Gateway Arch National Park, the most prominent feature on the St. Louis waterfront
View of Table Rock Lake from Top of the Rock Golf Course
In awe of colorful marine life at Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield
Live jazz performance at Kansas City's Green Lady Lounge
A classic car outside the historic Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 in Cuba
The Mark Twain Riverboat traveling along the Mississippi River in Hannibal
The Haygoods, one of Branson’s most popular shows, lighting up the stage
A serene moment during a kayaking trip along the Ozark National Scenic Riverways
The “Holy Trinity” of barbecued meat at Char Bar in Kansas City
Live band performing at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups in St. Louis
A hub for Route 66 nostalgia, family entertainment and outdoor fun
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.
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.
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.
Branson is home to more theater seats than the Broadway Theatre District in New York City.
Photo: Branson CVB