Missouri is one of those rare states that shines brightly once you’ve experienced it. To some, Missouri is commonly associated to the name of a river but St. Louis, Springfield, Branson, and Kansas City are a few shining stars in this state’s tapestry. Much like the US itself, Missouri is as great as the sum of its parts because of its diversity among those areas. They have KC barbecue, Branson entertainment, and the only arch more important than those golden ones; let’s take a look at the limbs of what makes up The Show Me State.
The Rome of the West, St. Louis is renowned for many wonderful things: the St. Louis Symphony, Route 66 restaurant, Gateway Arch, and a multitude of professional sports teams.
Not many cities have as much American culture stuffed into them as KC, they boast famous barbecue, famous jazz, famous sports teams, and even a famous mob at one point. We talked with Derek Klaus, Senior Communications Manager for Visit KC, and he gave us a more modern look at the KC scene. “More and more, event planners in Kansas City are finding unique ways to bring local flavor to their events…” Klaus said, “…barbecue boot camps as icebreakers and Kansas City jazz quartets as break entertainers are just a few of the ways this is being done.”
Giving visitors as much local flavor during the events as possible can help them get to the newer culture of the city faster. “Kansas City’s craft beer and whisky distilling scenes are both exploding at the moment. Pub-hopping or whiskey crawls are the perfect activity for adults after the business is done.” The city dynamic isn’t ever going to drastically change from what it has been for decades, but it is definitely adding on. We’ve been told that a free streetcar is being added to get people safely along a two-mile route from the convention district to the more popular entertainment hubs.
Speaking of entertainment hubs, Missouri has a lot of them, especially the city of Branson. Deborah Cohen of Explore Branson spoke to that subject, “Meeting planners appreciate the variety of entertainment available in Branson. We see many planners hiring entertainers to perform at their events and occasionally a planner will organize an off site event at one of our local theaters.” Branson is a town that is basically built for entertainment, “Dinner shows like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede or the Showboat Branson Belle are especially popular for these events.”
On top of those spots there are over 100 live shows happening in Branson throughout the year from rock to jazz and everything in between. Branson also has some great food atmosphere, Cohen let us in on some hot spots, “Dobyn’s Dining Room on the campus of College of the Ozarks is unique because of their farm-to-fork dining concept. Many menu items are grown or raised right on the campus. Another interesting restaurant, Arnie’s Barn, sits on the Top of the Rock golf course and uses a barn found near Arnold Palmer’s hometown of Latrobe, PA. They offer Mexican cuisine with a bit of The Ozarks flare and breathtaking views of both golf scenery and lakes.
Missouri really does exude the ‘Show Me’ attitude because they just put it all out there. With nearly a glut of personality from sports, entertainment, history, and food the state bursts at the seams with things to do and see; I mean, some of their biggest cities are so full of life that they have to be shared with other states! For those that find themselves in Missouri, do yourself a favor and book an extra day or two so you can really take it all in.