10 Free Things to do in Hannibal

“You get what you pay for.”  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Sometimes, these words of wisdom are true.  Sometimes, you are pleasantly surprised.

Behold – a list of 10 pretty darn cool things in Hannibal that are honest-to-goodness, worth-your-time, 100% free.

10. Mark Twain’s Recollections of the Civil War

Civil War Missouri was a powder keg of conflicting sentiments. Jim Waddell stages a presentation in the Mark Twain Museum Gallery to give visitors an overview of this period of national transition – from Twain’s unique perspective. (Approx. 40 min.)

Jim Waddell as Mark Twain.
Jim Waddell as Mark Twain.

9. Wine tasting

Sample wine at Cave Hollow West Winery, featuring choices for every palette.  Enjoy cave-aged cheese and limited edition wines only available at the winery.

8. Hannibal History Museum

Explore the rich history of Hannibal’s remarkable past through photographs, artifacts and exhibits.

7. Music Under the Stars

Every Thursday night in June & July you can enjoy a free concert outside Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home.  Bring a chair or just plop right down on the brick mall area.  Free music with a backdrop of the Mississippi – does it get any better?

6. Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Enjoy a panoramic view of Hannibal at the top of Cardiff Hill and learn the history of the lighthouse from informational kiosks.  It only takes 244 stairs to get there from Main St.

See? There IS a lighthouse at the top of those 244 steps!

5. Jim’s Journey – the Huck Finn Freedom Center

Learn about the real man that inspired Mark Twain’s character “Jim” in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and explore the lives of the African Americans that shaped Mark Twain’s works.

4. Self-guided architectural tours

If you enjoy architecture, stop by the Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau and pick up a historic walking tour of Hannibal’s historic districts.  Learn the history of private homes and marvel at some lovely architecture.

3. Geocaching

The Hannibal area has over 2,000 geocaches!  Put that technology to good use and discover something new!

2. The Mississippi River

Anybody that doesn’t count watching the river as ‘something to do’ hasn’t done it right.  Morning, noon or night, this river never offers the same view twice.

There's no such thing as a bad view of the river.
There’s no such thing as a bad view of the river.

1. The Fence

No visit to Hannibal is complete unless you get your picture taken by “Tom Sawyer’s Fence”.  This shining symbol of the “Tom Sawyer School of Management” stands by the boyhood home, complete with bucket and brush.  After all, does a person get the chance to paint a fence every day?


There are more, of course…but maybe you should come to Hannibal and start with these.

Written by Megan Rapp from the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

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