12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Missouri

1 St Louis Gateway Arch

St Louis Gateway Arch
St Louis Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch is the iconic structure that visually defines of St Louis, and is also the symbolic "Gateway to the West". Visitors can take an elevator up to a viewing platform at the top, which reaches 625 feet, for stunning views out over the city. The arch is located in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park but can be seen from all over the city and even from great distances on the surrounding highways.

2 Branson

Branson doug_wertman / photo modified

Branson, in southwest Missouri, with no false modesty, calls itself the "Live country music capital of the universe". It draws millions of tourists each year, mainly country music fans. The "Strip" is crowded with music palaces, souvenir booths selling all imaginable kinds of kitsch, motels, and restaurants. The music venues here host some of country music's greatest performers. However Branson is also a good base for excursions into the wild and romantic lake district in southwestern Missouri, on the border with Arkansas. Features of particular interest are the dam that has formed Table Rock Lake and the Silver Dollar theme park.

Official site: http://www.branson.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Branson

3 Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art misscrabette / photo modified

One of Kansas City's most important cultural attractions is the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. It holds a comprehensive collection with pieces from around the world, but with a particular emphasis on East Asian art. On the museum grounds is a sculpture garden that everyone can appreciate without even having to enter the building.

Address: 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111-1873, United States

4 Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City Brent Schmidt / photo modified

Silver Dollar City in Branson combines a major theme park with crafts and the preservation of 1880s Ozark culture. Craftsmen in the park can be seen demonstrating glassblowing, basket weaving, blacksmithing, pottery, candy making, and candle making. The park also has rides and attractions, shops, restaurants and live shows. Marvel Cave is part of Silver Dollar City. It carries on the tradition of the 1880's mining town, which once stood at the entrance to the Cave. The cave was first discovered by the Osage Indians in the 1500s, and since that time has attracted explorers looking for the Fountain of Youth, miners of marble and bat guano, and archaeologists.

Address: 399 Silver Dollar City Parkway, Branson

5 Forest Park

Forest Park
Forest Park

Built on the former grounds of the 1904 World Fair, this wonderful city park contains some of the original buildings. Ponds, gardens, and various attractions, which include the St Louis Zoo and the St Louis Art Museum, can be found throughout the park. This is a good place to go for a walk or to spend a whole day.

6 Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

5,400 Union troops and 12,000 Confederates fought on the site of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield on August 10, 1861. The Confederates were victorious but this battle led to more fighting in Missouri. On site is the Wilson's Creek Civil War Museum housing artifacts which include the sword belt and sash of Arkansas General Patrick Cleburne.

Address: 6424 West Farm Road 182, Republic

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

7 Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home was built by Samuel Clemens' father in 1843. The author lived here from the ages of 7 to 18, and the restored home has been decorated in period. The adjoining museum consists of two buildings that contain Twain memorabilia such as first editions of his books, photographs, original manuscripts and his desk where he sat to write "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

Address: 120 North Main, Hannibal

8 Harry S Truman Library and Museum

Harry S Truman Library and Museum
Harry S Truman Library and Museum Marshall Astor - Food Fetishist / photo modified

Historic and artistic objects are displayed at the Harry S Truman Library and Museum in Independence. Truman's career and US history covering the period of 1945 to 1953 is the main focus of the museum. A replica of Truman's office in the White House is on display, and President and Mrs Truman's graves are in the courtyard.

Address: 500 W US Highway 24, Independence

9 Vaile Mansion

Vaile Mansion
Vaile Mansion Missouri Division of Tourism / photo modified

The 31-room Vaile Mansion was built in 1881 by Colonel and Mrs. Harvey Vaile and is an outstanding example of Victorian Second Empire architecture. Located in Independence, the interior of the house has some lovely features, including 9 marble fireplaces and painted ceilings. It also contains what would have been considered state of the art amenities at the time it was built, such as flushing toilets. The mansion is primarily a depiction of how the upper echelon of society would have lived in the early 1880s.

Address: 1500 N Liberty Street

10 Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Harry S Truman National Historic Site
Harry S Truman National Historic Site MT_Image / photo modified

At the The Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence is the Victorian house where the Truman family lived from 1919 until his death in 1972. The house contains original furnishings and other Truman family possessions.

Address: 223 North Main Street, Independence.

11 Jefferson City

Jefferson City
Jefferson City

As the state capitol, Jefferson City is worth a visit. The museums and galleries are home to some of the finest collections in the state and the historic government buildings give the city a well defined sense of grandeur. Some of the must-see sights are the state capitol building, the Governor's Mansion, the Missouri State Penitentiary, and the Missouri State Museum. The Lewis & Clark Monument at the Lewis & Clark Trailhead Plaza, located near the state capitol building, is a beautiful sculpture and tribute to these explorers.

12 Springfield

Springfield is a lovely city with a small town feel and all kinds of parks, green space, and other attractions. Among the outdoor highlights are the Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, with walking trails, gardens, and playgrounds, and the beautifully laid out Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. Another interesting site near Springfield is the Fantastic Caverns, which claims to be "America's only drive-through caverns". There is no walking required on this tram tour of the cave.

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