Stretching along the Mississippi River and the Illinois border, St Louis is a fantastic destination for a memorable city break. As the second-largest city in Missouri, there are plenty of things to do in St Louis to keep visitors busy, regardless of how you prefer to spend your vacation.
Founded in the 1700s, St Louis is packed with history and culture to explore. From the iconic Gateway Arch to the Missouri History Museum, you can dive right into immersing yourself in the unique flavour and heritage of St Louis.
The city’s rich arts scene can be enjoyed in galleries like the St Louis Art Museum and the City Museum and in the open air at the City Garden Sculpture Park or Mural Mile. Sports fans may want to swing by the Busch Stadium, the home ground for the St Louis Cardinals baseball team. Alternatively, the World Chess Hall Of Fame might be more up your alley.
St Louis’ dining and hospitality culture is well worth indulging in. Home to local delicacies like St Louis-style barbeque and toasted ravioli, foodies will have a ball, tasting local treats. With so much to take in, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick which attractions to prioritise, so let me help you out. I’ll take you through my hand-picked list of St Louis’ best things to do.
- St Louis, Missouri
- Best Tours
- 20 Things To Do In St Louis, Missouri
- 1- Swing By The Gateway Arch
- 2- Take In The View From Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
- 3- Take A Boat Ride Along The Mississippi River
- 4- Go to a Cardinals Game At Busch Stadium
- 5- Look Around The Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum
- 6- Explore Forest Park
- 7- Explore The Cathedral Basilica Of St. Louis
- 8- Visit The City Museum
- 9- Take A Walk Through The CityGarden Sculpture Park
- 10- Go Shopping At St Louis Galleria
- 11- Meet The Residents Of St Louis Zoo
- 12- Visit The Griot Museum of Black History
- 13- Browse The Missouri History Museum
- 14- Visit the World Chess Hall of Fame
- 15- Expand Your Mind At The St Louis Science Centre
- 16- Admire The Missouri Botanical Garden
- 17- Take A Turn Around Tower Grove Park
- 18- Cross Eads Bridge
- 19- Stroll Along Mural Mile
- 20- Look out For The USS Inaugural
St Louis, Missouri
20 Things To Do In St Louis, Missouri
1- Swing By The Gateway Arch
Completed in 1965, St Louis’ Gateway Arch has long been one of the city’s most iconic symbols.
A masterpiece of architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway soars 630 feet (192 metres) into the air, forming a striking feature of the St Louis Skyline.
The tallest arch of its kind in the world, visitors can take in stunning panoramic views of the city and the Mississippi River from the viewing platform.
Don’t worry about climbing up, though; a tram will carry you to the top.
If you don’t like heights but still want to take in the Gateway Arch’s history and cultural significance, you can look around the free ground-level museum instead.
Find it at Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO 63102, United States.
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2- Take In The View From Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
Gateway Arch is best appreciated from afar, so cross the river and take it in from Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.
Along with fantastic Arch views, the park houses the Gateway Geyser, a huge fountain that shoots water 630 feet (192 metres) into the air, making it the tallest fountain in the U.S.
Cross to 185 W Trendley Ave, East St Louis, IL 63102, United States.
3- Take A Boat Ride Along The Mississippi River
Another great way to view the Arch and all the other striking features of the St Louis skyline along the river is to head out on the water.
You can hop aboard one of the classic Mississippi paddleboats at the dock right by the Gateway Arch Park and enjoy an hour of drifting along the river.
They offer a range of special cruises too. Go on a brunch or dinner cruise, enjoy a blues night on the water, or even gawk at the 4th of July fireworks display from a very special vantage point.
Set sail from 50 S Leonor K Sullivan Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63102, United States.
Recommended tour: St Louis: Guided City Tour with River Cruise
4- Go to a Cardinals Game At Busch Stadium
Baseball fans will want to visit the Busch Stadium, home of the St Louis Cardinals, a professional baseball team established in 1882.
The Cardinals are among the oldest teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) and have won 11 World Series titles, the most in the National League.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to be around on a game day, you can still enjoy a guided tour of the stadium.
Then support the team by picking up some merchandise at the official Cardinals store.
Swing by 700 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102, United States. Skip the lines and buy your tickets online now.
5- Look Around The Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum
If you don’t have time to tour the stadium, you can still pop into the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum.
The team has produced legendary players and managers like Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and Tony La Russa.
Just across the street from the stadium, the museum is full of memorabilia from throughout the team’s history, along with unique displays for some of their most notable players.
Go to 700 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102, United States.
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6- Explore Forest Park
Sprawling over 1300 acres (526 ha), St Louis’ Forest Park is one the largest city parks in the US.
Set right at the heart of the city, it’s the perfect escape when you want to spend some time out in the fresh air, and you can walk or bike along the miles of trails that wind around fields, forests, and ponds.
There are many pretty features to discover, from statues, memorials, fountains, and pagodas to greenhouses and open-air theatres.
The park has other big attractions, including the St Louis Art Museum, the St Louis Science Centre, and the St Louis Zoo.
Head to 5595 Grand Dr, St. Louis, MO 63112, United States.
7- Explore The Cathedral Basilica Of St. Louis
The beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St Louis is immediately recognisable by its distinctive, green-tiled dome.
The historic building is grand inside and outside, decorated with elaborate mosaics across the floors and ceilings.
The cathedral’s interior is adorned with over 41.5 million glass tesserae depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Find it at 4431 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108, United States.
Recommended tour: St Louis: 75-Minute City Trolley Tour
8- Visit The City Museum
The City Museum is a wonderfully unique art gallery featuring many sculptures.
Many pieces are designed to be interacted with, even climbed and explored, creating a playground of art that visitors of all ages can be a part of.
Housed in a former shoe factory, the museum’s repurposed industrial architecture showcases an eclectic design created from salvaged materials, including old chimneys, bridges and even a school bus hanging off the building’s edge.
It has giant playground-like structures where kids can climb through tunnels, scale towering slides and explore interconnected passages.
Go to 750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103, United States. Skip the lines and book your tickets here.
9- Take A Walk Through The CityGarden Sculpture Park
If you prefer outdoor, three-dimensional art, you will want to visit the CityGarden Sculpture Park.
The park features various fascinating sculptures and statues for you to discover.
The park is a pretty relaxing place, filled with water features and manicured flower gardens.
Right at the heart of downtown St Louis, it’s an ideal place to take a break between sightseeing.
Find it at 801 Market St, St. Louis, MO 63101, United States.
10- Go Shopping At St Louis Galleria
There are plenty of great shopping areas in St Louis, but, when you want to treat yourself to a more luxe experience, head out to the St Louis Galleria.
The laid-back shopping mall is packed with popular high-end brands with plenty of variety, so you’ll surely find something you’ll love.
There are many coffee shops and restaurants when you need a break from retail therapy.
The mall is at 1155 St Louis Galleria St, St. Louis, MO 63117, United States.
Recommended tour: St Louis Food Adventure Tour
11- Meet The Residents Of St Louis Zoo
Covering 90 acres (36 ha) of Forest Park, St Louis Zoo is the perfect family-friendly attraction with plenty of friendly critters to excite visitors.
You’ll see species from across the world, with plenty of educational events and activities to help you learn more about their lives in the wild.
With dozens of incredible animal species to meet, like hippos, rhinos, capybaras, kangaroos, reptiles, insects, birds, and big cats, a visit to St Louis Zoo is the ideal option for a fun-filled family day out.
Head over to St. Louis, MO 63110, United States.
12- Visit The Griot Museum of Black History
St Louis has grown into a vibrant city through the influence of various communities and cultures over the years.
At the Griot Museum, visitors can delve into how the black population, in particular, has helped shape the St Louis of today.
Named for the West African tradition of the “griot”, a storyteller and oral historian, it reflects the museum’s mission to convey lesser-known historical accounts.
Go to 2505 St Louis Ave, St. Louis, MO 63106, United States.
13- Browse The Missouri History Museum
If you want to learn more about the state of Missouri’s development, visit the Missouri History Museum.
The museum is bursting with displays and interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the people and events contributing to the state’s heritage.
From the pre-colonial era to the present day, the museum’s exhibits cover topics such as Native American history, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Civil War and the growth of St. Louis as a major city.
Go to 5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112, United States.
Recommended tour: Lemp Haunted Neighborhood Walking Tour
14- Visit the World Chess Hall of Fame
When trying to find the World Chess Hall of Fame, look out for the massive wooden king piece sitting out front.
Inside you’ll find an array of unique chess sets with intricately designed boards and pieces and memorabilia from notable matches and masters.
Visitors can even play a game on a giant chessboard etched with the names of famous chess players.
Head into 4652 Maryland Ave #1, St. Louis, MO 63108, United States.
15- Expand Your Mind At The St Louis Science Centre
St Louis Science Centre is a great attraction for visitors of all ages who like exploring the natural world’s mysteries.
Exhibits span the spectrum of scientific disciplines from biology, chemistry, and physics to astronomy and dinosaurs, so there’s sure to be something to appeal to everyone’s fascination.
Beyond the regular displays, visitors can enjoy interactive exhibits and experiments, view informative movies in the Omnimax Theatre, and see the stars in a planetarium.
There’s also a packed calendar of events and special exhibitions, so check ahead to see what is on during your visit.
Find it at 5050 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States.
16- Admire The Missouri Botanical Garden
Trails wind through 79 acres (32 hectares) of themed and exquisitely decorated gardens, with many sculptures, water features and greenhouses to discover.
Home to over six million plant species, the Missouri Botanical Gardens is the second-largest in the country.
Established in 1859, it’s one of the USA’s oldest botanical gardens with exceptional plant collections, including its famous Japanese Garden, Victorian-style Herb Garden and the iconic Climatron (geodesic dome with a tropical rainforest ecosystem).
The garden is also focused on research, conservation and education.
Head into 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States.
17- Take A Turn Around Tower Grove Park
Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of Tower Grove Park by taking a carriage ride along its tree-lined trails.
The leafy park is a beautiful location to spend some time in the fresh air.
Playgrounds and picnics are ideal for a fun-filled family afternoon.
Statues, decorative ponds, and pavilions are waiting to be discovered by those who explore the winding paths.
Go to 4257 Northeast Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States.
18- Cross Eads Bridge
If you want to cross the river and explore the smaller city on the Illinois side, you’ll have several bridges you can use.
I recommend taking Eads Bridge as your best option.
Along with being located right at the heart of downtown, providing excellent views of the Gateway Arch and the neighbouring Martin Luther King Bridge, Eads Bridge boasts its own historical and architectural significance as the world’s first steel truss bridge.
Make the crossing at St. Louis, MO 63102, United States.
19- Stroll Along Mural Mile
If you’re a street art and graffiti fan, you’ll definitely want to walk along Mural Mile.
Showcasing works of hundreds of local and visiting artists, there’s a wide variety of styles and talents to enjoy.
New works are always added, covering up the older pieces, so it’s always worth another visit.
Each year, Mural Mile comes alive over Labor Day weekend, with artists flooding the area to leave their marks.
Along with the wealth of new paintwork to enjoy, the event also brings DJs, rappers, and break dancers to the Mile.
Head along Chouteau Ave & S Leonor K Sullivan Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63102, United States.
20- Look out For The USS Inaugural
Towards the south end of Mural Mile, you might want to turn your attention from the street art to the river.
Peeking out of the river on days when the water is low will be the wreck of the USS Inaugural.
The USS Inaugural was a World War II minesweeper.
It was initially repurposed as a museum, but a flood in 1993 washed it downstream to where it now rests.
Spot it at 1301 S Wharf St, St. Louis, MO 63104, United States.
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