Museums and more in Missouri: art, history and culture in St. Louis and beyond

St. Louis and Kansas City are two of the largest cities in Central America. But while they spell out the same state (Missouri), their appearance and taste are completely different. When St. Louis is a place with historic brick buildings, heart-rending blues and grilled ravioli, Kansas City features Art Deco architecture, jazzy jazz and smoky barbecues. Traveling between these vibrant cultural centers means rewriting everything you thought you knew about the heart of America.

Art and Culture in Missouri
Whether you are in American history or contemporary art, museums and galleries in Kansas City and St. Louis are intriguing. Produced by Lonely Planet for the Missouri Tourism Division. All editorial opinions are those of Lonely Planet and reflect our policy of editorial independence and impartiality.

Gateway to the American West
The first launch of most people in Missouri is the iconic Gateway Arch. After a $ 380 million facelift, he flies over the mighty Mississippi River, serving as a timeless reminder of St. Louis’ important role as the gateway to the American West.

Under this stainless steel semicircle is the Gateway Arch National Park, whose new museum tells the story of America’s stubborn narratives of nineteenth-century expansion.

St. Louis left its border character and entered the 20th century as the host of the 1904 World’s Fair with new perspectives, whose properties have since been transformed into a 1371-acre forest park. Stretching over 214 acres of Central Park in New York, this sprawling expanse of greenery is home to some of the city’s most treasured cultural assets amidst lush forests and wetlands flooded with birds.

The Saint Louis Art Museum sits on a grassy hill at the western end of the park and houses an encyclopedic collection of ancient and contemporary art with more than 34,000 works. This majestic Beaux-Arts building has expanded over the past five years with a green sculpture garden and a modern east wing where Monets, Picassos and Van Goghs share all the coveted walls.

On the southern edge of the forest park, the hyperboloid planetarium signals your arrival at the Saint Louis Science Center, which boasts an interactive astronomical exhibit of 700 out of ten galleries. These include regular live science demonstrations and a motion-based virtual reality player that takes you into space.

Sing the blues
If there is a soundtrack that underlies everyday life in this overflowing city, it is the lyric syrup of the Mississippi blues. In fact, it’s the exuberant music halls of St. Louis that have made Chuck Berry, Miles Davis and Ike and Tina Turner world famous.

St. Louis Blues music is characterized by its strong use of the piano. In the entertaining National Blues Museum, you’ll learn more about this typically American style and its legacy in modern rock. Then head to the city’s trendy concert halls – including Old Chuck Berry, Blueberry Hill, and Venice CafĂ© – to create a haze.

Charming small towns
The first famous American explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, launched their epic route through the “Louisiana Territory” to the wild west coast of the French outpost of St. Charles, at about 32 km northwest of St. Louis. The Lewis & Clark Boat House & Nature Center overlooks the Missouri River, from where the couple left on May 21, 1804, and explores the legacy of their journey through replica boats and historic artifacts.

The cobblestone streets of St. Charles are lined with pretty cafes, galleries and craft shops. For more of Missouri’s small town, head 100 miles north to Hannibal, the place that gave America two of its most legendary heroes of literary folklore: Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) grew up in Hannibal and his Boyhood Home & Museum reveals the true city-dwellers who inspired his characters. From Hannibal, embark on your own Twain-inspired Mississippi adventure aboard a waiting river boat and return in time to the Mark Twain Brewing Co. wave of honor.

High life on the edge of the meadow
Glorious Art Deco towers rise above the meadow like rows of stubborn corn stalks as you head for Kansas City to the west. Called the “Paris of the plains”, there are more than 200 gurgling fountains in the beautiful streets.

Its world-class facilities include the National Museum and the First World War Memorial, which houses the largest collection of World War I artifacts in America. Access is by a glass bridge on a field of 9,000 red poppies, while exhibitions in the space of 3,000 square meters trace the war from its inception until the 1919 Peace Conference in Paris.

In the city, the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum exhibits one of the best collections of Asian art in America (old Chinese jades and delicate paper umbrellas from Japan), while the Kemper Museum, located steps away, illuminates budding painters and photographers. contemporary scene.

In the historic 18th century neighborhood and vineyard, the Negro Black Leaves Museum plunges into the history of African American teams that flourished in the United States prior to the integration of baseball in the late 1940s.

The cradle of jazz
The 18th arrondissement is also the zero point of the Kansas City Electric Jazz scene. The deliciously interactive American Jazz Museum offers an introduction worthy of the genre, as well as local legends such as Charlie Parker, pioneer of the fast paced bebop style. Discover the new generation immortalized in the Museum’s intimate Blue Room Jazz Club. The walls are a true Hall of Fame, highlighting the big names that have made Kansas City Jazz what it is today.

Half a block away – housed in a former union hall for African American musicians – the Mutual Musicians Foundation is the legend of Kansas City. Night jam sessions begin at 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights when performers finish their evening shows elsewhere and run until dawn. Expect veteran veterans to vibrate with new generation talent, fluid whiskey and thrilling crowds.

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