The Midwestern State offers iconic cities, natural vistas, and tourist adventures.
I’m just realizing that the Midwestern state lineup is growing quickly, but I promise not to bore you with cornfield talk too much. Part 16’s Midwestern state, Missouri, does not have the symbolic cornfields of this region populating as much of the state. I have spent quite some time in the Show-Me State, as I attended college in the city of St. Louis for one year. Therefore, I cannot even specify how many times I have been to Missouri. What I can proclaim is that I have traversed a good part of the state and adored its urban charm and natural sights such as deep caves, pristine lakes, and lush green forests. Let’s dive into my personal favorites:
Missouri is not your typical Midwestern state. It’s full of natural phenomena such as the Ozarks, a region full of forested hills and the Lake of the Ozarks. I remember driving through central and southern Missouri via Interstate 44 and the slopes were so enchanting to look at. The ascends and descends and turns were not fun to behold, as driving through natural scenery can be a distraction. There is also an abundance of state parks with first-rate scenic viewpoints, in addition to the Meramec Caverns. Unfortunately, I have not visited these caves, but they should entice any nature buff.
Very few states have multiple major cities with a large amount of influence on the state and travel culture. Missouri’s major cities of St. Louis and Kansas City are quite distinct, but full of history, entertainment, culture, and attractions. Kansas City is a distant memory for me since it was an overnight stay, but what I can remember is a peek of the radiant skyline while driving into the city at night. This has inspired me to take a future trip to explore the city’s many sights.
Moving on to St. Louis, where I did spend a year for college. Where to begin? Well, let’s start with the city’s premier attraction, Gateway Arch. The Arch is majestic, a structure that glistens in the St. Louis skyline day and night and can be seen from ten miles out. If you are coming from the East, you see the sparkly gray Arch in full view as you cross the Mississippi River. The Arch is, as imaginable, looming large over you when you stand next to it. There are only two solid pillars holding this symbolic icon to the ground, and it’s dizzying to look up at it. When I went to the top (only once), the views of the city and river were marvelous.
Proper downtown is sensational to walk through, especially during Cardinals baseball season. I attended a game with several friends, and the views of the Arch (adjacent to the ballpark) was the perfect backdrop. Going to a game had me immersed in St. Louis’s vibrant baseball culture and passion for their team. The electrifying cheers reached peak decibels during home runs. Ballpark Village, a galvanizing entertainment district next to the stadium, also contained an ecstatic atmosphere and large gathering of zealous fans to cheer on their team.
Outside of downtown though, I have spent time in Forest Park, a large outdoor area to bask in nature and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. At night, the Central West End, the area of town where I attended school, was a booming modern district. There were plenty of dining options, and some of my favorites were Insomnia Cookies, Tom’s Bar & Grill, and Pi Pizzeria. Another one of my favorites was Imo’s Pizza, a special STL pizza establishment whose best ingredient was the sweet, tasty sauce they put inside the pizza.
On weekends, I explored Greater St. Louis, and drove to various points in the expanding metro area. From the newly constructed St. Louis Premium Outlets, to the elegant St. Louis Galleria, to the large commercialized area of the Valley in suburban Chesterfield, there are so many places to explore, shop, and eat at in the St. Louis metro. I’ll never forget my experience in St. Louis/ Missouri, a place known as the Gateway to the West.