17 Things Missouri is Known and Famous For

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Missouri is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by eight other states: Iowa to the north, Illinois and Kentucky to the east, Tennessee and Arkansas to the south, and Kansas and Oklahoma to the west. Missouri is known for a great many things that make it worth visiting.

What Is Missouri Known For?

Missouri is known for its agriculture and livestock industry. The state is home to some of the country’s most fertile farmland, which helps to make it one of the top agricultural producers in the nation. Missouri is the birthplace of Mark Twain, and the state’s riverboat history is celebrated in several ways, including at the St. Louis Riverfront. The “Show Me State” is also famous for its delicious barbeque and being prone to tornados.

Here are some of the things that Missouri is known for that should be helpful in your trip planning.

Famous Food In Missouri



Missouri is known for having some of the best barbecues in the US. In fact, Kansas City is often considered the barbecue capital of America. The city has more than 100 barbecue restaurants, so you’ll definitely be able to find something to your liking.

If you’re looking for a true Missouri barbecue experience, be sure to try burnt ends, a Kansas City specialty. Burnt ends are the crispy, fatty pieces of meat that are cut off of the brisket and cooked until they’re nice and tender.

They’re usually served as an appetizer, but some restaurants will give you a full plate of them as your main course.

Be sure to indulge in some of these finger-licking goodness as it is one of the most famous foods in Missouri.

Toasted Ravioli

This is something that you will find in St Louis, as it is the place where it was popularized. It was invented in Missouri back in the 1940s, with several restaurants laying claims to its invention.

There are many stories on how the dish came about – some say it was an accidental discovery after dropping boiled ravioli into oil, others claim it is a family recipe passed down generations.

Regardless, this delicious food from St Louis can be found in restaurants all over the state. Toasted Ravioli tastes best when served with a marinara sauce for dipping. Be sure to try this Missouri delicacy when you are in the state.

History, Culture, And Traditions


‘Show Me State’ 

The nickname of Missouri, ‘The Show Me State’ comes from a speech made by U.S. Representative Willard Duncan Vandiver in 1899 who said, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

Vandiver was referring to the then common saying, “I’m from Missouri” which meant that the person was not easily convinced.

Since then, the phrase has become a part of Missouri’s identity and has been used to describe the state’s practical, no-nonsense approach to life.

Welfare Of The People

The state motto of Missouri is ‘Salus populi suprema lex esto’ which is Latin for ‘The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law’” and that is exactly what they do. The motto was adopted in 1822, just one year after Missouri became a state, and it reflects the state’s commitment to putting the needs and well-being of its citizens first.

The state legislature is one of the largest full-time legislatures in the United States with 163 representatives and 34 senators.

The people of Missouri are also known to be friendly and welcoming, so don’t be afraid to stop and ask for directions or recommendations on places to eat while you’re exploring this great state.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Purchase. The journey took them up the Missouri River and into present-day Montana where they crossed the Continental Divide.

The expedition helped to map out the western United States and opened up the west for further exploration and settlement.

Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1803-1804 in present-day Missouri at Camp River Dubois. In May 1804, they set out up the Mississippi River and began their journey west.

Missouri is also home to many other historical sites and events such as the Civil War, the Oregon Trail, and the Underground Railroad.


Agriculture Production

Missouri is known for being a major agriculture production state. Some of the state’s most prominent commodities are soybeans, corn, cattle, and hogs.

There are over 90,000 farms in the state that takes up more than half of the state’s land. The agriculture industry in Missouri contributes over $9 billion to the state’s economy each year.

If you’re interested in learning more about Missouri’s agriculture industry, be sure to visit one of the many farms or agricultural museums located throughout the state. You can even go on a hayride or take a tour of a working farm.


Missouri is unfortunately known for having a high number of tornadoes. In fact, it is a top ten state in the US for most tornadoes per 10,000 square miles.

The state averages around 45 tornadoes per year, so if you’re visiting during tornado season (April-June), be sure to keep an eye on the weather and have a plan in place in case of severe weather.

While this may not be the most positive thing Missouri is known for, it does make the state a great place to study and learn about these natural disasters.


“Iron Curtain” Speech

In March of 1946, Sir Winston Churchill gave a speech in Fulton, Missouri that would become known as the “Iron Curtain” speech. In this speech, Churchill warned the American people of the dangers of communism and the Soviet Union.

This speech would help to shape American foreign policy for years to come and would help to start the Cold War.

If you’re interested in history, Fulton is a great place to visit and you can even see where Churchill gave this famous speech at Westminster College.

Pony Express

In the 1800s, the Pony Express was a fast way to get mail from one coast of America to the other and it went right through Missouri. It only operated for 18 months but in that time, it became pretty famous.

You can learn all about the Pony Express at St. Joseph’s National Historic Site where the riders would change horses and take a quick break. The museum there has lots of fascinating exhibits about the Pony Express and what life was like in Missouri in the 1800s. Be prepared to learn and soak in a bunch of fun Missouri facts.

Cities And Travel Destinations


St Louis, Missouri

One thing Missouri is known for that most of us already know about is the city of St Louis. St Louis sits right on the eastern edge of Missouri on its border with Illinois and has the Mississippi River flowing right through it. 

The city of St Louis, known as the “Gateway to the West,” is the start of where settlers in the U.S moved towards the west in the 1800s. It is home to the Gateway Arch which was built in the 1960s and stands at 630ft high, more than double the height of the Statue of Liberty. You can take a tram ride to the top for some great views.

While in St Louis, you can also hop on old paddle-wheeler boats, and take to the Mississippi River to see the stunning Gateway Arch from the water. 

St Louis also features some of the top blues clubs in Missouri and you can find some pretty amazing food there too. They also love sports, with the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Cardinals.

>Check Availability of Missouri Trolley Tour

Kansas City, Missouri

Missouri’s largest city, Kansas City, is another place that is known for its food scene with some of the best barbecue restaurants in the country. You can also find some great jazz clubs here and learn about the city’s jazz and blues history.

There are a few different Kansas Citys – one in Missouri and one in Kansas – but the Missouri side is where most of the action is. It’s also where you’ll find the World War I Museum, which is one of the best in the country.

Branson, Missouri

This small town in southwest Missouri is known as a bit of a tourist trap but it’s still worth a visit, particularly if you avoid the major ‘trap spots’.

One reason for its prominence as a vacation destination is the amount of entertainment and activities available; some describe it as a magical theme park for grown-ups.

It’s especially popular with retirees and families. There are plenty of golf courses, museums and shows to keep visitors entertained. Some of the biggest names in the showbiz have performed in Branson. But it’s not just music, there’s also comedy, magic, and even acrobatics!

The most famous thing in Branson is probably the Titanic Museum where you can learn about the ship and see some replica parts of it. There’s also the Dolly Parton’s Stampede, which is a dinner show with horses, music, and comedy.


The Ozarks

The Ozarks are a low mountain range in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. They’re known for their scenic beauty and there are plenty of hiking trails and camping spots to explore.

The region is paradise for nature enthusiasts. Some of the most popular tourist towns in the Ozarks include Branson and Eureka Springs.

If you’re into fishing, the Ozarks are also a great place to try your luck as there are many rivers and lakes where you can fish for bass, trout, and catfish.

Famous People From Missouri

Mark Twain

Missouri is known for being the birthplace of one of America’s most famous authors, Mark Twain. Twain was born in the town of Florida, Missouri in 1835 and his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

He would go on to write many famous novels such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri is now a museum and is a great place to learn more about the author and his work. You can also take a scenic riverboat cruise down the Mississippi River, just like Mark Twain did, and maybe discover the places that inspired his writing.

Harry S. Truman

US President, Harry S. Truman, was born in Missouri and spent most of his childhood here. He is perhaps most known for being the President who made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan during World War II, which was a big factor in ending the war.

Truman also has a museum dedicated to him in Independence, which is where he grew up. The Truman Farm Home is a museum and his childhood home. It has been preserved to look just like it did when he was a boy.

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Architecture And Landmarks

The Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the country. The arch is 630 feet tall and it’s the tallest man-made monument in the US.

You can take a tram to the top for some incredible views of the city. It was constructed in the 1960s and it’s become a symbol of St. Louis and the state of Missouri.

To learn more about the history of St. Louis, you can visit the Museum at the Gateway Arch, which is located underneath the arch. Here, you can learn about the founding of St. Louis, westward expansion, and indigenous culture.


Missouri is home to one of the largest breweries in the world, Anheuser-Busch. The brewery is located in St. Louis and it’s open for tours so you can see how your favorite beer is made.

After the tour, you can go to the on-site biergarten where you can try some of the different beers that are made at the brewery. If you are looking to pick up some souvenirs, there is also an on-site gift shop.

You can also head to the Warm Springs Ranch which is the official Budweiser Clydesdale stable and breeding facility to meet the iconic Budweiser horses.


The Silver Dollar City Theme Park

Missouri is home to the Silver Dollar City theme park which is located in Branson. The park first opened in 1960 and since then, has become one of the most popular attractions in the state.

The park is filled with live entertainment, shows, roller coasters, and more. There is also an old-timey feel to the park with its many shops and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a fun day out while in Missouri, consider checking out Silver Dollar City. Some rave at their experiences there, while some term it as a tourist trap.

Many More Things Missouri Is Known And Famous For

These are a few things that Missouri is known for, some of the most popular being its barbecue, strong agriculture industry, and iconic landmarks like the Gateway Arch.

The state is also home to many beautiful state parks, which are perfect for hiking, camping, and picnicking.

The state of Missouri is known for a lot of things, from its cities to its natural attractions. Whether you’re interested in history, food, music, or outdoor activities, there’s something in Missouri that will suit your interests.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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