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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.


Outdoor Exploration

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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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

A historic, post in ground home in Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, Missouri
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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.


Must see places

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

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.

Historic ruins and scenic overlook at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in the Ozark Mountains, Misssouri

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Caves, sinkholes, lush forests, scenic bluffs, a freshwater spring and the ruins of an early 1900s castle are just some of the features at this park where scenic beauty and fascinating history meet. Located in Camdenton along the Lake of the Ozarks shoreline, the park’s geologic features are fabulous to discover on foot, but you’ll also find opportunities for kayaking, swimming and fishing.

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.

Aerial view of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in Lampe, Missouri
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

This outdoor paradise tucked into an Ozark Mountain canyon boasts a treasure trove of waterfalls, prairies, bluffs, creeks and wildlife. The options for exploring range from horseback riding, hiking and biking to Segway and Jeep tours. In between adventures, grab a seat for lunch at the on-site Mill & Canyon Grill Restaurant. You won’t be disappointed in the cuisine or the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

A plate of barbecue from Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, Missouri
Visit KC

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque

If barbecue is Missouri’s signature food, then Arthur Bryant’s may be its most legendary eatery. Located in Kansas City and dating to 1930, this no-frills spot that the King of Ribs built still slow-smokes its meats to perfection over hickory and oak. Whether you’re craving sliced pork, sausage, burnt ends or those ribs, make sure to try Bryant’s Original or Rich & Spicy sauce. Bonus: You can buy a bottle (or several) to take home.

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

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.

Amusement park rides at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri
Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City

Located in Branson, Silver Dollar City’s Western-inspired theme park boasts a variety of thrill rides – but don’t miss Time Traveler, billed as the world’s fastest, steepest and tallest spinning roller coaster. Nearby, spend a summer day cooling off on the slides, wave pool and lazy river of Silver Dollar City’s WhiteWater water park. Round out your day with a dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle featuring live performances and gorgeous vistas of Table Rock Lake.

Explore Missouri destinations

Blue-sky view of Table Rock Lake from Top of the Rock Golf Course
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Explore Missouri destinations