20 Amazing Cities in Missouri

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

The Midwestern state of Missouri is filled with exciting cities packed with culture, arts, history and excellent atmospheres. Missouri was the birthplace of authors Mark Twain and T.S. Eliot, with many significant sites, including birthplace museums, dedicated to the pair. The state is also famous for being the hub of Route 66, with many cities and towns sharing in the nostalgia and memorabilia of this famous road.

Cities in Missouri are filled with fantastic architecture, plenty of historical sites, live music and dance venues and, of course, plenty of delicious things to eat. Many of the state’s cities are well placed to reconnect with nature as the Ozark Mountains, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers run throughout the state. Mixing the vibrancy of cities with the peaceful outdoors makes many of Missouri’s cities perfectly placed for visitors to enjoy both. Spend time in this Midwestern wonder and get to know its people by visiting some of these 20 Missouri cities.

Cities in Missouri

20 Missouri Cities To Visit

1- Kansas City

Skyline at Sunrise
One of the largest cities in Missouri to visit is Kansas City.

Kansas City straddles Missouri and Kansas and is the largest city in Missouri.

Start your day at Mildred’s, an excellent family-run breakfast cafe serving a range of speciality coffees and delicious food.

Order the Standard breakfast sandwich, packed with bacon, Swiss cheese, and light and fluffy eggs and topped with a drizzle of pepper-dijon mayonnaise.

The city is the home of Jazz as the music genre became famous in its clubs.

To learn more about Jazz, visit the American Jazz Museum, explore its many interactive exhibits, and see a range of Jazz memorabilia.

Sports fans should make the time to head to Arrowhead Stadium, which is the home base of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team.

Take a guided tour to get access to locker rooms, press areas and the Hall of Honor before heading out onto the field in the footsteps of Super Bowl LVII Champion players.

Top tour: Kansas City Segway Tour: Art and Glide.

2- St Louis

St Louis gateway arch by the river
St Louis is one of the biggest cities in Missouri and it’s packed with history and culture.

Famous for its gigantic Gateway Arch, St Louis is a must-visit city in Missouri.

Take a cruise down the Mississippi River to get the best photos of the arch, or brave the 630 ft (109.73 m) journey to the top of the arch for breathtaking views over the city.

If you are travelling with children or love rollercoasters, spend a day at Six Flags, a large amusement park with adrenaline-fuelled things to do.

After your fill of rides, check out one of Six Flags’ live performances, or say hello to your favourite Looney Tunes characters.

Round off your day in St Louis by visiting one of the city’s many breweries.

Enjoy a cold pint 4 Hands Brewing Co for a range of lager and ales, or drink and dine at Schlafly, the city’s first craft brewery since the end of prohibition.

Top tour: Lemp Haunted Neighborhood Walking Tour St Louis.

3- Jefferson City

best cities to live in missouri
State Capitol of Missouri in Jefferson City.

Jefferson City is Missouri’s capital and is packed with history, from its government buildings to its haunted prisons.

First explore the State Capitol building, a beautiful domed structure finished with greek columns.

Tours of the building’s public areas are available and offer visitors a chance to see some of the state’s most famous art pieces.

Continue your foray into the state’s history by spending some time at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site.

This site encompasses a range of historical buildings, including the Christopher Maus House and the Union Hotel, where you will learn about the importance of this vital river landing and transportation hub.

4- Springfield

Springfield Missouri stamp
Springfield is another of the cities in Missouri you’ll love exploring.

Springfield is a must-visit Missouri state for history fans as it is the site of the infamous Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

Take a tour of the battlefield to learn more about the second major battle of the Civil War and uncover military strategies, significant sites, and artefacts found.

Springfield’s Wonders of Wildlife aquarium is a must-visit, located next to the first and largest Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store.

The aquarium is a great place to spend an afternoon marvelling at various watery environments packed with fish and other sea creatures.

Be sure to spend some time underground at Fantastic Caverns, a short drive from the city.

Venture into the caves on their unique tram system to see this staggering example of natural voids, its unique and ancient stones and immerse yourself in its legends.

Top tour: Night Ghost Tour of Pythian Castle in Springfield Missouri.

5- Columbia

Columns in front of University of Missouri building in Columbia, Missouri, USA
Columbia is the fourth-largest city in Missouri by population.

Columbia is a university city in Missouri and is home to the University of Missouri.

If you are interested in history, spend a little time exploring the university grounds, particularly the beautiful Francis Quadrangle, which forms the centre of campus.

Continue your time at the university by wandering the Museum of Art and Archaeology corridors.

This free-to-enter museum houses ancient artworks, archeological finds, and paintings depicting important historical, Biblical and ancient tales.

Spend your evening in Columbia at Murry’s, a restaurant serving delicious local and seasonal dishes accompanied by a unique jazz vibe and plenty of live music performances throughout the week.

6- Branson

Branson is one of the best cities in Missouri to immerse yourself in live music, particularly country and western, and exciting shows.

The best music in the city can be found at 76 Country Boulevard, a street that hosts several music venues covering a range of genres.

This street is also considered the main street of Branson and has other exciting attractions like as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the Aquarium at the Boardwalk.

Branson is surrounded by the stunning Ozark mountain range and is ideally placed for a day or two away from the city and in nature.

Relax by the shores of Table Rock Lake or hop on the city’s famous scenic railway to explore the foothills on an old train and make sure you visit the Titanic Museum.

Looking for a show? Here are three of the most popular shows in Branson:

7- Joplin

traffic sign over a white background and the legend ROUTE US 66.
Joplin is one of the cities in Missouri to tick off your Route 66 list.

Joplin sits along Historic Route 66 and is a great place for a slower-paced city vacation.

Get outdoors and wander in nature at Wildcat Park, where after a short walk, you will come across Grand Falls, a vast waterfall over Shoal Creek.

A seemingly inconspicuous apartment with a garage is a must-visit for true crime fans.

This apartment was infamous robbers Bonnie and Clyde’s hideout while they worked with the Barrow gang.

Uncover more of the state’s cavernous history at the Joplin History and Mineral Museum, where you will learn about the mining boom and see examples of rare minerals, crystals and fossils.

8- St Joseph

View of City Hall in downtown St Joseph
This smaller city is one of the safest cities in Missouri to visit.

St Joseph is on the bank of the Missouri River and is famous for being the birthplace of American rapper Eminem.

The city has a range of unique and exciting museums, including the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, Patee House Museum and the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

Learn more about American history at the Pony Express Museum to see a celebration of the first mail line across North America.

The museum is housed in the stables that were once used to rest horses after long journeys.

Visit the home of infamous criminal Jesse James and the site where he was shot dead.

The home has been converted into a museum to preserve it as it was at the time of James’ death, with the fatal bullet hole in its walls still there to see today.

9- Independence

panorama at sunset
Kansas City is among the major cities in Missouri to put on your to-visit list.

Close to Kansas City is Independence, a historical city with plenty of American stories.

Much of the city’s historical attractions centre around Harry S. Truman, the United States’ 33rd President.

Truman spent much of his life in Independence and you’ll see a number of historical sites dedicated to him.

Uncover his private life at the Truman Home National Historic Site and learn more about his presidency at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.

Continue exploring the history of Independence at its National Frontier Trails Museum, which focuses on the city’s frontier heritage.

The museum has plenty of historical sites, including a jailhouse dating from 1859 and a restored train depot.

End your day by taking a tour of the entire site on a traditional pioneer-covered wagon.

10- Ozark

Ozark is the ideal small-town city to explore in Missouri near the Ozark mountain range and is perfect for returning to nature.

Ozark is a great city to shop for unique souvenirs and trinkets, thanks to its large antique scene.

Explore Camp Flea Antique Mall and Vintage Markey for unique treasures spanning the centuries, or spend time carefully weaving your way around the Yesteryears Antiques and More store.

Get a breath of fresh air and stroll along the banks of the Finley River on the Bluff Springs Trail.

The trail is gentle and offers little challenge making it ideal for families with younger children.

11- St Charles

St Charles was the first state capitol of Missouri after its founding in 1769.

The city lies alongside the Missouri River, encompassing small-city vibes with plenty of natural touches.

Grab a snack at Grandma’s Cookies, a bakery filled with the smell of freshly baked cookies that cannot be ignored.

Try the chocolate chip for the perfect traditional cookie experience, or indulge in a warming autumnally spiced oatmeal raisin.

If shopping is on the cards, take the time to stroll along Historic Main Street, a popular shopping destination since the early 1800s.

The street has a range of architecturally beautiful buildings, each filled with artisan and independent stores, cafes and restaurants.

12- Carthage

Also known as America’s Maple Leaf City, Carthage is the perfect Missouri city to visit in the fall, thanks to its streets lined with trees covered in rich orange and red leaves.

The city was completely destroyed after a devastating fire in 1865, 23 years after it was originally founded.

It was thankfully rebuilt during the Victorian age and, as a result, is filled with spectacular architecture.

The city is famous for being where the American Civil War officially began at the Battle of Carthage.

Visit the battleground to learn more about the civil war and how it began, and uncover artefacts, works of art and tales from the battle at the Battle of Carthage Civil War Museum.

13- Hannibal

Literary fans will want to uncover the magic of Hannibal, the site of Mark Twain’s birthplace.

Head to The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum to see where the famous writer spent his youth.

There are seven museums and properties within the site and a range of interactive exhibits on the author’s life and how he created some of his best-loved characters, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Continue exploring the history of Hannibal at Rockfliffe Mansion, an imposing manor house that was used as a B&B.

Tours of the mansion take in a range of spectacularly designed rooms with arts and crafts touches, including delicate stained glass windows, Tiffany lighting and a grand staircase.

14- Hermann

Hermann is at the heart of Missouri’s wine country and is surrounded by many vineyards and wineries, with many often open to the public.

Adam Puchta Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Hermann.

It is the ideal place to sample some excellent local wines paired with delicious dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

If beer is your preferred drink, head over to Tin Mill Brewing Co and enjoy a range of beers using barley previously imported from Germany.

The city’s German heritage and unique barley crop allow an authentic German beer to be brewed.

15- Sullivan

Despite its size, Sullivan is a small city in Missouri that makes for a welcome and relaxing day out.

Get back into nature and explore Meramec State Park, a short drive from the city itself.

The state park has thick forests to wander through, beautiful glades to stop for a picnic, and more than 40 caves to uncover.

While in the state park, visit Meramec Caverns for a guided tour of the 4.6-mile (7.4 kilometre) cave system and admire its impressive Pre-Columbian Native American artefacts.

16- Eureka

aerial view at night of downtown st louis
One fo the best cities in Missouri for history lovers is St. Louis.

Eureka is close to the Greater St. Louis Metro Area however is a city in its own right.

Eureka is the perfect combination of city life and nature, and well worth a visit if you are spending time in St Louis.

Play a game or two of golf at the Legends Country Club, an attractively and architecturally designed golf course, or unwind at the club’s swimming pool.

Grab a bite to eat at the Greek Revival clubhouse with excellent views over the course.

Dig out the perfect souvenir at Great Midwest Antique Mall, a 20,000 square foot (1858 square meters) antique store with collections from over 100 dealers selling everything from antique furniture and works of art to tools and enamel signs.

17- Chesterfield

Another of St Louis County’s cities well worth a visit when in Missouri is Chesterfield.

Chesterfield is the home of the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House and forms part of the botanical gardens.

The butterfly house is a great place to visit with children to learn about life cycles, butterflies and plants.

Watch a movie in the Art Deco Marcus Chesterfield Cinema, or venture outside for a concert at the Chesterfield Amphitheatre.

Stock up on picnic food and snacks before picnicking in Central Park Chesterfield at The Smokehouse Market.

The market has been open since 1937 and is filled with many meats, cheeses, wines and tasty food, both hot and cold, to take away.

18-  Florissant

Spend a relaxing afternoon strolling around Florissant Valley Park and enjoying its vibrant rose garden.

If you are visiting with children, there is a playground and soccer field.

Another excellent outdoor location in Florissant is Saint Ferdinand Park which spans 64 acres and includes a fishing lake.

During the summer, a music festival called ‘Music Under The Stars’ is held at the park.

Dine at Hendel’s Restaurant, a wait-list-only reservation-free restaurant in a historical building.

Indulge in their toasted sausage ravioli smothered in marinara sauce or tuck into a steak with Hendel’s house-made steak butter.

19- Kimberling City

If you crave the open water and miss it when visiting a city, look no further than Kimberling City, which has water borders with Fisher Creek and Schooner Creek.

Head out onto the water and canoe or kayak, which can be rented from boat houses along the shorelines.

After a day on the water, refuel and enjoy a tasty meal at Castaway’s Pub and Grill.

This restaurant serves hearty and traditional American grill-style food with an incredible view out over the water.

Continuing exploring the outdoors by entering Dogwood Canyon either on a horseback or hiking tour.

This section of paradise is dedicated to protecting the plant and animal life of the state.

20- Cape Giardeau

Cape Giardeau runs alongside the magnificent Mississippi River and is filled with stunning natural sites, plenty of history and quaint local culture.

Unwind and relax in nature by taking a gentle stroll through Cape Woods Conservation Area.

This bustling natural slice of Cape Giardeau has a range of trails running throughout and plenty of forested landscapes to explore.

For history buffs, a visit to Fort D Historic Site is a must as it holds a range of Union artefacts from the civil war.

Despite being an important fort during the war, Fort D was never involved in any combat and as a result, is incredibly well preserved.

Explore the structure before entering the museum to learn more about the Civil War and the role Missouri played.

Red clerical needle on a map of USA, Missouri and the capital Jefferson City
Jefferson City may not be at the top of the list of cities in Missouri by population, but it certainly has some interesting things to see.

Previous article20 Amazing Cities In Ohio
Next article20 Amazing Cities in Indiana
sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.