Gateway Arch National Park, the most prominent feature on the St. Louis waterfront
Patio overlooking Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in the Ozark Mountains
In awe of colorful marine life at Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield
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
Route 66 memorabilia at Gary's Gay Parita in Ash Grove
Live band performing at the 1860 Saloon in St. Louis
Patrons enjoying a meal at Arthur Bryant's Barbeque in Kansas City
Live jazz performance at Kansas City's Green Lady Lounge
- Major Airports:
- St. Louis Lambert (STL)
- Kansas City (MCI)
- The Show-Me State
A hub for Route 66 nostalgia, musical entertainment and outdoor fun
Route 66 Americana and More
Historic Route 66 runs more than 480 kilometers through Missouri. Follow the “Mother Road” to explore nostalgic sites or stroll the limestone corridors of Meramec Caverns. Learn about the origins and Golden Age of Route 66 at the History Museum on the Square in Springfield. Refuel with stops at diners and eateries of a long-ago era, like Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, which dates to the 1930s. While in St. Louis, board the tram to the top of the awe-inspiring Gateway Arch, the tallest national monument in the USA. There’s plenty of history in the state as well: from presidential (Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum) 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 shows that bolster its reputation as the so-called “Live Entertainment Capital of the World.” Big-city St. Louis boasts the National Blues Museum and more than 40 professional theater companies, as well as a grand movie palace, The Fabulous Fox Theatre, which hosts touring Broadway shows. In the summer, visit The Muny – the largest outdoor theater in the USA – to see a musical. In Kansas City, it’s all about jazz; the city is home to the American Jazz Museum and the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District. On weekends, listen in on midnight jam sessions at the Mutual Musicians Foundation.
Home to the Ozark Mountains and 81,000 hectares of public green space, Missouri lends itself to outdoor adventure. Book a treehouse cabin to immerse yourself in nature, or visit a state park to enjoy hiking, canoeing, biking or horseback riding. Known as the “Cave State,” Missouri is home to some 6,400 caverns, with more than 20 available for curious travelers to tour. 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 most celebrated. Each area of the state has its own type of barbecue, and locals 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, coleslaw and cornbread.
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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.
Branson is home to more theater seats than the Broadway Theatre District in New York City.
Photo: Branson CVB
Ste. Genevieve, rich in French heritage and home to the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, boasts three of five remaining poteaux-en-terre (post in ground) homes in North America.