Looking for something to do in Missouri? Well the show-me state has its fair share for visitors to see. From the massive Gateway Arch to the Branson, the Hollywood of the Midwest, there is enough to do in Missouri to fill a few vacations. Those exploring Missouri that don't know where to start the sightseeing adventure should start at these fine attractions.
St. Louis Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is without a doubt the most iconic structure in Missouri and visually defines St. Louis. It also symbolically marks the city as the gateway to the west as well as commemorating the spot where Lewis and Clark started their historic expedition to the Pacific. While visitors can take an elevator to up to a viewing platform at the top for stunning views of the city, the best views of the arch itself is down below in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. At 625 feet tall, it can be seen from all over the city and for some distance on the highways. For a unique memory of this Missouri landmark, consider heading down to the mighty Mississippi River to the Gateway Arch River Boat. The 19th century paddle boat replica paddles down river providing stunning water views of the arch as well as touring the biggest river in the United States.
Branson is the rock star of Missouri and one of its biggest tourist attractions. It boasts itself the "Live Country Music Capital of the Universe," much to the ire of other country music capitals of the universe like Memphis or Nashville. Each year, millions of people come to this city, but not just for the country music. Branson hosts some of the most unique museums, music places, and restaurants in the United States as well as unimaginable amounts of kitsch souvenir shops.
Although most come for country music and unabashed tourist activities, Branson is also a good base for those looking to explore the Missourian Ozarks and the sprawling wilderness around the Missouri-Arkansas border.
Lake of the Ozarks
The Lake of the Ozarks is Missouri's top outdoor destination and used as their own personal playground. Located in the heart of Missouri, visitors to the lake are never short on things to do. It is surrounded by a number of water parks, golf courses, shopping and a wide variety of lodging similar to the Wisconsin Dells. Of course, while the number of entertainment venues are sure to keep visitors busy, the lake provides the bulk of the fun. Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and parasailing on its serene crystal clear waters or dip underground to explore the extensive surrounding cave system.
While resorts are prevalent, the Lake of the Ozarks is big enough for the solitary vacationer to find a piece of beautiful shoreline to enjoy. The number of surrounding state parks also offer camping and miles of hiking trails that explore the thick forests and Ozark Mountain range.
Kansas City Barbeque
There is a war happening in the United States and it is happening over food. People fight over who makes the best barbeque and every region has its own unique style. South Carolina, Texas and Memphis are all big competitors, but Missouri hosts its own unique style of barbeque that rivals all the rest. Kansas City barbeque has heavy emphasis on smoked meat with a dry rub. Opposed to slathering the meat in sauce like other styles, it is served at the table to be used at the discretion of the carnivore. The barbeque sauce is thick and sweet using a base of tomatoes and molasses. It also happens to be the most widespread sauce style in the United States with most commercial barbeque sauce producers utilizing the style.
Those on the hunt for the best among the hordes of barbeque restaurants in Kansas City need to look no further than Arthur Bryant's. Since this Kansas City institution opened in the 1970s, it has been serving visiting presidents and hungry locals alike the best barbeque in town. The meat is slow-smoked over hickory and oak wood fires and served with their original recipe sauce that has kept visitors coming back time and time again. Their pork ribs are hailed the best in town, but it will be hard to resist their succulent burnt ends as well.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
Missouri is prime Mark Twain country. Several of his stories were set in the state and it served for countless inspiration for his unique slice of Americana literature. Mark Twain grew up just an hour's drive north of St. Louis in Hannibal, Missouri. Today, the house where he spent ages 7 through 18 still stands, perfectly preserved although now converted into a museum. The house was built by Samuel Clemens' father in 1843 and it has since been restored and decorated to fit the period. The adjoining museum hosts a number of Twain memorabilia including first editions of his books, photographs of the Clemens family and the man himself, original manuscripts and the very desk where Twain sat down to pen his legendary book "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".