The best guided tours provide aha moments, when you discover something new about a place and it changes your entire perspective.
If you’re looking for those monumental moments in St. Louis, consider these guided tours, which are led by exuberant experts and offered in a variety of styles.
Want to know more about The Gateway City’s history, architecture, music, public art, outdoor recreation or culinary scene? These jaw-dropping experiences await you.
Paradise is a paddle away, and Big Muddy Adventures can prove it. The world-class St. Louis-based adventure company provides access to the wild wonders of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers with its full fleet of canoes and kayaks. Whether you want to do a microadventure in downtown St. Louis, embark on a full moon float to an uninhabited river island or add a bike ride along the Katy Trail to your aquatic adventure, river trips with Big Muddy Adventures are always memorable. The professional outfitter also guides multi-day journeys, which give you a greater sense of the changing scenery along the big rivers. “St. Louis is a funner city when you enjoy recreational activities on its rivers,” general manager Roo Yawitz says. “The rivers are our greatest assets, and I just want to see more people use them.”
For candid commentary about the Gateway City, Missouri native and Washington University in St. Louis alumnus Dea Hoover is your girl. Join her on a leisurely, one-mile walk in Forest Park, where you’ll learn about the past and present uses of the green space. Discover the hidden gems of the Central West End through a literary lens. Or eat your way through The Hill in the company of LynnMarie Alexander, author of The Hill: St. Louis’s Italian American Neighborhood. Traveling with a crowd? Discover St. Louis offers group and motorcoach tours that accommodate a variety of interests. Hoover also owns and operates Are We There Yet?, which curates bespoke tours of St. Louis for prospective freshmen, corporate clients and everyone in between.
Take a bite out of St. Louis. Spotlighting the culinary delights of The Hill, Eat St. Louis Food Tours visits six restaurants and food purveyors, which serve some of the best St. Louis-style Italian food in the city. Enjoy toasted ravioli, St. Louis-style pizza, gelato and more as you traverse approximately two miles of the neighborhood with its quaint, red-brick buildings. Along the way, your guide will regale you with a colorful account of the area’s history.
Did you know that the Wainwright Building, designed by Louis Sullivan in downtown St. Louis, is widely considered the prototype of the skyscraper? Learn more about the iconic structure and other historic architecture with Landmarks Downtown Walking Tours. The company’s tours cover either the east side of the city – from the Eads Bridge to the Gateway Arch to the Old Courthouse – or the west side of the city – from St. Louis Union Station to Soldiers Memorial Military Museum to the St. Louis Public Library – Central Library. Your spirited guides will share astounding facts about famous landmarks as well as hidden gems, and they’ll also discuss the art of historic preservation.
All aboard! The Riverboats at the Gateway Arch provide unparalleled views of St. Louis’ working riverfront from the waters of the Mighty Mississippi. The replica 19th-century paddle steamers, Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer, transport riders back to a time when steamboats ruled the river. Themed adventures include the one-hour St. Louis Riverfront Cruise, which highlights the important role of the Mississippi River in our past, present and future; the two-hour Skyline Dinner Cruise, which features a chef-driven menu, live music and illuminated views of the St. Louis skyline; and the Blues Cruise, which welcomes the region’s best blues artists on board for toe-tapping fun. Throughout the year, other cruises mark special occasions such as the Fourth of July, Oktoberfest, Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
Infectious enthusiasm defines See STL tours. Operated by the Missouri Historical Society, its lineup of walking and bus tours combine unmatched historical knowledge with engaging storytelling, giving residents and visitors alike the opportunity to interact with the Gateway City in innovative and unexpected ways. The two-hour tours are offered in various neighborhoods, including Cherokee Street, Downtown St. Louis, Dutchtown, Grand Center, Laclede’s Landing, Soulard, The Ville and Webster Groves. Public tours take place seven days a week. Sign up today for a new view of an old city.
Hop on an authentic trolley – complete with brass rails and bells – for a fully narrated, 75-minute tour of the Gateway City. Get acquainted with popular attractions and local haunts as you tool around town, spotting Busch Stadium, the Saint Louis Science Center, Blueberry Hill and more out the window. Picking up at Horseshoe St. Louis, a casino on Laclede’s Landing, tours cover 25 miles from start to finish.
Explore St. Louis on two wheels with Trailnet. The local nonprofit aims to make walking and biking in St. Louis better for everyone, and its community rides are a must-do for residents and visitors alike. The guided group bike rides proceed at a leisurely pace and dig into the history and culture of the Gateway City. Rides last approximately three hours, covering topics such as Juneteenth, Jewish history, community gardens and public art.
Wanna go for a ride? Trikke STL leads guided tours on three-wheel, electric Trikkes for hassle-free fun! The maneuverable vehicles are uniquely stable, giving riders the ability to “carve” side to side for an exhilarating skier’s feel and an enjoyable, low-impact workout. The company’s exceptional guides will instruct you on how to properly operate your Trikke, and you’ll be comfortably equipped with a wireless listening device, so you won’t miss any of the tidbits that they share. Trikke STL tours embrace the natural scenery of St. Louis, from Forest Park to Tower Grove Park to Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum, and the guides know the best places to stop for photos.
This free, interactive map explores St. Louis’ diverse history through cinematic audio stories. You can stand where history happened and hear from the people at the center of the action. Virginia Minor, who sued for her right to vote in Missouri in the same year that Susan B. Anthony was arrested for trying to vote; John Berry Meachum, who found ways around Missouri law in order to educate Black students; and an Osage family, who has to sort through the good and bad of encroaching settlers are all featured on the audio map. The best part? You can listen to the stories anywhere with an internet connection – in case you don’t have time to visit every spot during your trip to St. Louis or you want to go back to your favorite recordings at home.
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