Life

Find Charm and Literary Nostalgia in Hannibal

If you love Mark Twain, a visit to Hannibal is likely on your bucket list. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, this darling city is worth a visit any time, but 2019 is its bicentennial so there’s never been a better time to explore its history.

By Juliana Goodwin

Jul 2019

Visit Hannibal, MO, the famous hometown of author Mark Twain.
Photo courtesy Hannibal Visitor's BureauThe Mark Twain Riverboat sets sail for one- or two-hour cruises down the Mississippi River.

FESTIVALS

A great time to visit is July 3 through 6, during the 64th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days, a family-friendly festival. The event includes carnival rides, a parade, live music every evening, a large arts and craft festival, a beer garden, contests and celebrations of Twain’s famous character. On July 4 at dusk, watch an impressive fireworks display explode over the Mississippi River.

Visit Hannibal, MO, the famous hometown of author Mark Twain.
Photo courtesy Hannibal Visitor's BureauHannibal’s Fourth of July fireworks display kicks off at dusk and lights up the sky above the Mississippi River.

ATTRACTIONS

Visiting Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is a must. Enjoy a self-guided tour through a maze of Twain attractions: his boyhood home, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace office and a museum dedicated to Twain’s life. It’s a great place to learn more about the American author and real-life people who inspired his writings. 

If you’re a history buff, Hannibal History Museum should be on your radar. It explores the city’s history and has a fun section on famous Hannibalians, such as the Unsinkable Molly Brown and inventor of the Lear Jet and founder of Motorola, Bill Lear. 

Mark Twin Riverboat offers one- and two-hour cruises daily (two-hour cruises include a meal). Select the one-hour sightseeing cruise, which is a leisurely boat ride down the Mississippi where you can soak up the scenery and learn a little bit more about Hannibal. 

Downtown Hannibal is filled with cute shops peddling items like jewelry, soap, housewares and pottery. 

Visit Hannibal, MO, the famous hometown of author Mark Twain.
Photo courtesy Hannibal Visitor's BureauExplore the Rainbow Grotto in Hannibal, MO.

STAY

Hannibal is home to an array of lovely, historic B&Bs, including The Belvedere Inn located only four blocks from downtown. This restored 1859 Italianate Mansion boasts a billiard room, garden, front porch perfect for summer afternoons and a homemade breakfast each day. The owners spent seven years restoring the home.

Visit Hannibal, MO, the famous hometown of author Mark Twain.
Photo courtesy Hannibal Visitor's BureauExplore the town of Hannibal while staying in a Historic B&B to add to your experience.

EAT & DRINK

Mark Twain Brewing Co. is a popular brewery that serves great beer and classic pub fare such as burgers, wings and barbecue. Many items are named after characters in Twain’s books. If you fall in love with a brew, there are bottles and cans to-go in select varieties. For those who don’t want a pint, there are mimosa flights and wine options.

Foodies should head to LaBinnah Bistro for fine dining with a Mediterranean twist. Including fish and steak, the menu is extensive. Share a Mediterranean sampler for an appetizer and save room for the dessert menu, which features authentic baklava. 

La Binnah Bistro in Hannibal, MO, the famous hometown of author Mark Twain.
Photo courtesy Hannibal Visitor's BureauDine at La Binnah Bistro during your stay for a fresh take on Mediterranean cuisine.

Outline of Missouri with marker indicating Hannibal's location

SUGGESTED TRIP LENGTH
Three-day weekend


DRIVE TIME & ROUTE
4 hours via I-44, 
54 E and 61 N


DON’T FORGET TO PACK
Lawn chair, blanket and bug spray if you plan to watch the fireworks or enjoy live music at night. Mosquitoes can be bad along the river after dark.