15 Best Places to Live in Missouri

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

There are certain things Missouri is famous for. Like being the home of Mark Twain. A barbecue nirvana, it has been called. With some of the best frozen custard in the world. And a red-hot real estate market.

The loudest stadium in the world sits here. So does one of the highest turkey populations you will find anywhere, a ratio that dwarfs the number of people.

However, Missouri is also known for some unsavoury things.

Like high pollution levels, especially regarding air quality. And high crime rates. And poor health. And lack of inclusiveness. These negatives have seen Missouri land on many “Worst States to Live in” lists.

But it is not a hell hole as some would have you believe.

For example, did you know Missouri boasts a larger shoreline than California? True story. This most American of states has a natural beauty that would put most states to shame.

The coastline aside, this Midwest state is also known for its waterways; the Missouri and Mississippi rivers weave their way across the state. There is also a hilly forested terrain, which you may know as the Ozarks. And endless miles of striking plains. And caves.

Beyond the natural appeal, a thriving economy and low cost of living are more reason to pack up and make a move to America’s Heartland.

Folks in Missouri are a skeptical bunch, hence the reason the state is nicknamed The Show-Me State.

It is thus imperative that we gathered hard data based on five key factors – education, income, quality of life, crime rate and outdoor activities – as we compiled our list of 15 best places to live in Missouri.

And this is what we came up with.

1. Creve Coeur

Creve Coeur, MissouriSource: ChrisYunker / Flickr
Creve Coeur

Situated in St. Louis County, Missouri, Creve Coeur is located near major transportation routes such as Interstate 270, Mason Road, and Conway Road. The city of Creve Coeur has seven nature parks, with the largest being Conway park that is twenty-nine acres, and the smallest, Fountain Park with one acre.

These great nature parks are the most enjoyable by its residents with having playgrounds, nature trails, volleyball courts, and seasonal splash pad. Most used by its residents is the Creve Coeur Community Center, which has an ice rink for its skaters and hockey teams. In addition, it also has a golf course that is great for golfing enthusiasts.

Creve Coeur has a thriving economy, with some of the major headquarters located there that include corporations like Energizer and CenturyLink. Creve Coeur also has two public school districts, making this city perfect for families with children.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Creve Coeur are:

  • Millennium Park
  • AMC Creve Coeur 12
  • Forest Park
  • STL Zoo
  • The Gateway Arch
  • Conway Park
  • City Museum

2. Clayton

Clayton, MissouriSource: ChrisYunker / Flickr

Known for its high quality of life, Clayton is one of the best places to live in Missouri. The combination of downtown amenities and residential neighborhoods, this suburban town is highly sought after by families.

Clayton’s convenient access to the Interstate name it an easy commute to almost anywhere. While over eighty percent of Clayton’s land is for residential and park use, its business district has over eight million square footage for its office and retail space.

This safe community has a low crime rate, which only adds to making it one of the best places to live in Missouri. In addition, many residential homes are also within walking distance to shopping, restaurants, and other galleries.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Clayton are:

  • Saint Louis Art Museum
  • Forest Park
  • Shaw Park
  • Boathouse at Forest Park
  • Ivy Cafe
  • Saratoga Lanes
  • Turtle Playground
  • Saint Louis Science Center
  • Tower Grove Park

3. Wildwood

Wildwood, MissouriSource: Allegrorondo / Wikimedia

Wildwood is flat out one of the best places to live in Missouri. Six-figure household incomes are all the norm here, not the exception.

Located in Saint Louis County is the beautiful town of Wildwood. Home to over five thousand residents, Wildwood offers plenty to do for its residents. Wildwood is one of the best places to live in Missouri.

Situated only a short drive away from the city, while living in Wildwood, you’ll have access to all of the big city amenities like top restaurants and shopping. With plenty of charm, nature parks, and other outdoor spaces, residents love living in Wildwood

It would be crazy not to mention the laundry list of outdoor amenities available in Wildwood, given the town’s numerous state parks, reserves and trails; a ski resort even.

Crime rate in this area is virtually non-existent, with outstanding schools that boast a high school graduation rate of 97%, tying with Creve Coeur for the state’s highest.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Wildwood are:

  • Hidden Valley Ski Resort
  • Rockwoods Reservation
  • Six Flags St. Louis
  • Babler State Park
  • Bluffview Trail
  • Community Park
  • Grant’s Farm
  • Purina Farms
  • Big Joel’s Safari Petting Zoo

4. Glendale

Glendale, MissouriSource: Michael R. Allen / Flickr

Glendale is one of the smallest towns to live on our list, with a population of over six thousand residents. Expectedly, the town fosters a deep sense of community and as a matter of fact, its motto is to place the welfare of its residents above all else.

So how does Glendale stack up against the other affluent areas in this list?

Cost of living is high alright, almost double the national average, while median home value is above average

Glendale is a residential suburb with friendly and loving neighbors, and considered one of the best places to live in Missouri. With a variety of activities, this is the perfect suburban community for families with children of all ages.

Recreational opportunities abound in the area, and while small, nightlife in little Glendale is bustling.

If you are looking to move with family, you will be delighted to know this area, as its three aforementioned counterparts, has some of the best schools in the state.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Glendale are:

  • Tilles Park
  • Campbell House Museum
  • Algonquin Golf Club
  • Busch Stadium
  • Tower Grove Park
  • National Blues Museum
  • Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
  • Jefferson Barracks Park

5. Kirkwood

Kirkwood, MissouriSource: pasa47 / Flickr

With a population of over twenty-seven thousand, the city of Kirkwood is filled with high-valued property, excellent public schools, and safe residential neighborhoods. There’s plenty here for its residents to occupy themselves including an ice rink, ball fields, outdoor amphitheater, and playground areas for kids.

Today, Kirkwood hosts over forty restaurants that range anywhere from coffee shops to fine dining. For transportation, Kirkwood also has its new Kirkwood Connector that is a free electric cab service that can take its residents from spot downtown to another.

A part of Kirkwood’s annual celebrations include the Route 66 Festival-Cars and the Hallown Walk. In addition, Kirkwood has over fourteen parks that include a variety of outdoor fun, such as playgrounds, athletic fields, hiking trails, horseshoe pits, and much more!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things in Kirkwood are:

  • Kirkwood Park
  • Grant’s Farm
  • National Museum of Transportation
  • Saint Louis Art Museum
  • Kirkwood Ice & Fuel Co.
  • The Minifig Shop
  • Kirkwood Community Center

6. Chesterfield

Chesterfield, MissouriSource: pknitty86 / Flickr

Known as the largest city in west St. Louis County, the city of Chesterfield has a reputation of being known as the City of Volunteers, and is one of the best places to live in Missouri. The city of Chesterfield has many shopping areas, cultural outlets, and many nature parks and trails.

The city of Chesterfield is home to Faust Park that has a historic village, playground for kids, hiking trails, carousel, and The Butterfly House, an educational attraction to see butterflies.

One of the most popular restaurants located in Chesterfield is Sauce on the Side. A restaurant that serves specialty calzones, salads, and dessert calzones.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Chesterfield are:

  • Faust Park
  • Central Park Chesterfield
  • St. Louis Premium Outlets
  • Chesterfield Amphitheater
  • St. Louis Carousel
  • The Neutral Zone Retro Arcade and Toy Store
  • Dream Play Recreation
  • Chesterfield Antique Mall
  • Marcus Chesterfield Cinema

7. Ballwin

Ballwin, MissouriSource: Tom Feary / Flickr

Next up our list of 15 best places to live in Missouri is Ballwin, a town in St. Louis County that is home to over thirty thousand residents.

The cost of living here is lower compared to some of the areas on this list, with low housing prices as one of the reasons people are continually drawn to this town.

Households in Ballwin enjoy high incomes with a failry low unemployment rate. The town is home to 17 Missouri Gold Star Schools and 14 National Blue Ribbon Schools, with four state parks under its name.

All these factors combined explain why Ballwin has appeared three times on Money Magazine’s best places to live in the United States in a span of just one decade.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Ballwin are:

  • Castlewood State Park
  • Sky Zone Trampoline Park
  • The Pointe
  • Circle 7 Ranch
  • Vlasis Park
  • North Pointe Aquatic Center
  • Ferris Park

8. Webster Groves

Webster Groves, MissouriSource: Matthew Black / Flickr
Webster Groves

Webster Groves stands in an area that was originally part of the Louisiana Territory. It came up in the late 19th century as an alternative community for residents of St. Louis who were searching for a more peaceful, safer place to live.

At present, Webster Groves remains one of the most affluent and desirable suburbs of the metro area. This is thanks to affordable housing and high-income opportunities.

It is a magnet for both families and retirees, but the town also draws in plenty of students due to the presence of Webster University in the area. In total, it is home to about over twenty-three thousand people.

Old Webster is an area the residents like to hang out, but who wouldn’t when there is a town centre bursting with historic charm and quaint shops just minutes from their home, right?

The Old Orchard area, for its part, is characterised by a budding dining and entertainment scene, providing a perfect balance of old and new.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Webster Groves are:

  • Green Door Art Gallery
  • Saint Louis Science Center
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
  • Puzzle Warehouse
  • Tower Grove Park

9. Ozark

Ozark, MissouriSource: Kbh3rd / Wikimedia

As a community that is experiencing rapid growth, Ozark continues to remain one of the best places to live in Missouri. Ozark gives its residents the feel of a small town, while being able to access the amenities and luxuries of the big city.

Located on Highway 65, it’s only a short ten minute travel to Springfield and twenty-five minute travel to Branson Missouri. Whether you enjoy outdoor nature parks, shopping, history, or amusement parks, Ozark has everything you need to truly call this place home.

Ozark remains one of the best places to live, and was top ranking from bizjournals as having the Best Quality of Life. In addition, Ozark also has top ranking school district that receives states recognition.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Ozark are:

  • Smallin Civil War Cave
  • Heather Hill Farms
  • Stained Glass Theater
  • Finley River Park
  • Silver Dollar City
  • Seven Springs Winery

10. Columbia

Columbia, MissouriSource: Aneta Waberska / shutterstock

Because of its classic beauty and architecture, Columbia is referred to as Athens of the West, and is considered one of the best places to live in Missouri. With a population of over one hundred and twenty thousand, it’s also a popular college town.

Schools in Columbia aren’t hard to find, as it’s home to the University of Missouri, many elementary and middle schools, and four high schools. Columbia is also home to some major businesses that include Shelter Insurance and Columbia Insurance Group.

When you live in Columbia, you’ll get more bang for your buck! Many of the homes in Columbia come with acres near farmland. In addition, Columbia also has seventh five nature parks, sixty miles of hiking trails, and twelve recreational facilities.

The best thing about living in Columbia are the lovely neighbors, charming atmosphere, and spacious neighborhoods.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Columbia are:

  • Stephens Lake Park
  • Shelter Gardens
  • The Blue Note
  • Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
  • Ragtag Cinema
  • Finger Lakes State Park
  • The Candy Factory

11. Lee’s Summit

Lee’s Summit, MissouriSource: Roadgeek Adam / Flickr
Lee’s Summit

If you consider yourself the quintessential city slicker and a home just outside of the big city strikes your fancy, life in Lee’s Summit, a suburb of Kansas City, is sure to appeal to you.

Lee’s Summit is located in Jackson County and is home to over ninety-three thousand people. This essentially makes it the fifth largest city in the state in terms of population. And despite its proximity to the biggest city in the land, Lee’s Summit is an attraction in its own right.

What residents love most about their hometown is the low cost of living, with rent properties priced affordably.

Lee’s Summit has a downtown where you will find the city’s specialty shops, eclectic restaurants and local businesses.

It is a wonderful place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lee’s Summit are:

  • Summit Lanes
  • Summit Fair
  • Summit Waves
  • Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street
  • Winterset Park Nature Area
  • Stonehaus Farms Winery

12. Liberty

Liberty, MissouriSource: Americasroof at en.wikipedia / Wikimedia

You remember Jesse James, right?

Standing at Liberty’s historic square is the Jesse James Bank Museum, the site of the first peaceful bank robbery in the United States that was credited to none other than the famous local boy’s gang.

Liberty traces its roots as a frontier trading post, but it has since grown into a booming town of more than sixty thousand residents.

It is located in Clay County and is considered a Kansas City suburb, with just 20 miles separating it from the greater metro.

It is apt to say the peaceful bank robbery set a certain crime pattern in Liberty because today, the town is one of the safest places in the state, with virtually no crime reported in the area.

Its residents enjoy some top-level amenities and activities you would mostly associate with a larger city. The restaurant scene is well represented, with a number of recognisable chains pitching tent in the area to complement the snug local spots already in the area.

When you look at the cost of living versus quality of life, the town of Liberty offers a darn big bang for buck.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Liberty are:

  • B&B Theaters Liberty Cinema 12
  • Belvoir Winery and Inn
  • Above All Trampoline Park
  • Historic Downtown Liberty
  • Clay County Museum
  • Worlds of Fun

13. Town and Country

Town and Country, MissouriSource: pasa47 / Flickr
Town And Country

Town and Country is an affluent suburb of St. Louis with a population of 11,000. If you are a keen follower of the PGA Tour or US Open, the name of the town might ring bells because it has played host to both.

Median home value is one of the highest in Missouri. Conversely, the residents also enjoy one of the highest incomes in the state.

Its public schools are right up there with the very best, and Town and Country also enjoys a low unemployment rate.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Town and Country are:

  • Lone Elk Park
  • Castlewood State Park
  • Queeny Park

14. St. Charles

St. Charles, MissouriSource: pasa47 / Flickr
St. Charles

The town of St. Charles is located near St. Louis in a county that also goes by the same name.

It is here that the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition set off in 1804, so this is a city steeped in history, although it does a great job of marrying that old appeal with modern-day charm.

St. Charles has you covered when it comes to outdoor attractions, while also guaranteeing lots of places to shop.

There are multiple spots where you can chomp on the famous St. Louis-style ribs, and the nightlife is truly alive, with the likes of Ameristar Casino one of the biggest draws in town.

St. Charles has one of the lowest crime rates in the state, and the population of over sixty-seven thousand enjoys an attractively low cost of living as well.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in St. Charles are:

  • Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum
  • Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles
  • Frontier Park
  • Jaycee Park
  • The Family Arena
  • Play Street Museum
  • AMC Streets of St Charles

15. Maryland Heights

Maryland Heights, MissouriSource: pasa47 / Flickr
Maryland Heights

If you fancy a small-town feel while living just minutes away from the Gateway City, Maryland Heights is an excellent choice.

Maryland Heights has it pretty much made, if you ask us. Located less than 20 miles northwest of St. Louis, it is one of the largest suburbs in the metro.

Education and manufacturing make up the foundations of the local economy. The public school system is one of the reasons the state ranks favourably in the education category, and the nightlife scene is more alive than most of the areas on this list.

Then again, with the likes of Hollywood Casino around, this comes as no surprise.

Indeed, it is attractions like these that have led to the burgeoning hospitality industry in Maryland Heights, and that can only be good news to the almost twenty-eight thousand who call this place home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Maryland Heights are:

  • Ryze Adventure Park
  • Aquaport
  • Six Mile Bridge Brewery
  • Maryland Heights Community Center
  • Vago Park
  • Brew House
  • Westport Social


15 Best Places to Live in Missouri:

  • Creve Coeur
  • Clayton
  • Wildwood
  • Glendale
  • Kirkwood
  • Chesterfield
  • Ballwin
  • Webster Groves
  • Ozark
  • Columbia
  • Lee’s Summit
  • Liberty
  • Town and Country
  • St. Charles
  • Maryland Heights