26 Best Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri In 2023
If you’re looking to explore some of the best things to do in St. Louis, you’ve come to the right place. Being a Midwest city, you wouldn’t think St. Louis has all that much to do. But we are here to tell you there are loads of things to do in St. Louis.
You might’ve heard about St. Louis Arch or Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play but besides that, there are a ton of hidden gems and interesting things to discover in the city.
Awesome Things to Do in St. Louis, MO
Founded in 1764, St. Louis has many historical buildings that have been beautifully renovated for modern-day use. There are also nationally recognized museums that host interesting exhibits and art to see. Apart from that, St. Louis has some delicious local food and some interesting spins on things that you have to try.
Here’s a look at just some of the best things to do in St. Louis!
1. Check out The Gateway Arch National Park
The Gateway Arch National Park is home to and named for the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch. This national park reflects St. Louis’ role in the Westward Expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century, Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, the pioneers who helped shape its history, and Dred Scott, who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.
The Gateway Arch, being the main attraction of the park, features a short 4-minute ride to the top that costs $13-$19 per person, a brand new free museum about St. Louis’ role in westward expansion, and a 30-minute documentary movie about how the Arch was built.
The Gateway Arch National Park is absolutely the #1 thing to do in St. Louis for obvious reasons, but also because you can get the best views of the city of St. Louis as well as the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. You have not been to St. Louis if you didn’t check out the Gateway Arch!
2. Go to a Cardinals Game at Busch Stadium
The Cardinals are the professional baseball team of St. Louis, Missouri, playing all of their home games at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals have won the Major League Baseball World Series 11 times. Second only to the New York Yankees. We may be biased, but the Cardinals can put on a pretty good game.
If you are in St. Louis from April to September, it is the perfect opportunity to catch a baseball game at Busch Stadium. It is a super affordable experience for the entire family at an average cost of $40 a ticket, but you can easily find tickets for as low as $11 per person if you don’t mind some nosebleed seats. Grab your tickets here.
You will want to get to the park early to get the full Busch Stadium experience and also get the best chance of a good parking spot. Start the experience by taking a walk around the stadium while you enjoy all of the amazing views of downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch that Busch Stadium has to offer. You might also want to indulge in some of the ballpark fare while you’re at it!
3. Go out for Drinks at Ballpark Village
Ballpark Village is a 150,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district located right across from Busch Stadium. The district features Budweiser Brewhouse, Cardinals Nation, Bally Sports Live!, as well as several other entertainment and restaurant venues.
Ballpark Village also produces over 120 free annual events and has welcomed over 10 million visitors so far. It is a new and exciting part of St. Louis’ community and nightlife that is within walking distance of many of the downtown activities.
Ballpark Village is open year-round and is active both day and night. There are events for all ages, but many of the venues are aimed at adults. You can do basically anything you can think of at Ballpark Village like: eat, drink, stay, shop, explore, and so much more. Going for a drink is one of the best things to do in Saint Louis before or after a Cardinals baseball game.
4. Get out in Nature at Forest Park
Forest Park is considered to be one of the nation’s greatest urban public parks featuring 1,300 acres of beautiful landscapes like forests, different ecosystems, nature reserves, lakes, streams, 5 major cultural institutions, and endless opportunities for recreation. Best of all, the park and many of the institutions are free for the public to enjoy!
To put the size of Forest Park in perspective, it is larger than Central Park in New York! That would explain how the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, The Muny, Saint Louis Science Center, and Saint Louis Zoo can all be situated inside Forest Park.
The Saint Louis Zoo, located on the southwest side of Forest Park, is known as one of the top 10 zoos in the United States and it is one of the only free zoos as well. The zoo is dedicated to research and conservation and works locally and globally to protect animals and their habitats.
5. Day Trip to St. Charles
There are plenty of amazing day trips that you can take from St. Louis such as floating down some of Missouri’s pristine rivers on a Missouri float trip, but another noteworthy day trip to check out is St. Charles, Missouri.
Founded in 1769, St. Charles is a restored historic city situated right on the West side of the Missouri River. Much of the history of St. Charles can be found in the buildings that line the Historic Main Street.
You can eat, drink, and shop at a variety of businesses that have found a home on Main Street as well as take a walk in the parks that surround the area. You will also find that St. Charles’ Main Street hosts many events year-round, and a lot of those events are free.
St. Charles is approximately a 35-minute drive from St. Louis, Missouri, making it the perfect day trip to add to your list of things to do in St. Louis!
6. Visit the Saint Louis Art Museum
Another institution located on the west side of Forest Park is the Saint Louis Art Museum. The St. Louis Art Museum, otherwise known as SLAM, is one of the principal United States art museums featuring beautiful and interesting paintings, sculptures, cultural objects, and ancient masterpieces from all over the world.
The Art Museum is open to the public every Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission to the museum is free every day all year round, and admission to the main rotating exhibitions is free every Friday.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is constantly changing with new exhibitions, installations, and acquisitions and it offers a bunch of exciting on-site activities for all ages. There are over 34,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of history and cultures to see here.
7. Meander through the Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden, informally known as Shaw’s Garden, is a center for botanical research and science education in St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of amazing horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese garden, historic architecture, and one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered flora.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM year-round. The top attractions of the garden are the Climatron, the Japanese Garden, and the Sachs Museum. If you get tired of walking, the Botanical Garden also offers narrated tram tours to help you explore the garden.
While the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the few ticketed institutions in St. Louis, it is only $14 for adults to enjoy the gardens. The garden also hosts a variety of rotating events throughout the season that focus on things like art installations. The Botanical Garden is by far one of the most beautiful things to do in St. Louis, MO.
8. Learn about History at the St. Louis History Museum
Another free staple located at the north entrance of Forest Park, the Missouri History Museum explores the histories of those who call the St. Louis region home. The museum, run by the Missouri Historical Society, focuses on the history of St. Louis from its founding in 1764 up to the present day. You can discover the city’s history of sports, life on the Mississippi, the 1904 World’s Fair, and so much more!
The Missouri History Museum is typically open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM year-round. General admission as well as most special rotating exhibits and events are always free for everyone.
If you want to go on a deeper St. Louis history dive, the Missouri Historical Society offers 24+ different tours that mix engaging storytelling and deep historical knowledge with enthusiasm for the city of St. Louis. The tours range from $20-$35 and can last up to 2 hours long.
9. Go on a Brewery Crawl
Apart from the iconic Gateway Arch, St. Louis is known for its expansive craft beer scene. St. Louis has over 20 breweries and thousands of beer styles to offer locals and visitors alike. Some of the St. Louis favorites include 4 Hands Brewing Co., The Schlafly Tap Room, Rockwell Beer Co., Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., and dozens more.
You are also likely to be familiar with Budweiser, and St. Louis is actually home to the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch. You can enjoy the Budweiser Brewery Experience there which allows you to explore the campus, visit the Clydesdales, and taste the beer straight from the finishing cellars.
Budweiser offers a variety of experiences that are customized to fit your interests and timeframes. Depending on the experience, it can cost $15-$40 per person.
10. Head to The Hill for Delicious Italian Food
The Hill is a unique Italian neighborhood located in St. Louis City. The area was founded by Italian immigrants in the 1800s which is what still heavily influences the “little Italy” feel of the neighborhood today. The Hill is full of proud longtime residents as well as some new faces that keep history alive today.
You can get the full authentic Italian neighborhood experience in The Hill by visiting any of the 25 amazing restaurants, shopping for unique gifts and goods, or staying in one bed and breakfast inside of the historic homes.
We also can’t talk about The Hill without mentioning the St. Louis favorite, toasted ravioli or t-ravs. The toasted ravioli is a breaded deep-fried ravioli, usually served as an appetizer with a dipping sauce like marinara sauce. This St. Louis food oddity was first created and popularized in the 1950s at the restaurants in The Hill!
11. Go on an Adventure at The City Museum
While exploring downtown St. Louis, you will probably stumble across a building that has a school bus hanging off of the edge of it and wonder what on earth is happening. That is just the norm at the City Museum though!
The City Museum is a weirdly wonderful museum of play with a rooftop and 4 floors full of installations, attractions, collections, and more. Many of the museum’s exhibits consist of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, most of which are interactive. Perfect for the adults to enjoy while the kids play.
Tickets to the City Museum start at $20 per person and get you access to the 30+ slides, man-made caves, treehouse + tunnels, the world’s largest pencil, and so much more!
If you visit from March through October, you can also add rooftop access for only $8 so you can check out the giant praying mantis and the Big Eli Ferris Wheel.
12. See the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, or the Saint Louis Cathedral, dates back to 1764 and is a one-of-a-kind work of art. With so much beauty to see on the inside and the amazing architecture on the outside of this cathedral, it is a definite stop on our list.
There are free guided and self-guided tours available most days between 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM so you won’t miss out on any of the details.
The lower level of the Cathedral Basilica is home to the Mosaic Museum. The museum contains several displays depicting the design and installation of mosaics along with other historic religious objects.
Also located in the museum in the Cathedral Crypt if you want to get a little spooky. The museum is open every day until 4:00 PM with a contribution of $2 per person requested as admission.
13. Drink a Root Beer Float at Fitz’s
Fitz’s is a local St. Louis craft soda microbrewery and restaurant offering delicious American food, famous floats and shakes, and views of the bottling line. Fitz’s bottles all 19 of their unique flavors on their vintage bottling line right inside of the restaurant, but their root beer is their most famous flavor.
This isn’t just an ordinary root beer though. Fitz’s Root Beer is recognized as one of the best root beers in the United States! The root beer is made according to an original recipe developed in St. Louis in 1947, and it is most famously served as a Root Beer Float at Fitz’s.
You can order one of the famously large Root Beer Floats during any day of the week from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM at either their historic Delmar Loop or South County locations.
14. Head to the Museum of Transportation
Founded in 1944, the Museum of Transportation will take you on a ride back in time through 190 major exhibits. The collection is recognized as the largest collection of transportation vehicles in the world. You will get to see historically famous train cars, cars, boats, and planes some of which are attached to some pretty neat St. Louis history.
Not only does this museum have all things transportation, it even has gardens, a cafe, and a boutique. There are gardens on all 3 levels of the museum that incorporate native and sustainable plants to help the local birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Barrett’s Landing Café is a great place to visit for lunch. They have lots of options so you can either grab a meal, a quick snack, or a to-go treat. The Boxcar Boutique, located inside the main museum building, has fun commemorative pieces and transportation-themed gifts.
The Museum of Transportation is open every Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. You can take a guided or self-guided tour, and admission starts at just $5 per person.
15. Get an Ice Cream at Ted Drewe’s
Ted Drewe’s has been selling frozen custard in St. Louis for over 80 years and is one of the most popular summertime treats for St. Louisans and tourists alike. Ted Drewe’s has all kinds of delicious dessert treats but is best known for the “concrete” which was created in 1959. A “concrete” is a malt or shake so thick that it can be served upside down!
This makes Ted Drewe’s the perfect ritual stop to make after a long hot day visiting one of the many Saint Louis things to do like the Arch, the Fox and Muny Theaters, the St. Louis Zoo, or a Cardinal’s baseball game.
16. Visit Union Station
St. Louis’s Union Station used to be one of the largest and busiest passenger rail terminals in the world, but today it serves a new purpose for the city of St. Louis.
The Union Station now houses a variety of activities like the St. Louis Aquarium, a gigantic Ferris wheel, a rope course, mini golf, a carousel, a mirror maze, and light shows. Apart from the entertainment, there are ample options for food, so you can also grab a bite to eat at one of the 9 different restaurants. Also if you happen to get too tired by the end of the day, you can stay at the Union Station Hotel.
Basically, the St. Louis Union Station has it all. It really captures the essence of history, fun, and entertainment. It is definitely a place to bring the family and spend an entire day! Union Station is also the jumping-off point for this amazing tour of St. Louis Landmarks.
17. Spend a day at St. Louis Science Center
The Saint Louis Science Center is another one of the great free things to do in Saint Louis. It is one of the only free nonprofit science museums in the country, and it serves more than 1 million people each year.
The Science Center campus features more than 700 interactive experiences across 10 different galleries. There is also an agricultural outdoor pavilion, the famous McDonnell Planetarium, and the 4-story OMNIMAX Theater. You are sure to be wowed by the dinosaurs if nothing else!
The Saint Louis Science Center combines experimentation, creativity, and play which makes it pretty much the perfect place to bring the whole family for a super informative yet fun experience.
18. See a Show at The Fabulous Fox Theater
The Fabulous Fox Theater, a former movie palace, is a performing arts center that presents the ‘Best of Broadway’ in St. Louis. You can see shows ranging from Broadway shows, Vegas performers, concerts, classic movies, and more.
Fabulous is a part of the name for a reason too. Apart from the entertainment, the Fabulous Fox Theater is known for the exquisite interior of the historic building. You can check out the amazing interior and experience the magic of the Fox Theater for as little as $32 a ticket!
You can make it dinner and show too since The Fabulous Fox Theater is located in the arts district of the Grand Center area in Midtown St. Louis. This surrounds the theater with some delicious dining options as well as some nice hotels to spend the night at.
19. Check out the City Garden Sculpture Park
Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, City Garden Sculpture Park is an urban sculpture park full of free interactive art, fountains, and gardens. The City Garden spans approximately 2 blocks in downtown St. Louis, consisting of paved paths that lead visitors around 24 sculptures, 6 rain gardens, a children’s spray plaza, and a 180-foot-long pool with a waterfall.
The City Garden Sculpture Park is one of the great things to do in St. Louis, MO, on a hot summer’s day. It is the perfect place to bring the kids especially because all of the sculptures are made to be played on.
The park is open and accessible year-round. It is yet another wonderful free thing to do in St. Louis that is located within walking distance of the Gateway Arch!
20. Grab some Veggies at the Soulard Farmers Market
The Soulard Farmers Market is the oldest operating public market in St. Louis, Missouri, and the oldest public market in the United States west of the Mississippi River. Located in the Soulard neighborhood’s “Grand Hall”, the market is in the heart of St. Louis.
The market hosts 147 stalls with vendors that sell everything you could possibly think of like fresh produce, meat, seafood, cheese, snacks, baked goods, spices, flowers, and much more!
The Soulard Farmers Market is open Wednesday through Saturday year-round despite being an open-air market. Entry is free, but it is recommended to have cash on you if you plan to make a purchase as some vendors don’t take debit or credit cards.
21. Use your Imagination at the St. Louis Magic House
The St. Louis Magic House is a not-for-profit Children’s Museum full of hands-on exhibits and educational programs. The Magic House offers a variety of interactive learning experiences and fun St. Louis things to do for kids.
This award-winning educational destination is located in Kirkwood, Missouri, which is right outside St. Louis. The museum was originally a 5,500-square-foot Victorian Mansion, but it is now a place that has sparked the imagination of over 15 million visitors!
The St. Louis Magic House is typically open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The admission is just $6.00 for anyone ages 1 and older, but you can catch a Free Family Night every third Friday of the month.
22. Art Hill
Located right in front of the St. Louis Art Museum, Art Hill is an expansive field overlooking the Grand Basin in Forest Park. The Grand Basin was actually the center of the World’s Fair that took place in St. Louis in 1904.
Nowadays, Art Hill is a perfect place to go in St. Louis to enjoy a nice picnic and sunny weather. In the summer months, Art Hill hosts a film series showing popular movies and concerts throughout the week.
Art Hill is also popular in the wintertime when it snows as it’s a great hill to go sledding down!
23. World Chess Hall of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame is a non-profit institution located in the Central West End neighborhood that celebrates the game of chess with exhibits and different programs throughout the year.
The exhibits will teach you about the history of chess as well as the impacts it has had over the years on our culture. The World Chess Hall is actually also home to the Guinness World Records’ Largest Chess Piece.
Along with its sister organization, the Saint Louis Chess Club, there are a lot of fun ways to get involved in playing the game of chess in St. Louis. Because of these two organizations, St. Louis is actually known as the Chess Capital of the United States. So if you’re a lover of chess, be sure to make a stop at the World Chess Hall of Fame when visiting St. Louis.
24. Laumeier Sculpture Park
The Laumeier Sculpture Park is another fun park located in the Sunset Hills, a neighborhood about 20 minutes from downtown St. Louis. The park is a great way to engage with art and nature with its 105 acres of rolling gardens and 60 outdoor sculptures.
The park is maintained in partnership with the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department and has monthly events for all ages and interests. They host different kinds of workshops such as wind chime making, pottery, and yoga classes.
The park also hosts festivals throughout the year where thousands of people gather to appreciate the beauty of the park and the unique art.
25. Contemporary Art Museum
The Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis is a great place to spend a day if you love contemporary art. The museum is another institute in St. Louis that is free, so it’s easy to spend a few hours checking out the exhibits.
The CAM is located in the Grand Center Arts District where you’ll find a dozen of other museums, exhibits and galleries, and concert halls.
Besides just exhibits, the CAM hosts artist talks, film screenings, and workshops and performances. Another fun thing the museum has is First Fridays where on the first Friday of every month, they have guided tours of the museum and music played by the in-house museum DJ.
26. National Blues Museum
The National Blues Museum is dedicated to celebrating and teaching everyone about the origins of blues music and its impacts on our culture. The museum opened its doors in 2016 and the daughter of B.B. King actually spoke at the museum opening!
The museum hosts educational rotating exhibits and incredible performances in their state-of-the-art theater. Admission is $15 for adults and it’s located right downtown so you can easily walk from other spots you plan to visit such as the Arch or City Garden Sculpture Park.
Wrap-Up: The Best Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri
Whether you are looking to spend a day or a week here, there are so many fun and exciting things to do in St. Louis, Missouri for everyone. You can spend a nice day outside at a baseball game or keep cool and comfortable inside one of the many museums. There is also every kind of food you could think of plus some favorite St. Louis editions like toasted ravioli to try.
You might not be able to get to do all 21 of the best things to do in St. Louis, but we hope that we have helped you narrow down your favorite must-dos and planned the perfect St. Louis excursion!
Ron and Jess are the owners of Unearth The Voyage, a travel blog dedicated to outdoor adventures, US National Park guides, and itineraries to help you plan your next trip. After traveling full-time for 4 years, they have put roots down in St. Louis but still travel part-time in their RV and internationally. They love coming back to St. Louis after spending time away and being involved in all the incredible things the city offers. You can connect with Ron & Jess on their Instagram or Facebook page where they offer more inspiration and tips for traveling.
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