48 Hours in St. Louis

If you only have 48 hours in St. Louis to explore here are a few can’t miss ideas. St. Louis is a place where history and innovation collide, and the result is a destination like no other. From Union Station and the Gateway Arch downtown, to the jewels throughout Forest Park here is a two day serving of St. Louis.

Day 1

1. St. Louis Union Station - Grand Hall Light Show

30 min - 1 hour

Today, Union Station is a balance of nostalgia and renovation. The stylish and sophisticated Grand Hall features elegant historic touches like the original terrazzo floor, green glazed terracotta bricks, stained glass windows and wooden carpentry detailing.


But look up to see modern times—an innovative and breathtaking 3D light show set to music projects across the Grand Hall’s entire 65-foot vaulted ceiling, every day at 5pm, for an exciting mix of old-meets-new. Take in the light show from the Grand Hall’s fabulous lobby and full lounge bar, where you can enjoy a cocktail or linger over a delicious meal. Or enjoy a spectacular animated fire and light show, synchronized to music, which dazzles visitors at Union Station’s small lake.


https://www.stlouisunionstation.com/ | Get Directions

2. The St. Louis Wheel

30 min

Visitors get a bird’s-eye view of the train shed and the iconic St. Louis skyline when they board the neighboring 200-foot St. Louis Wheel. Open year-round, the observation wheel features 42 enclosed gondolas, each equipped with seating for eight adults.


https://www.thestlouiswheel.com/ | Get Directions

3. St. Louis Aquarium

1-2 hours

Anchoring the entire Union Station development is the stunning St. Louis Aquarium.  The 120,000-square-foot  attraction features one-of-a-kind exhibits and tanks housing thousands of aquatic species from the rivers and oceans of the world.


Also available at St. Louis Union Station: Mirror Maze, Ropes Course, The Carousel, Mini Golf and much more.


https://www.stlouisaquarium.com/ | Get Directions

Lunch Suggestion – St. Louis Union Station: Food options at St. Louis Union Station include Soda Fountain, Train Shed, 1894 Café, Landry’s Seafood House, Station Grille and the Grand Hall. www.stlouisunionstation.com/taste

4. Soldier's Memorial Military Museum

1-2 hours

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum is a state-of-the-art museum facility in downtown St. Louis that honors military service, veterans and their families. Soldiers Memorial shares American military history through the lens of St. Louis. Following a multi-million-dollar revitalization, this St. Louis landmark reopened November 3, 2018 under the operational leadership of the Missouri Historical Society. (FREE)



https://mohistory.org/memorial | Get Directions

5. Gateway Arch National Park

2+ hours

Standing 630 feet tall, our nation’s tallest man-made monument anchors Gateway Arch National Park and stands as the iconic symbol of the westward expansion of the United States. The Gateway Arch experience includes the Tram Ride to the Top, the all new Museum at the Gateway Arch, the Monument to the Dream documentary movie, the Arch Store, the Arch Cafe, and cruises aboard the Gateway Arch Riverboats.


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

Dinner SuggestionThe MX District or Washington Avenue

Day 2

1. Forest Park

All Day

One of the largest urban parks in the United States. At 1,371 acres Forest Park is approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York City. In 1904, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the greatest of the World’s Fairs, drew more than 19 million visitors from around the world to the park and St. Louis. Forest Park is home to the Art Museum, Science Center, Zoo, Jewel Box greenhouse, History Museum, The Muny outdoor theatre, a 7.5-mile biking, jogging and skating path, ice skating rink, lakes and so much more. (FREE)


The Grand Basin in Forest Park

https://www.forestparkforever.org/ | Get Directions

2. Saint Louis Zoo

2-3 hours

Saint Louis Zoo is home to more than 18,000 exotic animals, many of them rare and endangered. These 700 species represent the major continents and biomes of the world. Set in the rolling hills, lakes and glades of Forest Park, the Saint Louis Zoo is always a great place to be. (FREE)


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

3. Saint Louis Art Museum

2 hours

The Saint Louis Art Museum is located in the heart of historic Forest Park. The  Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Beyond the collections, the Museum offers unique shopping and dining experiences to help make your visit more enjoyable. (FREE)


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

4. Missouri History Museum

1-2 hours

The Missouri History Museum was originally built as the first national monument to Thomas Jefferson. The Museum looks at the history of St. Louis from its founding in 1764 up to the present day. Discover the city’s baseball history from the Browns to the Cardinals, marvel at the magnitude of the 1904 World’s Fair and much more. (FREE)


https://mohistory.org/museum | Get Directions

5. Saint Louis Science Center

1-2 hours

At the Saint Louis Science Center you can explore 700-plus exhibits, the OMNIMAX® Theater, James S. McDonnell Planetarium, special traveling exhibitions and more. Group rates available. Open daily.  (General admission is FREE)


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

6. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (New Cathedral)

1-2 Hours

The New Cathedral is one of the largest mosaic collections in the Western hemisphere.  The Cathedral is located in the heart of the city of St. Louis, just east of Forest Park, and is one of the must sees in St. Louis. Self-guided tours do not require reservations. Guided tours are available Monday – Saturday by appointment only.  (FREE)


http://cathedralstl.org/ | Get Directions

7. World Chess Hall of Fame

1-1.5 hours

The World Chess Hall of Fame celebrates one of the world’s oldest and best-loved games through vibrant, engaging exhibitions and creative programming. The organization presents exhibitions that explore the history of the game as well as its remarkable impact on arts and culture. (FREE)


World Chess Hall of Fame - stlfromabove

https://worldchesshof.org/ | Get Directions

Dinner SuggestionMidtown

8. Grand Center Arts District

All Night Long

Grand Center Arts District invites you to immerse yourself in St. Louis’ epicenter for the arts. Here, world-class talent performs, and aspiring artists hone their craft. Eclectic venues line the streets offering everything from Broadway to Black Box Theater, Bebop to Beethoven, street art to galleries and pub-fare to fine dining.


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

9. The Fabulous Fox Theater

1-3 hours

The Fabulous Fox Theater is a magnificently restored theatre in the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District. The perfect venue to see the hottest Broadway shows and concerts. Prices vary, see website for performance schedule. Tours offered Tue., Thur. and Sat. at 10:30 a.m.


https://www.fabulousfox.com/ | Get Directions

10. Jazz St. Louis

2 hours

Jazz St. Louis offers the best in live jazz in a newly renovated, intimate 200 seat listening room featuring reserved tables, exceptional sound, clear sight lines, and optional dinner or drinks.


https://jazzstl.org/ | Get Directions

11. The Grandel

1-3 hours

The Grandel is a multi-use arts facility renovated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation and reopened in 2017. The Grandel is home to a 600-capacity state-of-the-art theatre; The Dark Room at The Grandel – a full service bar and restaurant featuring a rotating gallery of quality photography exhibits and free live music; and the Grand Hall at The Grandel – a beautiful private event space.


The Grandel in Grand Center, St. Louis, MO

https://www.kranzbergartsfoundation.org/the-grandel/ | Get Directions

12. Circus Flora

1-3 hours

Circus Flora is a magical, theatrical experience under a big top in a single ring. Original  live music and a narrative frame the acts, bringing animals and people together in a unique celebration. Classic circus traditions, theatre techniques, an ensemble cast, and a story line produce a mesmerizing show that delivers wonder and amazement. Intimate and astonishing, the way circus is supposed to be.


Circus Flora

https://circusflora.org/ | Get Directions
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