Cape Girardeau is a small city in issouri situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River. It has over 250 years of history along with several intact historical landmarks to visit like Fort D and the Trail of Tears Trail.

As for shopping, there is a large indoor mall, and lots of antique stores and specialty shops. Families visiting Cape, as the locals like to call it, can stop by one of the many playgrounds and adventure parks. The downtown features art murals a musical theater, plus some highly acclaimed restaurants.

1. Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears
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The Trail of Tears is a 3,415-acre State Park. The name was chosen for this trail to pay tribute to the Cherokee Indians who lost their lives here almost 200 years ago during a forced relocation. Although not a happy piece of history, the trails history today is much more peaceful and joyful. Visitors travel here from all over to enjoy the park's many hiking trails, many of which are named in the Cherokee Indians native language. Other recreational activities include picnicking, fishing, backpacking and camping. Besides campsites, other accommodations can be found such as cabins and an Inn.

429 Moccasin Springs Rd, Jackson, MO 63755, Phone: 573-290-5268

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2. West Park Mall

West Park Mall
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West Park Mall opened in 1981 by a company called May Centers. This indoor shopping center features five anchor stores. They are Macy's, Barnes & Noble, JCPenney, Old Navy, and Ashley HomeStore. In addition to these anchor stores, the mall has a variety of shopping options to offer its customers. There are several stores that sell children’s apparel, jewelry, shoes, health and beauty supplies, eyewear, women’s and men’s apparel as well as a handful of specialty shops. Furthermore, shoppers can delight in a tasty sweet treat at Kacie’s cookies, or visit a Creole, Burger, or Mexican restaurant for a heartier meal.

3049 William St, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703, Phone: 573-339-1333

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3. Melaina's Magical Playground

Melaina's Magical Playground
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Melaina’s Magical Playground is an all-inclusive and fully-accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities. The idea for this playground was inspired by Melaina Cunningham, and her parents Jeff and Andrea. Melaina faced a tragic disease called Nemaline Myopathy. Yet, even with the setbacks it caused, Melania was such a happy child. But, unfortunately, her physical limitations prevented her from enjoying the local parks. So, her parents and a Missouri State Representative helped design and create a park where children and adults with disabilities could play and have fun. This playground, just like Melaina’s spirit, is truly magical.

N County Park Rd, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, Phone: 573-986-9155

4. Things to Do in Cape Girardeau: Fort D Historic Site

Things to Do in Cape Girardeau: Fort D Historic Site

Fort D was built during the Civil War to defend the Union troops against the Confederate troops. In 1861, General Ulysses Grant came to Cape Girardeau to take command of the Union troops. Several battles occurred between this time before an attack by Confederate forces fell upon the troops in Cape Girardeau in 1863. Fort D did not fall under attack and the Union forces were able to ward off the Confederate troops. In the years that followed the war, Fort D went through many transitions. Then in 2005, the site underwent significant improvements where interpretive signs were placed, along with a Civil War living history.

Fort D Historic Site, 920 Fort St, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, Phone: 573-335-1631

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5. Old St. Vincent's Catholic Church

Old St. Vincent's Catholic Church
© Old St. Vincent's Catholic Church

Before becoming Old St. Vincent’s Catholic Church, the church was known as the Red House. The first Mass was celebrated in 1833. Several years later, a tornado left the church in ruins. So, a new church was constructed by Joseph Lansmon, a native of Cape Girardeau. He completed St. Vincent’s Church in 1853. Many decades passed and by 1976, the church was no longer in service and its fate was unclear. A group of 15 locals vowed to restore the church and received permission from the bishop and the Vincentian Fathers. They helped preserve much of the interior and exterior along with several artifacts.

119 S Spanish St, Cape Girardeau, MO, Phone: 573-651-3433

6. Levi's Adventure Trail

Levi's Adventure Trail
© Levi's Adventure Trail

Levi’s Adventure Trail is an ADA-accessible playground that opened in 2017. It’s a fun and adventurous space where children can laugh, play, and interact with other kids. There are a few climbing structures, some water and sand areas, several swings, and perhaps the most popular feature, a zip line. During the evening hours the park lights come on, so kids can play even as the sun goes down. Besides the lights, the park is equipped with full-service bathrooms, a water fountain and a filtered water station to refill bottles and thermoses. This park honors, Levi Collom, a local boy who died unexpectedly on March 18, 2012.

2400 County Park Dr, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, Phone: 573-450-9415

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7. 36 Restaurant and Bar

36 Restaurant and Bar
© 36 Restaurant and Bar

36 Restaurant and Bar is owned by husband and wife, John and Vanessa Klein. They met as coworkers at a local restaurant and wanted to become restaurant owners themselves. So, after they celebrated their wedding and honeymoon, they immediately started working on a business plan. One of the key components of their plan was to hire friend and colleague, Chef Houston Sutton. He was thrilled to take on the position as head chef and remains a key part of the operation. 36 Restaurant and Bar provides patrons a warm and welcoming environment paired with fine dining cuisine and numerous wine offerings and a generous selection of beers.

36 North Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, Phone: 573-803-2333

8. Broussard's Cajun Cuisine

Broussard's Cajun Cuisine
© Broussard's Cajun Cuisine

Broussard's Cajun Cuisine first opened in 1986 by Louisiana locals, Barron and Kathy Broussard. When they arrived in Cape Girardeau, they wanted to bring traditional Cajun cuisine to the area. Not only that, but they decorated the restaurant with New Orleans flair to give customers the feel of being in Louisiana. They even went so far as to install an alligator tank along the bar’s wall. The Broussard’s sold the restaurant in 1991 and it was sold a few more times before current owners Stephanie and Hunter Clark bought it in 2004. The Clark’s still use the Barron’s original, authentic recipes and provide first-class service.

114 N Main St., Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701, Phone: 573-334-7235

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9. Bella Italia Restaurant

Bella Italia Restaurant
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Bella Italia Restaurant is a staple in the Cape Girardeau community. Sadly, Bella’s burned to the ground many years ago. Although this tragedy was felt the worst by the owner, Mark Dirnberger, he did not let his dreams die with that fire. Within eight months, he rebuilt and reopened his restaurant. All these years later, it’s still in business and serving delicious authentic Italian cuisine. The restaurant features a bar, banquet rooms, and a separate outdoor dining space that can sit up to 25 guests. Menu items include baked pastas, pizzas, tossed pasta, old-world favorites, soups, salads, paninis, and more.

20 North Spanish, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, Phone: 573-332-7800

10. Cape Safari Park

Cape Safari Park
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The Cape Safari Park (Formerly Lazy L Safari Park) offers visitors the chance to get up close to more than 50 varieties of exotic animals without needing to travel to Africa. As you make your way through the walk-through zoo, you will come face-to-face with a variety of animals large and small. Many of the animals can be fed – packets of suitable food can be bought on site. There is also a petting zoo area where you can get to touch and feed goats and other friendly animals, and a walk-through parakeet jungle. To offer animal lovers a chance to work more closely with the animals, junior Zoo-Keeper camps are available during the June school vacations.

Cape Safari Park, 2763 Co Rd 618, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 243 7862

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11. The Crisp Museum

The Crisp Museum
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The Rosemary Birkel and Harry L. Crisp Museum is an arts museum which forms part of the Southeast Missouri State University. The museum has a large permanent collection of archaeological, historical and fine arts and hosts regular exhibitions to showcase the work of local artists, both established and emerging, offering visitors the opportunity to observe changing trends in art. Exhibitions and poetry nights are hosted to give exposure to the artists and inspiration to those who might like to test their own artistic talents. Should you like to expand your artistic skills you can join an art classes – there is something to suit all ages.

The Crisp Museum, 175 Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 651 2260

12. Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center

Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center
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Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center provides a splashing good time to visitors of all ages from the last week of May to Mid August each year. The facility has something for everyone including a splash-pad for toddlers and younger children, a zero depth entry pool ideal for all ages and a variety of 8 fun slides for older children and adults. There is also a lazy river to drift around and a food concession. You can enroll your children for vital swimming lessons on a private or group basis and aqua-fit classes are also available. Cape Splash is open from 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and noon to 6pm on Sundays.

Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center, 1565 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 339 6343

13. Century Casino

Century Casino
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The Century Casino is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, where it offers visitors a great selection of gaming and entertainment opportunities under one roof. Those who enjoy gambling will be pleased to find around 800 of their favorite slot machines on the slots floor, in addition to 19 table games which include Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat and 3-card Poker. There are two on-site restaurants including the fine-dining Beacon 53 and the popular Red Star Grill which hosts live music entertainers every Saturday night. There are plans in the pipe-line to add an on-site hotel (opening in early 2024) and a lounge and bar.

Century Casino, 777 Main St, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 730 7624

14. Discovery Playhouse

Discovery Playhouse
© Discovery Playhouse

Intended to educate while entertaining, the Discovery Playhouse is a treasured Children’s Museum which opened in 2010. Providing hours of educational fun for children (and their parents), the playhouse is spread across 2 floors and is home to no fewer than 29 exciting and inspiring exhibits. Ideally suited to children under the age of 11, the exhibits are both fun and educational and will teach your children about many everyday tasks and how they occur. For example, children can learn how to take care of pets, find out how a fire engine, grocery store, bank and bakery work and explore the inside of a real aircraft.

Discovery Playhouse, 502 Broadway Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 335 7529

15. The Glenn House

The Glenn House
© The Glenn House

The Glenn House is a historic museum which dates back to 1883, when it was built to be the residence of the David Glenn family. Beautifully restored, the Glenn House provides an intimate glimpse of everyday life during the Victorian era, showcasing the architecture of the period as well as the lifestyle. The stately home is filled with period antiques, examples of clothing and décor, which accurately paint a picture of the daily lives of the former inhabitants. During the summer season visitors are invited to book a tour of the house, led by knowledgeable docents who will bring the history back to life.

The Glenn House, 325 S. Spanish Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703, +1 573 587 4248

16. Cape River Heritage Museum

Cape River Heritage Museum
© Cape River Heritage Museum

The Cape River Heritage Museum is located in an historic building which was once the police and fire station. The building is over 100 years old and provides a home for a collection of interesting exhibits which offer visitors the opportunity to step back in time and learn about what everyday life was like on the Mississippi River, more than a century ago. There are many historic photographs on display as well as model replicas of early river boats and buildings. In addition, there are many nautical artifacts as well as an old fire engine and various examples of vintage fire-fighting equipment.

Cape River Heritage Museum, 538 Independence St, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703, 573 334 0406

17. Coin-Op Cantina

Coin-Op Cantina
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The Coin-Op Cantina is a popular meeting place for Cape Girardeau local and visitors. The cantina is essentially a sports bar, providing a combination of games arcade and social bar and is particularly loved by visitors who come to enjoy the vintage games and pinball machines. The interior features plain brick walls, industrial décor and the drinks menus are jotted up on blackboards. The bar is rumored to offer the best friendly service in town and a large selection of local craft beers for patrons to try. There are a lot of fun games from the 80’s and 90’s to try and the Cantina is open daily from 5pm until late.

Coin-Op Cantina, 46 Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 587 6149

18. Arena Golf at the TeeHouse Complex

Arena Golf at the TeeHouse Complex
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Loved by golfers of all ages and abilities, the TeeHouse Complex is your go-to venue for golf practice and fun. It all starts with a fun mini-golf course for the younger golfers to enjoy, while older players can hone their game at the only lighted driving range in the area. Their unique Toptracer Driving Range offers a computer assisted driving experience which gives players accurate feed-back about their shots and allows them to play several world-famous courses without leaving the complex. When the weather is uncooperative you can have fun on the indoor TrackMan Golf Simulator. You can stock up on golfing requisites at the Pro Shop and enjoy a drink and meal at the Bar and Lounge.

Arena Golf, 2901 Hawthorne Dr, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573 332 0860

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More Ideas in Missouri: Bellevue Bed and Breakfast

Set in a beautifully restored 1891 Queen Anne Victorian Inn in Cape Girardeau, the Bellevue Bed and Breakfast is an elegant and charming retreat in the heart of historic Old Town Cape. The retreat offers a luxurious alternative to regular hotel lodging and features beautifully appointed accommodations with contemporary décor and modern amenities and a gourmet breakfast every morning. The bed and breakfast is located within a few blocks of Old Town Cape’s best restaurants, a range of antique shops and boutiques, art galleries and museums and the mighty Mississippi River.

The Bellevue Bed and Breakfast features four appealing guest rooms that blend the timeless charm of yesteryear with the modern luxuries of today with plush, country-style décor and period furnishings, private bathrooms with showers, baths and Egyptian cotton towels, modern amenities. These include flat-panel LED televisions with cable channels, DVD players with DVD selections, CD player, and CDs, central air conditioning, hair dryers, organic toiletries, and complimentary wireless Internet.

The Girardot Room is decorated in soft hues of cream and chocolate silk and features a pillow-top king-size bed with luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, and a private bathroom with a step-in shower and a chandelier bath with oversized whirlpool for two. A spacious lounge area has plush Belgian rugs, comfy reading chairs, French antiques and books, and modern amenities.

Located on the second floor of the Inn, the Highlands Room is richly decorated in deep shades of burgundy and gold with silk tartan and Glen Rose fabrics that echo the nature of the Scottish Highlands. The room features a queen-size pillow-top bed with luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, a private bathroom with a steam shower and a whirlpool bath, Egyptian cotton towels and organic bath products.

The Yorkshire Room is a stylish and sophisticated room with a comfortable, relaxing ambiance. The room features English tapestries, an antique armoire, comfy wing recliners and Queen Anne dormer windows with beautiful views of a century-old maple tree. The room has a queen-size pillow-top bed with luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, and a private bathroom with a step-in shower, Egyptian cotton towels, organic bath products, and a Victorian pull chain toilet.

Decorated in tranquil shades of sea cove greens and blues, and rich creams, the Cove Room features a queen-size four poster bed with luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, and a private bathroom with an antique claw-foot tub, Egyptian cotton towels, and organic bath products. This room is located on the second floor of the Inn and offers a haven of serenity.

The Bellevue Bed and Breakfast serves a hearty gourmet breakfast each morning that includes hot and cold dishes, yogurt, cereals, fresh fruit, freshly baked scones, muffins, biscuits, and bread, juices and coffee and tea. Breakfast can be enjoyed in the dining room or in the privacy of the guest chambers.

The Bellevue Bed and Breakfast features an array of amenities to enhance guests’ stay, including a nightly turn-down service with homemade sweet treats, complimentary soft drinks, and bottled water, and two spacious parlors - a Ladies’ Parlor and Gentleman’s Parlor for relaxing. An early morning tea and coffee service can be requested, and a guest fridge is fully stocked with beverages and water for guests to enjoy. A Butler’s basket is available for any essentials that might have been forgotten at home, such as toothbrushes and the Inn provides a full range of concierge services, including printing, copying, and fax services. A beautiful back and front porch with folding chairs offer beautiful views over the gardens.

The Bellevue Bed and Breakfast provides a range of unique packages for all occasions. The Romance Package is ideal for a bride and groom or anniversary couple and features a seasonal bouquet of flowers or roses, a CD of love songs, chocolate-covered strawberries or gourmet chocolates, and an aromatherapy candle. The Spa Basket Package includes indulgent gifts like nourishing body lotion, relaxing bath sea salts, an aromatherapy candle, a soothing music CD, and fresh fruit.

The Sweet Dreams Package includes a chamomile or lavender shower/bath gel and lotion, an aromatherapy candle, a soft nature music CD, homemade, bedtime cookies, and a satin eye sleep mask. The Picnic Basket Package is filled with homemade goodies, including wines from the local wineries, homemade cookies, fresh fruit and other delights.

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312 Bellevue Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, Phone: 800-768-6822