Best Places To Live In Missouri: Top 5 Communities Most Recommended By Experts

Missouri is located in the middle of the country, yet it is still filled with rivers and lakes. The shores stretch more than the coastline of California. The Gateway to the West also has mountain plateaus, lowlands, and plains, so choosing the best place to live in Missouri can be quite the task because there is such a range of environments you can call home in the state.

Living in Missouri makes for plenty of surprises from Mother Nature. Picture a landscape where amber-hued plains embrace undulating hills, where the mighty Mississippi River dances alongside serene lakes, and where vibrant forests whisper secrets of centuries past. With each passing season, Missouri unveils its enchanting palette, painting fiery autumns, snow-kissed winters, and lush springs that blossom into balmy summers.

But Missouri’s allure extends far beyond its natural wonders. It is a symphony of warm-hearted communities, where neighbors are kin and strangers become friends over a shared love for barbecue and spirited sports rivalries. Here, history lingers in charming small towns, while urban centers pulse with innovation and cultural marvels. From the lively jazz clubs of Kansas City to the echoes of Mark Twain’s tales along the banks of the Mississippi, Missouri offers a canvas for adventures, a sanctuary for dreamers, and a place to call home amidst an ever-changing masterpiece.

So, whether you prefer to live near water or the mountains, Missouri has a prime spot for you. Luckily, StudyFinds did the digging for you and rounded up local and expert opinions on the best places to live in Missouri. Did you live in a place in Missouri that isn’t listed? Share with us in the comments below. 

Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, MO (Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash)

The List: Best Places to Live in Missouri, According to Experts

1. Chesterfield

Chesterfield is great if you are a single professional. If you are honing in on your career, it offers many job opportunities in the local neighborhood or St. Louis. “Chesterfield is also perfect for families. The reason is that your children will have the benefit of studying in public schools run by either of the two of the best school systems in Missouri. The residents of this place enjoy many benefits of living in Chesterfield,” informs Trip 101.

Chesterfield, Missouri (“Chesterfield, Missouri” by LittleT889 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.)

Credit Donkey offers some great facts, along with some history. The average income is $96,851 and the restaurants are one per 312 people. “The city of Chesterfield is the result of a merger of several different communities that sprang up during the 19th century. Today, Chesterfield is recognized as one of the premier suburban communities in the St. Louis area. Although homes are slightly more expensive compared to some of Missouri’s other cities, residents earn some of the highest incomes. Violent crime is extremely rare and the average commute is relatively short, although it may take longer if you work in the metro area.”

Chesterfield has all of the perks of a small town while being close to the big city of St. Louis. “Chesterfield is home to Logan University, and residents have access to many walking, biking, and fishing venues. Faust Park is a popular community destination, and the city stages a popular annual Sounds of Summer concert series,” says Livability.

2. Clayton

Clayton is the county seat of St. Louis County and borders the city of St. Louis. Known for its multiple skyscrapers in its business district, Clayton has numerous art galleries, boutiques, fine restaurants, and European-style outdoor cafes. Niche fills in from an actual resident: “Beautiful, green area. Mostly upscale/middle-class family-oriented residents. Calm place to live with easy access to shopping and downtown.”

Sunset in Clayton (“Sunset in Clayton” by TheMorganBurke is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

Clayton combines its bustling downtown with quiet, secure residential neighborhoods, creating a suburban community with urban flair. “Clayton’s neighborhoods offer a choice of living styles and price ranges, and most are within walking distance of business districts, offices, restaurants, galleries, and specialty boutiques and shops. Add to this an award-winning public school system, community services, parks, and lighted athletic fields, and Clayton seems to have it all,” says Only in your State.

Clayton hosts major cultural and culinary events such as the St. Louis Art Fair and the Taste of Clayton food festival. It is served by and has a station for the Metrolink light rail system along the Blue Line. “Living in Clayton allows you to enjoy transportation at will as the city has a road network that connects it to St. Louis and other places in Missouri. Located adjacent to the big city, living here allows you to easily commute to St. Louis and work there without a hitch,” says Trip 101.

3. Ballwin

The safest city in the state would have to go to Ballwin. A well-trained police department not only keeps it that way, but they also host programs for the community like helping senior citizens and youth ride-a-longs to keep kids on the right path. Livability adds, “No municipal property taxes and a range of housing prices are among the advantages of living in Ballwin, which has two school districts and a low crime rate.”

Living in Ballwin offers residents a sparse suburban feel. In Ballwin, there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. The public schools in Ballwin are highly rated. Niche offers a quote from a current resident, “Ballwin is the best. The community comes together in times of loss, such as Officer Flamion nearly losing his life. In this particular instance, small shops, local businesses, schools, and government officials all came together to help and lift this family up. It was a reminder that although life can be hectic at times, and we can feel disconnected, we are never really alone.” 

In 2013, Money Magazine named Ballwin one of the best places to live. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, despite being a city of more than 30,000 people. Get Jerry elaborates: “Ballwin is currently a seller’s market. However, the home listing price is relatively low considering the city’s safety rating and excellent public school system.” 

4. Columbia

Only in your State considers Columbia the best college town in Missouri. They continue to say, “ The University of Missouri in particular, plays a big part in Columbia’s economy and culture, and downtown Columbia is full of fabulous restaurants, shops, and music venues. The MKT Trail is one of the best urban trails in the country as well. It’s no surprise that Columbia has had repeated appearances on many top 100 best places to live lists.”

The University of Missouri in Columbia
Jesse Hall at The University of Missouri in Columbia (Photo by Austin Anderson on Unsplash)

Columbia is the fourth-most populous city in Missouri, with more than 125,000 people, most likely due to the University of Missouri (also known as Mizzou). “The college is the largest employer in the city, with 8,300 staff members. The University of Missouri has 30,000 students and three thousand academic staff members. Other employers in Columbia include nearby hospitals and local school systems. The proximity to the university means easy access to arts and culture through student-driven work,” says UpNest.

We’ve learned that Columbia’s economy is largely driven by education, and the city that sits 30 miles north of Jefferson City also is highly driven by healthcare. “Education is also important to the city’s residents, more than half of whom hold a college degree. When they’re not cheering on the Mizzou Tigers on game day, residents enjoy other pursuits like fishing at Finger Lakes State Park or strolling along the Avenue of the Columns on 8th Street,” informs Credit Donkey.

5. Wildwood

Living in Wildwood is said to be 77 percent safer than anywhere in the United States. Safety and security are very likely. Trip 101 tells us more: “The crime rate here is 88% lower compared to cities and towns in Missouri. This is mainly the reason why Wildwood is an ideal place to live in, especially for those who have families. To this, you may add quality educational institutions that make it the perfect residential area. Houses here are mostly owned by residents because of the easy ways to procure homes. There are other reasons why Wildwood is the best community to raise a family. These are just a few.”

“A suburb of St. Louis and only incorporated since 1995, Wildwood is home to a new St. Louis Community College-Wildwood campus. Residents are privy to numerous recreation trails and parks, and Wildwood Town Center is an outdoor mall shopping destination. Wildwood Farmers Market is a popular warm-weather attraction,” says Livability.

For all of the perks that the Crazy Tourist will inform us of, keep in mind that Wildwood has one of the highest living costs in Missouri. Monthly rent averages $1,130, and property value stands at $354,300. “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, with the area average sitting at a tidy $121,026. 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. The crime rate in this area is virtually non-existent, with outstanding schools with a high school graduation rate of 97%, tying with Creve Coeur for the state’s highest.” 

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. I agree with all these places except Columbia. It’s amazing that articles like this keep telling people Columbia is a safe place to live. Crime has steadily increased since 2016. Its mostly gang related but not just in one area if the city. There is a shooting almost once a week throughout the city.

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