Missouri is a central state, surrounded in a clockwise direction by Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Divided into several distinct regions, Missouri welcomes visitors from far and wide to enjoy a wealth of attractions, tours and more. St. Louis is one of the largest metropolitan centers in Missouri and is known as the Gateway to the West for its location at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, once major routes for pioneers traveling west. Kansas City is another major city in Missouri and is home to attractions such as the American Jazz Museum and the Worlds of Fun amusement park. The Osage Lakes area and the Ozarks both provide for an abundance of outdoor activities, including boating, hiking and more. The southeast portion of Missouri is known as the Bootheel for its shape and features a number of historical attractions. Northwest and Northeast Missouri also offer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including farm tours and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Northwest Missouri Visitors Guide
Northwest Missouri was at one time the jumping-off point for pioneers forging West to settle the country. St. Joseph is one of the larger centers and is known historically as the start of the Pony Express, an early form of postal delivery. St. Joseph is also the place where famed American outlaw Jesse James was assassinated in 1882. These two facts draw visitors wishing to experience a Wild West revival. Maryville to the north is home to the Northwest Missouri State University and features a wealth of cultural activities to be enjoyed. Mound City is known for its abundance of wildlife, including migrating snow geese and bald eagles that pass through the area every year. Golf is popular in the area as well, with courses such as the Rock Port Golf and Country Club offering visitors a chance to enjoy Missouri outdoors.
Northeast Missouri Visitors Guide
The Northeastern part of Missouri features a variety of outdoor activities to be enjoyed by visitors, including vineyards, hiking trails, picnic spots and more. The Big Creek and Sugar Creek State Conservation Areas near Kirksville are known for the fishing opportunities available. Long Branch Lake is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and can be found near Macon, also home to the Maize Maze, a six-acre cornfield that includes six different mazes. The town of Hannibal is also found in Northeast Missouri and features American author Mark Twain’s boyhood home, open to the curious for self-guided tours. Hannibal was also the birthplace of Molly Brown, perhaps the most recognizable survivor of the Titanic. Nearby Moberly invites race fans to enjoy autosports every Saturday night from April to October at 24 Raceway. World War II General Omar Bradley is also feted in Moberly with a statue and granite plaza at Veterans Memorial Park.
Central Missouri Visitors Guide
The central part of Missouri is characterized by Midwestern hospitality and a wide variety of attractions. Home to the city of Columbia and the University of Missouri campus, this part of the state features cultural and historic sites that appeal to a range of travelers. The True/False Film Festival and Twilight Festivals are but two of the annual events in Columbia that draw visitors to Central Missouri every year. The capital of Jefferson City is also located in Central Missouri and features a domed Capitol Building that overlooks the bluffs of the Missouri River. The Capitol building also features the Missouri State Museum, chronicling the history and accomplishments of state residents. Lake Ozark is a prominent feature of Central Missouri, used for watersports and beach activities. For accommodation in the lake area, the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach is a comprehensive hotel that offers guests restaurants, a bowling alley, pools and more.
Ozarks Visitors Guide
This unique region of Missouri is known for its scenic splendor, which includes 60 major rivers, mountains, and forests. Visitors come to the Ozarks for hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and swimming, and the rivers are a paradise for fishing and canoeing. With over 5,000 mapped caves in the state of Missouri, spelunking is also a popular family activity and can be enjoyed at Fantastic Caverns in Springfield. The area around Springfield is also rife with Civil War-era attractions that illustrate the area’s participation in the war. Branson is known for the stage shows that rival Las Vegas in terms of entertainment value. For those who love country, bluegrass and southern gospel music, Branson is also a center for these music styles. Nearby Joplin is home to the annual Boomtown Days, a celebration of local culture that features live performances, food concessions and more. From April to September, the Joplin 66 Racetrack offers motorsports for visitors to enjoy.
Missouri Bootheel Visitors Guide
The Southeastern corner of Missouri is known as the Bootheel, a name garnered from the shape the state takes between the Mississippi and St. Francis Rivers. Farmington is a quintessential Bootheel town, counting a skate park and golf courses among the available outdoor activities. The rural characteristics of the region once lent themselves to bootlegging and moonshine stills, and today, the dearth of major cities in the area is countered by a modest agricultural industry. Cape Girardeau and Sikeston are two of the more prominent cities, offering amenities and services to the surrounding area. Cabin accommodation and vacation homes such as the Crystal Lake Retreat can be found in the area, offering visitors a chance to experience the outdoors of Missouri. To literally get to the bottom of Missouri, Bonne Terre Mine Tours takes visitors under the ground to see Billion Gallon Lake, one of the largest underground lakes in the world.
The St. Louis Metro area welcomes visitors from far and wide to enjoy what is known as the Gateway to the West. This nickname is given permanency in the form of the St. Louis Arch, one of the most recognizable structures in the United States. The city of St. Louis features all essential traveler amenities, allowing visitors to discover the history and culture that make up the St. Louis area. Nearby Chesterfield is home to the Butterfly House, encouraging a better understanding of the natural world with gardens favored by butterflies. Six Flags St. Louis is actually found in neighboring Eureka, providing hours of potential fun with roller coasters, live entertainment and more. The town of St. Charles offers a wealth of historical attractions including traditional architecture and antique stores. St. Charles in Bloom also brings visitors to town in the spring to witness a variety of floral arrangements and garden displays.
Gateway City is an apt moniker for the city of St Louis, situated as it is on Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. It was from here that the Lewis and Clark expedition departed to catalog the West in the early days of America, and today the St. Louis Arch stands as tangible monument through which modern-day explorers may pass on their way to the Western States. St. Louis claims to have one of the first skyscrapers in the world, the Wainwright Building, which still stands in the downtown core and is currently used by the local government. Music fans enjoy St. Louis for its history of jazz and ragtime, genres that can still be heard in clubs such as Lemmons Basement Bar, featuring an atmosphere that is reminiscent of a 1970s-era living room. Film enthusiasts enjoy the annual Webster Film Series, featuring screenings of films throughout the year that are outside the mainstream.
The Kansas City Metro area encompasses a number of outlying municipalities, including Independence and Lees Summit, giving visitors access to a wide variety of activities and attractions. Independence is known as the hometown of Harry S. Truman, the 34th President of the United States, and as such, there are several attractions dedicated to this well-regarded head of state, including the Presidential Library and Museum. Outdoor activities in the area abound, with hiking, biking and more readily available. Lees Summit is home to several golf courses, including the championship LedgeStone Golf Course, allowing fans of the sport to get out and practice their drives. Kansas City proper is a hotbed of entertainment and includes the American Jazz Museum, an Airline History Museum and a myriad of theaters and performance venues. Avid readers will want to check out Prospero’s Books, featuring over 50,000 used titles housed in a historic three-story building.
Kansas City is famous for its fountains, second only to Rome in terms of the number of decorative water spouts that adorn the city. Situated at the junctions of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers and directly across from Kansas City, Kansas, this Missourian metropolis offers a number of attractions and activities to keep visitors busy. The American Jazz Museum features a chronicle of what many consider to be one of America’s crowning achievements, featuring jazz paraphernalia and artifacts that cover the history of this musical form. The Arabia Steamboat Museum looks at steam-driven travel on the local rivers and features pieces of the Arabia Steamboat, which sunk on a voyage to Kansas City in 1853. For family-oriented attractions, try the Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun amusement parks, each offering a variety of rides, concessions, live entertainment and more. If the kids are at home, the Argosy Casino and Harrah’s in Kansas City offer slot machines, table games and dining for adult patrons.
Columbia, MO Visitors Guide
Home to a University of Missouri campus, Columbia features a host of amenities that serve the student body as well as visitors to this North Missouri city. A number of restaurants, specialty shops, and galleries give Columbia a sophisticated air amid the various recreational activities. Biking on the pathways and enjoying picnics in local parks is a popular way to spend time in Columbia. For events in Columbia, the annual Blind Boone Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival commemorates John William —Blind— Boone, a one-time resident, and renowned jazz musician. Historical attractions are prominent in the area, including several sites dedicated to explorers Lewis and Clark as well as Thomas Jefferson’s original grave marker at the university campus.
Jefferson City, MO Visitors Guide
Rich in history, scenic landscapes, arts, culture, and attractions, it is fitting that Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri. There is always something to do, see or explore in this Central Missouri city, which is named after the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. History buffs will relish visiting one of the city’s many museums, such as the Missouri State Museum, while military enthusiasts can enjoy a visit to the Museum of Missouri Military History. The city also features historic sites and attractions such as the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site—the site of the original river landing and the first area settled in Jefferson City—andÂ the Missouri State Capitol building—which is located in the downtown area and is popular among tourists. There are also several memorials and monuments worth visiting in Jefferson City, including the Lewis and Clark Monument at the Katy Trailhead Plaza, the Soldiers’ Memorial Plaza, and Veterans’ Plaza.Â Outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t miss making a stop at the Runge Nature Center. The centerÂ features wildlife viewing and outdoor hiking trails, while the Carnahan Memorial Garden offers visitors peaceful afternoons surrounded by blooming flowers. In addition to government personnel, Jefferson City is also home to a large college crowd attending Lincoln University.