— ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI — From the time my family moved to St. Louis 20+ years ago, I’ve loved exploring this big city. Driving down all the roads and being pleasantly surprised when I came across something new and exciting. Home of the 1904 World’s Fair, there is so much history, nature parks, cultural sites, three professional sports teams, and venues to experience. It will take more than one visit for you to see everything in this town.
13 of Heather Raulerson’s Best Things to Do in St. Louis Missouri
1. Top of the St. Louis Arch
No visit to St. Louis would be complete without viewing the city from 630-feet at the top of the Arch. Did you know that the Gateway Arch is the tallest monument in the United States?
You can take the unique tram to the top to look through little windows over the city and the Mississippi River.
Purchase your tickets early online for the tram ride to the top. Also, visit the Gateway to the West exhibit in the museum at the bottom of the Arch.
If you have more time, take a Riverboat Cruise on the Mississippi River (now part of the Gateway Arch Experience).
Insider Tip: The tram, is not ideal for tall occupants. It is egg shaped and narrows at the head area. It is a slow ride to the top for those who might be claustrophobic. But the ride and the view are worth the squeeze.
2. Baseball at Busch Stadium
If you live in St. Louis, you are a Cardinals fan through and through. If you are a baseball fan, come watch a game at Busch Stadium, a.k.a. the New Busch Stadium or Busch Stadium III.
Every Cardinal game was sold out in the stadium’s inaugural season, with a total attendance of 3,407,104, the second-largest in team history. This was also the year that my Detroit Tigers lost to the Cardinals in the World Series.
With my family living in St. Louis and myself in Detroit, it was quite the rivalry during the series. Today you can purchase single-game tickets online, or you can come downtown and immerse yourself in the Cardinal atmosphere around the stadium.
3. Explore Ballpark Village
St. Louis’ Ballpark Village is a new addition to downtown St. Louis during 2020; however, this is the first time it is being used during baseball season. Ballpark Village has seven venues, an outdoor 40′ LED TV, five separate concert stages, and over 125 different brews on tap in the restaurants and bars.
You get an excellent seat for the baseball games if you can’t get Cardinal tickets. The village is located next to Busch Stadium, keeping you in the Cardinal action. There are over 200 bench seats outside in front of the giant TV screen. Between innings, you can play a game of corn hole or check out the Cardinals Hall of Fame nearby. This is a fun place to bring your family as there are plenty of areas to get that perfect baseball selfie.
4. Union Station
Union Station is a place my family always visits when we are in St. Louis. We would laugh in the Whispering Arch in the Union Station hotel. This is a designed feature that creates a cool effect. You can talk on one side, and can hear you at the other end of the arch.
We also explored the mall within the old train station. Nowadays, Union Station is a full-day destination with many new family activities. The mall has been replaced with the St. Louis Aquarium. There you can see fish, jellies, sea dragons, and sharks. A fun, unique thing to do is stick your hand in a little pond where the tiny fish will nibble on your dead skin (just like the fish spas in Thailand).
More family fun—riding the St. Louis Wheel, playing a round of mini-golf, getting lost in a labyrinth of mirrors from a 1904 World’s Fair exhibit re-imagined, brave new heights on the Rope Course, eating some delicious food, and watching a fantastic light show. There is always something to see and do at Union Station.
5. Smell the Flowers
One of the prettiest areas in St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Garden. The garden is open on Tuesdays through Sundays and is the perfect place to visit during the day all year long.
My favorite area to see is the Japanese Garden which is 14-acres, one of the largest in North America, filled with Asian plantings, waterfalls, beaches, and islands. You could spend hours alone in this section and not run into another person, which adds to this area of the garden’s peace and tranquility.
Another neat area to visit is the Climatron. You can see this giant greenhouse when you enter the gardens. The Climatron is the first geodesic dome to be used as a conservatory. It is unique because it has no interior support that you can see from floor to ceiling. This allows more light and space per square foot for plants than conventional greenhouse designs. Plus, it is always fun to walk into a tropical forest in the middle of the Midwest.
6. Wander Forest Park
When you visit an urban city, sometimes you need to get out and be in nature. Forest Park is the place with over 1,300 acres filled with forests, nature reserves, lakes and streams, fountains, trails, recreational pathways, and five St. Louis cultural institutions: Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, The Muny, Missouri History Museum, and the ever-popular Saint Louis Zoo. But that isn’t everything that you can find in Forest Park. You can also enjoy the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, multiple golf courses, a boathouse, tennis center and courts, a cricket field, plenty of sporting fields, and even a fish hatchery.
Did you know that Forest Park is larger than Central Park in New York? On beautiful days, you’ll find people biking, walking the trails, and picnicking on the lawn in front of the Art Museum and around the World’s Fair Pavilion. Interestingly the pavilion was built after the fair. Sometimes parking can be difficult, especially around the zoo, so make sure to bring your patience when coming out to Forest Park on sunny days.
7. St. Louis Zoo
The busiest area in Forest Park is the Saint Louis Zoo, with over 3-million visitors annually. It is open daily and is one of the few free zoos in the United States. Even though the zoo is free, you still must schedule your visit online in advance. Zoo parking is $15. Come early and park free on the street in Forest Park.
The St. Louis Zoo has over 12,000 animals living in habitats representing their original homes. The River’s Edge takes you to Africa to see the elephants and rhinos, and the Red Rocks are where you find the giraffe and zebras.
My favorite is the 1904 World’s Fair Flight Cage, where all the birds roam and fly free throughout the enclosure.
Make sure to check out the newer Polar Bear Point and say hi to the little Penguins. Plan on spending a full day at the zoo to see all the animals and enjoy all the activities, including riding the carousel.
8. Test the Laws of Physics
Science centers are always a fun afternoon for families, and the St. Louis Science Center is right at the top. It started in 1963 as a planetarium but has expanded to include multiple buildings that house over 700 interactive exhibits.
You can learn about energy, agriculture, space travel, dig up dinosaur fossils, experience the red planet, and so much more.
Take in a show at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium to experience the night sky without city lights. Oh, and don’t leave without building a replica of the Arch.
Visiting the Science Center is free: however, you do need to make reservations in advance.
9. Cathedral Basilica
One of the must-see places to visit is the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. It is easy to find by Forest Park and is open to the public. You can wander through the cathedral and marvel at the colorful and majestic mosaics on the ceiling and walls. It is a truly breathtakingly beautiful cathedral. Learn more by scheduling a tour.
When you visit, explore the outside of the cathedral as well as the interior. There is a small garden with a couple of art sculptures.
Don’t miss the Angel of Harmony statue. This statue is one of the unique ones I have seen on my travels as it is designed with wind chimes in the angel’s wings. And when the wind blows, it makes the most magical sound that you must hear.
10. City Museum
The City Museum is a playground for kids and adults alike in a 100-yr old 10-story warehouse designed with repurposed pieces of old cities. This place is a one-of-a-kind adventure with miles of tunnels, caves, bridges, planes, and castles for you to climb and explore. The City Museum has secret passages, playgrounds, ball pits, a skate park, a circus, a tiny train, a Ferris wheel on the roof, and a giant slide that goes down 10-stories. There is a pinball hall with 35 games to enjoy.
Try the cafe on the second floor that offers sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and other munchies. And on the first floor, you can find a full bar with a DJ playing music on Friday and Saturday nights when the City Museum transforms into a no kids allowed playground at night.
11. Anheuser-Busch St. Louis
The Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour is an activity any beer-lover should have on their must-do list when visiting Saint Louis. The tour lasts about 45-minutes and takes you through the entire 7-Step Brewing Process. You also see the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses in their historic 1885 stable.
All over 21 guests will be able to enjoy samples at the end of the tour. Check the Anheuser-Busch website for tour and experience dates and times.
12. Walk The Mural Mile
The St Louis Graffiti Wall, also called, The Mural Mile, is over two miles long. On Labor Day weekend, the Paint Louis event is held annually, where they invite artists to show off their work on a 15′ x 50′ canvas on the flood wall south of the Arch.
The St Louis Graffiti Wall was recognized in 1998 in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest graffiti mural in the world. The Mural Mile is constantly changing as one of the neat things about this wall is that artists can update, change, and create new designs throughout the year. So, you will always see new street art whenever you make your way to The Mural Mile where artists have left their mark.
13. Magic House
The Magic House is a full-day adventure for you and your little ones. This multiple-floor 60,000 square-foot museum is filled with hundreds of interactive exhibits for the kiddos. The kids can work in a tiny village, pretend to be a president, be Jack in the Beanstalk, work in the Construction Zone, or be an artist in the Art Studio.
There are also several outside exhibits where kids can interact, including playing in a waterfall and outdoor garden. Kids will love hanging out at the Magic House, and you will love seeing their laughter and happiness. General Admission tickets are $12 and must be reserved in advance.
The Gateway to the West is the perfect place to visit if you are a huge sports fan, love art, history, culture, science, nature, and of course, beer. These thirteen experiences are just a snippet of everything this city has to offer. Plan to visit St. Louis for a weekend or a week, and you will find yourself falling in love with all the incredible adventures you will have when you visit. So much so that you might find yourself singing, “Meet me in St. Louis, Louis…”
*Opening Photo ©Heather Raulerson
- Finding Wellness at Disney Resort and Spa AulaniMy journey at Disney Resort and Spa Aulani led me to discover the important link between wellness, culture, and nature.
- Is it Safe to Travel to Dominican Republic 2023?You’re wondering is it safe to travel to Dominican Republic 2023, I’m here to tell you it is. From experience.
- Huerta Los Tamarindos and Flora Farms in CaboTucked in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, Flora Farms in Cabo grows its own produce and raises livestock.
- Chilled to the Bone: Nunavut, The Coldest Canadian ProvinceThis article won’t be about city life in this northern province, it will be about adapting and thriving in the coldest Canadian province.
- 16 Best Things to Do in Puntarenas, Costa RicaThe sun setting against an orange sky over the water in Puntarenas. Courtesy of Deposit Photos Courtesy of Deposit PhotosPuntarenas, the eponymous capital of its province, is the eighth largest city in Costa Rica. Here’s our list of the the 16 Best Things to Do: 1. Paseo de Los Turistas The good news is that once you take a nature walk along the sea coasts or the refreshing ocean adjacent to the Paseo de … Read more