Missouri's Best Attraction: Branson's Entertainment District

Forest Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and City Museum in top five

One of the most populated states in the Great Plains, Missouri has it all – big city attractions in St. Louis and Kansas City and wild, open places like the rolling Ozark Mountains. We asked 10Best readers to vote for their favorite must-see attractions in the state, and the results are in.

  • Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
    Independence

    Among the interactive exhibits at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum are a replica of Truman's Oval Office, timelines of his personal life and presidential years and his grave site.
    Photo courtesy of Harry S. Truman Library

  • Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
    Kansas City

    The state-of-the-art Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts houses two venues, the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre and the 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall. Both host Broadway-style shows, orchestras, bands, operas and ballets.
    Photo courtesy of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

  • Glore Psychiatric Museum
    Saint Joseph

    One of Missouri's most fascinating and unique museums chronicles 400 years of psychiatric history, including the 130 years when the grounds housed the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2.
    Photo courtesy of Glore Psychiatric Museum

  • Arabia Steamboat Museum
    Kansas City

    In 1856, the Steamboat Arabia sank near Kansas City, carrying 200 tons of cargo. The Arabia Steamboat Museum displays some of the many treasures found when the boat was recovered in 1988, including dishware, guns, tools and clothes.
    Photo courtesy of Arabia Steamboat Museum

  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
    Hannibal

    Mark Twain's earliest inspiration for his stories of the Mississippi River likely came during his childhood years in the town of Hannibal. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum comprises six historically significant buildings and two interactive museums brimming with Twain artifacts.
    Photo courtesy of Jayne Clark / USA TODAY

  • City Museum
    St. Louis

    Housed in the 600,000-square-foot former warehouse of the International Shoe Company, the St. Louis City Museum has a bit of everything – the world's largest jungle gym, a 10-story spiral slide and a rooftop garden with stellar views of the city. 
    Photo courtesy of regan76 / Flickr

  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
    Kansas City

    Established in 1933, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is among America's premier art institutions, boasting a variety of prestigious works dating from antiquity to the present. The Atkins is renowned for its magnificent collection of rare European, American and Asian art, and the 17-acre Sculpture Park features the largest stateside collection of bronzes by British sculptor Henry Moore. 
    Photo courtesy of Alison Young/USA TODAY

  • Missouri Botanical Garden
    St. Louis

    The Missouri Botanical Garden, the oldest continuously operated botanical garden in the nation, was founded in 1859 as a center for conservation and education. Today, the 79-acre garden includes Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home, a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden and one of the largest collections of rare and endangered orchids on the planet.
    Photo courtesy of Flannery Allison / Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Forest Park
    St. Louis

    Located in the heart of St. LouisForest Park encompasses nearly 1,400 acres of land. It is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, nearly a third larger than New York City's Central Park. The park is widely used for outdoor recreation and features bicycle paths, jogging trails, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, boating and skating.
    Photo courtesy of Matt Kitces / Wikimedia Commons

  • Branson's Entertainment District

    Branson is known as the Live Music Show Capital of the World, so it's no surprise that this entertainment district has something for everyone. Besides 50 live performance theaters, the area has a walkable downtown with loads of shopping options.
    Photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

The top 10 winners in the category Best Missouri Attraction are as follows:

  1. Branson's Entertainment District
  2. Forest Park - St. Louis
  3. Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis
  4. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - Kansas City
  5. City Museum - St. Louis
  6. Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum - Hannibal
  7. Arabia Steamboat Museum - Kansas City
  8. Glore Psychiatric Museum - Saint Joseph
  9. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - Kansas City
  10. Harry S. Truman Library and Museum - Independence

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Laura Heck (Missouri Life), Diana Lambdin Meyer (www.mojotraveler.com) and Susan Manlin Katzman (Sweet Leisure) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Missouri.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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Laura Heck

Laura Heck

Diana Lambdin Meyer

Diana Lambdin Meyer

Susan Manlin Katzman

Susan Manlin Katzman