Missouri is a state known for its diverse cities, each with its own unique charm and attractions. In this article, we will explore the top 8 largest cities in Missouri, highlighting their population, local attractions, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Let's dive in and discover what makes these cities special.

Top 8 Largest Cities in Missouri

  • Kansas City
  • St. Louis
  • Springfield
  • Columbia
  • Independence
  • Lee's Summit
  • O'Fallon
  • St. Joseph

Kansas City

Largest Cities in Missouri

With a population of over 509,319 people, Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri. Known for its vibrant arts scene and rich history, this city offers a blend of Midwest charm and urban excitement. Visitors can explore the renowned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which houses an extensive collection of European and American artwork.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the city boasts several beautiful parks, including Loose Park and Swope Park, where you can enjoy walking trails, picnic areas, and serene natural landscapes.

St. Louis

St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri, with a population of approximately 296,958 residents. This city is famous for its iconic Gateway Arch, a symbol of the westward expansion of the United States.

Visitors can take a tram ride to the top of the arch for breathtaking views of the city. St. Louis is also home to the St. Louis Zoo, one of the best zoos in the country, where you can encounter a wide variety of animals from around the world. Forest Park, a sprawling urban park, offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as biking, jogging, and boating.


Springfield is the third-largest city in Missouri, with a population of around 171,676 people. This city is known for its friendly atmosphere and a range of family-friendly attractions. One of the highlights is the Fantastic Caverns, a unique cave system that can be explored via guided tram tours.

History enthusiasts can visit the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, a significant site from the Civil War. For a taste of local culture, visitors can explore the Springfield Art Museum, which features a diverse collection of artworks.


Columbia is a vibrant city with a population of approximately 140,927 residents. Home to the University of Missouri, this college town offers a lively arts and music scene. Visitors can catch a performance at the Missouri Theatre, a beautifully restored historic venue that hosts concerts, plays, and film screenings.

Nature lovers can explore the scenic trails and picturesque landscapes of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and Stephens Lake Park. Columbia also hosts several annual festivals, including the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, which showcases live music and delicious barbecue.


Largest Cities in Missouri

Independence, with a population of around 122,994 people, is a city steeped in history. It is known as the hometown of President Harry S. Truman and offers several attractions related to his life and presidency.

Visitors can explore the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum to learn about Truman's legacy and the history of the United States during his presidency. The city also features the National Frontier Trails Museum, which provides insights into the westward expansion and the pioneers who traveled along the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails.

Lee's Summit

Lee's Summit is a growing city with a population of approximately 105,185 residents. Located just outside of Kansas City, it offers a peaceful suburban setting with easy access to urban amenities. The city is home to several beautiful parks, including Legacy Park and Longview Lake Park, where visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and boating.

Lee's Summit also hosts the Summit Waves Water Park, a popular destination for families during the summer months. The vibrant downtown area features charming boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.


O'Fallon is a thriving city in Missouri, with a population of around 97,778 people. Known for its excellent schools and family-friendly neighborhoods, O'Fallon offers a high quality of life. Sports enthusiasts can catch a baseball game at CarShield Field, home to the River City Rascals.

The city also boasts several parks and recreational facilities, including Ozzie Smith Sports Complex and Alligator's Creek Aquatic Center, where residents can enjoy outdoor activities and stay active. O'Fallon hosts numerous community events throughout the year, fostering a strong sense of community spirit.

St. Joseph

Largest Cities in Missouri

St. Joseph is a historic city with a population of approximately 70,240 residents. It holds a significant place in American history as the starting point of the Pony Express mail service. Visitors can explore the Pony Express National Museum to learn about the daring riders who carried mail across the country.

The city also features the Jesse James Home Museum, where you can delve into the life and legend of the famous outlaw. St. Joseph offers picturesque riverfront parks, such as Krug Park, which provide tranquil settings for outdoor recreation.