25 Fun Things to Do in St. Louis
Located on the Mississippi River in Missouri, St. Louis is best known for its 630-foot Gateway Arch but in addition to the iconic attraction the city offers many other great things to do. Visit the St. Louis Art Museum, eat at great restaurants, stroll through the parks, listen to a performance by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, visit the Missouri History Museum and explore the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Best things to do in St. Louis, Missouri with kids include the Magic House Children's Museum, Grant’s Farm, City Garden, the zoo and the Saint Louis Science Center. Photo: EvanTravels/Fotolia
» Saint Louis Art Museum
The Saint Louis Art Museum is located in Forest Park in the magnificent Fine Arts building, which finished construction in 1904 for the World's Fair. The museum had a modest beginning in 1879 and featured an assortment of electrotype reproductions and plaster casts.
Today, it holds an extensive collection of 33,000 works of art that span five millennia and come from all continents. The collections on display are constantly changing and the museum often showcases special exhibits. The Saint Louis Art Museum continues to expand its collections – the recent addition was a gift from the late C.C. Johnson Spink and Edith "Edie" Spink, and it consists of 25 works of renowned American artists and 200 magnificent ancient Asian art pieces.
If the weather is nice, combine your visit to the museum with a picnic in the lush Forest Park. The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the best things to do in St. Louis, Missouri.
Address: 1 Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-721-0072
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Photo: Saint Louis Art Museum
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» Gateway Arch
At 630 feet tall, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is visible from anywhere in the city, and it is the highest man-built monument in the US. It is a symbol of St. Louis and a reminder of its role as the point through which early settlers traveled to move on towards the West.
The arch is an architectural marvel and fabulous point from which you can see the city and its surroundings. It will take you four minutes to get up the arch in an enclosed tram. Once you reach the Observation Deck, you can take advantage of excellent views that expand 30 miles in all directions as long as you visit on a clear day. If you look west, you can see St. Louis landmarks such as the Edward Jones Dome, Busch Stadium, Old Courthouse, and the Ballpark Village.
If you look east, you can see the mighty Mississippi River and five of its bridges. The Gateway Arch is one of the top St. Louis attractions. You can stay on the Observation Deck as long as you want, and when you finish, take the tram back down the other leg of the Arch.
Address: Old Courthouse at 11 N. 4th Street, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 877-982-1410
More St. Louis, Missouri attractions: the Missouri Botanical Garden. Photo: EvanTravels/Fotolia
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» EAT Saint Louis Food Tours
As you walk through Saint Luis Hill neighborhood, the smells of garlic, cooked tomatoes, baked breads, cheerful Italian voices, and the atmosphere of a happy village will leave you feeling excited and eager to see more. At the moment, Taste of the Hill is the only tour EAT Saint Louis Food Tours offers, but they are doing such a fantastic job that even locals are joining them to experience the engaging tour for themselves.
Tour guides will take you on a three-hour exploration of quaint mom-and-pop pizzerias, pasta shops, salami makers, and butchers. You will get to taste their goodies and talk to them about the city, its history, and the way of life of the Italian immigrants who have been living in this area for generations. You won’t be able to taste everything on this tour, so be sure to come back; they are always friendly on the Hill. Phone: 800-656-0713
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»The Magic House Children's Museum
The Magic House Children’s Museum is dedicated to educating children, and it provides the kind of educational experience kids love. Most of the 100 or so activities are interactive and hands-on. Kids have 55,000 square feet of space where they can play. The stately Victorian mansion where the museum is located has three floors, and the building has undergone significant expansions since the Museum’s opening in 1979.
Some of the most popular activities are the Van de Graaff generator, which creates static electricity, making your hair stand up when you touch it; the Jack and the Beanstalk three-floors-high climber; and the Oval Office, Legislative Chamber, and the Courtroom where kids can engage in imaginative play. They can also work as vets, bank tellers, or librarians in the Children Village, among other activities.
If you are looking for fun things to do in St. Louis, Missouri with kids, don't miss this unique attraction. The Magic House is very popular, and more than half a million people visit it every year.
Address: 516 S. Kirkwood Rd, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-822-8900 Photo: The Magic House Children's Museum
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»Things to Do in St. Louis: City Museum
City Museum is a surprising museum in St. Louis that showcases the city’s discarded parts. Here you’ll find old school busses, abandoned planes, bank vaults, chimneys and just about anything else you can imagine. Put all that in the 600,000 square-foot abandoned Shoe Company, add genius Bob Cassilly to serve as the mastermind behind everything, and you end up with the world’s largest playhouse, funhouse, and pavilion of surrealist art that is also an architectural marvel. The building is also breathtakingly beautiful, and you can spend days just looking at everything in total awe.
Alternatively, you can crawl through fake caves, quaint cubbyholes, slide down floor chutes that plummet ten stories down the building, drive a school bus that is hanging over the edge of the museum, or climb to the top of a 20-foot-tall metal praying mantis. If your kids have been exceptionally well behaved, rent it out for a truly thrilling birthday party.
Address: 750 North 16th Street, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-231-2489 Photo: City Museum
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»Budweiser Brewery Tours
Whether you are interested in a bit of St. Louis history or you just want to drink some beer, a tour of Budweiser Brewery is always a fun time. The brewery’s St. Louis site in the old Soulard neighborhood is the company’s oldest and the largest.
Anheuser-Busch originally chose the site in 1852 because of its proximity to the Mississippi River and the convenient feature of natural cold storage areas in underground caves. Start your visit with the complimentary 45-minures tour and watch the seven-step process of the creation of your favorite brew.
By then, you will be both thirsty and hungry, so hop to the Biergarten for some beer sampling and tasty food. Those who are especially enthusiastic about beer will perhaps be interested in the Beer School and Beermaster Tour. Read more
Address: 12th and Lynch Street, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-577-2626
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»Things to Do in St. Louis: Forest Park
Located on Grand Drive in the western part of St. Louis, Forest Park is a large public park that opened in 1876. Covering an area of 1,371 acres, the park has hosted important events such as the 1904 Summer Olympics and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Today, the park is the home of several popular attractions like the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, and the St. Louis Zoo.
The park has recently been restored to improve the landscaping of various lakes, meadows, ponds, streams, and trees. The park has also restored its prairie and wetlands areas, resulting in an increase in the number of birds and other wildlife. Photo: JMichael Photography/Fotolia
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»The Caramel House
Looking for the perfect caramel can be a bit of a challenge; you want it to be deliciously sweet and chewy, and it should melt in your mouth without sticking to your teeth. Fortunately, Janet Ansehl Shulman has not only successfully created the perfect caramel, but she has also incorporated some fabulous flavors to her recipe, and as a result, The Caramel House was born. Her caramels are all hand-made and hand-packaged in recyclable material.
If you want to see how she makes these sinful little treats, come by her store on Olive Boulevard. You can also find them at many stores all over the country, and you can even order them online. Check her website to find out what new flavors she has recently added. How about some crunchy pretzels covered in lightly salted caramel infused with beer or salted caramel with chili? Whatever you choose, The Caramel House will not disappoint.
Address: 9639 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-707-5777 Photo: The Caramel House
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Sweetology is the place to go if you want to have some fun with delicious but plain cakes. The shop staff will provide you with all sorts of things you can use for decorating, all of which are edible. Don’t worry if you aren’t an adept cake decorator; the staff will show you videos, give you examples of already decorated cakes, and offer advice. Bring the kids, and they’re sure to have a great time – you won’t even have to clean up the mess they will make.
Cake decorating is a great activity for a rainy day or a birthday party, and the experience can be a unique gift for someone you love. Sweetology also sells cake or cupcake decorating kits so that you can have fun at home.
Address: 9214 Clayton Rd., St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-736-4800 Photo: Sweetology
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»St. Louis Attractions: Grant's Farm
Grant’s Farm, a fun family attraction outside of St. Louis, is a 281-acre farm that serves as the home of the Busch family. They continue to maintain the farm, making it accessible to thousands of visitors every year. The farm got its name from Ulysses S. Grant, former US President, who lived and worked on the farm before the Civil War. It is a lovely place steeped in history, and it houses many well-preserved historic pieces.
However, the most popular attraction is the animals, both domestic and wild, that the Busch family has gathered from around the world. The farm is currently a refuge for more than 900 animals from 100 species. Some, like deer and bison, roam free. Others, like goats, parakeets, and camels, live in more protected areas. There are also tortoises, monkeys, wallabies, ducks, lemurs, swans, elephants, and so much more. When you get tired, take a break at the lovely courtyard in front of the Tier Garten or farmstead and have a bite to eat.
Address: 10501 Gravois Rd, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-843-1700 Photo: Vera Kuttelvaserova/Fotolia
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»St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1880 and is the second-oldest in the country after the New York Philharmonic. Its current home is the Powel Hall, a 2,683-seat theatre in downtown St. Louis. Besides giving regular performances at the Powel Hall, the St. Luis Symphony Orchestra also serves as the resident orchestra for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Considered one of the best symphony orchestras in the country, the St. Louis Symphony has toured Japan and Europe, performs frequently at Carnegie Hall, records CDs, and has won seven Grammy Awards. Every year, the orchestra’s musicians give hundreds of free performances in schools, community centers, churches, and other places as part of the Community Partnership Program.
Address: 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-534-1700
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»Things to Do in St. Louis: City Garden
St. Louis City Garden is a magical urban oasis – an unexpected yet successful hybrid of a botanic garden, a sculpture garden, and a public park. Spread across three acres of land on two city blocks between Eighth and Tenth Streets, the garden is a wonderful place for contemplation, art appreciation, a quick lunch, or a stroll between the sculptures and trees. There are twenty-four pieces of very large-scale contemporary sculptures by well-known national and international artists.
These sculptures share the space with 235 trees and thousands of shrubs, perennials, grasses, wildflowers and bulbs. All plants are native to the area. One of the most popular features of the City Garden is an enormous 14-foot long Video Wall. Giant limestone blocks that serve as steps and a seating area surround the wall, which serves as a screen for movies, art videos, and, at times, a Cardinals game.
Address: 801 Market St, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-241-3337 Photo: arinahabich - Fotolia
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»Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum
The Cardinals Hall of Fame is located in Ballpark Village, and it celebrates 100 years of the team’s history through numerous photos, artifacts, trophies, and videos. The museum has almost 15,000 artifacts and more than 80,000 photographs, and only the National Baseball Hall of Fame has a larger collection of baseball memorabilia. The museum is divided into several sections. The first section describes “The Cardinal Way,” which is Cardinal George Kissell’s philosophy of playing baseball. There is also an accompanying video.
Other sections of the museum are devoted to specific players and teams from the era of Sportsman’s Park, during which the Cardinals won World Series in 1965. Busch Stadium II, the location where they first won the 1967 Fall Classic and later, in 1968, a National League Championship, is also highlighted. The museum also contains hundreds of bats, uniforms, gloves, and other types of baseball memorabilia. The Cardinals’ World Series trophies are on display in the rotunda, and you can see plaques for the Cardinals Hall of Famers at the end of the tour. Photo: Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum
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»Campbell House Museum
Located on Locust Street, the Campbell House Museum is a restored and preserved 1850s townhouse that displays paintings, 19th century furnishings, and the family’s personal documents and objects. It has been placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and it was designated a City of St. Louis Landmark.
The house underwent several restorations after it was given to the city in the 1940s, and the last renovation in 2005 attempted to show the house as it was in 1885 photographs. Guided tours of the museum last about one hour, and events such as walking tours and lectures are presented by the museum.
Address: 1508 Locust Street, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-421-0325 Photo: Campbell House Museum
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»St. Louis Zoo
The St. Louis Zoo, located at One Government Drive, was established when the city bought the Smithsonian Institution’s Fair Flight Cage displayed at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. It expanded over the years to become one of the leading zoos, and it is known for its conservation, education, and research efforts.
The zoo is made up of zones such as Lakeside Crossing with its Sea Lion Sound and Stingrays at Caribbean Cove, Red Rocks with Big Cat Country and Antelope Area, the Discovery Corner with the Emerson’s Children’s Zoo and Monsanto Insectarium, among others. The Emerson Zooline Railroad is a 20 minute narrated tour that takes visitors around the most popular attractions.
Address: One Government Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-781-0900 Photo: Michael Krummel/Fotolia
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»Saint Louis Science Center
Located on Oakland Avenue at the southeastern corner of Forest Park, the St Louis Science Center is a planetarium and science museum that features engaging hands-on activities. The Center began as a planetarium in 1963 and today, with more than 750 exhibits in its 300,000 square foot facility, it is one of the largest science centers in the U.S.
It is also one of the most visited science centers and has been rated as one of the top five in the country. The Center has an IMAX dome theater, and the main building has exhibits on areas such as chemistry, earth science, emerging technology, life sciences, and others. The Taylor Community Science Resource Center is part of the Center’s educational program.
Address: 5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-289-4400 Photo: Saint Louis Science Center
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»St. Louis Attractions: Missouri History Museum
The Missouri History Museum was founded in 1866 and is located on Lindell Boulevard on the north side of Forest Park. Operated by the Missouri Historical Society, it is a history museum housed in the Jefferson Memorial Building, which was constructed in 1913. Its collections include national artifacts and items of local and state interest.
Some of the items are from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, and there are artifacts related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as Charles Lindbergh and his historic flight on the Spirit of St. Louis. The museum offers educational programs to schools and the community, and it also has a library and research center.
Address: 5700 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-746-4599 Photo: Missouri History Museum
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»Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Located on Brookings Drive at the northwest corner of Forest Park, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is a fine arts center. Founded in 1881 as the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts, the museum is located on the campus of Washington University and is found within the university’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.
The oldest art museum west of the Mississippi, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum has a large collection of antiquities including Byzantine, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman works, along with a significant collection of American and European paintings from the 19th through the 21st centuries. The museum’s current home, built in 2006 and designed by Fumihiko Maki, consists of four exhibition spaces.
Address: 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-935-4523 Photo: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
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»St. Louis Attractions: Pulitzer Arts Foundation
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation is an art museum and cultural center located on Washington Boulevard. Housed in a building designed by Tadao Ando, the museum opened in 2001 to exhibit works from the private collection of Emily and Joseph Pulitzer Jr. This opening included works by renowned artists such as Lichtenstein, Monet, Picasso, and Warhol.
Since then, the museum’s exhibitions have featured works of art from outside the private collection, and they have included examples of Buddhist Art, minimalist art, Old Masters, and many more. The museum also offers a variety of programs like architectural tours, lectures, poetry readings, and musical performances by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Address: 3716 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-754-1850 Photo: Pulitzer Arts Foundation
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»Jefferson Barracks Historic Park
Located on North Road south of downtown St. Louis along the Mississippi River, Jefferson Barracks Historic Park is the home of Jefferson Barracks, an active U.S. Army post from 1826 to 1946. The park has a visitor’s center and several museum buildings built in the 1850s such as the Old Ordnance Room, the Powder Magazine Museum, and the Laborers House and Ordnance Stable.
The park also has an amphitheater, a cross-country course, trails, and other facilities for various activities. Some of the special events at the park include The Cavalry at Jefferson Barracks and Feast in the Park.
Address: 345 North Road, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-544-5714 Photo: wedninth/Fotolia
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»Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is located on Grant Road south of downtown St. Louis. Also known as White Haven, the nearly 10-acre site is devoted to Grant’s life, military career, and Presidency. White Haven was a slave plantation until the end of the American Civil War. There are five historic buildings on the site, one of which was the childhood home of Grant’s wife, Julia Dent Grant.
The site became a part of the U.S. National Park Service in 1989, and today it offers programs for children such as Be a Junior Ranger and Trading Cards. Free tours are available.
Address: 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-842-1867 Photo: Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site
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»Cinema St. Louis
Cinema St. Louis, Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival, or SLIFF as the locals call it, is a very big deal in the film industry. This festival, which had its modest beginnings in 1992 with screenings of 25 movies, has grown over the years, and in 2014 it screened 375 films from more than 50 countries throughout the course of ten days.
About 24,000 moviegoers came to see what was going on in the world of independent productions, poignant international movies, and high-quality studio movies that haven’t yet been released commercially. The festival now attracts big movie names and takes over the city, but for movie buffs of St. Louis, it is a unique opportunity to see some incredible films that wouldn’t be screened in their city otherwise. Visit from November 5-15, 2015.
Address: 3547 Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri, Phone: 314-289-4150 Photo: Nejron Photo/Fotolia
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If you plan on coming to St. Louis, try to visit in August so you can catch the Shakespeare in the Park Festival. Attending this yearly event held in beautiful Foster Park is an experience that simply stays with you.
Taking in the Bard’s immortal words from the comfort of a blanket on a lush green lawn with a starry sky overhead is absolutely magical. You are encouraged to bring a picnic basket and a bottle of wine to make the most out of this celebration of theatre. All productions, which are held every night for a week, are free.
The Shakespeare festivities extend to September when St. Louis holds a traditional Shakespeare in the Streets. This event has two parts: free performances and a block party. To foster love for the Bard in new generations, the Shakespeare Festival hosts half-day long summer camps for school children. There are also several week-long camps for teenage actors.
Phone: 314-531-9800 Photo: jgolby/Fotolia
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»Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park is located southwest of downtown St. Louis on North Ballas Road in Kirkwood. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the house in 1950 for Russell and Ruth Goetz Kraus. The property was later sold to a non-profit organization so that the 1,900 square foot house and the 10.5-acre park could be saved.
All of the Wright-designed fabrics and furnishings are still intact to this day. The St. Louis County Parks Department maintains the house, which is now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Tours of the house (including special twilight tours) are conducted from Wednesday to Sunday.
Address: 120 North Ballas Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122, 314-822-8359
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25 Fun Things to Do in St. Louis
- Saint Louis Art Museum , Photo: Saint Louis Art Museum
- Gateway Arch, Photo: Courtesy of EvanTravels - Fotolia.com
- EAT Saint Louis Food Tours, Photo: Courtesy of natashaphoto - Fotolia.com
- The Magic House Children's Museum, Photo: The Magic House Children's Museum
- Things to Do in St. Louis: City Museum, Photo: City Museum
- Budweiser Brewery Tours , Photo: Courtesy of det-anan sunonethong - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in St. Louis: Forest Park, Photo: Courtesy of JMichael Photography - Fotolia.com
- The Caramel House, Photo: The Caramel House
- Sweetology, Photo: Sweetology
- St. Louis Attractions: Grant's Farm, Photo: Courtesy of Vera Kuttelvaserova - Fotolia.com
- St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Photo: Courtesy of Jaroslav Machacek - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in St. Louis: City Garden, Photo: Courtesy of arinahabich - Fotolia
- Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, Photo: Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum
- Campbell House Museum, Photo: Campbell House Museum
- St. Louis Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of Michael Krummel - Fotolia.com
- Saint Louis Science Center, Photo: Saint Louis Science Center
- St. Louis Attractions: Missouri History Museum, Photo: Missouri History Museum
- Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Photo: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
- St. Louis Attractions: Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Photo: Pulitzer Arts Foundation
- Jefferson Barracks Historic Park, Photo: Courtesy of wedninth - Fotolia.com
- Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site, Photo: Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site
- Cinema St. Louis, Photo: Courtesy of Nejron Photo - Fotolia.com
- Shakespeare Festival, Photo: Courtesy of jgolby - Fotolia.com
- Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, Photo: Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of EvanTravels - Fotolia.com
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