What is Missouri Known for? Discover Missouri’s Famous Facts, Foods, and Landmarks

Missouri, often referred to as the “Show-Me State,” is a blend of Midwestern charm, scenic beauty, and rich history. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or considering moving to Missouri, you might wonder: what makes Missouri unique?

From iconic landmarks to beloved cuisine, and diverse attractions, Missouri offers a lot to explore. Read on to discover what makes living in Missouri so appealing, whether you’re buying a home in St. Louis, renting an apartment in Kansas City, or just passing through.

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Thriving economy and job opportunities

Missouri boasts a robust and diverse economy, with key industries including agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare. The state is a leading producer of soybeans, corn, and beef cattle, contributing significantly to the nation’s food supply. Manufacturing also plays a vital role, with Missouri known for its production of automobiles, aerospace components, and beer.

Key cities like St. Louis and Kansas City are economic hubs, offering numerous job opportunities in various sectors. The state’s central location and extensive transportation network make it a prime spot for logistics and distribution.

Missouri’s top five employers

  • Walmart
  • BJC HealthCare
  • Boeing
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Cerner Corporation

Must-visit tourist attractions

Missouri is home to a wide range of attractions, from natural wonders to historical sites and vibrant cultural venues.

  • Gateway Arch, St. Louis: This iconic monument is the tallest arch in the world and offers stunning views of the Mississippi River and the city.
  • Branson: Known as the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World,” Branson features a variety of theaters, theme parks, and outdoor activities.
  • Lake of the Ozarks: A popular destination for boating, fishing, and relaxing, this large reservoir offers numerous recreational opportunities.
  • Silver Dollar City, Branson: A renowned theme park with a 19th-century theme, it offers thrilling rides and live entertainment.
  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, Hannibal: Explore the early life of the famous author in his hometown.

Fun fact: The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum includes the legendary whitewashed fence that inspired the famous scene in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

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Delicious cuisine across the state

Missouri’s culinary scene reflects its diverse cultural influences and agricultural abundance. From mouthwatering barbecue to famous local dishes, Missouri offers a delectable array of food experiences.

  • Kansas City Barbecue: Known for its slow-cooked meats and tangy sauces, Kansas City is a must-visit for BBQ lovers.
  • Toasted Ravioli: A St. Louis specialty, these breaded and fried pasta pockets are a local favorite.
  • Gooey Butter Cake: Originating in St. Louis, this rich and sweet cake is a beloved dessert.
  • Fried Chicken: Missouri’s take on this classic dish is renowned, particularly in the town of Sikeston.
  • Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken: A unique fusion dish created in Springfield, combining Chinese and American culinary traditions.

Five famous restaurants in Missouri

Rich culture and entertainment

Missouri’s cultural scene is vibrant and diverse, reflecting its rich history and mix of influences. The state is known for its contributions to music, particularly blues and jazz, and its thriving theater and arts communities.

  • St. Louis Symphony Orchestra: One of the oldest orchestras in the U.S., offering world-class performances.
  • Kansas City Jazz District: Explore the roots of jazz music in this historic district, home to numerous clubs and the American Jazz Museum.
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City: Known for its extensive collection and iconic shuttlecock sculptures.
  • Missouri History Museum, St. Louis: Discover the state’s rich history through engaging exhibits and programs.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis: One of the oldest botanical institutions in the U.S., featuring beautiful gardens and conservatories.

Five great places to see a show in Missouri

  • The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis
  • Starlight Theatre in Kansas City
  • The Muny in St. Louis, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater
  • Gillioz Theatre in Springfield
  • Blue Room in Kansas City, known for live jazz performances

Fun fact: St. Louis hosted the 1904 World’s Fair, which introduced many foods and innovations to the American public, including the ice cream cone and Dr. Pepper.

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Top-notch higher education

Missouri is home to several prestigious universities known for their academic excellence and research contributions. From public institutions to private colleges, Missouri offers a wide range of educational opportunities.

Here are six of the top colleges in Missouri:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Missouri (Mizzou)
  • Saint Louis University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T)
  • Truman State University
  • Drury University

Stunning natural resources

Missouri’s natural beauty is diverse and captivating, featuring rolling hills, vast rivers, and picturesque lakes. The state’s parks and outdoor spaces offer countless opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Five great state parks in Missouri

  • Ha Ha Tonka State Park: Known for its ruins of a European-style castle and stunning karst landscapes.
  • Elephant Rocks State Park: Famous for its giant granite boulders that resemble a train of circus elephants.
  • Meramec State Park: Offers scenic views of the Meramec River and numerous caves to explore.
  • Table Rock State Park: Located near Branson, perfect for boating, fishing, and hiking.
  • Roaring River State Park: A favorite spot for trout fishing and enjoying the beautiful Ozark scenery.

Did you know? The Missouri River is the longest river in North America, stretching over 2,300 miles from Montana to Missouri, where it joins the Mississippi River.

Being a sports haven

Missouri’s love for sports is evident in its passionate fan base and successful professional teams. The state offers a wide range of sporting events and activities for enthusiasts of all kinds.

Professional sports teams

  • St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
  • St. Louis Blues (NHL)
  • Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
  • Kansas City Royals (MLB)

Fun fact: The Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 1970 and their most recent in 2020, solidifying their place in NFL history.

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Popular Missouri phrases

  • “Show-Me State” – Reflects the skeptical and pragmatic nature often attributed to Missourians.
  • “Mizzou” – A common abbreviation for the University of Missouri, known for its sports and academic programs.
  • “The Lou” – A nickname for St. Louis.
  • “Crossroads of America” – Refers to Missouri’s central location and its role as a major transportation hub.
  • “Meet me in St. Louis” – Famous phrase from the iconic 1944 musical film, reflecting the city’s cultural heritage.
  • “KC BBQ” – Refers to the distinctive style of barbecue from Kansas City, known for its rich flavors and variety of meats.
  • “Lake of the Ozarks” – A well-known phrase for the popular vacation destination in central Missouri.

More things Missouri is known for

  • Healthcare: Missouri has several leading healthcare institutions, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.
  • Cave state: Missouri is home to more than 6,000 caves, with many open for public tours, such as Meramec Caverns and Mark Twain Cave.
  • Mark Twain’s legacy: The famous author Samuel Clemens, known as Mark Twain, hailed from Missouri, and his works often reflect the state’s culture and landscape.
  • Wine country: Missouri’s wine industry is flourishing, with regions like Hermann and Augusta known for their vineyards and wine production.
  • Craft breweries: Missouri is a hub for craft beer enthusiasts, with a growing number of breweries and a rich brewing history, particularly in St. Louis.

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