25 Amazing Things You Should See In Missouri

What is there to do in Missouri? As it turns out there are lots of wonderful attractions for travelers passing through the “Show Me State”. From beautiful parks and historic landmarks to world class museums and quirky sculptures, there’s plenty to see and do! There are also a lot of interesting things to see in Missouri that might be considered quirky, amusing, or maybe even a little bizarre.

The good news is that all of them make for great things to do in Missouri on a road trip through the midwest!

1. Ha Ha Tonka Ruins

Ha Ha Tonka at sunrise

The ruins of a stone castle are only part of what makes Ha Ha Tonka State Park one of the best things to see in Missouri! Located in Camdenton, the park features sinkholes, caves, a huge natural bridge, sheer bluffs and Missouri‚Äôs 12th-largest spring. There are many great hiking trails and beautiful views of Lake of the Ozarks.

2. World’s First Bread Slicer

It’s hard to believe that at one time, stores didn’t sell sliced bread. But, in 1928, Otto Rohwedder invented the world’s first bread slicer in the small town of Chillicothe, Missouri. Travelers can stop by the Grand River Historical Society Museum and see the gigantic machine in person! Chillicothe, known as “home of sliced bread” has a nice downtown and cool murals around town. It’s located along Missouri’s “Genius Highway” that includes the hometowns of Walt Disney, J.C. Penney, and Mark Twain.

3. Budweiser Clydesdales Breeding Farm

what to do in Missouri

The World Famous Budweiser Clydesdales have their breeding facility located in the town of Boonville along Interstate 70 about two hours west of St. Louis. If you’ve ever wanted to see where many of the company’s Super Bowl ads are filmed and get up close to baby clydesdales – this is your chance! It’s a wonderful place to tour and you’ll never forget being so close to these gentle giants.

4. Walt Disney Hometown Museum

Walt Disney grew up in the tiny town of Marceline located along Highway 36 in mid-Missouri. These days the train station where Walt and his brother spent time playing is now a wonderful museum. The Walt Disney Hometown Missouri is one of the cool things to see in Missouri with great exhibits about Disney’s younger days and his family’s ties to Marceline. Disney’s childhood home is also still there and you can drive by and see it in person. Even Marceline’s downtown will remind you of Main Street in Disneyland. As you walk around, it’s obvious to see where he got his inspiration.

5. BIGFOOT – The First Monster Truck

Saint Louis native Bob Chandler fathered the “monster truck” industry in the 1970s. BIGFOOT has taken on various looks over the years and travelers can see one of the original vehicles in person in Pacific, Missouri. You can even drop in to their world headquarters and ask for a tour of their shop. They’re super nice and it’s fun to see these huge vehicles in person!

6. Pony Express Headquarters

Though the Pony Express only lasted for just over a year, (1860-1861) its history has remained fascinating ever since. The Pony Express Headquarters was located in St. Joseph, Missouri and is one of the most historical things to see in Missouri. Travelers can step inside the very place where riders (and their horses) went in to pick up and drop off the U.S. Mail. The museum has lots of great artifacts and stories!

7. City Museum

things to do in missouri

One of the most unique things to see in Missouri is the City Museum in St. Louis. The museum which has both a school bus and a ferris wheel on top of its roof is a former shoe factory. The museum has tunnels, slides, and a hodgepodge of wacky art displays and exhibits. It’s unlike any museum you’ve ever been to.

8. Wonders of Wildlife

Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops is a Missouri native who wanted a massive wildlife museum and aquarium to educate the public. Wonders of Wildlife has been recognized as one of the best things to do in Missouri and a top tourist attraction in America. The aquarium section of the complex is absolutely amazing! It’s located right next door to the flagship Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield.

9. Gateway Arch

A symbol of westward expansion, the Gateway Arch was recently recognized as a National Park. Standing 630 feet high (and 630 feet wide), an elevator takes you all the way to the top. You’ll find windows that face both east and west for amazing views of St. Louis and Southern Illinois. The museum beneath the Arch recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and includes state of the art exhibits and displays.

10. Glore Psychiactric Hospital

Definitely the creepiest of all the things to see in Missouri – the Glore Psychiatric Museum opened in 1874 with 250 patients. Known then as “State Mental Hospital #2”, the stories of patients and the disturbing gadgets and treatments used on them will blow your mind. One patient swallowed more than 450 nails. Some patients were put inside contraptions like the one above, called the “insanity box”. The museum is in St. Joseph, Missouri.

11. Toy & Miniature Museum

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is located on the campus of University of Missouri – Kansas City. It features an incredible collection of fine scaled 1/16th miniatures and displays of vintage toys that you will probably recognize from your childhood.

12. The Soda Museum

what to do in missouri

The Soda Museum is the personal collection of St. Charles resident Tom Smith who has been collecting soda related items since the age of ten. Located on historic Main Street, the museum has two floors of Coca-Cola memorabilia and historical artifacts. However, the museum features more than just Coke items. The displays include soda bottles, packaging, advertising, and souvenirs from brands like Dr Pepper, Pepsi, 7-Up, Sprite, and more. There’s also an arcade of vintage video games in the museum’s basement!

13. National Churchill Museum

For travelers that know their world history, the town of Fulton is where Winston Churchill coined the phrase “The Iron Curtain” during a famous speech in 1946. The Winston Churchill Museum is located on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton and includes a large section of the Berlin Wall outside. The museum itself has more than 10,000 pieces of historical artifacts relating to Churchill in its archives.

14. Truman Presidential Library

Recently updated and now a state of the art museum, The Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a must-do on our list of interesting things to see in Missouri. Located in Independence, not far from Kansas City – the museum has wonderful exhibits that showcase life in America during Truman’s time in office. The president’s house is right down the street and also open for tours.

15. Missouri Bottoms Sunflower Fields

sunflowers in missouri

Each summer, 14 large fields of sunflowers are planted at the Missouri Bottoms Conservation Area just north of St. Louis and near the Illinois state line along Highway 270. Even in drought conditions, the sunflowers tend to bloom big in July or August, about 60 days after they’re planted. It’s a popular spot for photos and sightseeing in the area!

16. Precious Moments Chapel

Did you or your relatives collect Precious Moments statues in the 1980s and 90s? If so, you might find this one of the more interesting things to see in Missouri. A Precious Moments Chapel and museum dedicated to the figures in located in the town of Carthage. The chapel features beautiful paintings of Precious Moments characters. However the giant statues around the building are a tad creepy. And yes – they still sell these things!

17. Giant Shuttlecocks

On the campus of Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, you’ll find three gigantic badminton shuttlecocks. The shuttlecocks (birdies) make for great photo ops and are located on both sides of the building. Don’t skip out on visiting the museum itself! It’s a fantastic art museum!

18. Quilting Mecca of America – Hamilton

You can thank YouTube sensation and quilter Jenny Doan for the rebirth of Hamilton, Missouri. Once known only as the hometown of J.C. Penney, Hamilton is now a bucket list stop for quilters from around the world. The once desolate downtown is now bustling with stores and travelers hoping to find unique sewing materials or maybe even meeting Jenny herself.

19. World’s Largest Fork

Ok, technically it’s now the “2nd” largest fork in America – but it’s still a great Instagram photo stop! The huge fork (35 feet high!) in Springfield used to sit in front of a local restaurant but has been moved to a low key area with office buildings. The address is: 2215 W Chesterfield St, Springfield, MO 65807. If you love quirky roadside attractions, the giant fork needs to be one of your top things to do in Missouri!

20. St. Genevieve Settlement

Experience the charms of the oldest permanent European settlement west of the Mississippi River. St Genevieve makes the list of things to see in Missouri with its new distinction as a National Historic site. You’ll see historic buildings from early settlers and lovely small town shops and dining. It’s also close to Hawn State Park, one of the most beautiful and peaceful state parks in the state.

21. The Town of Uranus

No, Uranus isn’t a real town in Missouri but it is a fun and quirky roadside attraction along historic Route 66 near the town of St. James.

22. Walter Cronkite Memorial & Museum

things to see in Missouri

Legendary TV newsman Walter Cronkite was from the town of St. Joseph. A museum and memorial in his honor is located in St. Joseph on the campus of Missouri Western University. The museum features a replica anchor desk from The CBS Evening News and Cronkites actual desk he used during his time at the network.

23. Negro Leauges Museum

This museum gives a fascinating look at the history and players of the Negro Baseball League. Exhibits include hundreds of photographs, historical artifacts and interactive exhibits. A replica baseball diamond features 10 life-sized bronze sculptures of Negro Leagues greats. A documentary film, narrated by actor James Earl Jones, tells the story of the leagues through vintage film footage.

24. Meramec Caverns

This quirky roadside attraction supposedly was a hideout for the notorious criminal, Jesse James. Meramec Caverns is the only five-story cave in the world and the largest west of the Mississippi River. It was discovered by accident in the 1700s by an Osage Indian and a French explorer. Today it’s definitely a tourist trap but as far as caves go, it’s pretty cool to tour.

25. Giant Eyeball Sculpture

Seven feet tall and displayed at ground level, artist Tony Tasset created the gigantic eyeball in 2007. Ever since, it’s been a centerpiece of the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County.

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