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Missouri
Missouri
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Route 66 Americana and More

Historic Route 66 runs more than 480 kilometers through Missouri. Follow the Mother Road, as it is known, to explore small-town history or stroll the limestone corridors of Meramec Caverns. Refuel with stops at diners and eateries of a long-ago era, like the Ted Drewes Frozen Custard stand in St. Louis, which dates to the 1930s. While in St. Louis, board the tram to the top of the iconic Gateway Arch, the tallest national monument in the USA. There’s plenty of history in the state as well: from presidential (Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site) and pop culture (Walt Disney Hometown Museum), to literary (Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum) and legendary (Jesse James Home Museum).

 

A Destination for Music

Fans of country music, rock and pop won’t want to miss a trip to Branson, known for its signature brand of family-friendly, over-the-top live concerts that bolster its reputation as the so-called “Live Music Show Capital of the World.” Big-city St. Louis boasts the National Blues Museum and more than 40 professional theater companies, as well as a symphony orchestra, an opera company and touring Broadway shows. In the summer, visit The Muny – the largest outdoor theater in the USA – to see a musical or head to Forest Park for the annual Shakespeare Festival. In Kansas City, it’s all about jazz; the city is home to the American Jazz Museum and the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District.

 

Outdoor Exploration

Home to the Ozark Mountains and 81,000 hectares of public green space, Missouri lends itself to outdoor adventure. Book a cabin in one of the many state parks to enjoy as home base while hiking, canoeing, biking or horseback riding. Known as the “cave state,” there are some 6,400 caverns here, with more than 20 available for curious travelers to tour. Onondaga Cave boasts 2.4 kilometers of twisting passageways filled with a variety of cave formations. Spend a relaxing time at the Lake of the Ozarks, with its 1,770 kilometers of shoreline, which beckons travelers for fishing and boating, as well as golfing, helicopter tours and zipline adventures.

 

Try Missouri Barbecue

Meat grilled low and slow, infused with the flavor of wood smoke, is the cuisine for which Missouri is known. Each area of the state has its own type of barbecue and residents will tell you theirs is best. Kansas City, with more than 100 barbecue restaurants, is known for serving spice-rubbed meats slathered with a thick, tomato-based sauce that’s a blend of sweet and spicy. In St. Louis, barbecue pitmasters specialize in slow-cooked pork spare ribs covered in a sweet-acidic glaze. Sample offerings from around the state to get a true taste of this classic cuisine, from smoky “burnt ends” of brisket to the side dishes that round out the plate, including macaroni and cheese, cole slaw and cornbread.

Missouri
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Fun Fact

A neon sign recognizing Springfield, Missouri, as the birthplace of Route 66
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Springfield is recognized as the official birthplace of Route 66, thanks to a 1926 telegram sent from the city’s Colonial Hotel officially accepting the name “Route 66” for the cross-country highway.

Presleys' Country Jubilee, one of the many live music shows in Branson
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Branson is home to more theater seats than the Broadway Theatre District in New York City.

Photo: Branson CVB

Admiring the formations of Bridal Cave near Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri
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It’s no surprise that Missouri is also known as the “cave state” given its 6,400 discovered caves (23 of which you can tour).

Must see places

Gateway Arch National Park along the St. Louis, Missouri, riverfront
MDT

Gateway Arch National Park

A tram takes visitors to the top of this 192-meter-high monument to Westward expansion. Look out over the Mississippi River, then take a riverboat tour at sunset, when the light reflects beautifully off the arch.

An elephant exhibit at Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Missouri
Wonders of Wildlife

Wonders of Wildlife

Officially called Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium, this immersive attraction in Springfield is filled with opportunities to learn about animals from around the world. Explore realistic dioramas depicting some of the globe’s most extreme habitats, and see real marine life in expansive aquarium exhibits. Sign up in advance for the Out to Sea Shark Dive experience (an added cost) to share the water with sharks, barracuda and goliath grouper.

Stand-up paddleboarding on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri
Funlake.com

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Missouri’s largest state park offers fishing, swimming, hiking, biking and much more. Walk the trail at Coakley Hollow Fen Natural Area to see springs and glades or ride horseback through the woods.

Display inside the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

Perhaps the USA’s most famous humorist, Mark Twain’s life and work are showcased here at his childhood home in Hannibal. Tour this National Historic Landmark, which includes several historic homes and a museum that features photographs, writings and other artifacts, as well as the writer’s typewriter and desk.

Taking in the view from the observation tower at Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve

Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve

This is Missouri at its finest: the beauty of the Ozarks combined with a multitude of ways to experience it. You’ll find a golf course, cave, nature trail, a natural history museum, restaurants, historic buildings and a wine cellar.

Illuminated fountains in Forest Park

Forest Park

St. Louis’ urban park is packed with art and history museums, golf courses, tennis courts, playgrounds, dining and the Jewel Box, a gorgeous Art Deco greenhouse featuring a glass roof that reaches 15 meters high.

Learning about World War I through exhibits at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri
MDT

National WWI Museum and Memorial

Dating to the 1920s, this Kansas City museum, which includes the historic Liberty Memorial, is dedicated to sharing the stories of World War I through the experiences of the people who lived it. Its interactive exhibits include compelling films, first-hand accounts and one of the world’s largest collections of World War I artifacts – all intended to help visitors understand the reality and importance of “The Great War.”

Chuck Berry memorabilia at the National Blues Museum

National Blues Museum

Trace the story of this musical genre in an environment that showcases every aspect of it. Enjoy live music, interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind blues artifacts as well as films, lectures and other programs.

 Exterior of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis
Explore St. Louis

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

This is the U.S. beer company’s oldest and largest brewery. Much of the campus is a piece of 19th-century history. Take a beermaster tour, go to beer school and visit the famous Clydesdale horses.

Stopping for a rest on a bridge along the Katy Trail

Katy Trail State Park

The nation’s longest rails-to-trails project lets you bike across the state or just wander through the fields, bluffs and small towns within its environs. Go birding or hiking along the extensive trail (certain sections also allow horseback riding) to see some of the most scenic parts of the state.

Hiking along the boulders in Elephant Rocks State Park
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Experience Missouri