Anyone from the Rolla, Missouri area?


11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Hi all,
The other day, my husband mentioned that he's interested in going to grad school when he finishes his degree, and with the grades he's gotten, I figure he can go just about anywhere he wants. Before we moved to Portland, he really wanted to go to Rolla, but I had other ideas and we came here instead. We both love it out here, but there are things we don't love and now Rolla seems like it holds a lot of the things we want.

Having never lived in the Midwest, I have a fair amount of trepidation over such a move, especially seeing as how I have so much of what I want here. But this time, I'm ready to be diplomatic and consider this with an open mind, even an eager spirit. So I wanted to see if anyone here is from the area. I found the other Missouri thread but I didn't see anyone from Rolla, and I have no concept of how different Missouri can be from one place to the next, so I wanted to start my own thread. Here are the things I want to know:

How is the climate? I'm mostly cold all year long here in Portland, but I've learned to like snow too, for the cross-country skiing. Still, if it's going to be bitter like Iowa or Nebraska, I might die in those conditions. I love the heat and humidity in the summer, having spent half my upbringing in Alabama.

How about culture? is there a main street with old movie theaters and other brick and mortar storefronts? Is there old architecture? Is there an art and music scene? Is there a punk scene? Will I be able to find Thai food? Farmer's markets? Is there much of a counterculture? I mean, it is by a big university, even if it's a science school. I want a good mix of conservative and liberal values, never being comfortable in a total red state/blue state situation.

I looked up churches in the area and didn't find much. It seemed like all the church buildings were newish, with all the poor architecture that is characteristic of late 1900s churches. But maybe there's more to know that I didn't find?

We are really outdoorsy people, which the Pacific Northwest is great for. I hike up mountains regularly and feel like that's crucial to my health. Is there any good hiking in the Ozarks, or is it mostly unforested plains?

How is the farmland? We're attracted to the area in large part because the land is cheap, but if it's also worthless for growing then that would be a deal breaker.

Is it hard being away from the ocean? I can't imagine being in a place where I can't get fresh salmon or shrimp. For that matter, am I going to have a hard time finding ethnic foods and a good grocery store selection?

In the little bit of reading we've done, we found out that there's a problem in the area with the white supremacists having decided it's a good area for their kind, and without starting up a lot of political discussion, I'd like to know how much of a presence they have. And before anyone thinks I'd be ok with that, I'm really, really not. It might also be a deal breaker if there's going to be racist violence there.

As a kid in Alabama, I found it really hard being from a Greek family that prized arts and literacy over sports and other American pursuits. I really don't want to put my own kids in that kind of a situation when I have them. Will I feel like a fish out of water in Rolla, or are there people like me there because of the university? Do people value learning or is it the kind of place where if you like reading you keep it a secret?

These are my biggest concerns, especially the culture part, but I also want to hear people tell me what they love about Missouri. I used to feel like the Midwest truly was made up of flyover states, but now I know that that notion was bigoted and wrong. So, can someone list the things they love about the area? I've only been to Missouri once, and I think I was napping through most of that segment of the trip, so I really don't even have a mental picture of the area.

Thanks in advance!


Sussex Monarch
11 Years
Mar 27, 2008
Well lets see in Missouri if you dont like the weather wait a little bit and it will change...
hot in the summer and can get humid.
In Rolla you are close to the Ozarks wich has alot of stuff to do.
Missouri has tons of caves oh and you can hunt for diamonds just a little south of you

have lived here off and on my whole life,now I am back for good...
Housing prices are decent here....

Im not much of a tour guide check the links out see what you think...


Hatching Queen - Got Fudge?
11 Years
Sep 10, 2008
North Central Missouri boonies
I am in north central MO but my brother lived in Rolla! sooooo second hand view.

How is the climate? Climate is all over the map, cold, snowy, icy, in the winter. Warm, humid, rainy in the spring and summer. You would love it. I have been in Portland and NOT near as cold here as it is there.

How about culture? There is a main street cannot remember if there is an old movie theater or not. Yes lovely architecture with brick and mortar storefronts downtown. I want to say there was an art area downtown. I don't thinkit is so huge that you get lost in the university. I mean it is big but not so diversified that you get lost. There is of course the Fraternities and sorrority scenes there.

Churches are definately in the area. Hello, you are in the bible belt here. Several different religions. Buildings range from new morton buildings to ancient old lovely churches.

You are dead in the woods and hills in Rolla. There are flat areas don't get me wrong but there is plenty to do near the area. Hiking, biking, boating, float trips just south of Rolla.

Farm land is great, where it is flat, it grows well.

I don't know about the ethnic foods but I would think there is a variety there. I just cannot remember. Also, you are not that far from St. Louis which has everything you need right there. Grocery stores are very available with 24 hour service too.

In regard to the racist violence there, I cannot remember my brother or sister-in-law saying anything about that when they lived there. So I assume it is no more rampant than anywhere else in the US.

I remember my brother saying something about having reading nights with other people, like a get together about reading a certain book and discussing it.

I think you would like Missouri, there is a wide assortment of things to do especially in the south eastern portion. There are lakes to go boating on, streams to go trout fishing in(Bennett Springs) Streams to go on float trips. Wildlife areas to go hiking and camping. Really there is so much to do here, if you get bored, well you need to get out more! LOL


11 Years
Jun 25, 2008
Hannibal, Missouri
I live in Hannibal MO and it has everything that you described! There is the old downtown side which has all the old amazing architectual work, and then theres the other side of town with all your stores and big city like stuff! There is a ton of country land and it is very good for farming. The winter is a little cold but its worth the wait for our amazing summers! NE MO is amazing!!!


11 Years
Sep 9, 2008
I live in SE MO but I grew up in St. Louis. My brother went to school in Rolla a LONG time ago. I don't think the college is all that big. MO has hot humid summers, wet springs, and moderate winters. Southern MO doesn't get much snow. We do get paralyzing ice storms. Autumn makes up for the rest of the year. Breathtaking color and perfect weather last for weeks on end.
The amenities you're looking for might not be plentiful outside the large metro areas (St. Louis and Kansas City). In most elections the state splits red/blue along the same lines, with the less populated areas voting predominately Republican.
There are strong areas of prejudice throughout the state as in the rest of the country, but most racial violence is confined to the really bad large city neighborhoods.
Rural missouri has oustanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, terrific farmland and a community of common sense people who generally believe in minding their own business. I've been down here for 20 years and have no desire to return to St. Louis.
Edited to add: Go to Sperling's Compare Cities. The info really gives a clear picture.
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