Highlights of St. Louis

If you’re in the mood for a blockbuster, action-packed tour of St. Louis, then we have just the itinerary for you. Here’s a two-day itinerary that includes a collection of highlights from the many things to see and do in St. Louis. Better pack those vitamins!

Day One

1. Gateway Arch

30 mins - 1.5 hours

The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot tall monument to President Thomas Jefferson and his vision of a continental United States. Take a tram ride to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the Mississippi River or watch “Monument to the Dream,” a documentary that tells the story of the Arch from concept through construction.

http://www.gatewayarch.com | Get Directions

2. Citygarden

30 mins - 1 hour

citygarden

Framed by office towers and surrounded by the hustle and bustle of downtown, Citygarden  is St. Louis’ newest free attraction and a stunning addition to the artistic landscape. The 2.9-acre park, which incorporates a unique design of water, stone, architecture and 24 pieces of modern sculpture by renowned artists, offers a uniquely beautiful gathering place. Its hardscape was inspired by the area’s great rivers and includes three unique water features – a 180-foot rectangular basin with a six-foot waterfall; 34-foot-diameter tilted granite disc partially covered by a scrim of water; and a state-of-the-art spray plaza with more than 100 computer-controlled spray jets and custom lighting.

http://www.citygardenstl.org | Get Directions

Lunch suggestion: Laclede’s Landing is a nine block historic district featuring restaurants and live entertainment.

3. Missouri Botanical Garden

1 - 2 hours

mobot

The Missouri Botanical Garden is considered among the top three public gardens in the world. The magnificent 79-acre garden, a St. Louis institution since 1859, is among the nation’s oldest public gardens. It features 25 demonstration gardens within the Kemper Center for Home Gardening, a Chinese Garden, Boxwood Garden and an expanded Victorian garden complete with a topiary maze and observatory. In addition to the re-created tropical rain forest housed within the Climatron geodesic dome, MBG includes an English Woodland garden and the largest traditional Japanese Garden in North America. Special classes and activities are available year-round.

http://www.mobot.org | Get Directions

4. Butterfly House

30 mins - 1 hour

Butterfly House - BHthe paper kite and brown longwing osbo

Wear bright clothing to attract plenty of visitors at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House and Education Center (www.butterflyhouse.org). This three-story crystal palace is filled with tropical foliage and houses up to 2,000 butterflies in free flight. Watch the fascinating creatures transform from the chrysalis stage as they take wing in their new home. A film about the animal’s life cycle, an outdoor butterfly garden and the Madame Butterfly’s gift shop round out the experience.

http://www.butterflyhouse.org | Get Directions

Dining suggestions: Enjoy a Gateway Riverboats Skyline Dinner Cruise (www.gatewayarch.com) along the mighty Mississippi River.

5. Soulard

1.5 - 3 hours

 

For nightlife options, music fans can find live bands at the more than 30 restaurants, taverns and music clubs scattered throughout the Soulard neighborhood. Catch local bands nightly at BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups (www.bbsjazzbluessoups.com), Broadway Oyster Bar (www.broadwayoysterbar.com), Hammerstone’s at 9th & Russell (www.hammerstones.net), 1860’s Saloon & Hard Shell Cafe (www.soularddining.com), and authentic Irish music at McGurks Irish Pub & Restaurant (www.mcgurks.com).

http://www.soulard.org | Get Directions

6. See a live show

1.5 - 3 hours

Or catch a show at one of the area’s cultural venues. Check the Calendar of Events section for information on what’s playing at the Fox Theatre, the Touhill Performing Arts Center (www.touhill.org), the Repertory Company of St. Louis, the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company or at any of the dozens of community and independent theater companies throughout the region.

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Day Two

1. Saint Louis Art Museum

1 - 2 hours

Forest Park is a 1,300 acre park is full of entertaining options, including some of the region’s most popular attractions. The Saint Louis Art Museum (www.slam.org) (1-2 hrs.) houses masterpieces and ancient artifacts from around the world and its collection of modern art includes many outstanding examples of German Expressionist art. Other major works on display are by Cezanne, Degas, Matisse, Picasso, van Gogh and Monet and African and Oceanic arts collections. See galleries filled with works by the French Impressionists and rooms featuring decorative arts and antiques.

http://www.slam.org | Get Directions

2. Saint Louis Zoo

2 hours

The Saint Louis Zoo is a world-renowned leader in animal conservation projects and has embarked upon an innovative captive breeding strategy to ensure the survival of many of the world’s most endangered species including cheetahs, black rhinoceros, okapis and more than 80 other breeds. It’s considered among the Top Ten Zoos in the nation and is noted for its naturalistic animal habitats.

http://www.stlzoo.org | Get Directions

3. Missouri History Museum

1 - 2 hours

For an overview of St. Louis’ past, visit the Missouri History Museum (www.mohistory.org) (1-2 hrs.), where Lindbergh, Lewis & Clark, and the Louisiana Purchase come to life. You’ll see artifacts from Colonial St. Louis, the Lewis & Clark expedition, Civil War and the opening of the American West. Galleries featuring cultural icons like “Lucky Lindy,” Miles Davis, Tennessee Williams and others who lived and worked in St. Louis. “Seeking St. Louis” illustrates the region’s story with state-of-the-art displays and interactive exhibitions featuring thousands of artifacts.

http://www.mohistory.org | Get Directions

4. Saint Louis Science Center

1.5 - 3 hours

Explore more than 700 hands-on exhibits and find out what it’s like to live and work in outer space at the Saint Louis Science Center. In addition to the state-of-the-art Boeing Space Station in the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, there’s a variety of offerings shown on the OMNIMAX big screen, a dark sky Planetarium show, and a number of traveling exhibits throughout the year.

http://www.slsc.org | Get Directions

Lunch suggestion: Visit St. Louis’ “Little Italy” with lunch on The Hill, or trek to the region’s most eclectic neighborhood known as The Loop.

Day Three

1. Anheuser-Busch Brewery

1.5 hours

After lunch, explore the world-famous Anheuser-Busch Brewery with a tour of the historic Brew House, Budweiser Clydesdale stables, lager cellar, packaging plant, hospitality room and Anheuser-Busch gift shop. Free soft drinks and samples of A-B products are available at the conclusion of the tour in the Hospitality Center.

http://www.budweisertours.com | Get Directions

2. The City Museum

1 - 2 hours

The City Museum has taken the term “recycling” to dizzying new heights. Housed in the 600,000 square-foot building that was once home to the International Shoe Company, the museum is the brainchild of local artists who created the museum from all sorts of “found stuff.” They didn’t have to go far to find materials for the facility, as the curious curators reclaimed a variety of building materials such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even a couple of abandoned airplanes. There are 4,000 square-feet of man-made caves and tunnels, an enchanted forest with sky tunnels, an aquarium, a working shoelace factory, daily circus performances and much more.

http://www.citymuseum.org | Get Directions

3. Grant's Farm

2 - 3 hours

Explore Grant’s Farm, which includes two of President Ulysses S. Grant’s homes: the formal plantation home known as White Haven (www.nps.gov/ulsg) and Hardscrabble, the log cabin hand-built by Grant that is on view at Grant’s Farm.In addition to exploring a piece of U.S. history, visitors can enjoy tram rides through the Farm’s wildlife preserve and enjoy elephant and bird shows held within a pleasant petting zoo. There’s also a collection of antique carriages on display at the Bauernhof and the stables of the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

http://www.grantsfarm.com | Get Directions

4. The Museum of Transportation

1 - 2 hours

The Museum of Transportation is dedicated to America’s love for life in the fast lane. In addition to the unit of the streamline modern-style Coral Court Motel – a popular landmark along historic Route 66 – the museum features more than 300 moving vehicles on display, including locomotives, streetcars and, of course, automobiles.

http://www.museumoftransport.org | Get Directions

Dining suggestion: Motor into historic St. Louis Union Station or travel west to Westport Plaza for a variety of restaurants and cuisines.

5. Visit a Casino

2 - 4 hours

In addition to slots, poker, blackjack and baccarat, many of the area casinos offer a variety of live entertainment. National and regional headliners rock the house at the VooDoo Lounge inside Hollywood Casino and Ameristar Casino St. Charles’ Bottleneck Blues Bar. Lumière Place features trendy nightspots and an intimate theater for live entertainment in downtown St. Louis, while River City Casino and the Casino Queen concentrate on entertaining gaming action.

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6. Enjoy a musical performance

1.5 - 3 hours

All genres of musical sounds fill the venues in the Grand Center arts and entertainment district. The renowned Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra stages performances September through May at historic Powell Symphony Hall; top local and national Jazz artists entertain in the intimate atmosphere of Jazz at the Bistro (www.jatb.org); noted international singers and musicians perform at the acoustically pure Sheldon Concert Hall (www.sheldonconcerthall.org).

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