The Show Me State can show retirees a variety of places in which to live, from historic small towns to bustling big cities. Here are four towns – and one metropolitan area – that are the most popular spots among people looking to make retirement plans in Missouri:
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- Ste. Genevieve - First on the list of MarketWatch's list of best places to retire in Missouri, this oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi River combines French colonial architecture with award-winning wineries and microbreweries. With a year-round population of only 4,410, Ste. Genevieve foregoes much of the pressure of big-city life, but St. Louis is only an hour's drive away if you need it.
- Branson - The older-audience-skewing fun capital of the heartland, Branson bursts with theaters, country music, Broadway musicals and gospel concerts, MarketWatch says. Theme parks, water parks, shopping, nearby lakes, and the Ozark Mountains attract younger people and active seniors. Three regional hospitals are listed in Branson. Although the year-round population is just over 10,000, the town sees 7 million tourists a year, according to MarketWatch.
- Columbia - Big-city amenities without the traffic are the advantages MarketWatch cites for this college town. Three university campuses all offer continuing education options for seniors. In addition, there are museums, galleries, community theater, and a symphony orchestra, along with restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. MarketWatch says health care there is "top notch," with 730 doctors per 100,000 people. Columbia also made Forbes magazine's list of top places to retire in 2015. The magazine cited a "booming economy in a classic college town" with "abundant doctors per capita."
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- Cape Girardeau - A medium-sized Mississippi River town, Cape Girardeau swells to 100,000 during the day on weekdays with people coming in to work at various offices and shops and students coming in to study at Southeast Missouri State University. Culturally, there's a performing arts center, an art gallery stroll, and free twilight concerts. Crime rate, however, is higher than average, MarketWatch says. Median home cost is $117,900, cost of living is 8.3 percent lower than average, and unemployment is 6.1 percent.
- St. Louis - There's something for every income range in and around the Gateway City. The city itself made U.S. News & World Report's 2012 list of "Best Places to Retire for Under $40,000" and "10 Affordable Places to Rent an Apartment in Retirement." Barnes-Jewish Hospital, ranked 14th in the nation in geriatric care, is close to hand. If money's no object, Movoto rated the 10 best Missouri cities, rating cities better if housing prices were higher, and all were St. Louis suburbs. However all of the he top ten except for Ballwin and Manchester have housing prices and costs of living above the national average.
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