Home #WHERETONEXT USA Exploring Missouri: The Top Cities for Travelers

Exploring Missouri: The Top Cities for Travelers

Missouri is an exciting destination for travelers who seek diverse experiences. From vibrant cities to charming towns, this state offers a mix of cultural attractions, scenic beauty, and historical significance. If you’re planning a vacation in Missouri, here are the best cities to add to your itinerary.

St. Louis: The Gateway to the West

Iconic Attractions

St. Louis, known as the “Gateway to the West,” boasts the iconic Gateway Arch. This 630-foot monument offers stunning views of the city and the Mississippi River. The Museum of Westward Expansion, located beneath the Arch, provides insights into the country’s westward expansion.

Cultural and Culinary Delights

The city is home to several renowned cultural institutions, including the St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum. Foodies will appreciate the diverse culinary scene, featuring everything from barbecue to Italian cuisine on The Hill.

Must-Visit Spots in St. Louis

AttractionLocationTypeEntry Fee
Gateway ArchDowntownLandmark$12-$16
St. Louis ZooForest ParkZooFree
Missouri Botanical GardenShawBotanical Garden$14
City MuseumDowntownInteractive Museum$16
Anheuser-Busch BrewerySoulardBrewery TourFree-$10

Kansas City: The City of Fountains

Jazz and Blues Scene

Kansas City is celebrated for its rich jazz and blues heritage. The 18th & Vine Jazz District is a must-visit, featuring the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Barbecue Capital

Kansas City is synonymous with barbecue. Don’t miss the chance to sample smoked meats at legendary spots like Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que and Arthur Bryant’s.

Top Barbecue Restaurants in Kansas City

RestaurantLocationSpecialtiesAverage Price
Joe’s Kansas CityVarious LocationsRibs, Brisket$15-$25
Arthur Bryant’sBrooklyn AvenueBurnt Ends, Pulled Pork$10-$20
Gates Bar-B-QMultiple LocationsBeef, Pork Ribs$12-$22
Jack Stack BarbecueMultiple LocationsLamb Ribs, Cheesy Corn$20-$30
Q391000 W 39th StBrisket, Sausage$15-$28

Branson: The Entertainment Hub

Live Shows and Attractions

Branson is renowned for its live entertainment, with over 100 shows ranging from country music to magic performances. The Titanic Museum and Silver Dollar City theme park are also major draws.

Outdoor Adventures

For those who love the outdoors, Branson offers activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating on Table Rock Lake. The scenic beauty of the Ozarks enhances the experience.


Find a variety of places to stay, from luxurious resorts to cozy cabins. Check out the best Branson Hotels for a comfortable and convenient stay.

Springfield: The Birthplace of Route 66

Historical Significance

Springfield is steeped in history, particularly with its connections to Route 66. Visit the Route 66 Car Museum and the History Museum on the Square for a journey back in time.

Family-Friendly Activities

Families will enjoy the Dickerson Park Zoo and the Discovery Center, a hands-on science museum. Springfield also offers numerous parks and trails for outdoor fun.

Columbia: A College Town with Charm

Vibrant Arts Scene

Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, bringing a youthful vibe to the city. The District, a downtown area, features galleries, theaters, and music venues.

Food and Drink

Columbia’s culinary scene is varied, with local favorites like Shakespeare’s Pizza and Flat Branch Pub & Brewing. The city’s farmers market is also worth exploring for fresh, local produce.

Jefferson City: The Capital Experience

Historical Attractions

Jefferson City, the state capital, offers a glimpse into Missouri’s political history. The Missouri State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion are key sites to visit.

Natural Beauty

The Katy Trail, a 240-mile-long state park, is ideal for biking and hiking. It runs along the Missouri River and offers picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes.

Hannibal: Mark Twain’s Hometown

Literary Heritage

Hannibal is famously known as the hometown of Mark Twain. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum provides an in-depth look at the author’s life and works.

River Adventures

Enjoy riverboat cruises on the Mississippi River or explore the nearby Mark Twain Cave Complex for a bit of adventure.

Independence: The Heart of History

Presidential Legacy

Independence is the hometown of President Harry S. Truman. Visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and the Truman Home to learn about his legacy.

Pioneer Trails

The city is also significant for its role in westward expansion, with sites like the National Frontier Trails Museum highlighting the journeys of early pioneers.

Joplin: A Hidden Gem

Art and Culture

Joplin offers a surprising array of cultural attractions, including the Spiva Center for the Arts and the George A. Spiva Library.

Outdoor Activities

Nature lovers will appreciate the Grand Falls, the largest continuously flowing natural waterfall in Missouri, and the many parks and trails throughout the city.

Cape Girardeau: A Riverside Retreat

Scenic Beauty

Cape Girardeau, located along the Mississippi River, is known for its beautiful riverfront and the historic downtown district.

Historical Sites

Visit the Cape River Heritage Museum and the historic Fort D to learn about the city’s past. The city also offers several parks and outdoor activities.

Key Takeaways for Your Missouri Adventure

✅ Explore the cultural richness and historical significance of St. Louis.

✅ Savor the world-famous barbecue and vibrant music scene in Kansas City.

✅ Enjoy a variety of live shows and outdoor activities in Branson.

✅ Discover the historical connections to Route 66 in Springfield.

✅ Immerse yourself in the youthful and artistic atmosphere of Columbia.

✅ Visit the political landmarks and natural trails in Jefferson City.

✅ Experience the literary heritage and river adventures in Hannibal.

✅ Learn about presidential history and pioneer trails in Independence.

✅ Enjoy the cultural and natural attractions of Joplin.

✅ Relax by the scenic riverfront in Cape Girardeau.

With its rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Missouri is a great spot for new travel experiences. Whether you’re drawn to the bustling cities or the serene landscapes, there’s something for every traveler in this charming state.