"Hush-a-bye, ma baby, slumbertime is comin' soon; Rest yo' head upon my breast while Mommy hums a tune; / The Sandman is callin' where shadows are fallin', / While the soft breezes sigh as in days long gone by. / Way down in Missouri where I heard this melody, / When I was a little child upon my Mommy's knee; / The old folks were hummin'; their banjos were strummin'; / So sweet and low." - "Missouri Waltz" by John V. Eppel
If you aren't from Missouri, you might not have thought much about the state since the last time you saw Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales on late night cable. But you're missing out, because this is a great state. As the birthplace of Mark Twain and Walt Disney is also the setting for many of the scenes in National Lampoon's Vacation, you're already more familiar with Missouri than you think. Straddling the East, West and South, this Midwestern state is an American as it gets. Missouri has two huge metropolises, each equipped with multiple pro sports teams, fine dining, premier apartments, and historic architecture. In between St. Louis and Kansas City lie small towns and medium-sized cities, making it easy to find your kind of place.
Generally, you'll need to submit a criminal background check, credit report and verify your income and rental history. If that sounds like a root canal, well, it is, but all of those steps are often done by a single credit agency, giving you a sort of emotional Novocaine. Allow yourself at least 3-5 weeks to investigate apartments for rent here, especially in the big cities.
Are you one of those people who complains that in some states they don't have true seasons? Missouri isn't one of those places. The weather here can be extreme, with blizzards in winter and sweltering July afternoons. Try to move in spring or fall if possible.
Go to the local DMV office with your out-of-state license. If you're applying for a new ID in Missouri, bring your US passport, birth certificate or military ID card. You'll also need to register your vehicle, unless it's a skateboard.
Moving permit? You don't need one. Tornadoes? Yes. But sadly, they won't send you to the Land of Oz, so make sure you keep an eye on weather reports, and that you look for a rental apartment in Missouri that has a storm shelter nearby.
Life is good in Missouri, but to make sure life is great, pick out the right place to live. Check out the information below to get an idea of what Missouri has to offer.
St. Louis: This is one the largest urban areas in the state. Check out Soulard, a neighborhood whose name comes from the French word for drunkard. The headquarters for Anheuser-Busch also happens to be here. Soulard is also home to one of the biggest Mardi Gras festivals in the U.S. But it's not all about partying. 19th-century red-brick homes and historic churches give the area a wholesome feel. Peabody-Darst-Webbe, which is also known as Near Southside, is a revitalized neighborhood that is home an array of cafes and restaurants, including the swanky new Element. Central West End has been compared to NYC's The Village for its hip bohemian vibes. Walking through the CWE will take you down cobblestoned streets, past parks and ponds, to the chic shops, bistros and serviced apartments on Euclid Ave. In Midtown, they add in some early 20th-century Art Deco architecture to the red bricks and Victorian grandeur. The Continental-Life Building, with its chalk walk frame and jagged, almost parapet-like roof edges is the prime example. Midtown is also home to the Grand Center arts district, where you can put on your best monocle and head to the Powell Symphony Hall.
Kansas City: This is the largest city in the state and offers up a plethora of wonderful neighborhoods. Westport was its own town until 1897, but we don't think they're still bitter. Westport is one of the oldest parts of Kansas City, but that doesn't mean they don't keep up with the times. They're also the prime entertainment neighborhood in town, home to the Kick Comedy Theater (that sounds dangerous), but also new urban high-rise apartments. Hyde Park is where pioneers used to stop for a sip from the local spring. Now you can have an apartment with running water, or sip all sorts of other beverages. And yes, Hyde Park actually has a park as well. Quality Hill is the site of the Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, erected in the 1860s. 18th and Vine is paradise to jazz aficionados. In the 1930s and 1940s the supper clubs in this area were where the distinct Kansas City jazz evolved. River Market is a riverfront neighborhood. Once a more industrial area, many of the shipping warehouses have been converted in residential lofts.
Springfield: It has the third largest population in Missouri, though it's much smaller than Kansas City and St. Louis. It's known as the Queen City of the Ozarks as it sits atop its perch on the Springfield Plateau in Southwest Missouri. Most importantly, Springfield was the site of the Wild Bill Hickock-Davis Tutt gunfight. Guess who won?
Independence: The next largest city in Missouri was once the hometown of Harry S. Truman and the starting point of many a frontier adventure. Not many adventures start there now, but it's a mid-sized city that's easy to get around and has plenty of rental properties.
Columbia: The city slopes downward towards the Missouri River, with creeks and streams cutting valleys and cliffs into the landscape. With a low downtown skyline, Columbia has a small town feel, but is big enough to provide fine arts venues such as the Jesse Auditorium, the Roots N Blues N BBQ festival and varied architecture, including the neo-gothic Memorial Union (time to put on your black lipstick.)
Chuck Berry, Eminem, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, Nelly and Charlie Parker were all either born here or lived here at some point. From ragtime to rap and all the blues, jazz, soul, and country in between, Missouri's influence on American music is second to none. This tradition continues in the concert halls, clubs, bars and festivals of modern Missouri.
Missouri touches the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. So while you may not live on Miami Beach, you'll probably live near a lovely urban river walk, riverboats, or the many streams and lakes that flows off of those mighty rivers.
Caves. Yeah, that's right, caves. If you don't know how cool caves are, you'd better head underground and find out. And Missouri is the place to do it. One of the state's many nicknames is the Cave State, because of more than 6,000 caves. Spelunk!
What do you do while you listen to music? Eat and drink, of course. Missouri has always been a booze friendly state, so grab a brew to wash down a plate of baby-back ribs.