Apart from being the second-largest city in Missouri, the list of things to do in St. Louis is endless! Whether you travel to spend the holiday with your family or explore world-class attractions as an outdoor adventurer, there is a special place for everyone in St. Louis.
The city is filled with:
- Fantastic dining cuisines
- Vibrant nightlife with top-level bars and breweries
- Arts and culture scenes
- Family-friendly activities
- Hospitable residents
Though the list doesn’t stop here, these are some of the best things to do in St. Louis, Missouri.
Citygarden Sculpture Park
A trip to City Garden is one you will never forget. Situated in the heart of St. Louis, Citygarden is a well-known urban park and sculpture garden thriving well into one of the most famous attractions in the downtown core.
Every year, thousands of visitors flood into this impressive garden to witness the authentic display of art exhibits in an open and accessible city park. The park opened in 2009 with 24 outstanding sculptures owned and maintained by the city.
Visitors can touch or even walk inside the sculptures if they choose to do so. Citygarden is a picturesque landscape with an eye-catching collection of plantings, sculptures, and designs. It is a relaxing place to visit and a must-see for your stay in St. Louis.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
You might have heard of the world-famous Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis before. Visiting this historical destination is even more essential and undoubtedly one of the bucket-list things to do in St. Louis. Apart from being considered the oldest Catholic Cathedral in the United States, the Neo-Romanesque Basilica is the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
It is located in the Central West End of the City of St. Louis, dating back to 1764. Although there have been many renovations since its dedication in 1834, the building’s structure largely remains as it has existed for over a hundred years.
You can’t afford to miss the striking interior filled with stunning mosaics and the fascinating details illustrated in the church domes on the first story of creations to the final judgment. After checking out these engaging illustrations, discover the church’s Mosaic Museum and the Cathedral Shop.
Creve Coeur’s Airport Museum
Whether or not you are interested in learning aviation history, the Historical Aircraft Restoration is an excellent spot in St. Louis. The non-profit and under-the-radar museum is about 20 minutes outside the city center.
Creve Coeur’s Airport museum is one of St. Louis’ best-kept secrets, where you get to learn and dig deeper into the historical facts of aviation, which is often synonymous with Charles Lindbergh.
The airport features four hangers, including 49 vintage aircraft, and a tremendous collection of open-cockpit Waco, in which more are being restored daily. For the fun part, visitors are allowed to climb inside the massive Antonov An-2, a Russian single-engine biplane, for an awe-inspiring experience.
One of the most terrific things to do in St. Louis is to take one ride (or a hundred more) at Six Flags! From thrill rides to festivals, animal experiences, games, food, and incredible attractions, a visit to Six Flags is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in St. Louis with your family.
In addition, this exciting theme park is the largest in Missouri, with over forty-five exhilarating rides and fun activities for all ages. Apart from this, it offers live shows and concerts. Visitors are likely to meet Looney Toons cartoon characters and enjoy Hurricane Harbor, a 12-acre water park, which is free with theme park admission.
Furthermore, there are seasonal events you could attend in the park, such as Coca-Cola July 4th Fest, Fright Fest, and Holiday along with the benefits of group discounts if you are coming to have fun in groups.
St. Louis Zoo
Animal lover? Then head to St. Louis Zoo to observe over 6,000 majestic animals. The Children’s Zoo features “Big Cat Country,” with lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards.
Aside from that, there are unique attractions, such as the 4-D motion simulator show with wildlife-themed programs, the sea lion high-diving act, and a stingray petting tank. You can spot a birdhouse and gardens, a primate house with apes, monkeys, and lemurs, and a chimpanzee and orangutan’s refuge.
After seeing these animals, you can take an exciting ride around the park’s Zooline Railroad and enjoy the scenic view of the beautifully landscaped grounds. If you are planning to visit, it’s best to know there are excellent accommodations available around the zoo.
The Magic House
If you are traveling with your family, head to one of the most-visited places in St. Louis with your kids. The Magic House is a great place to experience a world beyond your imagination.
The Magic House is nearly 14 miles southwest of downtown St. Louis with several exciting and educational activities for kids. It features a variety of interactive experiences for younger kids to enjoy, such as:
- Open-air nature playscapes
- Bubble room
- Three-story beanstalk for climbing
- Garden kaleidoscope
Kids can visit the miniature town and play grown-up for the day, where they can work at a pizzeria and even change the tire on a wooden car. Magic House celebrates childhood, and children of all ages can solve skills that will develop their creativity, such as the Construction Zone, where kids construct a firehouse and design their architectural plans! Now, how cool is that?
Forest Park is a public park located in western St. Louis, Missouri. The park is a popular site that has hosted several St. Louis events, such as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 and the 1904 Summer Olympics. The park is home to five major cultural institutions:
- Missouri History Museum
- St. Louis Art Museum
- St. Louis Zoo
- The Muny
- St. Louis Science Center
Aside from the many museums to visit, Forest Park also has golf courses, exercise trails, and many dining opportunities. It welcomes about twelve million visitors annually. You must take advantage of this historic destination on your way to St. Louis.
St. Louis Union Station
In the 1940s, St. Louis Union Station was one of the world’s most extensive and busiest passenger rail terminals, with about 100,000 visitors per day. The station was established as a National Historic Landmark in 1970 as a significant existing example of large-scale railroad architecture.
It helped to transport passengers from the east coast to the western part of the United States in the late 19th century. However, the station is now home to the St. Louis Aquarium. The aquarium is about 120,000 square feet with more than 250 species.
The Union Station is undoubtedly one of the top attractions and great things to do in St. Louis. While there, you can enjoy other incredible features, such as:
- St. Louis Wheel
- Mini-golf course
- 3-story indoor rope course
- Zip line course
- Train park
Gateway Arch National Park
Make sure to tour the top of the Gateway Arch to catch a glimpse of the city’s most breathtaking views. It may not look like it, but the widely known monument is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide. The Gateway Arch is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson and his ideas for America’s westward development.
Apart from this, the Gateway Arch is the tallest in the world. Interestingly, there is an incredible on-site museum to explore over 200 years of the region’s history in about six themed exhibit areas, as well as a 30-minute documentary movie about the building of the arch.
Millions of visitors flood into the park to see this remarkable engineering feat designed by the American-Finnish architect Eero Saarinen and officially opened in 1965.
Attend a Game
One of the most memorable things to do in St. Louis is to cheer the 11-time World Series champions at the St. Louis Cardinals. If you are a sports fan, here is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss at Busch Stadium.
Although you can only catch the game during the spring and summer seasons, there is also a chance to see the St. Blues heating the ice at the Enterprise Center in the fall or winter.
No matter what time of the year you visit, you will always feel the true team spirit of St. Louis. In addition, for an intimate baseball experience and the most creative game-day activities, check out the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark. If you are excited to see St. Louis’ new MLS team, soccer fans can watch all the fun at St. Louis CITY SC which begins in 2023.
St. Louis Art Museum
If you are a fan of art, ensure that you visit the St. Louis Art Museum. It showcases art exhibits that are constantly updated with new additions. Paintings and pictures are only some of what you will see at this museum. It often showcases interactive exhibits that explore the history of fashion and the historic nature of meditation and smoke.
In addition to being a learning experience to immerse yourself in the history of the arts, the St. Louis Art museum offers free admission and is an affordable activity for large families and groups.
If you want to spice up your visit to the art museum, a gift shop and restaurant are available to shop and dine at during your visit.
Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden, founded in 1859, is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the US. People visiting the botanical garden can explore the 79 acres of beautiful, scenic landscape. While this beautiful attraction does offer many educational opportunities, it also doubles as a romantic place to spend time with your significant other.
Popular attractions at the Missouri Botanical Garden include the Climatron Geodesic Dome Conservatory, the Japanese Garden, the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, and the Linnean House (the oldest continuously operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River).
General admission to the botanical garden is $14, with discounts available if you are a senior citizen or a St. Louis resident.
St. Louis Science Center
The St. Louis Science Center is an interactive museum where visitors can learn cool facts about science. The museum houses over 700 exhibits exploring agriculture, energy, space, virtual reality, and other scientific concepts. Visitors can indulge in the interactive life science lab, where they can learn about majestic creatures such as humpback whales and dinosaurs.
In addition to over 96,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, the museum offers programs and events such as Science Storytimes and Yoga Under The Stars in the planetarium. As one of the few non-profit museums in the country, entry to the St. Louis Science Center is free, but some attractions are ticketed and have to be purchased.
World Chess Hall of Fame
Do you love chess? If so, you should visit the World Chess Hall of Fame while visiting St. Louis. Visitors will be able to explore the game’s history and its impact on arts and culture. This museum celebrates the art of chess through exhibits and has pieces made by famous artists, designers, and photographers.
Featured exhibits on the museum campus include the Guinness World Record’s Largest Chess Piece and featured art pieces by Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Michael Drummond.
Admission into the World Chess Hall of Fame museum is free, but donations are welcomed.
National Blues Museum
The National Blues Museum is a museum in downtown St. Louis that explores the blues genre. The museum contains musical exhibits about Blues music and educates visitors in an interactive and entertaining environment. St. Louis is the perfect place for this museum as it has a deep history in Blues music and is located on the “Blues Highway,” which leads to the blues capital of the world, Memphis, TN.
Additionally, every Thursday evening from 6 pm to 9 pm, the National Blues Museum hosts an event called “Sittin’ On The Porch,” where musicians come together and play live music. Those who are not musicians can simply go and enjoy the live performance.
Consider a Day Trip to Missouri’s Wine Country
One of the best things to do in St. Louis is to take a day trip outside of the city to the charming town of Augusta. The picture-perfect town sits along the Missouri River with sweeping views of the valley. It is home to five wineries, four of which are owned by the Hoffmann Family of Companies, who have recently invested $150 million into Augusta and Missouri’s wine country.
There is no need for a car in Augusta, MO. Free trolleys operate from April through October, with six stops throughout Augusta. The trolleys operate on a continuous loop, stopping at:
- Klondike Park
- Montelle Winery
- Augusta Emporium
- Augusta Winery
- Mount Pleasant Estates
- Balducci Vineyards
For an incredible adventure, head to Klondike Park and board Miss Augusta, the 105-foot yacht carrying 49 passengers along the Missouri River, for a scenic cruise.
Experience St. Louis
While the list of things to do in St. Louis could go on forever, these are our top picks to experience what “Mound City” has to offer. From riding roller coasters at Six Flags to exploring the history and influence of chess, there is something for everyone in St. Louis.
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.
About the author
Latoyia is a travel enthusiast and founder of the travel blog, The Impulse Traveler. A graduate student with wanderlust and limited vacation days, Latoyia usually takes short, last-minute trips. She created The Impulse Traveler to share travel guides for travel where readers can experience a destination in just a weekend.