Missouri is a state in the American Midwest and it is known as the "Show-Me State". The name may be pronounced "missouri" or "missouruh", although the latter is very seldom used or heard outside of Missouri.
According to William Least Heat Moon, in Blue Highways, St. Louis is the last Eastern city and Kansas City is the first Western city.
Missouri is known as the "Show Me State"--meaning one should back up talk with proof. The slogan is not an official one, but it does appear on the license plates. It is an endearing statement that people from Missouri say, "I'm from Missouri, you have to Show Me!".
Travelers may not have heard much of Missouri, but rest assured that a welcome awaits all. Tourism is a trickle compared to the western or eastern-most states, and this is reflected in the treatment of tourists and travelers: strike up a conversation with any Missourian in line at the store, a museum, or a cafe and if you smile and tell them you're "not from around here" you'll have a fount of information all for you.
Most areas of Missouri use the traditional Midwestern dialect of English. In the boot-heel region, mainly from Sikeston south, the accent of the people has a southern drawl to it.
English is the official language of state business in Missouri by law.
A few town pronunciations:
Many major airlines serve both Kansas City and St. Louis. St. Louis and Kansas city do not offer overseas flights. There are a few flights from these two airports from Mexico and Canada. Springfield, Columbia, Cape Girardeau and Joplin also have airports that provide passenger service. Note: A cab ride from the Kansas City airport to downtown is very expensive, costing 35-40 dollars. There are numerous public busses providing minimal stop service that will take you there for much less. Inquire about schedules before you arrive, it will save you a lot of money. From the St. Louis airport you can take Metrolink trains into downtown for $3.75 and it includes 1 transfer. The metrolink stops at many popular destinations such as the Delmar Loop, Forrest Park (zoo), Union Station shopping center, Busch Stadium, The Gateway Arch, Lacledes Landing, and the Casino Queen which is located in Illinois. This is a very economical way to get around.
Amtrak service is provided to St. Louis and Kansas City from Chicago. Also trains provide service to St. Louis from San Antonio Texas via Dallas and Arkansas, and to Kansas city from Los Angeles. St. Louis has a brand new intermodal station for train and bus passengers, which is easily accessible to public transportation.
Greyhound and Jefferson Lines bus also serve Missouri and provide regular service to and from many destinations. Jefferson Lines serves Kansas City from Fort Smith, Arkansas, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Fargo, and Winnepeg, Manitoba. Greyhound will bring you in from just about everywhere else. St. Louis is also served by Burlington Trailways from Iowa. Megabus serves Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis from Chicago; St. Louis is also served from Bloomington-Normal and Memphis.
Numerous interstates and highways cross the state.
Other notable well traveled highways include:
There is twice daily Amtrak service from St. Louis to Kansas city. Stops include Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, Jeferson City, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Lee's Summit, and Independence. These trains are tax subsidized with state funds and fares are reasonable. The on-time performance of these trains has improved greatly recently with the building of new sidings as this line has heavy freight traffic. Amtrak Operates 2 other lines,
Greyhound runs Interstate 44 from St. Louis to Joplin with stops at Rolla, Fort Leonard Wood/St. Robert, Lebanon, Springfield, and Joplin. They run Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City, stopping in Columbia and Boonville along with other intermediate stops. Both of these lines stop at the St. Louis airport going either way. They also run Interstate 55 south of St. Louis stopping in Cape Girardeau and Sikeston. Jefferson Lines runs from Kansas City to Joplin and Kansas City to points north. Please check schedules as not all busses stop at all intermediate destinations. Bus travel can be expensive within the state with a ticket from St. Louis to Rolla running $31-$37 dollars for the 1 1/2 hour trip.
In Kansas City:
The Country Club Plaza - The nation's first shopping center, designed for the automobile. It offers high-end shops and restaurants in a quaint European atmosphere. The architecture is modeled after Seville Spain and includes a replica of the Giralda Tower.
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art - A world class art collection housed in a beautiful 1930s building and a new, critically acclaimed modern wing by Steven Holl.
Liberty Memorial - The Nation's official World War 1 Museums
Union Station - The Nation's second largest train station with ceiling over 100 feet tall!
Crown Center - Home of Hallmark Cards and the Hallmark Visitors Center and Museum.
The Crossroads - Kansas City's art district, called the SoHo of the Midwest by the New York Times. This area offers some of Kansas City's more unique shops and restaurants alongside hip art galleries. Come on a First Friday and see the area come to life with a street part atmosphere.
City Market - A neighborhood of lofts centered around a large farmer's market. Best to visit on a weekend morning
Downtown and the Power and Light District - Downtown Kansas City houses many beautiful art deco buildings as well as examples of mid-century design and modern glass towers. Companies such as H+R Block and AMC (Movie Theaters) have their offices downtown. The Power and Light district is a new development housing restaurants and rowdy bars/clubs.
18th and Vine - Historic Jazz district and home of the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ward Parkway - A tree-lined Boulevard, just south of the Country Club Plaza, that takes you past stately homes. The houses are home of some of Kansas City's elite including the family that owns Russel Stover's Candies and the Applebee's family among others. The historic houses were built in many different styles, inspired by European architecture.
Hiking, Horseback riding, and floating (canoeing or kayaking) are all popular activities in the Ozarks region whenever the weather is pleasant. Hike the Ozark Trail, a 225 mile, long distance National Recreational Trail traveling primarily through the Mark Twain National Forest from the Eleven Point River to Onandaga State Park.
Canoe the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, America's first national park for rivers.
Explore Kansas City and Saint Louis. They are both very interesting cities.
Attend a First Friday art crawl in Kansas City's bohemian Crossroads Art District
Kansas City is known for its barbeque and it has many different places to choose from. Don't pass this up!!!
St. Louis has a neighborhood known as "The Hill". There are many authentic Italian restaurants to chose from. The Hill is located south of Interstate 44 between Hampton Avenue and Kingshighway in St. Louis City.
For the rest of the state, expect your typical midwestern fare. Burgers, Steaks, Pork.
Missouri has some of the most permissive alcohol laws in the country. All types of alcohol are available virtually everywhere including grocery stores, gas stations and even drive up liquor stores are common as Missouri law does not permit dry towns or counties. Open container alcohol in plastic glasses is permitted in the Power and Light district of Kansas City. The Delmar Loop in St. Louis has many bars of many different types and live music is common, especially on the weekends. St. James is home to the St. James Winery. They offer free tours and samples. That area also has various other wineries and they are easily accessible from Interstate 44.
Be sure to visit the Anheuser Busch plant in south St. Louis, they offer tours and free samples. It is very easy to get to from Interstate 55.
Be sure to also visit the Boulevard Brewing Company plant near downtown Kansas City, they offer tours and free samples. This is a regional brewery with a more organic taste. It is easily accessible from Interstate 70conn
If you are a beer connoisseur and prefer to get off the beaten path to the pastoral countryside, the is located near the Big Piney River in Texas County. It's various brews are available on premise at their BARn, a real farm barn that has been converted into a brewub, and their product is packaged exclusively in cans to allow for legal use while recreating on Missouri's lakes and rivers, where glass containers are prohibited
Missouri is generally a safe state.
Follow the guidelines you would normally follow for city safety.
If you are visiting the rivers in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Salem (population 5,000) is the city that most people have to travel through on the way to the rivers and they have 3 lodging facilities, including 1 major national chain. Lock your doors and take anything, and I mean anything you don't want to have stolen from your car inside your room with you. This city has a very high theft rate, especially from automobiles parked in the hotel parking lots. Chances are your stuff will be missing if you leave it in your car overnight. Also lock your car tight and make sure that if you have an alarm it is turned on as a few vehicles have been stolen in the past year.
Although not officially a part of the country's tornado alley, Missouri does experience tornadoes during the spring and summer months of the year. Weather conditions can change rapidly and it is important to stay informed during tornado season as to the current weather outlook while traveling across the state.
If you are planning on traveling to Missouri during the spring or summer months, refer to the Tornado safety page for important precautionary information.