Skip to content
Home » North America » USA » Missouri » 51 reasons why you must visit Missouri in your lifetime

51 reasons why you must visit Missouri in your lifetime

Rich history: Missouri boasts a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century, when it was a key player in America’s westward expansion. A particularly iconic landmark of this history is the towering 630-foot Gateway Arch in St. Louis, offering visitors a chance to ascend via tram and admire panoramic views of the city. Another notable historical site is the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which took place in St. Charles in 1804.

Natural beauty: Missouri is home to some of the most picturesque natural landscapes in the United States, such as the Ozarks, a range of mountains offering breathtaking vistas and a wealth of outdoor activities. Mark Twain National Forest, with its over 1.5 million acres of lush forests and ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing, is another must-see.

Outdoor adventures: Missouri caters to a wide range of outdoor pursuits, from hiking and fishing in the Ozarks and Mark Twain National Forest, to boating, swimming, and fishing at state parks and lakes like Lake of the Ozarks and Mark Twain Lake.

Culinary delights: Missouri is renowned for its delicious cuisine, heavily influenced by southern and Midwestern cooking styles. The state is particularly famous for its barbecue, especially in the Kansas City area, and the unique St. Louis specialty of toasted ravioli.

Wine and beer: Missouri is also home to several top-notch wineries and breweries, many of which offer tours and tastings. Notable wineries include Stone Hill Winery, the largest in the state, and the Augusta-based Montelle Winery, both of which boast a wide selection of wines. As for breweries, St. Louis’ Schlafly Beer and Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company are standout craft brewers.

St. Louis: Gateway to the West: St. Louis is known as the “Gateway to the West,” reflecting its important role in the country’s westward expansion. This city is rich in historical landmarks and sites, including the Gateway Arch, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Saint Louis Zoo. Furthermore, St. Louis is known for its delicious food and drink, including barbecue and toasted ravioli, as well as its lively arts and culture scene.

Missouri Botanical Garden: The Missouri Botanical Garden is a stunning 79-acre botanical garden located in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the United States and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. This garden boasts a diverse range of flora, including a Japanese strolling garden, a Victorian garden, and a geodesic dome conservatory. It is also home to the Shaw Nature Reserve, a 2,400-acre nature preserve just 30 miles west of the Garden.

Missouri State Capitol: The Missouri State Capitol is the building that houses the legislative and executive branches of the government of the state of Missouri. Based in Jefferson City, Missouri, it is the fifth capitol building in the state’s history and the only state capitol not located in the most populous city. The capitol features a grand dome surrounded by gorgeous gardens and monuments.

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, located in the charming town of Independence in Missouri, is a truly fascinating and insightful experience for any history buff or presidential aficionado. Dedicated to the life and legacy of the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, this library and museum is a treasure trove of information and memorabilia. Visitors can delve into a wealth of materials, including papers, photographs and artifacts, that offer an intimate look into the life and presidency of this remarkable man. The museum exhibitions are also a captivating journey through Truman’s life and presidency, as well as the history of the United States during this time. An unmissable stop for anyone who enjoys American history.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum: This museum, located in Hannibal, Missouri, is dedicated to the life and works of one of America’s most renowned authors, Mark Twain. Visitors to the museum can explore exhibits featuring artifacts from Twain’s childhood home and a replica of the town as it appeared during his time, showcasing his life and works.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial: A museum and memorial dedicated to the history of the Great War, located in Kansas City, Missouri. The museum presents exhibitions that explore the causes, events, and aftermath of the conflict, as well as the lives of those who served. The memorial honors Americans who fought in the war, situated on the museum grounds.

Silver Dollar City theme park: A nostalgic 1880s-style amusement park located in Branson, Missouri, featuring over 40 rides and attractions, including thrilling roller coasters, water-based rides, and captivating live shows. The park also has a host of shops, restaurants, and workshops where artisans demonstrate traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, glassblowing, and pottery. The park is home to several annual festivals, including a delightful Old Time Christmas Festival during the festive season.

The Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield: A national battlefield located in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri, preserving the site of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek fought during the American Civil War on August 10, 1861. The battlefield boasts several monuments, markers, and a visitor center with displays about the battle and the Civil War in Missouri. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and ranger-led programs.

Jefferson City, the capital city: The capital of the state of Missouri, Jefferson City is situated in the central part of the state and known for its historic downtown area, boasting several 19th-century buildings and monuments, including the Missouri State Capitol. The city offers a wealth of cultural and recreational activities, such as museums, parks, and festivals.

The Ha Ha Tonka State Park: This state park, located in Camdenton, Missouri, provides a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, picnicking, and swimming. The park also boasts several historical sites, such as the ruins of a 20th-century castle, a popular spot for visitors to explore.

The Katy Trail State Park: A state park that runs along the Missouri River from Clinton to Machens, this is the longest developed rail trail in the United States and the longest in Missouri. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and provides opportunities for fishing and picnicking along the river.

The Missouri River: North America’s longest river, the Missouri River is a vital natural and cultural resource in Missouri. It provides a broad range of recreational activities, such as fishing, boating, and swimming, along with scenic views and wildlife sightings.

The Lake of the Ozarks: A vast man-made lake located in central Missouri, the Lake of the Ozarks offers a diverse range of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, and fishing, as well as several parks and campgrounds. The lake is also a popular destination for house boating, water skiing, and jet skiing.

The Marvellous Mark Twain Lake: This man-made lake situated in the northeast of Missouri offers a smorgasbord of leisure activities, including fishing, boating, and swimming. It’s also a popular haunt for those who enjoy camping, hiking and picnicking with a side of al fresco dining.

The Majestic Elephant Rocks State Park: Located in the charming town of Belleview, Missouri, Elephant Rocks State Park boasts a unique rock formation that resembles a parade of elephants. Visitors can embark on a hike, have a picnic, or rock climb to their heart’s content. It’s also a great spot for rock hunters and wildlife watchers.

The Missouri State Museum: Funded by the state and located in the grand Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, this museum showcases the rich history, culture, and natural resources of Missouri. It also boasts a planetarium and a special exhibit gallery for those who want to learn more about the state.

The Missouri History Museum: This museum, located in the picturesque Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, showcases the history of St. Louis and Missouri. It’s also the host of various educational programs and events, making it an ideal place for history buffs and culture vultures.

The Saint Louis Science Center: A science museum located in St. Louis, Missouri, this center offers a plethora of interactive exhibits and displays on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It also has a planetarium and an OMNIMAX theater screening science and nature films, perfect for a day out with the kids.

The Saint Louis Art Museum: This art museum, located in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, is a veritable treasure trove of art from around the world, including American, European, and Asian pieces. With over 34,000 works of art, the museum boasts a particular expertise in 19th and 20th-century European and American paintings and sculptures.

The Saint Louis Zoo: Located in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, this zoo is home to a wide variety of animals from all corners of the globe, including elephants, lions, and gorillas. It also boasts several educational exhibits and programs, making it one of the best zoos in the United States, renowned for its innovative and naturalistic habitats.

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra: This symphony orchestra, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is considered one of the best in the United States. With high-quality performances and innovative programming, it’s a must-visit for classical music aficionados. The orchestra also has an extensive education program, reaching out to students, veterans, and underserved communities.

The Saint Louis Ballet: This professional ballet company, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is renowned for its high-quality performances and innovative choreography. They perform both classical and contemporary ballet works and have a strong education program for young dancers, perfect for those who love to twirl and leap.

The Saint Louis Repertory Theater: This professional theater company, based in the charming city of St. Louis, Missouri, is quite the performer. With a repertoire ranging from classic works to modern productions, they are renowned for their top-notch performances and innovative programming.

The Kansas City Symphony: This symphony orchestra, located in the bustling city of Kansas City, Missouri, is known for its exceptional musicality. It’s considered to be one of the best orchestras in the United States, and for good reason. With its top-notch performances and innovative programming, the Kansas City Symphony is a must-see for all music lovers.

The Kansas City Ballet: This professional ballet company, located in the city of Kansas City, Missouri, is sure to leave you tapping your toes. With high-quality performances and inventive choreography, the Kansas City Ballet is known for its classical and contemporary ballet productions. They also have a robust education program that encourages young dancers to take the stage.

The Kansas City Repertory Theater: This professional theater company, located in the bustling city of Kansas City, Missouri, is sure to leave you entertained. With a diverse range of productions, ranging from classic works to new plays, the Kansas City Repertory Theater is known for its high-quality shows and innovative programming.

The Kansas City Art Institute: This private fine arts college, located in the lovely city of Kansas City, Missouri, is a must-visit for aspiring artists. Offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fine arts, graphic design, and illustration, the Kansas City Art Institute is renowned for its excellent facilities, talented faculty, and focus on studio practice and professional development.

The Kansas City Museum: This museum, located in the city of Kansas City, Missouri, is a delightful tour through the history, culture, and people of this bustling city. With a wide variety of exhibits and programs, including permanent exhibits on Kansas City’s history and temporary exhibits on various topics, the Kansas City Museum is sure to leave you educated and entertained.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: This art museum, located in the city of Kansas City, Missouri, is a treasure trove of art from around the world. With a collection of over 41,000 works of art, including American, European, and Asian pieces, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a must-visit for art lovers.

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art: This contemporary art museum, located in the city of Kansas City, Missouri, is a veritable smorgasbord of contemporary art from around the world. With a collection of over 7,000 works of art, including American and European contemporary pieces, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is sure to leave you inspired.

The American Jazz Museum: This museum, located in the lively city of Kansas City, Missouri, tells the story of jazz and its impact on American culture with a touch of humor. With permanent exhibits on jazz history and temporary exhibits on various jazz artists, the American Jazz Museum is sure to leave you tapping your feet and laughing out loud.

The Coloured Chaps Baseball Museum: Nestled in the heart of Missouri is the Coloured Chaps Baseball Museum, which chronicles the tale of the Negro Leagues – a professional baseball league for African American players. From the late 19th century to the mid-1950s, this museum showcases various exhibits and programs that are bound to leave you in awe. From permanent exhibits delving into the history of the Negro Leagues to temporary exhibits honouring some of the finest Negro League players, this museum is a must-visit for all fans of the great American pastime.

The National Museum of Dollies and Miniatures: Also located in Missouri is the National Museum of Dollies and Miniatures, which showcases a vast array of toys and miniatures from all over the world. Boasting a collection of over 72,000 toys and miniatures, with a particular focus on American and European toys and models, this museum is a wonderland for all those young-at-heart.

The Freedom Memorial: A national monument in Missouri, the Freedom Memorial was built to commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of the men and women who served in World War I. The memorial features a museum dedicated to the Great War and a towering 217-foot structure that offers stunning views of Missouri’s magnificent city. And, if you’re a history buff, you’ll be pleased to know that the Freedom Memorial is also a National Historic Landmark.

The Crown Centre: Owned by Hallmark Cards, the Crown Centre is a complex of shops, restaurants and hotels in Missouri, offering a plethora of shopping, dining and entertainment options. From the Hallmark Visitors Centre and the Hallmark Crown Centre Gallery to the SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, the Crown Centre is a hub of activity and merriment.

Union Station: A historic train station in Missouri, Union Station was built in 1914 and has since become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Home to various shops, restaurants, and attractions, including the Kansas City Science Centre, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium and the Model Railroad Experience, Union Station is a hub of culture and entertainment.

The Country Club Plaza: A posh shopping and dining district in Missouri, the Country Club Plaza is known for its Spanish-style architecture and is a popular destination for those seeking a bit of retail therapy and a spot of dining. From the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain to the Plaza Art Fair and the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, the Country Club Plaza is the place to be for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

The Westport: A historic district in Missouri, the Westport is renowned for its lively nightlife and is home to numerous bars, clubs and restaurants. And, for those who love a good celebration, Westport is also the host of the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country – a true spectacle not to be missed!

The Brookside: A charming and historic district in Missouri, the Brookside is lined with tree-lined streets and boasts a variety of boutiques and restaurants. And, for art lovers, the Brookside Art Annual is a must-visit event.

The Crossroads Arts District: The Crossroads Arts District in Missouri is a hub of artistic expression, with art galleries, restaurants and shops lining the streets. And, once a year, the district comes alive during the First Fridays event, where galleries and businesses open their doors to the public for a night of art, music, and jollity.

The Power and Light Precinct: This charming little corner of Kansas City, Missouri is brimming with dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities! The district boasts a wealth of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops, including the historic Kansas City Power and Light Building. Don’t forget to check out the Kansas City Live! Entertainment venue, where you can jig to the beats of live music and other performances.

The 18th and Vine Historic Jazz Quarter: This historic nook in Kansas City, Missouri is renowned for its rich jazz heritage. Home to the American Jazz Museum, the Blue Room jazz club, and the Mutual Musicians Foundation, it’s a must-visit for all music aficionados.

The Country Club Arcade: This swanky shopping and dining district located in Kansas City, Missouri is a feast for the senses. It features a diverse array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, including the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, the Plaza Art Fair, and the Plaza Lighting Ceremony. With its Spanish-style architecture, it’s a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Westport – A Night Owl’s Paradise: This historic district in Kansas City, Missouri is the place to be after dark! Known for its lively nightlife, it boasts an array of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Westport is also famous for its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is the second largest in the country – you don’t want to miss it!

Brookside – A Charm-Filled Haven: This historic neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri is a true gem, with its picturesque tree-lined streets, charming bungalows, and Craftsman-style homes. There’s no shortage of shops and restaurants here, and the Brookside Art Annual is not to be missed – it’s a juried art fair featuring local and regional artists.

The Crossroads Arts Enclave: This neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri is a veritable kaleidoscope of the arts! With a diverse array of art galleries, studios, performance spaces, and shops, restaurants, and bars, it’s a cultural hub. Don’t miss the First Fridays event, held on the first Friday of every month – it’s a night of art openings, live music, and other activities. And if that’s not enough, the neighborhood also hosts the annual Open Spaces, a city-wide art festival that transforms the district into a vibrant celebration of the arts!