Panoramic view of the University of Missouri, USA

Things to do in  Missouri

Cool cities and chill parklands

The classic “fly-over” state, Missouri has a few surprises for those who drop in. Kansas City and St. Louis are two of the most vibrant cities in the Midwest, with unbeatable music and dining scenes, and plenty of things to do, while fun-loving Branson attracts families with live shows, kid-friendly museums, and quirky amusement parks. Lovers of hiking, biking, fishing, and water sports flock to the Lake of the Ozarks, and road-trip enthusiasts cross the heart of the Show Me State on Route 66 to experience bygone America.

Top 15 attractions in Missouri

Titanic Museum

Experience what it was like to be a passenger on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic and learn about the tragedy at the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri. Featuring an exterior built to half-scale, the museum is one of the largest tributes to the Titanic, and includes authentic replicas and more than 400 actual artifacts.More

SEA LIFE® Kansas City Aquarium

With more than 30 displays of unique marine life, the SEA LIFE® Kansas City Aquarium is an engaging exhibit showing the diversity of life under the sea. Exhibits are themed by habitat and include thousands of aquatic creatures, a 1800 degree saltwater tunnel tank, and interactive touch pools. The aquarium works both to educate visitors and advocate ocean conservation, particularly of the sea turtles, seahorses, and seals that are threatened in the wild. Aquarium displays feature fascinating creatures such as reef sharks, rays, octopus, and jellyfish.Colorful, well curated exhibits full of sea life grant a glimpse into the underwater world. Informative talks with aquarium staff as well as feedings take place throughout the day and allow for an even more in depth experience. Interactive cartoon journeys with quiz cards are available to help teach children about the importance of conserving our world’s oceans.More

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Kansas City

Based on the popular brick toys, LEGOLAND® Kansas City is a colorful world of play and discovery for kids. Interactive experiences encourage creativity through 4D cinema, master classes on LEGO® building, play areas, and an exciting laser ride. Special to this LEGOLANDlocation is an exhibit featuring the buildings of Kansas City made entirely of LEGOs (MINILAND). There are also several rooms built for celebrating special occasions, making it a popular spot for birthdays and other parties.Walking throughout, it's almost as if someone has taken the toys so many of us know and love and created a life-size playground with them. Many of the exhibits focus on a theme from the toys, whether ninja training or acting as Merlin’s apprentice. Kids can also learn how LEGOS are made in the factory tour. Though the discovery center is especially suited for fans of the LEGOs toys, there is something for everyone to enjoy.More
Americana Theater

Americana Theater

Known for its stage shows and musical performances, the Americana Theater is a longstanding part of Branson's cultural landscape and has hosted shows since 1973. The theater offers a variety of acts at any given time, from country music and tribute shows to improv comedy performances.More

Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre

The Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre has been a landmark theater in Branson since the 1990s, when Mickey Gilley became one of the first country music stars to set up a theater residency in Branson. Guests visit the state-of-the-art theater to see a wide variety of shows, including music, comedy, and acrobatics.More
Sight and Sound Theatre

Sight and Sound Theatre

Sight and Sound Theatre is perhaps the grandest way to take in the Bible’s message. With fabulous costumes, million-dollar sets, and endless onstage action, it presents all the stories you know with a Hollywood flair. From the traditional Christmas show to the lesser-known tale of Queen Esther, Sight and Sound Theatre specializes, as its name says, in delighting your senses.More

Clay Cooper Theatre

One of the most popular music and entertainment centers in Branson, Missouri, the Clay Cooper Theatre has been thrilling visitors since it first opened in 2010. Hosting concerts, stand-up comedy, and variety shows, the performing arts theater promises family-friendly fun in the live entertainment capital of the world.More
Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden, founded in 1859, is the oldest continuously operating botanical garden in the country and a National Historic Landmark. The garden’s 79 acres (32 hectares) include an impressive Japanese strolling garden, one of the world’s largest collections of orchids, and some 4,800 trees.More

Veterans Memorial Museum

A testament to the men and women who defended American freedom over the 20th century, the Branson Veterans Memorial Museumpresents memorabilia, art objects, and ephemera from decades of American military activity. Find 10 halls of exhibitions all under one roof, and learn about American wars from World War II to Korea to Vietnam.More

Downtown Branson

Downtown Branson, Missouri is the historic heart of the city and truly a destination in its own right. Streets lined with brick façades and Victorian lampposts provide a constant reminder of the city’s 125-year history. This is where you will find Branson’s first theater, its oldest commercial building and the spot of Branson’s first show, the Baldknobbers Jamboree. With more than 130 unique shops, galleries, theaters and restaurants, Downtown Branson will keep you busy for at least a day.A variety of unique “mom and pop” shops are scattered among the flea markets and fine arts shops, including Dick’s Old-time Five & Dime, one of the most popular downtown attractions. Locals sometimes say if you can find something at Dick’s, you don’t need it. If you need a break from shopping, stop by the Branson Centennial Museum to learn more about the city’s storied past or catch a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway, which departs from the Depot on Main Street.Downtown Branson also hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, including Plumb Nellie Days, the Fiddle Festival, Autumn Daze, the Piccadilly Women’s Event and an annual Veteran’s Day Parade.More

World's Largest Toy Museum Complex

American has a long history of "the world's largest" attractions, and the World's Largest Toy Museum Complex in Branson is an especially nostalgic one. Reminisce about your own childhood (or share it with your kids) at this family-friendly destination, where you find toys from decades past, from Barbie Dolls and steam trains to BB guns.More

Branson Landing

Featuring a lively boardwalk along the shores of Lake Taneycomo, Branson Landing is the only lifestyle retail, entertainment and waterfront entertainment district in the region. At its heart is a town square that terraces down to a unique water attraction that mixes water, fire, lights and music. The spectacular show features 120 foot high water geysers and booming fire cannons, choreographed to music and light.Covering 95 acres, Branson Landing attracts more than 4 million visitors annually. It boasts a 450,000 square foot retail complex anchored by Bass Pro Shop and Belk Department Store and features both casual and fine dining options along the waterfront. A 1500 seat amphitheater often hosts concerts while the Town Square is home to a variety of other special events throughout the year. Branson Landing is also the jumping off point for scenic cruises and sightseeing tours around Lake Taneycomo, including a “Riding the Ducks” adventure that takes you through downtown and into the lake.More
Dutton Family Theater

Dutton Family Theater

The Dutton Family Theater is home to nightly shows featuring three generation of Dutton family performers. As finalists in the popular television show America’s Got Talent, they showcased their musical talents on stage ranging from rock and roll to Opera to Country and Bluegrass. Consisting of the mother, father, and seven children, combined the family has over 31 years of gracing the stage. Multitalented family members play instruments ranging from harmonica and fiddle to violin, piano, bass, cello, banjo, keyboard and drums. Family members have frequently won international competitions for their musical talents.It was after touring the globe that the Dutton Family began to put on on this entertaining show, and it has been received with rave reviews. Together the family members bring a level of professionalism, talent, and camaraderie to the stage. Their two-hour shows feature a variety of music, dance, and comedy with a masterful range that suits the entire family. They perform over 300 shows a year at this location alone.More

College of the Ozarks

Discover the College of the Ozarks, a renowned private Christian institution near Branson, Missouri. Since its inception in 1906, this prestigious school is known for allowing students to receive a tuition-free education by working an on-campus job 15 hours a week. It embraces a unique approach to education that cultivates both academic and practical skills.More
Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City

As a theme park that seems to have frozen in time, the family friendly Silver Dollar City has dozens of rides, live shows, and festivals for visitors to choose from. There’s everything from steam trains to wooden roller coasters, alongside a massive natural cave and historic log cabins. The park is inspired by 19th century Ozark life, and the historic details come to life.The live shows also have range — visitors can see a Bluegrass concert, a horse show, theatrical dancing, and circus acrobatics in the same day. Other available activities include midwestern cooking classes, unique shopping and dining, and demonstrated crafts, along with seasonal celebrations such as the National Harvest and Cowboy Festival.Over 100 craftsmen on site preserve traditions such as glass blowing, candle making, candy making, ceramics, wood carving, and blacksmithing that all date back to the 1880s. With so many activity options, there truly is something for everyone at the park.More
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All about Missouri

When to visit

The windswept plains of Missouri are not particularly welcoming in the frigid Midwestern winters, but the milder spring and fall temperatures are ideal for exploring the historical sights and culinary scenes in Kansas City and St. Louis. The resort town of Branson and nearby Lake of the Ozarks are at their liveliest in the summer months, when families gather for outdoor fun fit for kids from tots to teens.

Getting around

Missouri is larger than it looks on the map, and its sights are spread across the state, so getting around by public transportation is a challenge. Kansas City and St. Louis have international airports connected by rail, and each city has an urban transit system, but both are easiest to explore by car. Expect to drive to the state’s natural parks and reserves, as none are well-connected by bus or train.

Traveler tips

Missouri is rich in sights connected to Black history, as Kansas City and St. Louis have long been hubs of Black culture. Some of America's greatest Black musicians hailed from the Show Me State, and today St. Louis is home to the National Blues Museum and Kansas City to the American Jazz Museum. History enthusiasts can also learn about the contributions of Black authors, innovators, activists, and athletes at attractions like the Black Archives Museum, George Washington Carver National Monument, Griot Museum of Black History, and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

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People Also Ask

What is Missouri known for?

Missouri is known as home to two great Midwestern cities: Kansas City and St. Louis, both long hotbeds of American music and cuisine and growing tourist destinations. The state is known for its immense nature parks and reserves, including the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Taum Sauk Mountain, and Table Rock State Parks.

What is the most important city in Missouri?

Missouri is bookended by Kansas City to the west and St. Louis to the east. Both are major urban centers with historical and cultural sights, international airports, major sports teams, and greater populations of more than 2 million residents. The state capital, however, is Jefferson City, while Columbia is home to the University of Missouri.

Is Missouri a beautiful state?

Though much of Missouri is blanketed in flat farmland, there are pockets of lush wilderness that are among the most beautiful in the Midwest. The Ozark Mountains, with its protected Lake of the Ozarks, is the most famous, but the state is dotted with smaller parks and reserves with picture-perfect canyons, waterfalls, forests, and lakes to explore.

Where is Missouri located?

Though Missouri is often considered part of the Great Plains, this heartland state belongs geographically to the Midwest along with its eastern neighbor Illinois. Just to the west, the Plains states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma form the gateway to the American West while Arkansas, sitting just below Missouri, marks the beginning of the South.

Does Route 66 run through Missouri?

Yes, the Mother Road begins in Chicago and ends on the Californian coast, crossing Missouri along the way. This stretch is lined with nostalgic sights and landmarks, including a 1935 roadhouse in Eureka that houses the Route 66 State Park Visitor Center, the Route 66 Rocker (the largest rocking chair in the world), and vintage burger joints and diners.

What is the most famous food in Missouri?

On the top 10 lists of foods from Missouri, barbecue nabs at least the first five spots. Every city and town in the state has its own jealously guarded version of this saucy, tangy, slow-roasted, or grilled specialty, but the two fiercest rivals are Kansas City style vs. St. Louis style.

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