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Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Missouri

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Introduction

St. Louis

St. Louis

© All Rights Reserved StefanieT

A famous state in American history Missouri has a lot to offer visitors. From the shows in Branson to the beauty of the Ozark Mountains that state is a lot of fun. For the more urban person the shopping and nightlife in Kansas City is killer or the restaurant scene in Columbia is a wonderful place to relax. And remember a trip to Missouri is not complete with out grabbing a beer at the Budweiser Brewery and seeing the actual horses in St. Louis.

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Geography

Missouri borders eight different states, as does its neighbour, Tennessee. No state in the U.S. touches more than eight states. Missouri is bounded on the north by Iowa; on the east, across the Mississippi River, by Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee; on the south by Arkansas; and on the west by Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska (the last across the Missouri River). The two largest Missouri rivers are the Mississippi, which defines the eastern boundary of the state, and the Missouri River, which flows from west to east through the state, essentially connecting the two largest metros, Kansas City and St. Louis. North of, and in some cases just south of, the Missouri River lie the Northern Plains that stretch into Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Here, gentle rolling hills remain from the glaciation that once extended from the Canadian Shield to the Missouri River. Missouri has many large river bluffs along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Meramec Rivers. Southern Missouri rises to the Ozark Mountains, a dissected plateau surrounding the Precambrian igneous St. Francois Mountains. This region also hosts karst topography characterized by high limestone content with the formation of sinkholes and caves. The southeastern part of the state is the Bootheel region, part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain or Mississippi embayment. This region is the lowest, flattest, and wettest part of the state. It is also among the poorest, as the economy is mostly agricultural. It is also the most fertile, with cotton and rice crops predominant.

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Regions

  • St. Louis Area - St. Louis metro area including St. Louis and St. Charles
  • Kansas City Area - Kansas City metro area including Kansas City, Independence and Lee's Summit
  • Central Missouri - Includes Jefferson City and Columbia
  • Northeast Missouri - Includes Hannibal and Kirksville
  • Northwest Missouri - Includes St. Joseph, Arrow Rock, and Weston
  • Southwest Missouri - In the Ozarks and includes Springfield, Joplin, and Branson
  • Southeast Missouri - Includes Ste. Genevieve, Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

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Weather

Missouri generally has a humid continental climate with cold winters and hot and humid summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel, the climate turns into a humid subtropical climate. Located in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extremes in temperatures. Without high mountains or oceans nearby to moderate temperature, its climate is alternately influenced by air from the cold Arctic and the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico. Missouri's highest recorded temperature is 48 °C at Warsaw and Union on July 14, 1954 while the lowest recorded temperature is -40 °C also at Warsaw on February 13, 1905.

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Getting There

By Plane

1. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) is the main gateway to Missouri. It is located about 10 miles (16 kilometres) from downtown St. Louis. It mainly has domestic flights but there are some international connections as well, to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: Each of the airport's terminals has a rail station with direct trains to downtown St. Louis on MetroLink's Red Line.
  • Bus: MetroLink also operates two buses: 49 Lindbergh and 66 Clayton-Airport.
  • Car: parking places, car rental facilities and taxis are all widely available at Lambert as well.

2. Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is located about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the central business district of Kansas City. It's one of the best mid-sized airports in the USA. Although it mainly functions as a large domestic airport, there are a few international connections to Canada and Mexico.

To/from the airport

  • Car: the airport is conveniently located on major highways Interstate 29 and Interstate 435. There are many short-term and long-term parking places available, as well as rental cars. Taxis are available as well.
  • Bus: The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority operates one public bus service to the airport, bus #129. It only operates 18 times per day, between 6:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday. It operates between Terminal C and the downtown bus center with several intermediate stops.
  • Private shuttle companies offer comfortable and expensive minivans, and although there are still wishes for a light-rail system, there is still no approval for this plan.

By Train

Several trains, operated by Amtrak, travel to and from the state of Missouri:

  • The Illinois Service from Chicago to St. Louis.
  • The Missouri Routes also from Chicago, to Kansas City via St. Louis.
  • The Texas Eagle, also from Chicago, travelling further from St. Louis (daily) towards Dallas and San Antonio and further from here (three times a week) to Los Angeles.
  • The Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles, stopping in Kansas City.

By Bus

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.

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Getting Around

By Train

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,

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Missouri has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

By Bus

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.

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Eat

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.

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Drink

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 70.

If you are a beer connoisseur and prefer to get off the beaten path to the pastoral countryside, the Piney River Brewing Company 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

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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Contributors

as well as Peter (7%), Lavafalls (6%), Sander (1%)

Missouri Travel Helpers

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This is version 24. Last edited at 12:12 on Apr 8, 16 by Utrecht. 34 articles link to this page.

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