If you want to explore some of the top things to do in and around St. Louis, you’ve come to the right place! The list of things to do in St. Louis is endless, from taking in a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium to riding to the top of the Gateway Arch, the nation’s tallest monument. With incredible restaurants, top-notch bars and breweries, a vibrant arts scene, tons of family-friendly activities and parks galore, the Gateway City is your gateway to fun. These are our picks for the top 25 must-do things when you come to St. Louis, but the list doesn’t stop here. We have lots more to explore, from dining and nightlife to shopping to places to stay and events that are sure to keep you smiling while you’re in town.
1. Get a bird’s eye view from the Gateway Arch
Take a 630-foot ride to the top of this world-famous stainless steel monument for the finest views in the Gateway City. While you’re there, be sure to make time to explore the on-site museum, which traces over 200 years of our region’s history in six themed exhibit areas. Visitors to the Gateway Arch National Park can also hop aboard a 19th century paddle-wheel boat replica for a narrated cruise down the mighty Mississippi or soar above the city on a helicopter tour.
2. Get your head in the game
Sports fans rejoice! During the spring and summer seasons, you can cheer on our 11-time World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, at Busch Stadium. For a more intimate baseball experience and some of the most creative game-day treats and activities around, check out the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark. Soccer fans can watch all the excitement of St. Louis’ new MLS team, St. Louis CITY SC beginning in 2023. If you’re visiting in the fall or winter, you can catch the St. Louis Blues heating up the ice at the Enterprise Center. For some hoops action, check out the St. Louis Surge – the two-time GWBA National Champions. No matter what time of year, visitors can get a taste of true team spirit in this bona fide sports town
3. Take a thrill ride (or two) at Six Flags St. Louis
This exciting theme park is fun for the whole family! Visitors can fly like a bat on Batman the Ride, spin 16 stories up in the air on Catwoman Whip, soar at speeds of up to 62 mph on the Screaming Eagle wooden coaster and get soaked on the whitewater rapids adventure of Thunder River. Guests of Six Flags St. Louis can also see live shows and concerts, meet their favorite Loony Toons cartoon characters and have tons of fun in the sun at Hurricane Harbor Water Park. There are plenty of hotel amenities just minutes from the park, and visitors can take advantage of group discounts for youth groups, company outings, family reunions and much more!
4. Spend a night out on the town
Looking for a fun night out? Check out the sports-anchored entertainment district in the heart of downtown’s Ballpark Village! Head to The Grove and take your pick of some of the hottest bars in St. Louis in this up-and-coming neighborhood. Out west, fun-seekers can also go for dinner, drinks and a show at Westport Plaza’s 42-acre entertainment district. Looking for something upscale? Check out the area’s trendiest boutiques and upscale dining establishments in Clayton and the Central West End. If live music is your thing, Soulard boasts some of the best blues venues in town. Or, try out your detective skills at one of the awesome escape rooms in the area like Escape Challenge St. Louis, Escape The Room, St. Louis Escape and Mastermind Room Escape.
5. All aboard at St. Louis Union Station
St. Louis Union Station was once one of the largest and busiest passenger rail terminals in the world, helping move passengers from the east coast to the western part of the United States. Today it is home to more than 13,000 animals at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station, the 200-foot St. Louis Wheel, a carousel, an 18-hole mini-golf course, the mirror maze, a ropes course, the train park, and several restaurants to go along with the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. While you’re there, don’t miss the Grand Hall Light Show, which airs daily from 5 to 10 p.m. Laser lights dance on the 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling of the historic train station lobby, narrated by famous St. Louisans, including Jon Hamm, Bob Costas, Dan Dierdorf and Joe Buck. Grab a cocktail at the bar, sit back and enjoy the show.
6. Let your imagination loose at the Magic House
The Magic House offers kids hundreds of fun and educational activities, from open-air nature playscapes to the interactive bubble room. In the Construction Zone, kids can construct a firehouse and design architectural plans. In a miniature town, kids can play grownup for a day as they change the tire on a wooden car, stock shelves in a model grocery store or serve pizza in a pretend kitchen. There’s even a three-story beanstalk to climb and a giant kaleidoscope to spin! In the summer, visitors can take a trip to the backyard beach, enjoy special events that include free family nights and special early entry.
7. Immerse yourself in the culture of Forest Park
Opened to the public in 1876 and home to the 1904 World’s Fair, at 1,300 acres, Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. This historic gem attracts 12 million visitors a year with world-class attractions, scenic walking and biking trails, golf courses and over 180 acres of nature preserves. Forest Park is operated by the City of St. Louis and is funded through the Zoo Museum District, which ensures that the institutions here – the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum and the Saint Louis Science Center – are free. Other points of interest include the Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater; the Jewel Box, a beautiful greenhouse filled with magnificent floral displays; and the World’s Fair Pavilion, a perfect site for a company picnic or private party.
8. Experience art in the fresh air
Enjoy a fusion of sculpture and landscape architecture at Citygarden, an urban oasis featuring modern and contemporary art, native plants and six rain gardens. Or discover the stunning Laumeier Sculpture Park with over 70 outdoor sculptures, a music amphitheater for special events and a rotating series of exhibitions. One of the first and largest dedicated sculpture parks in the country, Laumeier is free and open to the public. A fan of public art? Clayton is home to an outstanding collection of sculpture from renowned artists including works from Botero, Milles, Ben Tre and Trova. Chesterfield also boasts an impressive collection, including The Awakening, a 70-foot statue of a giant embedded in the earth.
9. Raise a pint to St. Louis’ brewing history
St. Louis is overflowing with breweries, from world-famous Anheuser-Busch to small craft producers. At A-B, visitors may choose from a number of tour experiences. You can visit the Clydesdales, learn to brew beer and take a behind-the-scenes VIP look at the brewing operations. As the city’s first craft brewery since prohibition, Schlafly is a St. Louis stalwart, offering great beer and great food at four area locations. With two locations in St. Louis – Midtown and The Grove – plus one in Germany, Urban Chestnut pours beers made with old-world techniques in a modern style. At 4 Hands Brewing Co., which is within walking distance to Busch Stadium, choose from a core lineup of lagers, ryes and ales, or pick a seasonal pour. Looking for a hidden gem? Try Narrow Gauge, which is tucked into an Italian restaurant in Florissant and sought after for its creative small-batch brews.
10. Have an animal encounter at the Zoo and beyond
Get up close and personal with the furry, the flying and the fishy creatures of the Saint Louis Zoo. One of the city’s many free attractions, the Saint Louis Zoo has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading zoological parks. . The Endangered Wolf Center’s mission is to preserve and protect wolves and other wild canid species. Visitors may experience these amazing animals through a variety of tours and events. At the St. Louis Aquarium, visitors explore aquatic life, from river, in the Confluence Gallery, to ocean, in the 250,000-gallon Shark Canyon. At the Butterfly House, more than 2,000 butterflies magically flit around an 8,000 square foot conservatory. World Bird Sanctuary sits on 305 acres and is home to over 200 animals representing over 60 species. This unique organization features free seasonal shows, nature trails and educational programs. Want even more animal action? Go on a private expedition through Grant’s Farm for an up-close and personal feeding experience with buffalo and goats. Stop by and visit the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales and take a ride on the Grant’s Farm carousel. Or explore the family-friendly Purina Farms, where you can interact with barnyard animals and see exciting performances by rescued dogs at the Incredible Dog Arena.
11. Discover your inner child at City Museum
Explore the City Museum’s unique all-ages multi-story playground filled with caves, slides and climbing apparatus made from recycled and found objects. Visitors can venture through the Museum of Mirth, Mystery and Mayhem and wander through the Elmslie and Sullivan architectural exhibit. Stop by Circus Harmony for circus-themed food and live performances held daily. Create your own masterpiece in Art City, take notes with the world’s largest pencil and grab a bite or a beer on every floor of this unique museum, from the first floor 19th century Cabin Inn to the Rooftop Cafe.
12. Eat your heart out
While you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the city’s tastiest (and most unique) treats. St. Louis has garnered a well-deserved national reputation as a food destination. A group of innovative and decorated chefs, makers and farmers define our local culinary scene, attracting the attention of food writers from around the nation at restaurants ranging from fine dining to fast casual. If you want a taste of only-in-STL eats, seek out a slice of St. Louis-style thin crust pizza smothered in Provel cheese and then pick up a mouth-watering gooey butter cake (the most delicious accident ever created). Snack on deep-fried toasted ravioli at one of the many dining establishments on The Hill, a quaint St. Louis neighborhood famous for Italian American cuisine. And to top it all off, satisfy your sweet tooth at Ted Drewes with a so-thick-you-can-turn-it-upside-down concrete.
13. Embrace spirituality through creative expression
Visit Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA), a venue committed to peaceful interfaith dialogue and understanding. Take in the beauty of one of the largest mosaic collections in the western hemisphere inside the spectacular Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis or see the historic Old Cathedral and St. Ferdinand Shrine, both constructed in the early 19th century with ties to the oldest Catholic congregation in St. Louis. Across the river, attend mass, walk the 200-acre grounds and enjoy the tranquility of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
14. Go on a journey of scientific discovery
At the Saint Louis Science Center, find out what it’s like to venture out into the wild, journey under the sea or fly high up in the air at the four-story Omnimax Theater, a film experience unlike any other. See a thrilling show at the Planetarium, one of nation’s leading space education facilities and the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere. Younger children will enjoy the Discovery Room filled with interactive exhibits and experiments, and visitors of all ages can explore over 700 hands-on displays including flight simulators, the GROW Lab and a life-sized animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex. At Myseum, kids learn science through fun and unique exhibits like a dino-dig, vet clinic, video wall, radar slide, magnetic ball wall and giant UFO maze. And MADE for Kids is a 7,000 square foot makerspace designed specifically for curious young minds. Kids can design and print 3D objects, create a stop-action movie, learn screen printing and try their hand at pottery.
15. Indulge your inner gearhead
Tour a collection of rare and vintage motorcycles at the Moto Museum, or explore the history, mechanics and design of the cart and buggy, planes, trains or anything else with wheels at the National Museum of Transportation. If you want to get in the driver’s seat. don’t miss Victory Raceway St. Louis – Indoor Karting or Amp Up Action Park for some world-class indoor carting action and much more. And if you’re visiting in the late winter, be sure to stop by the St. Louis Auto Show and Boat Show at America’s Center. Of course, race fans will not want to miss a visit to World Wide Technology Raceway, which hosted a NASCAR Cup Race in June of 2022. The Raceway presents drag races and oval track and road courses weekly May through November.
16. Appreciate art from the classics to contemporary
View a world-renowned collection of art ranging across 5,000 years and diverse global cultures at the St. Louis Art Museum. Opened in 1879, SLAM presents more than 2,700 objects, from sculpture and oil paintings to charcoal drawings and photography, and the museum is free and open to the public. Enjoy the works of up-and-coming artists at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, where there is no permanent collection, allowing the curators to feature work that is responsive and relevant. Right next door to CAM, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation presents contemporary art in a Tado Ando-designed building. With a focus on creating dynamic experiences with art, the Pulitzer features concerts by the Saint Louis Symphony, panel discussions and educational programs. A more permanent collection of contemporary art resides in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. One of the oldest teaching museums in the US, this unique museum is part of Washington University and is housed in a building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki.
17. Have an outdoor adventure
Climb, leap, hang and soar at the RYZE Adventure Park, a four-story, 100+ obstacle aerial adventure tower. Soar through the treetops at Adventure Valley Zipline. Hop on your bike and check out some of the 128 miles of paths built and maintained by the Great Rivers Greenway. Hit Castlewood State Park for al fresco activities ranging from fishing and hiking to horseback riding and biking. In fact, Castlewood is considered the best place to mountain bike in the St. Louis area! Journey underground at Onondaga Cave State Park, where you can camp, fish, hike, boat, bike and swim. Look for Jesse James’ hideout and discover buried treasure at Meramec Caverns, or stay the night at a comfy bed and breakfast in Missouri’s famous wine country while sampling some of the region’s finest varietals.
18. Shop ’til you drop!
St. Louis has no shortage of unique places to shop. Find vintage-inspired clothing, trendy and unique furniture, locally made crafts and accessories at specialty boutiques. Couture and designer brand-name fashions are available at dozens of high-end shops throughout the city. Hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures at many area antique shops and independent bookstores, or get it all under one roof at one of the many local malls and shopping centers.
19. Take an interactive history lesson
Take an exciting and educational trip through the past at the Missouri History Museum, where guests can view a variety of exhibits and join a See STL walking tour with excursions to various historical points of interest in the city. History lovers can also step inside the home of ragtime legend Scott Joplin, explore a world heritage site and ancient civilization at Cahokia Mounds and tour the final resting place of many of St. Louis’ most prominent citizens at Bellefontaine Cemetery. Step inside the century-old Central Library, a magnificent building designed by world-famous architect Cass Gilbert in 1912 and fully restored for its 100th anniversary. The building’s classic beauty, now complemented with 21st century technology, means visitors can find Civil War battle maps, learn a new language or create their own high-quality recording.
20. See a rockin’ live show
Get your live music fix at The Pageant, ranked one of the top five concert venues in the world by Pollstar. For larger multi-band tours and festivals, travel to the outdoor Hollywood Casino Amphitheater or the concert club at Enterprise Center. The Factory is an industrial-style venue dedicated to presenting diverse musical genres in a space designed with the performer as well as the audience in mind. For something more historic, visit Blueberry Hill, the landmark restaurant and music club known for hosting diverse touring acts as well as St. Louis’ top bands. For a more intimate venue, check out the award-winning Jazz at the Bistro or one of St. Louis’ famous blues clubs like Broadway Oyster Bar. You can also check out the National Blues Museum to learn about the history of the genre and catch a live performance. If you want to indulge in symphonic music, get tickets to a performance of the renowned St. Louis Symphony at Powell Hall. Founded in 1880, SLSO is the nation’s second oldest orchestra and considered one of the country’s best.
21. Stroll through the Missouri Botanical Garden
Explore 79 acres of lush gardens, landscape architecture, greenhouses and conservatories at the oldest botanical garden in the United States. Wander through collections of botanical and horticultural plants among beautiful fountains and statuary. Visit the Climatron for a real rainforest experience featuring magnificent waterfalls, tropical birds and exotic plants like bananas, cacao, coffee bushes and orchids. Other points of interest include the serene Japanese garden and the interactive and educational Children’s Garden.
22. Try your luck at one of St. Louis’ area casinos
In addition to all your favorite video poker games and classic table games like craps, blackjack, roulette and baccarat, each casino has something unique to offer visitors. Take in an intimate show at the luxurious Horseshoe St. Louis theatre or dance the night away in Judy’s Velvet Lounge at River City Casino. Hollywood Casino has more baccarat games than any other casino in the St. Louis area, and Ameristar Casino offers 130,000-square-feet of gaming space as well as a AAA Four Diamond full-service luxury suite hotel. All have excellent hotel amenities, delicious restaurants and top-notch entertainment.
23. Enjoy the magic of live theater
There’s no place finer than the historic and opulent Fabulous Fox in Grand Center for dazzling live theater, where you can catch the Broadway bug with a play, concert or dance troupe. Take in an award-winning Stages St. Louis musical at the state-of-the-art Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Immerse yourself in lush operatic drama at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Experience classic and modern playwrights at the Repertory Theater or the Stifel Theatre. Want to catch live theater under the stars? Bathe in moonlight during an outdoor show at Forest Park’s The Muny. Dating to 1917, it’s the nation’s largest outdoor amphitheater dedicated solely to musical theater. Or bring a chair and a picnic to Shakespeare Glen. Across from the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival has been performing free in Forest Park every summer since 2001.
24. Attend a fair or festival
In February you can join a Mardi Gras celebration second only to New Orleans, and summer visitors can get patriotic at Fair St. Louis, which features fireworks, air shows and free live concerts. If you’re visiting in the fall, attend the International Film Festival and see some of the world’s most innovative and cutting-edge films at St. Louis’ independent landmark theaters. Fall guests can wander among the booths and displays the St. Louis Art Fair and celebrate German culture with authentic food and live music at Soulard Oktoberfest. Before your visit, check out a full list of the city’s events.
25. Visit the Neighborhoods of St. Louis
Each St. Louis neighborhood has a unique character and style that adds something special to the regional patchwork of our city. Make a day of it at the Delmar Loop, a six-block entertainment and shopping district packed with hip bars, eclectic restaurants and live music venues. Head to the up-and-coming Grove neighborhood, known as “St. Louis’ bohemian paradise.” Dine across the globe on South Grand. Check out an impressive collection of beautiful Victorian “painted lady” homes in Lafayette Square. Take in the Italian cuisine and character of The Hill. Enjoy award-winning food purveyors and craft brewers in Maplewood. Experience abundant parks and plenty of both indoor and outdoor recreation in North County. Or, find the St. Louis neighborhood that is the perfect fit for you.