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15 Best Things To Do In St. Louis

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Things To Do In St.Louis, Missouri

Strategically located along the Mississippi River, St. Louis is a vibrant Midwestern city full of interesting attractions.

Rich in history, culture and nature, there’s lots to see and do here and there are amazing trips just a day away from St. Louis, Missouri.

From iconic monuments and fascinating museums, to pretty parks and can’t-miss experiences, here are our picks for the 15 best things to do in St. Louis.

1. Gateway Arch

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri | Photo Credit – Jim Bauer

As a symbol of the city’s role as the “Gateway to the West,” the Gateway Arch is one of the best things to do in St. Louis. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the stainless steel arch stands 630 feet high.

A marvel of engineering, it’s visible from just about everywhere in the city. But it’s worth taking a tram to the observation platform at the top of the arch for the incredible views.

Learn more about the arch’s history and America’s westward expansion at the Museum of Westward Expansion and the Gateway Arch Visitors Center. There are also several miles of walking and biking paths around the Gateway Arch National Park.

2. Forest Park

Things to do in St. Louis
Forest Park, St. Louis, MO | Photo Credit – Philip Leara

Spanning more than 1,200 acres, Forest Park is the largest public park in St. Louis. One of the largest urban parks in the country, it has a rich history dating back to 1876.

It was the site of the 1904 Summer Olympics and the World Fair. Today, it’s home to many popular attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Science Center.

The park is also a great place to enjoy nature and wildlife, with meadows, lakes, streams, prairie and wetland areas. The park also offers numerous trails and athletic courts and fields, ideal for outdoor recreation. 

3. Missouri Botanical Garden

Things to do in St. Louis
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO | Photo Credit – Steve Wise

Enjoy nature and pretty flowers at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Founded in 1859, it’s the oldest continually operating botanical garden in America, and a National Historic Landmark.

There are 79 acres of beautiful gardens to explore on foot or by tram. Highlights include the Climatron geodesic dome, the Japanese Garden and the Gladney Rose Garden. Look for glass sculptures by renowned artist Dale Chihuly throughout.

You can also tour the founder Henry Shaw’s historic home. Or see art and artifacts at the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum. While kids can enjoy a cave, treehouse, slide and steamboat at the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden.

4. City Museum

Things to do in St. Louis
View of the outside of the city Museum St. Louis | Photo Credit – amanderson2

The City Museum is one of the most unique and best things to do in St. Louis. Housed in a 600,000-square-foot converted warehouse, the museum is part art installation, part playground and part architectural wonder.

Creator Bob Cassilly has repurposed old and found objects, such as old coils, doors and buses into a museum unlike any other. A big part of the fun is interacting with the pieces in a fun and educational way. You can crawl through caves, climb a massive praying mantis, then slide down a 10-story spiral slide.

And if that’s not enough, there are also gardens on the rooftop and an aquarium. The City Museum has to be seen and experienced to be believed!

5. Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Things to do in St. Louis
Beer Carriage in Horse Stables at Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis | Photo Credit – Ben Ramsey

A visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery is one of the best things to do in St. Louis.

Founded in 1852, it’s the oldest and largest Anheuser-Busch brewery in the country. A free guided tour is available. Meet the famous Clydesdale horses, then walk through the Brew House and packaging plant. Learn about and see how Budweiser beer is made.

Afterwards, enjoy some free samples. If that’s not enough, you can get more drinks and food at the Biergarten. For those that want to learn even more, additional paid tours are available.

Learn more about pouring and enjoy additional tastes at the Beer School. Or learn more about brewery operations on the Brewmaster Tour.

6. Riverboat Cruise

Things to do in St. Louis
Riverboat Cruises, St. Louis | Photo Credit – Paul Sableman

The Mississippi River has had a big impact on St. Louis. It’s how the city became a major port, with its strategic location along the river.

Experience the mighty river for yourself on a riverboat cruise, a unique way to see and appreciate the city and its lifeline. Enjoy incredible views of the Gateway Arch and the city skyline on a one-hour riverfront sightseeing cruise.

A number of other cruises are available, including dinner cruises and party cruises with live entertainment. Charter a private cruise for a romantic journey. Most cruises depart from the Gateway Arch Riverfront area.

To see more of the river and country, opt for a multi-day cruise down the Mississippi River.

7. St. Louis Zoo

Things to do in St. Louis
St. Louis Zoo | Photo Credit- OakleyOriginals

Located in Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo is one of the best free things to do in St. Louis. A leading zoological park, the St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 13,000 animals housed in large, natural enclosures.

Popular areas include the interactive stingray pool at Caribbean Cove, Penguin & Puffin Coast and Big Cat Country. A Children’s Area offers a petting zoo, animal shows and playgrounds. Additional activities such as the Emerson Zooline Railroad tour and rides on the Conservation Carousel do require a fee.

Purchase as part of an adventure pass for the best value. The zoo also offers several dining and shopping options for a complete experience.

8. St. Louis Art Museum

Things to do in St. Louis
St. Louis Art Museum | Photo Credit – Chris Yunker

Located in Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum is one of the best things to do in St. Louis for art lovers. It’s located in an impressive beaux-arts building constructed in 1904 for the World’s Fair.

The museum holds a large collection of more than 33,000 works of art. See works spanning 5,000 years from all over the world, and across media such as paintings, sculptures, textiles, photos and more. The museum’s Ancient Egyptian, Asian and European holdings are particularly impressive.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum has frequent special and traveling exhibits. The museum is free to visit, though fees may apply for special exhibits and events.

9. Six Flags St. Louis

Six Flags St. Louis | Photo Credit – Jeremy Thompson

Located only 25 miles away in Eureka, Six Flags St. Louis is one of the best things to do for families and thrill seekers.

The popular amusement park offers a wide assortment of thrill rides, family-friendly rides and kiddie rides. In addition, find water rides and water attractions at the Hurricane Harbor Water Park, open over the summer.

Besides rides and attractions, the park offers lots of games, shows and other live entertainment for the whole family. Meet your favorite Looney Tunes characters at the Bugs Bunny National Park.

There are also lots of dining and shopping options on-site. Seasonal events include Fright Fest in September and October, and Holiday in the Park in November and December.

10. Sporting Game

Things to do in St. Louis
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO | Photo Credit – Phil

Sports is a big deal here and one of the best things to do in St. Louis is to catch a game. If you can, watch a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.

Stadium tours are also available if you can’t make the game itself. You can also learn more at the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, across the street at Ballpark Village.

If hockey is more your thing, you can watch a St. Louis Blues game at the Enterprise Center. Other sporting options include the Gateway Grizzlies games at GCS Ballpark and the Saint Louis FC soccer team at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park.

11. St. Louis Science Center

St. Louis Science Center | Photo Credit – Paul SablemanFollow

Find everything science related at the St. Louis Science Center. Located in Forest Park, the center is the premier science museum in the region.

Spanning 300,000 feet, the center features more than 700 exhibits on topics related to math, science, engineering and more. Many exhibits are interactive, and along with live experiments and demonstrations, encourage curiosity and learning in the young and old alike.

The museum is always free to enter. Certain experiences, such as IMAX and planetarium shows, flight simulators and Discovery Room experiences, cost extra, but are well worth the cost. There are also dining options, a gift shop and Build-a-Bear shop on-site.

12. Union Station

Grand Hall at St. Louis Union Station | Photo Credit – John Bauder

The St. Louis Union Station was once the busiest and largest passenger rail station in the world.

A National Historic Landmark, it’s been turned into an entertainment destination offering many family-friendly attractions. See more than 13,000 animals at the St. Louis Aquarium. Or take a ride on 200-foot high St. Louis Wheel and enjoy the sweeping views.

In addition, there is also a carousel, mini golf, ropes course, mirror maze and a train park. Walk along the Grand Hall and be amazed at the incredible architectural details and 3D projection show.

There are also several great restaurants, bars and shops, in addition to a hotel.

13. Magic House

Magic House, St. Louis, Mo| Photo Credit – Jinx!

Housed in a sprawling Victorian mansion, the Magic House offers hours of educational play for kids.

Considered one of the top children’s museums in the country, the Magic House offers more than 100 interactive exhibits. There are dedicated areas for the arts, music, math, science, and more. In the Children’s Village, kids can play at being a grown-up for the day, and learn grown-up skills in a fun way.

They can get physical and climb a 3-story beanstalk. Or build a giant sandcastle. When the weather is nice, they can run and play around in the Outdoor Play Garden.

The Magic House also hosts special exhibits and events throughout the year.

14. Grant’s Farm

Grant’s Farm_St. Louis, MO | Photo Credit – Carl Waycoff

Located just outside of St. Louis, the 281-acre farm was founded by President Ulysses S. Grant. Later owned by the Busch family, the farm is home to more than 900 animals and more than 100 species, including deer, buffalo, elephants and camels.

Get an up close animal encounter at the Tier Garten. Or take a tram ride through the Deer Park to see animals in their natural habitat. The park is also home to the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

Several historic buildings have also been preserved at the farm, including Grant’s Cabin, which Grant built by hand. It’s free to enter the farm, though there is a fee for vehicles and certain activities cost extra.

15. Delmar Loop

Delmar Loop, St. Louis | Photo Credit – Chad

As with every city, there are some neighborhoods that you just have to visit. And Delmar Loop is one such area in St. Louis.

Considered one of the top 10 streets in America, Delmar Loop spans only six  blocks. But it offers so much, and features more than 140 shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants, bars and live music venues.

Stroll along the St. Louis Walk of Fame and look for stars honoring the likes of Betty Grable and Chuck Berry. Ride the vintage Delmar Loop trolley. Stop at the Moonrise Hotel to see the world’s largest man-made rotating moon.

Then catch some live music at legendary clubs such as Blueberry Hill. Join a guided food tour to sample some of the best the area has to offer. 

To see the best of St. Louis with minimal hassle, opt for a private guided tour. And when you’re ready to explore outside of the Gateway City, see our recommendations for the 15 best day trips from St. Louis.


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