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41 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Missouri

With busy streets framed by mountains, forests, lakes and waterfalls, Missouri is a state that has it all.

You can enjoy resorts and restaurants in the big cities; you can go camping under the stars in the wilderness.

You can also enjoy the cultural depth of Missouri.

From the iconic landmarks to the little-known shops, diners and roadside attractions, there’s a reason why this uniquely Midwestern destination is nicknamed the “Show Me State.”

Maybe you’re planning an imminent vacation.

Maybe you’re making a bucket list for the distant future.

Either way, here are 41 awesome things to do in Missouri!

1. Gateway Arch

Gateway Arch

f11photo / Shutterstock

The Gateway Arch is one of the most famous places in Missouri.

Located in the heart of St. Louis, its gleaming curve peaks at more than 600 feet above the city skyline, and it can be seen for miles around.

You don’t have to admire it from afar, however.

One of the coolest things about the arch is its observation deck!

You can take a ride to the very top and gaze out at the marvelous scenery below, including parks, bridges, buildings and the Mississippi River.

There’s also a visitor center if you want to learn more about the construction of the arch and the role that it played in the city’s development.

Additionally, there’s a gift shop if you want to do the tourist thing and grab a “I (Heart) St. Louis” key chain.

The Gateway Arch is one of the premiere tourist attractions of Missouri.

It’s the kind of place that you won’t want to miss.

Every time you tell someone that you visited St. Louis, they’ll ask if you visited the arch, so make it a true story and go!

Address: St. Louis, MO 63102, United States

2. Bogart’s Smokehouse

Bogart's Smokehouse

Bogart’s Smokehouse

Ask a dozen different people about the best restaurants in Missouri, and you’ll get a dozen different answers depending on what that person likes the most.

However, one common thread is simple: barbecue.

Missouri loves its barbecue!

Bogart’s Smokehouse isn’t the only place specializing in things like pulled pork sandwiches and sauce-slathered ribs served on piping hot platters, but it’s one of the most renowned.

All of its meat is smoked for more than 24 house before being rubbed down with herbs and spices and slow-cooked on cherry wood.

Its head chef actually trained in Memphis, another barbecue haven, before bringing his talents north, and you can taste his experience in every juicy bite.

You can’t leave Missouri without tasting some of its barbecue.

When you work up an appetite during your vacation, stop by Bogart’s Smokehouse for some life-changing pork.

Address: 1627 S 9th St, St. Louis, MO 63104, United States

3. City Museum

City Museum

Chris857, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At first glance, City Museum might seem like any other plain, square-bricked building in St. Louis.

When you look a little higher, however, you’ll see the strange shapes jutting off the roof, and you’ll realize that it’s actually one of the craziest vacation spots in Missouri!

Planes and school buses jut over the edge of the building.

A Ferris wheel slowly turns over a pond filled with stepping stones and gigantic statues of bugs.

A glass dome, salvaged from the renovations of a local science center, sits in the middle of twisted metal sculptures that are both viewable and climbable.

The fun continues inside of the building as well.

Exhibits include everything from taxidermy animals to mineral collections.

Interactive rooms will let you paint, build, ride a train, skateboard in an indoor park or attend lessons at circus school.

Oddities include things like “The World’s Largest Underwear.”

Long story short, City Museum isn’t your typical museum.

It’s a crazy cross between a playground, fun house and kooky art installation, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Missouri.

Address: 750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103, United States

4. Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks

TommyBrison / Shutterstock

With its slow, lazy waves surrounded by beautiful foliage, the Lake of the Ozarks is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Missouri.

Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, rafting, hiking, biking, camping and more.

The surface of the lake covers 54,000 acres, so there’s plenty of space to spread out.

There’s also a lot of room on the sandy coasts; the shoreline stretches for 1,150 miles.

That’s more shoreline than the entire state of California, and it’s located in the landlocked state of Missouri!

Events are common on the lake.

There are fireworks in the summer and holiday lights in the winter; there are garden shows in the spring and food festivals in the fall.

You can also have fun year-round at destinations like the “Party Cove,” a gathering hole for swimmers.

If you’re looking for a good time in Missouri, visit the Lake of the Ozarks.

You can hop in for a quick swim; you can rent a lakeside cabin for the entire summer.

It’s a place with endless possibilities.

5. Silver Dollar City

As one of the biggest amusement parks in Missouri, Silver Dollar City definitely lives up to its name.

It’s so big that it’s actually divided into “districts” as a play on its theme.

Rivertown has rides and restaurants along the water.

Wilson’s Farm has fun, family-friendly activities with an agricultural motif.

Midtown has more carnival games that you can shake a stick at, and Homestead Ridge offers vintage-style shops for all of your souvenir needs.

Main Street is a boulevard that connects them all.

You can choose your own adventure at this amusement park.

Whether you want to watch a demonstration at a pottery store or make your stomach drop with death-defying roller coasters, there’s a little something for everyone here.

Silver Dollar City is another one of those Missouri attractions that everyone knows.

If you don’t want to be left out of the fun, book your tickets this weekend and get ready for a wild ride!

Address: 399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson, MO 65616, United States

Visiting other areas of Missouri? Why not check out some of the fun things to do in Springfield, MO?

6. Adrenaline Zone

Adrenaline Zone

Adrenaline Zone

If you’re wondering where to go in Missouri on a rainy day, look no further than the Adrenaline Zone.

It offers all kinds of heart-pumping activities to get your blood racing, and since they’re all indoors, you can enjoy them rain or shine!

Traditional games include pool, foosball, skeeball and laser tag.

More involved activities range from timed laser mazes to “demolition ball,” a unique basketball-and-hockey hybrid that’s played in bumper cars.

You can eat and drink when you’re done, or you can play arcade games to earn tickets and win prizes.

If you’re traveling to Missouri with a group, you can rent out the entire facility for parties, work retreats or “lock-in” events.

Long story short, the fun never stops at the Adrenaline Zone.

Rain or shine, its doors are always open for folks who want to unleash their inner child by running around and shooting at each other with laser guns.

Address: 1875 S Old Hwy 94, St Charles, MO 63303, United States

7. Hermann Wine Trail

Hermann Wine Trail

Hermann Wine Trail

What’s the first place that comes to mind when you think about wine?

It probably isn’t Missouri, but the Hermann Wine Trail has every bit of splendor as Napa Valley.

Founded by German immigrants in 1836, the Hermann Wine Trail started as a single vineyard that grew over the years to encompass everything from wine halls to artisan wine shops.

Today, it stretches for more than 25 miles, and there’s a trolley that connects all of the stores and villas in the area.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities on the trail.

There’s wine tasting, of course, but there’s also shopping and sightseeing, and you can sleep at cozy little bed-and-breakfasts if you want to stay overnight.

Have you always wanted to wake up to a home-cooked breakfast in a soft bed with rolling green hills outside of your window?

The Hermann Wine Trail can turn your dreams into reality.

There’s a reason why it’s a top 10 spot in Missouri, so pack your goblets and get ready to drink!

Address: 150A Market St, Hermann, MO 65041, United States

8. National World War I Museum

National World War I Museum

EQRoy / Shutterstock

World War I isn’t always studied as much as World War II, but this museum is a great way to educate yourself on a major point in U.S. history.

Located in Kansas City, Missouri, it’s been designated by the government as the country’s official WWI museum.

You’ll start by following the 265-foot tower to the main building.

From there, you’ll walk across a glass bridge that covers 9,000 red poppies symbolizing the 9,000,000 lives lost during the war.

Features of the museum include photos, videos, maps, flags, letters and artifacts ranging from rusted guns to old propaganda posters.

There’s a sound booth for audio recordings; there are two theaters that run educational films and reels.

There’s also a preserved Renault FT tank and a 1918 Ford Model T ambulance.

You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the National World War I Museum.

It’s one of the most interesting places in Missouri, so do yourself a favor and check it out if you’ll be near Kansas City during your trip.

Address: 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States

9. Waterfall Park

Waterfall Park

Lemuwah / Shutterstock

Waterfall Park is one of the most fun things to do in Missouri.

Its namesake is a beautiful, ten-foot waterfall that crashes over rocks and into the pool below, and it’s surrounded by boulders and mossy lichens that make it look like something out of a fairy tale.

You don’t have to hike into the wilderness to see it, however.

The best thing about Waterfall Park is that it’s a man-made feature located in the middle of a metropolis!

The city is called Independence, Missouri, and it’s a tourist attraction in its own right.

You’ll find plenty of entertainment options in the form of bars, shops, restaurants and movie theaters.

That said, the main draw of the city is definitely Waterfall Park.

How many times in your life can you see a waterfall in the middle of a busy street?

If you’re looking for cool and unique vacation ideas in Missouri, put this one on your shortlist.

Address: 4501 S Bass Pro Dr, Independence, MO 64055, United States

10. Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company

There’s chocolate, and then there’s chocolate chocolate chocolate.

The latter can be found at the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Treats include bars, bites, truffles, drops, crunches and caramels.

There are handcrafted, artisan-made gourmet chocolates tucked carefully into gift boxes; there are sloppy, sticky and messy chocolates offered on factory tours and during tasting events.

That’s right: You don’t have to stay behind the counter.

You can wander deep inside Willy Wonka’s playground and see how your favorite fudges and peanut butter cups are made.

It won’t even cost you anything since tours are free!

You just have to make arrangements in advance.

The Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company is one of the best places to see in Missouri.

Even if you aren’t a sweets person going in, the cascading waterfalls of chocolate are sure to change your mind.

Address: 5025 Pattison Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States

11. St. Joseph

St. Joseph

APN Photography / Shutterstock

Saddle up, boys, because this one is a doozy!

St. Joseph was one of the last frontier towns of the Wild West.

Not only is it rich with history, but it’s also home to a number of world-famous tourist attractions, including the starting point of the Pony Express and the death site of outlaw Jesse James.

While some parts of the city have been modernized, others are still dedicated to days gone by.

You can see this historical preservation in everything from the architecture to the large number of museums, mansions and courthouses dotting the downtown area.

Modern features at St. Joseph include shopping malls and high-class restaurants.

You don’t have to eat 17th century jerky just because you’re in a place with 17th century buildings!

If you enjoy learning about the Wild West, you won’t want to miss St. Joseph.

It’s one of the coolest vacation spots in Missouri, especially for those with an interest in old-school American.

Grab your spurs, don your cowboy hat and get to riding!

12. Meramec State Park

Meramec State Park

Rklawton, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Most Missouri attractions are located above ground.

Every so often, however, you’ll come across a subterranean area with a story to tell, and that’s exactly the case with Meramec State Park.

Located in Sullivan, Missouri, Meramec State Park is home to a diverse range of landscapes.

These include forests and glades as well as canyons and caves.

One of the most famous places to visit is Fisher Cave.

Filled with stalagmites and stalactites, it offers a dark, dimly-lit adventure into passageways filled with hard rock.

If you’re science-minded, you might recognize them as limestone and dolomite.

If you’re a layman, you can still appreciate the cool-looking rock formations!

Grab your flashlight and head down into the caves of Meramec State Park… if you dare.

Address: 115 Meramec Park Drive, Sullivan, MO 63080, United States

13. Busch Stadium

Busch Stadium

Joe Hendrickson / Shutterstock

Attracting thousands of visitors each year, Busch Stadium is one of the best sites in Missouri.

It hosts everything from concerts to championship baseball games, and it’s also adjacent to a “ballpark village” that offers bars, shops, breweries and hall-of-fame exhibits, so it’s always bustling with energy!

The stadium itself has seen all kinds of events.

Baseball is the most common sport played on the green, but there’s also been football, soccer and hockey.

Concerts have welcomed everyone from Ed Sheeran to Metallica.

As for the village, it’s also a lively place.

There’s an outdoor marketplace under a retractable canopy; there are bars with mechanical bulls and restaurants with karaoke machines.

If you’re wondering what to do on a Missouri vacation, you might enjoy a trip to Busch Stadium.

There’s always something on the schedule, so whether you’re visiting during the blazing hot days of summer or the cold, windy days of winter, you can find something fun to do here.

Address: 700 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102, United States

14. National Museum of Transportation

If you like planes, trains and automobiles, you’ll love the life-sized models at the National Museum of Transportation.

Like its name suggests, it transcends the boundaries of Missouri to serve as the biggest transportation museum in the whole of the United States.

It’s a national treasure in every respect.

Visitors can enjoy all kinds of exhibits about the various transportation methods of the past.

While the emphasis is on railroads and locomotives, just about everything is covered, including planes, ships, trucks, cars and more.

Models are displayed in both real and miniature sizes.

Engines are dissected and labeled.

A tiny railroad chugs around the tracks of the museum, and a real, rideable trolley echoes it, giving you the chance to get off your feet for a while as you explore the grounds.

If you’re the type of person who never grew out of their train phase, the National Museum of Transportation is the destination for you.

It’ll awaken all of your old passions while also introducing you to exciting new facts about the hobby!

Address: 2933 Barrett Station Rd, St. Louis, MO 63122, United States

15. Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden

Rob Neville Photos / Shutterstock

Missouri is renowned for its scenery, but you don’t have to trek into remote mountains to enjoy it.

You can find a slice of paradise in the heart of downtown St. Louis when you visit the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Covering almost 80 acres, this “garden” is actually a collection of landscapes that showcases everything from flowers and trees to sculptures and cultural artifacts.

Many of the gardens are themed, so you can travel the world with the Seiwa-en Japanese Garden and the Strassenfest German Garden, or you can learn more about specific species with rose gardens, woodland gardens and even “Biblical gardens.”

Other features of the garden include fountains, bridges, reflection pools, hedge mazes and historic houses.

There’s also a geodesic dome greenhouse that was the first of its kind!

The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the best things to do in Missouri.

It’s a resplendent place, and you won’t believe that so much greenery can be located right in the middle of a bustling city.

Address: 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States

16. Hollywood Wax Museum

Snap a selfie with a celebrity when you visit the Hollywood Wax Museum.

While the celebrity won’t be able to sign any autographs, they also won’t be able to deny your requests for silly or ridiculous poses.

That’s because they’re all made of wax!

The star-studded lineup includes everyone from Bruce Lee to Michael Jackson, so you’ll have your pick of photo ops.

Some of the statues are so lifelike that you’ll do a double take; others are so funky-looking that you’ll split your sides at the thought of the artist who created them.

There are other attractions at the museum as well.

From mirror mazes to interactive adventures, you’ll find plenty of kitschy, touristy ways to pass the time.

The Hollywood Wax Museum isn’t a particularly dignified place.

However, that’s exactly why it’s so much fun.

If you just want to cut loose for awhile, this is a great place for having a blast!

Address: 3030 W 76 Country Blvd A, Branson, MO 65616, United States

17. Hidden Valley Ski Resort

Hidden Valley Ski Resort

Hidden Valley Ski Resort

Missouri might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think about snow, but at the Hidden Valley Ski Resort, you can perform alley-oops like you’re at the Alps!

The powder is artificial, but it’s so cold and crisp that you won’t be able to tell the difference from the real thing.

It blankets the hills of the landscape like a winter wonderland that’s ready for all sorts of outdoor activities.

Skiing is popular, of course, but there’s also sledding, snowboarding and snow tubing.

There’s even a zipline that will send you hurtling over the snow in midair!

When you’re too cold to carry on, visit the ski lodge; there’s an open fireplace for warming up, and you can order food and drink while enjoying the ambiance of a cozy wintertime setting.

Who needs the Alps when you have the Hidden Valley Ski Resort?

Address: 17409 Hidden Valley Dr, Eureka, MO 63025, United States

18. Katy Trail

Katy Trail

Wspin / Shutterstock

Nature lovers, you won’t want to miss the Katy Trail.

It runs for 240 miles along the Missouri River, and it crosses other famous trails like the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, so it offers all kinds of opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Located within Katy Trail State Park, the Katy Trail gets its name from the “KT” abbreviation that originally defined the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad.

The railroad was abandoned over the years, but the path became a popular site seeing destination.

Today, Katy Trail is used by hikers, joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and more.

It’s open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset, and its landmarks include everything from steel bridges to rugged limestone deposits framing canyon-like paths.

Pedal through the Katy Trail if you’re looking to experience beautiful places in Missouri.

Whether you’re traveling in spring, summer, autumn or winter, the scenery will always be waiting for you.

Address: 101 Lewis St Machens to Clinton, Boonville, MO 65039, United States

19. Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Cheryl Zion / Shutterstock

If you’ve never seen a seven-foot eyeball sitting in the middle of a grassy green field, have you really lived at all?

This is a question posed by Laumeier Sculpture Park, one of the most eclectic places to visit in Missouri.

Its sculptures range from mythical creatures in flight to oil tanks tossed on top of each other as an expression of modernist art.

A walking trail will take you on a tour of the park’s outdoor pieces, or you can explore an indoor gallery or the preserved remains of a Tudor mansion built in 1816.

If you time your trip right, you can catch special shows, events and educational programs centered around art.

Laumeier Sculpture Park is definitely one of the weirder things to see in Missouri, but if you want to make unforgettable memories, it’s also one of the best.

Drop by with your camera to start a one-of-a-kind vacation scrapbook.

Address: 12580 Rott Rd, St. Louis, MO 63127, United States

20. Highway 76 Strip

Highway 76 Strip

Blayne Downs / Shutterstock

Located in Branson, Missouri, the Highway 76 Strip is one of the best places to visit to get your groove on.

It’s home to dozens of clubs, studios, theaters and dance halls, including famous tourist attractions like Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater.

There’s other entertainment to be enjoyed, too.

You can dine on everything from trendy salads to thick, gourmet cuts of steak, and there are also shops, museums, hotels and more.

The main draw of the Strip is definitely its music scene, however.

Whether you’re interested in a top-tapping concert at the Grand Country Music Hall or a wild and wacky adventure at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, the Grand Country Music Hall is a must see destination when you’re in Missouri.

21. Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park

Brian Doty / Shutterstock

The gigantic boulders of Elephant Rocks State Park are some of the most impressive sights in Missouri.

In addition to their size, they’re also a rosy pink color, which is where they get their nickname.

They can look a lot like circus elephants when you squint!

Natural trails will let you explore all of the rocks at length.

In an impressive first, the trails are accessible to all travelers, including those with disabilities.

One is actually named the “Braille Trail” for its use of braille on signposts.

Other places to visit include “The Maze,” a series of scattershot rocks that will require a strong sense of direction to navigate, and “Fat Man’s Squeeze,” a gap between two boulders that’s narrow enough to be quite the crunch.

All things considered, Elephant Rocks State Park is one of the most fun things to do in Missouri.

The landscapes are unique; the attractions are accessible for everyone.

Why wouldn’t you want to visit?

Address: 7390, 7406 MO-21, Belleview, MO 63623, United States

22. Activity and Recreation Center

ARC (Activity & Recreation Center)

ARC (Activity & Recreation Center)

You’re in Missouri.

You’re eating your weight in barbecue and cole slaw.

Are you wondering what to do to burn off some calories?

Consider a trip to the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) of Colombia.

Covering more than 73,000 square feet, it’s a massive space with everything from pools to gyms to indoor tracks, so it’ll be more than suitable for anyone who wants to work up a sweat.

Do you like sports?

Join a friendly game at the basketball, volleyball or pickleball courts.

Are you serious about your weekly workout?

Hit the cardio or weight training rooms.

Do you like to swim?

Enjoy the pools, slides, vortexes, lazy rivers and lap lanes of the aquatic floor.

The Activity and Recreation Center of Columbia, Missouri is a must do for folks who want to stay active while on vacation.

There’s never an excuse for skipping leg day, right?

Address: 1701 W Ash St, Columbia, MO 65203, United States

23. Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ben Stults / Shutterstock

Located near the small town of Camdenton, Missouri, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is named for the natural springs located on the grounds of its ruined castle.

“Ha ha tonka” translates to “smiling waters.”

You might not expect Missouri to have ruined castles, but that’s exactly why the park is so popular.

It’s one of the most unique places to visit in the state!

The landscape is filled with fun and unusual features, including caves, sinkholes, bluffs and overgrown woods.

Another nice thing about the park is that it’s located near the Lakes of the Ozark, so if you’re interested in normal summertime activities like swimming and camping, those are an option as well.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a must see destination when you’re in Missouri.

Between its caves and its castles, it has so many cool things to do that you won’t want to miss it.

Address: 1491 Missouri D, Camdenton, MO 65020, United States

24. Missouri State Capitol Building

Missouri State Capitol Building

Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock

With its gigantic white dome flanked by towers, columns and archways, you can be forgiven for thinking that the Missouri State Capitol Building is a piece of Roman architecture rather than a government building.

It’s a real workplace, however, and it’s one of the major places of interest in the state.

Tours are available for anyone who wants to wander the plushly-carpeted halls and admire the winding staircases and heavy bronze doors.

You can also view a sizable collection of artwork on loan from the Missouri State Museum.

Statuary is everywhere, including on top of the dome; a statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, towers more than 235 feet above the skyline.

She’s often one of the first things that people see when they enter the city.

Whether you’re interested in art, culture, history or government, the Missouri State Capitol Building can be a fun day trip for some unusual site seeing.

You don’t even need a reservation, so feel free to drop by at any time!

Address: 201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101, United States

25. Lake Taneycomo

Lake Taneycomo

steve palmer 1962 / Shutterstock

Lake Taneycomo is one of the nicest places to vacation in Missouri.

With its deep blue waters surrounded by misty forests, it’s very picturesque, and it’ll make an ideal destination for couples, families and travelers of all types.

Outdoor enthusiasts can go swimming, boating or water skiing.

Nature lovers can wander the trails and picnic in the parks.

Lovers can hold hands under shaded tree groves; kids can run around like crazy in open fields.

You can also rent cabins along the coastline if you want to wake up to the sounds of the waves.

Another possibility is camping or renting an RV to take into the woods.

Maybe you’re a honeymooner looking for romantic spots in Missouri.

Maybe you’re an overworked career professional who just wants to “get away from it all” for awhile.

Either way, a visit to Lake Taneycomo can relax your body and soothe your spirits, so it’s a must do for anyone who desires tranquility on their trip.

26. Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company

Do you like beer?

Are you looking for free things to do in Missouri?

Enjoy the best of both worlds with a tour of the Boulevard Brewing Company.

Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the Boulevard Brewing Company is a place where alcohol is turned into an art form.

Its brewers have been toiling for decades to perfect their craft, and rather than locking away their secrets, they’ve opened their doors to anyone who’s curious about their process.

Take a tour of the factory.

Sample different brews.

Visit the “Beer Hall” and marvel at more than 100,000 square feet of taps.

Some activities do require a paid ticket, but most are free.

You just have to reserve your spot in advance.

If you’re thinking about what to see in Missouri that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, schedule a tour at the Boulevard Brewing Company.

It’ll be so much fun that you won’t believe it’s free!

Address: 2501 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States

27. Hannibal

Hannibal

Photos BrianScantlebury / Shutterstock

Hannibal isn’t just a character played by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

It’s also a town in Missouri, and though it lacks the grand, flashy tourist attractions of the big cities, it’s a great place to spend the weekend.

Part of its appeal comes from its down-home Midwestern charm.

The city is nicknamed “America’s hometown,” and it takes the moniker seriously.

The locals are friendly; the servers in the old-fashioned diners will remember your name.

Many of the shops are mom-and-pop establishments with deep roots in the community.

As for things to see, you can visit the homes of author Mark Twain or Titanic survivor Molly Brown.

There are also parks, caves, trails, lighthouses and other scenic points of interest.

If you’re looking for nice places to stay this weekend, consider a stop in Hannibal, Missouri.

It’s highly accommodating to visitors, and it’ll give you a taste of the real Missouri while you’re there.

28. J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain

JC Nichols Memorial Fountain

TommyBrison / Shutterstock

While not the biggest or wildest of Missouri attractions, the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is worth a visit if you’re in Kansas City.

Not only is it a great place for photo ops, but it’s also centrally located to help you explore the rest of the city.

The fountain itself is a collection of marble sculptures that shoot water jets into a central pool.

There are bucking horses; there are children riding dragons; there are scowling bears with their paws extended for a swipe.

At night, the city illuminates the fountain with bedazzling lights and colors.

When you’re done snapping selfies with the dragons, hit the sidewalks of Kansas City.

There are lots of fun places to see, including malls, museums, bars, pubs and performance halls.

Did we mention that a visit to the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is free?

You won’t have to pay a dime.

If you’re wondering what to do in Kansas City when you’re on a budget, this fountain is a great idea.

Address: 47th Mill Creek Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64111, United States

29. Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium

If you’re looking for cool places in Missouri, it’s hard to beat the glass tunnels of Sea Life Kansas City.

You won’t just peer into fish tanks; you’ll actually walk underwater through ghostly, blue-colored corridors with all kinds of brilliant sea life swimming overhead.

Live feedings are open to the public if you want to see sharks and stingrays gobble up their lunches.

If you enjoy hands-on interaction with the animals, there’s a touch pool where you can feel the slippery backs of sea jellies and the sticky surfaces of anemones.

There are also countless displays, exhibits and information stands where you can learn more about the animals that you’re seeing.

Sea Life Kansas City is one of the most delightful places to visit in Missouri.

Kids will love it, and adults will feel like kids again as they marvel at all of the wonders of the deep.

Book your tickets today, and you could be petting a sea urchin as soon as this weekend!

Address: 2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States

30. Missouri State Penitentiary

Missouri State Penitentiary

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

A prison might not be at the top of your list of tourist attractions, but if you’re looking for unique things to do on your vacation, the Missouri State Penitentiary can provide a rare glimpse into a little-known world.

The prison itself is a maximum security facility that was built in 1836.

It shut down a few years ago, which is why it’s available for tours today, but it still retains a heavy atmosphere that befits its gruesome legacy.

Inmates were executed here.

The gas chambers were used multiple times.

Inmates were also killed during riots, escape attempts and interpersonal conflicts.

In short, there’s a lot of history within the walls of the Missouri State Penitentiary.

You can learn all about it by visiting the museum across the street from the prison, or you can arrange for a tour of the prison itself.

Just make sure that you’re emotionally ready for it!

Address: 115 Lafayette St, Jefferson City, MO 65101, United States

31. Alley Mill and Spring

Alley Mill and Spring

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You won’t find the Alley Mill and Spring in a lot of Missouri travel guides.

It’s a little-known spot located a few miles outside of the nearest city, and it doesn’t offer the flashy trappings of famous tourist attractions.

If you’re looking for authenticity, however, the Alley Mill and Spring has it in spades.

It’s a real gristmill that operated for years to provide Missouri residents with grain, and its springs were a popular place for swimming in colonial times.

At various points in history, it also served as a home, farm, schoolhouse and gathering place for the community.

Today, you can take tours of this iconic, red-colored mill, and you can explore the grounds around it to take some really beautiful pictures.

It’s particularly striking in the fall when the leaves scatter across the water, but it’s open during all seasons.

The Alley Mill and Spring is one of the nicest places to go in Missouri.

If you want to see what life was really like for Midwesterners at the turn of the century, this is a prime destination to get a little taste of history.

Address: Eminence, MO 65466, United States

32. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

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Missouri is no stranger to state parks, but Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is special.

The “shut-in” part of its name refers to the fact that its hard rock formations are resistant to erosion, so they form pools, tides and natural springs that are amazingly beautiful.

Some people go to the park just for sightseeing.

Others don their swimming trunks and take a dip when the water levels aren’t too high.

It’s allowed; you just have to be careful.

When you’re done in the water, shake yourself off and go for a hike along one of the many nature trails around the park, or set up a tent and spend a night under the stars.

If you know how to rock climb, you can also scale the cliffs to reach observation decks that overlook miles and miles of scenery.

If you’re wondering what to do in Missouri that’s different from the usual tourist attractions, you’ll love Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.

Its unique geology will make an unforgettable vacation destination for all.

Address: 148 Taum Sauk Trail, Middle Brook, MO 63656, United States

33. Porter’s Candy World and Ice Cream Parlor

Porter's Candy World and Ice Cream Parlor

Porter’s Candy World and Ice Cream Parlor

If you’ve always wanted to kick your heels at a high-topped counter while licking at a strawberry ice cream cone, this is your chance to make all of your 1950s visions come true!

Porter’s Candy World and Ice Cream Parlor is a candy shop in Arcadia, Missouri that offers dazzlingly colorful displays of sweet treats.

Some are frozen, including their famous ice creams and malts; others are warm and freshly-baked, including their breads, cookies and cinnamon rolls.

Visitors can pull up a chair in the bright, clean dining areas, or they can wander the walls stuffed with jars, bags and candy boxes to see if there’s anything that they’d like to take home.

The ambiance is just as awesome as the sweets, so it’ll be a fun experience either way.

Porter’s Candy World and Ice Cream Parlor is one of those Missouri attractions that you won’t want to miss.

It’s a small destination in a small town, but that just adds to its charm.

As a bonus, its goodies are genuinely delicious!

Address: 211 south College St, Arcadia, MO 63621, United States

34. Heartland Harvest Garden

Heartland Harvest Garden

Heartland Harvest Garden

If you’re looking for educational opportunities in Missouri, consider a trip to the Heartland Harvest Garden.

It’ll take you and the kids on a fun, informative journey through agricultural practices in Midwestern farmlands.

One of the coolest things to see at the garden is the vineyard.

Its grapes and blueberries are grown on beautiful, storybook vines surrounded by green fields in every direction.

Another great attraction is the “Seed to Plate” greenhouse that follows every step of the planting, growing, harvesting and cooking process; you’ll learn a lot even as your stomach rumbles.

Other features of the garden include barns, gardens, silos and similar agricultural staples.

There are even fun things like an Apple Cider Court!

The Heartland Harvest Garden calls itself an “edible landscape” where every flower, tree, bush and shrub has a story to tell.

If you’re intrigued by the thought, pack up the family and take a tour of the grounds and greenhouses.

It’ll be an educational experience for everyone!

Address: 1609 NW US Hwy 50, Kingsville, MO 64061, United States

35. Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park

The Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park is one of the most fun things to do in Missouri.

On top of offering all sorts of fun, family-friendly activities, it’s also host to seasonal events that are famous for their festive spirit!

The year-round attractions at the park are the outdoor activities.

There’s a zipline and a rope course; there’s an area for off-roading in an ATV; there’s an observation deck with incredible views at the top.

You can also take in historical re-enactments at the old-fashioned villages or musical performances and puppet shows at the theater.

When the holidays roll around, the activity roster is even more packed.

The “Trail of Lights” offers a scenic drive through thousands of twinkling lights, and there’s always a Santa Claus on site to hear the requests of good little boys and girls.

If you’re looking for ways to enjoy yourself in Missouri, check out the Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park.

No matter when you’re traveling to the Show Me State, it’ll have something interesting for you to do.

Address: 5583 W 76 Country Blvd, Branson, MO 65616, United States

36. Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

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Missouri is one of the most beautiful states in the US, and when you’re walking under a canopy of red-and-yellow leaves in Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, you’ll feel like you’re traveling through a postcard.

There are stone bridges over babbling brooks; there are waterfalls cascading down stone cliffs; there are prairies filled with wildflowers.

It’s definitely one of the most scenic places in the state.

Activities range from leisurely strolls around the ponds to epic horseback rides through the open fields.

You can take the whole family and go camping; you can rent a cabin for a honeymoon or work retreat.

There’s also a tram tour if you don’t want to spend all day on your feet.

Consider a trip to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park if you’re looking for amazing sites to see in Missouri.

Between its landscapes and its activity rosters, it’ll provide plenty of entertainment for your vacation.

Address: 2038 West, State Hwy 86, Lampe, MO 65681, United States

37. Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure

You’ve heard of butterfly houses.

Have you ever visited a butterfly palace?

The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure is an incredible destination where you can cover yourself in butterflies from head to toe.

The aviary has colorful species from all around the world, so whether you’re interested in handling exotic insects or learning to recognize common, everyday butterflies, this place has you covered.

There’s other cool stuff to do as well.

You can pet snakes in a science center; you can undertake a “tree adventure” through a labyrinth of hanging vines; you can twist yourself in circles in a mirror maze.

Offering all kinds of fun, family-friendly entertainment, the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure will provide an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

It’s easily one of the best trips to take in Missouri, so you’ll be in the area, buy a ticket and prepare for an amazing time!

Address: 4106 W 76 Country Blvd, Branson, MO 65616, United States

38. Welch Spring Hospital Ruin

Welch Spring Hospital Ruin

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Nestled in the woodlands of Missouri, the Welch Spring Hospital Ruin is one of those hidden places that you won’t find in a lot of travel guides.

It’s quiet and remote, and it doesn’t even have an exact address; you just have to set out from a nearby trail and head in the right direction.

The ruins themselves are the remains of a building purchased by a doctor in 1913.

He called it a hospital, but it was really more like a health spa; he believed that the natural springs would have healing properties for his patients.

Unfortunately, those patients never materialized, and the doctor died without passing on the property to anyone.

It was left to deteriorate in the wilderness.

Today, the Welch Spring Hospital Ruin is a crumbling, vine-covered building that makes for a nice sightseeing spot.

You can hike, bike or even canoe to it.

It might not heal you, but it’ll be fun to explore.

Address: Jadwin, MO 65501, United States

39. Saint Louis Zoo

Saint Louis Zoo

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With more than 13,000 critters, the Saint Louis Zoo is one of the best places to go for animal lovers.

It’s also a favorite of budgeters and penny pinchers since admission is free!

That’s right: You can enjoy everything that the Saint Louis Zoo has to offer without paying a dime.

It’s funded through a cultural subsidy granted by the state of Missouri, so you can laugh at the lemurs, gawk at the geckos and marvel at the monarchs without ever reaching for your wallet.

Other attractions at the Saint Louis Zoo include aquariums, butterfly gardens, reptile houses, bird aviaries and “touch pools” for marine life.

You can ride a trolley throughout the park; you can hop aboard an old-fashioned, hand-painted wooden carousel.

There’s a lot of fun to be had at the Saint Louis Zoo.

As a bonus, the experience won’t cost you anything but time.

If you’re looking for free things to do in Missouri, this should be one of your top picks!

Address: 1 Government Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States

40. Noir Arts and Oddities

Noir Arts and Oddities

Noir Arts and Oddities

You’ve never seen an antique shop quite like this one.

Rather than selling grandma’s jewelry and embroidery, it sells things like skulls, coffins, porcelain dolls, weird medical devices and eerie scientific specimens in jars.

That’s the way of Noir Arts and Oddities, a location that specializes in the macabre.

Its shelves are filled with everything from snake oil tonics to iron-wrought mirrors that are said to be cursed.

Nothing is too strange for this little shop.

You don’t have to buy anything to explore it.

The owner welcomes anyone who’s interested in the strange and the unusual, and she’ll often chat with visitors and share stories about the more grisly items that she’s highlighting at the time.

A visit to Noir Arts and Oddities will be unlike anything else that you do in Missouri.

If you have the stomach for it, however, it’ll also be one of the most memorable.

Address: 1101 Mulberry St, Kansas City, MO 64101, United States

41. National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

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The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is one of the best places to visit for folks who have never grown up.

It boasts more than 72,000 objects in total, and they include dolls, instruments, puzzles, model trains, board games, stuffed animals and more.

Some of the toys can be played with, so if you want to fly a colorful hang glider or walk the dog with an old-fashioned yo-yo, those are distinct possibilities.

Other toys are so old or valuable that they’re hidden behind glass, but you can still admire them, and you can learn their history through helpful museum exhibits.

If you want to rediscover a little of the delight and wonder of childhood, plan a visit to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

If you’re able to walk by a 1800s Victorian dollhouse without fiddling with it, you’ll be a stronger person than most!

Address: 5235 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64112, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Missouri

These are just a few of the best things to do in Missouri.

Whether you’re looking for major points of interest or hidden gems that are only known to locals, this list should give you some idea of the fun that can be had in the Show Me State.

Happy travels!