Top Destinations to Live in Missouri

Top 10 Best Places to Live in Missouri

From the bustling streets of St. Louis to the picturesque landscapes surrounding Branson, Missouri offers an eclectic range of living experiences catering to a diverse populace. In this comprehensive study, we shed light on the top 10 cities in Missouri that stand as epitomes of exceptional living standards, not just for families but for everyone. Each city profile is enriched with essential statistical data and a brief description, coupled with an intriguing “Did You Know?” section.

Without further ado, here are our top ten cities in Missouri that provide unparalleled living experiences:

  1. Kansas City
  2. St. Louis
  3. Columbia
  4. Springfield
  5. Chesterfield
  6. Lee’s Summit
  7. O’Fallon
  8. St. Charles
  9. Branson
  10. Independence

Kansas City

Historical Background: Kansas City, a vibrant metropolis straddling the border of Missouri and Kansas, is renowned for its jazz heritage and scrumptious barbecue cuisine. With its inception in the 1830s, it has grown to be a cultural and artistic hub, offering a pulsating mix of experiences for its residents.

  • Job Opportunities. The city has a robust economy, buoyed by sectors like healthcare, finance, and information technology. With numerous corporations headquartered here, job opportunities are plentiful, providing avenues for career growth and stability.
  • Cost of Living. Kansas City offers a relatively affordable living standard compared to other major US cities. The housing market is accessible, with a median home value standing at approximately $220,000, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.
  • Safety. While certain areas have higher crime rates, the city has been investing in community policing and safety initiatives to foster safer neighborhoods. It’s advisable to research and choose areas with low crime rates for residence.
  • Accessibility. The city boasts an extensive road network and public transportation system, making commuting and accessing various amenities a breeze. The Kansas City Streetcar offers a free and convenient mode of transport around downtown.
  • Recreational Facilities. Kansas City is a haven for cultural aficionados, offering a rich tapestry of experiences from jazz clubs, art galleries to the historic Country Club Plaza with its Spanish-inspired architecture and upscale shops.

Did You Know? Kansas City is home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial, providing a deep dive into the history and global impact of the Great War.

St. Louis

Historical Background: Known as the “Gateway to the West”, St. Louis holds a rich history dating back to its founding in 1764. It served as a major port city and has grown to become a vibrant center for arts, education, and culture.

  • Job Opportunities. St. Louis hosts several Fortune 500 companies, offering vast opportunities in sectors like healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. The city is a hub for biotechnology and medicine, fostering innovation and growth.
  • Cost of Living. The city offers a fairly affordable lifestyle, with a median home value below the national average, making it an attractive option for both young professionals and retirees.
  • Safety. The city is working diligently to improve safety, with various community outreach programs aimed at reducing crime and fostering safer neighborhoods.
  • Accessibility. St. Louis boasts a well-connected public transportation system including Metrolink light rail and MetroBus, facilitating easy commute throughout the city.
  • Recreational Facilities. Home to beautiful parks like Forest Park and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the city offers ample recreational opportunities. The thriving arts scene is visible in institutions like the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Fox Theatre.

Did You Know? The iconic Gateway Arch that graces the city’s skyline holds the record as the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere.


Historical Background: Nestled between St. Louis and Kansas City, Columbia is a vibrant city founded in 1821. It’s known for its beautiful landscapes, higher education institutions, and a strong sense of community.

  • Job Opportunities. Columbia’s economy is centered around education, healthcare, and insurance sectors. The city hosts the University of Missouri, offering numerous academic positions and fostering research opportunities.
  • Cost of Living. Columbia offers a balanced cost of living, with affordable housing options and a lower-than-average utility cost, making it an attractive place for both families and singles.
  • Safety. Columbia has a community-oriented approach to safety, with various neighborhood associations working together to foster secure environments.
  • Accessibility. The city offers well-maintained roads and a public transit system, making commuting convenient. The city also encourages cycling, with numerous bike lanes and trails.
  • Recreational Facilities. Columbia is home to several parks and trails, offering a great outdoor experience. The vibrant downtown area hosts numerous events, festivals, and has a burgeoning arts and music scene.

Did You Know? Columbia is known as the “Athens of Missouri”, attributed to its classical architecture and the presence of the University of Missouri.


Historical Background: Springfield, established in 1838, is known as the “Birthplace of Route 66”. It offers a harmonious blend of urban and natural attractions, fostering a vibrant and dynamic community.

  • Job Opportunities. Springfield’s economy is diversified, with opportunities in healthcare, manufacturing, and education sectors. Companies like O’Reilly Auto Parts have their headquarters in the city, providing substantial job opportunities.
  • Cost of Living. The city offers a significantly lower cost of living compared to the national average, with affordable housing and utility costs, making it a popular choice for both young professionals and retirees.
  • Safety. Springfield has been focusing on community policing initiatives to enhance safety and reduce crime rates in various neighborhoods.
  • Accessibility. The city boasts an efficient public transportation system, connecting various neighborhoods conveniently. Additionally, the city is bike-friendly, offering numerous trails for cycling enthusiasts.
  • Recreational Facilities. Springfield hosts several parks, botanical gardens, and cultural venues, offering a rich recreational canvas for residents. The city’s vibrant arts scene is showcased through various galleries, theaters, and events throughout the year.

Did You Know? Springfield is recognized as the official birthplace of the historic Route 66, the famous highway connecting Chicago to Santa Monica.


Historical Background: Chesterfield, nestled along the western banks of the Mississippi River, stands as a harmonious blend of modern amenities and historical legacies. From its roots as a small community, it has blossomed into an affluent suburb of St. Louis.

  • Job Opportunities. With a burgeoning business district, Chesterfield offers a wealth of opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, finance, and retail. Its strategic location attracts a host of companies providing substantial job prospects.
  • Cost of Living. As an affluent suburb, the cost of living in Chesterfield is slightly higher than the Missouri average, reflecting in the quality of amenities and housing options available.
  • Safety. Chesterfield is known for its low crime rates and safe neighborhoods, fostered by a proactive community and efficient local law enforcement.
  • Accessibility. The city offers easy access to major highways and has a well-planned road network, making commutes convenient and quick.
  • Recreational Facilities. Chesterfield is home to beautiful parks, a family aquatic center, and a vibrant community scene hosting numerous events and festivals year-round.

Did You Know? Chesterfield hosts the beautiful Faust Park, home to the historic Thornhill Estate and the popular Butterfly House, attracting nature enthusiasts and families alike.

Lee’s Summit

Historical Background: Lee’s Summit, established in the 1860s, has grown into a bustling city known for its high-quality lifestyle, scenic landscapes, and a community-driven environment.

  • Job Opportunities. Lee’s Summit hosts a dynamic economy with opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, education, and technology. The presence of several business parks attracts companies offering diverse job opportunities.
  • Cost of Living. The city offers a comfortable lifestyle with a moderate cost of living. Housing options are varied, catering to different budget ranges.
  • Safety. The city prides itself on maintaining low crime rates, ensuring safe and secure neighborhoods with community-centric initiatives.
  • Accessibility. Lee’s Summit is well-connected by road and rail, with convenient options for commuting within and outside the city.
  • Recreational Facilities. With a plethora of parks, lakes, and cultural venues, Lee’s Summit provides a rich recreational canvas for residents to explore and enjoy.

Did You Know? Lee’s Summit was named after Dr. Pleasant Lea, a respected local physician and a farmer whose house was used as a marker during the railroad construction.


Historical Background: From its establishment in 1856, O’Fallon has witnessed a steady growth trajectory, evolving from a small rural community to one of the largest cities in St. Charles County.

  • Job Opportunities. O’Fallon hosts numerous businesses and manufacturing units, offering a variety of job opportunities in sectors like healthcare, education, and retail.
  • Cost of Living. The city offers a balanced cost of living with affordable housing options, making it an attractive choice for families and individuals seeking quality living without exorbitant costs.
  • Safety. O’Fallon maintains a reputation for safety, with community programs in place to foster neighborhood vigilance and collaboration.
  • Accessibility. O’Fallon has a well-planned infrastructure with easy access to major highways, ensuring smooth and convenient commutes.
  • Recreational Facilities. The city is home to numerous parks, sports complexes, and community centers, offering ample avenues for recreation and leisure.

Did You Know? O’Fallon’s Veterans Memorial Walk is a revered site, honoring veterans with a serene park setting featuring monuments and a Walk of Honor.

St. Charles

Historical Background: St. Charles, established in 1769, stands as Missouri’s third-oldest city. With a rich history, the city offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.

  • Job Opportunities. The city has a vibrant economy, with opportunities prevalent in sectors such as healthcare, education, and tourism, offering a steady stream of job prospects for residents.
  • Cost of Living. St. Charles offers a balanced lifestyle with a moderate cost of living. The real estate market offers a range of options from historic homes to modern condominiums.
  • Safety. The city maintains a focus on community safety, with initiatives in place to foster secure and welcoming neighborhoods.
  • Accessibility. St. Charles is well-connected with a network of highways and roads, making commutes and access to neighboring cities convenient.
  • Recreational Facilities. Home to the historic Main Street, St. Charles offers a vibrant cultural scene with numerous parks, museums, and events hosted throughout the year.

Did You Know? St. Charles served as the starting point of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition, marking a significant chapter in American history.


Historical Background: Branson, nestled in the Ozark Mountains, evolved from being a small community in the late 1800s to a prominent entertainment and tourism hub known for its vibrant live music shows and stunning natural beauty.

  • Job Opportunities. The city’s economy is largely driven by the tourism sector, offering numerous opportunities in hospitality, entertainment, and retail.
  • Cost of Living. Despite being a tourist hotspot, Branson offers a relatively affordable cost of living with a range of housing options to suit various budgets.
  • Safety. Branson maintains a reputation for being a safe city, with efforts focused on community engagement and crime prevention.
  • Accessibility. The city offers easy accessibility to attractions and amenities, with well-maintained roads and transportation services catering to tourists and residents alike.
  • Recreational Facilities. Beyond the famed live music venues, Branson hosts beautiful lakes, parks, and outdoor recreational opportunities, providing a unique blend of entertainment and natural beauty.

Did You Know? Branson is known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World”, hosting numerous live performances spanning various genres throughout the year.


Historical Background: Established in 1827, Independence holds a rich historical legacy as the starting point for several westward trails during the 19th century. Today, it stands as a vibrant city blending history and modernity.

  • Job Opportunities. Independence offers a diversified economy with sectors like healthcare, education, and government services providing steady job opportunities.
  • Cost of Living. The city offers an affordable lifestyle with housing options catering to a range of budget preferences, making it an attractive choice for families and young professionals.
  • Safety. Independence maintains a focus on community safety, with various programs in place to foster secure neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life.
  • Accessibility. The city is well-connected by road, offering easy access to Kansas City and other neighboring areas, facilitating convenient commutes.
  • Recreational Facilities. Independence boasts a vibrant cultural scene with numerous historic sites, museums, and parks offering a rich recreational canvas for residents and visitors.

Did You Know? Independence is the hometown of President Harry S. Truman, and the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is a popular attraction, offering a glimpse into his life and presidency.

Bottom Line

Missouri, often termed as the ‘Gateway to the West’, encompasses a diverse array of cities that offer a remarkable blend of history, culture, and modernity. From the bustling economic centers like St. Louis and Columbia to the serene landscapes of Chesterfield and Lee’s Summit, there is a niche for everyone.

Whether you are drawn to the musical allure of Branson or the historical grandeur of Independence, each city holds a unique promise of enriched living. The burgeoning job opportunities across diverse sectors, affordable living costs, and a strong emphasis on community safety ensure a high quality of life in these cities. Moreover, the convenient accessibility and abundant recreational facilities further enhance the living experience, making these cities not just a residence, but a destination for enriched living.

In the heartland of America, these cities of Missouri await to greet you with open arms, promising a harmonious blend of opportunities and a quality lifestyle that resonates with the spirit of the true American dream.

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