly what you will see as part of the beauty of street art is simply stumbling across it but some pieces are inspired by Huckleberry Finn, the ghosts of Hannibal and Molly Brown.

There are more than 10 different murals to spot with more cropping up all the time.

18- Big River Steampunk Festival

The annual Big River Steampunk Festival is a really big festival with more than 20,000 people attending each year.

The festival is held over the Labor Day weekend. There is something for everyone at this festival. From face painting and air ship racing to extravagant costumes there’s a whole lot to see at the Steampunk Festival.

There are activities throughout the day including workshops, live performances and even teapot racing!

The Big River Steampunk Festival is at 201 N 3rd St suite 100, Hannibal, MO 63401.

19- Becky Thatcher House

This house was the home of Becky Thatcher, Tom Sawyer’s sweetheart in Twain’s book Tom Sawyer.

Despite its fictional fame the house was actually home to Laura Hawkins who was a childhood friend of the very same Mark Twain. She was the inspiration for Becky Thatcher.

There are some information boards at the house giving you a bit of historic background. The Becky Thatcher House was purchased by the Mark Twain Home Foundation in 2001.

Literary lovers should definitely add a visit to The Becky Thatcher House on top of their visit to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum.

The Becky Thatcher House is at 211 Hill St, Hannibal, MO 63401.

20- Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center

This is one of the only museums in northeast Missouri dedicated to African American history.

Jim from Mark Twain’s book was actually based on the real Daniel Quarles and enslaved person on a Florida, Missouri farm. The museum pays tribute to the legacy of Quarles. This museum shares a unique perspective of the plight of African Americans from Hannibal’s founding in 1819.

There are plenty of things to see in the museum including more than 600 artifacts, photographs, legal documents, memorabilia and art.

Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center is at 509 N 3rd St, Hannibal, MO 63401. 

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harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!