If you want to explore some of the top things to do in and around St. Louis, you’ve come to the right place!
Adventure is endless in the Gateway City. After all, this is the place where you can ride to the top of the country’s tallest monument and cheer on the 11-time World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
With a vibrant arts-and-culture scene, acclaimed restaurants, top-notch bars and free, family-friendly fun to boot, St. Louis is your gateway to a good time.
These are our picks for the top 25 things to do in St. Louis, but the list doesn’t stop here. We have much more to explore, from dining to nightlife and shopping to spas – plus, signature events that promise to keep you entertained while you’re in town.
Take a tram ride to the top of this gleaming, 630-foot monument. After you squeeze into a futuristic, five-person pod, it takes four minutes to ascend. At the top, small windows reveal spectacular views of the Old Courthouse, downtown St. Louis and beyond to the west and the Mississippi River and Illinois to the east. Tickets often sell out, so reserve your spots ahead of time. Back on the ground, explore the on-site museum, which traces more than 200 years of our region’s history in six themed exhibit areas. Visitors to Gateway Arch National Park can also board a 19th-century riverboat replica for a narrated cruise down the Mighty Mississippi. Want to splurge? Soar above the city with Gateway Helicopter Tours.
Sports fans, rejoice! St. Louis gives us something to cheer about all year long. Dress in red and head to Busch Stadium to see our 11-time World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, swing for the fences, or bundle up and snag a seat at Enterprise Center to watch the St. Louis Blues outskate their opponents. For a more intimate baseball experience – and some of the most creative game-day treats – check out the Gateway Grizzlies. Do we have any soccer fans? St. Louis CITY SC – and their devotees – put on epic shows every match. The St. Louis Battlehawks have also brought football back to St. Louis, while the St. Louis Surge light up the court. No matter the month, visitors can get a taste of true team spirit in this bona fide sports city.
Catapult into the air. Fly like a bat. Soar to new heights. Splash through whitewater rapids. And scream your head off! Located in Eureka, Six Flags St. Louis has attractions that appeal to thrill-seekers of all ages. Need to cool off? Head to Hurricane Harbor, a water park inside the amusement park, where you can experience zero gravity on the Typhoon Twister, compete for first place on the Wahoo Racer and set sail on Gulley Washer Creek. There are plenty of accommodations within minutes of the park, and visitors can take advantage of group discounts for youth groups, family reunions, company outings and more.
Looking for a fun night out? St. Louis’ entertainment districts – think Armory STL, Ballpark Village, City Foundry STL and Westport Plaza – are your ticket to fully immersed fun. If you’re looking for neighborhoods with a little bit of everything, head to the Central West End, Soulard, the Delmar Loop and The Grove. No matter where you go, you won’t be far from live music venues and top-notch bars. St. Louis also has a number of casinos that offer great gaming, incredible dining and electric experiences for those wishing to try their luck while they’re in the Gateway City.
In its heyday, St. Louis Union Station was one of the largest and busiest passenger rail terminals in the world. Today, it’s a source of endless entertainment for residents and visitors alike. The stunning complex houses more than 13,000 animals at the St. Louis Aquarium, the 200-foot St. Louis Wheel, a carousel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a ropes course and more. The 3D light show in the Grand Hall plays on the hour, and restaurants such as The Soda Fountain and The Train Shed will keep you fueled for infinite fun. When it’s time to rest your head, you don’t have to go far. St. Louis Union Station Hotel boasts timeless décor and modern amenities.
An epic adventure for preschoolers and young children, The Magic House offers hands-on interactive exhibits, where they can explore a child-size village, investigate scientific wonders and take on the role of a doctor or veterinarian. An ever-evolving cultural immersion area also shows youngsters what life is like in other countries, from the foods people eat to the homes they create. For older kids, there are 3D printers, electrically charged balls and more. In the Star-Spangled Center, parents might even learn something about a U.S. president or two. On top of that, The Magic House hosts events and special exhibits throughout the year. Did you know that the museum even builds its own exhibits, which subsequently tour similar facilities across the country? Pretty cool! At its satellite makerspace on Delmar Boulevard, MADE for Kids, four- to 14-year-olds can use their imaginations to tinker, create, invent, explore and discover. The 7,000-square-foot wonderland features an immersive makers workshop, artists studio, design lab and entrepreneurs marketplace.
Did you know that Forest Park in St. Louis is approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York City? Home to world-class attractions – most of which are also free! – it’s considered one of the best urban parks in the country. You can spend hours, even days, enjoying cultural institutions such as the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo and The Muny, an outdoor theater that has filled Forest Park with the sounds of Broadway for more than 100 years. The Jewel Box, an elegant greenhouse filled with magnificent flora, hosts its fair share of weddings, and the World’s Fair Pavilion is a perfect site for casual company outings or lively private parties.
St. Louis has approximately 200 days of sunshine a year, giving you ample time to get outside and enjoy art al fresco. Citygarden, an urban oasis in downtown St. Louis, features thought-provoking sculptures, landscape architecture, native plants and rain gardens, while Laumeier Sculpture Park boasts more than 60 outdoor sculptures, a music amphitheater and rotating exhibitions. Both are free, open to the public and worth a visit. Are you a fan of public art? The Walls Off Washington, a mural walk in the Grand Center Arts District, encompasses vibrant, uplifting artworks, and The Awakening, an aluminum sculpture in Chesterfield that depicts a 70-foot-tall giant clawing his way out of the ground, is a sight to behold. Clayton also encompasses an outstanding collection of public art, including works by Fernando Botero, Howard Ben Tré and Ernest Trova.
In St. Louis, great beer is a way of life. Ours is a city built on brewing, and today, people from all walks of life travel from near and far to make memories over a pint. Anheuser-Busch serves as a hub for brewing innovation, using the highest-quality ingredients, grown by American farmers, to produce more than 30 brands of beer. St. Louis also boasts almost 65 craft breweries. As you explore the region’s beer scene, we hope that you’ll raise a glass at one of our favorite spots, including 4 Hands Brewing Co., Melvin Brewing Eureka, Narrow Gauge Brewing Co., Schlafly Beer and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. Want to enjoy other sips at St. Louis watering holes? Check out our beer, wine and spirits guide.
From the furry to the flying to the fishy, St. Louis has an abundance of animals waiting to meet you. Arguably the best-kept secret in the St. Louis area, the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka helps save and protect wild canids, which you can glimpse on a daytime tour or hear on a nighttime howl. The Saint Louis Zoo, on the other hand, is one of the most popular attractions in Forest Park, but it offers equally magical animal encounters. A leading zoo in animal management, research, conservation and education, it takes visitors on a journey where bears splash in plunge pools, monkeys swing from trees and penguins squawk for more fish. At the World Bird Sanctuary, you can meet a proud eagle, talk to a colorful parrot, encounter an emu and learn to appreciate vultures, while guests of Grant’s Farm can watch for free-roaming bovines, feed the goats and participate in a short and sweet animal show. Diving deeper, the St. Louis Aquarium holds approximately 250,000 gallons of water and more than 13,000 aquatic animals. Can’t get enough of the animal kingdom? Frolic with butterflies at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, marvel at the Purina Incredible Dog Team at Purina Farms and look for white-tailed deer, elk, bison, waterfowl and more on a drive through Lone Elk Park.
City Museum invites visitors to explore the unexpected. Housed in a 600,000-square-foot former shoe company warehouse, the all-ages architectural playground offers a truly immersive experience, where you can climb into a bow whale’s mouth, rocket down a 10-story slide and pilot a plane suspended in the air. With a partner, friends or family, navigate an underground tunnel system, marvel at pancake art and write with the world’s largest pencil. At Circus Harmony, you can also test your circus skills and snack on peanuts or popcorn. How serious is City Museum about exploring? The gift shop sells knee pads – which aren’t a bad idea! If you need a break, grab a bite or a beer on any floor, from the 19th-century Cabin Bar to the Rooftop Café.
Recently named one of America’s next great food cities by Food & Wine, St. Louis boasts a culinary scene that continues to grow, innovate, diversify and delight. A group of innovative and decorated chefs, makers and farmers define our local cuisine, attracting national attention for everything from fast-casual eateries to fine-dining restaurants and foraged ingredients to sustainable products. If you want a taste of St. Louis-only eats, check out our guide to the most iconic dishes in town. Spoiler alert: It’s a feast of St. Louis-style pizza smothered in Provel, crispy toasted ravioli stuffed with ground beef and grilled pork steaks slathered in tangy barbecue sauce. Life is short, so if you want to dig into dessert first, we won’t judge. Grab gooey butter cake at establishments throughout the region and frozen custard at Ted Drewes, where concretes are served upside down to prove their thickness.
St. Louis offers unique, alluring and artistic ways to embrace spirituality. Nestled in the Central West End neighborhood, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is not just a Roman Catholic Church; it’s a distinguished work of art. With its lofty vaults and radiant mosaics, the sheer scale of the building’s beauty is awe-inspiring. In its creation, more than a dozen architects’ and artisans’ concepts coalesced into a magnificently well-integrated and harmonious whole. We also recommend visiting Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA), the first museum in the U.S. to bring an interfaith focus to contemporary art. Through exhibitions, collections and educational programs, MOCRA explores and showcases the various ways that contemporary artists engage with religious and spiritual dimensions. Facilitating personal discovery, inspiration and creativity, MOCRA also contributes to a wider culture of interfaith encounters and conversations.
Science is cool, and St. Louis makes it easy to go on journeys of discovery during your visit. The Saint Louis Science Center, one of the many fantastic – and free – attractions in Forest Park, specializes in “Aha!” moments. As you test the laws of physics, sneak by a life-size, animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex, explore the night sky and build a replica of the Gateway Arch, you’ll ask and answer hundreds of questions. You might also consider paying for a special exhibition or a film at the OMNIMAX Theater if something sparks your interest. For more hands-on experiments, head to Myseum. A combination children’s museum, science museum and indoor playground, Myseum has 30 unique exhibits to explore. Kids can dig for dinosaurs, play with glow shapes, interact with the video wall, “work” at an imaginary zoo clinic and more. Every visit offers something new, educational and, above all, fun for growing minds. Just remember to bring socks!
Start your engines! At Victory Raceway, the electric go-karts reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour on the indoor racetrack. There are no two-seaters here – everyone drives. At Amp Up Action Park, you can zip around a custom-built track in the most technologically advanced indoor kart in the world; then, complete a heart-pounding adventure in the three-level, black light-lit laser tag arena. There’s also an elevated ropes course, axe throwing, arcade games and pickleball. Fans of racing will find even more action at World Wide Technology Raceway, currently the only track in the world to host the NASCAR Cup Series, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and Formula DRIFT. To explore the history, mechanics and design of planes, trains and automobiles, head to the National Museum of Transportation, which has one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world, encompassing more than 190 major exhibits.
In St. Louis, you’re sure to find art that will leave an impression. Boasting one of the country’s leading comprehensive collections, the Saint Louis Art Museum, a free fixture in Forest Park, inspires discovery and elevates the human spirit. Artworks by Max Beckmann, Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Lewis, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Kehinde Wiley stand out, but the museum also offers thought-provoking temporary exhibitions ranging from native art to French landscapes and global textiles to ancient armor. In the Grand Center Arts District, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation are free, as well. Not having a permanent collection allows both museums to adapt and respond to the global art world as well as the local community. To create dynamic experiences with art, the Pulitzer also hosts concerts by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, tours with the curators, 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 country. If you’re interested, it offers public tours, which cover a variety of topics, on Saturdays. The Saint Louis University Museum of Art encompasses an impressive permanent collection of works by modern masters, as well. Pop art by Andy Warhol, avant-garde glass by Dale Chihuly, paradoxical pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, abstract portraits from Chuck Close and more sit inside the stunning Beaux-Arts building, which dates to the turn of the 20th century. To appreciate art in a more casual setting, check out High Low, the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, Sophie’s Artist Lounge, Soulard Art Gallery and Third Degree Glass Factory.
From nature walks to float trips to treetop tours, St. Louis has outdoorsy fun for everyone. If you want to connect with our historic rivers, sign up to paddle with Big Muddy Adventures or float with Brookdale Farms. Hurricane Harbor inside Six Flag St. Louis and Raging Rivers Waterpark also offer wet and wild fun. At RYZE Adventure Park, thrill-seekers can climb, zip-line, swing, ride, rappel and trek through the state-of-the-art Adventure Tower featuring 110 different obstacles reaching four stories high. Adventure Valley also has 10 zip lines as well as a paintball park. For outdoor adventures ranging from hiking to biking and paddle boarding to horseback riding, check out our lush public parks such as Castlewood State Park, Creve Coeur Park, Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, Rockwoods Reservation and Tower Grove Park. Journey underground at Meramec Caverns, which boasts astounding formations – think glistening stalactites, towering stalagmites, an ancient “wine table” and a seven-story “mansion” – that were formed from the erosion of large limestone deposits over millions of years. And when winter arrives, embrace the cold by hitting the slopes at Hidden Valley or gliding around the ice at Steinberg Skating Rink.
St. Louis has no shortage of unique places to shop. From locally owned boutiques to diverse shopping centers, you can find the perfect gift or souvenir to take home. Apparel, accessories, art, housewares, books, handicrafts, foodstuffs and more abound at our favorite shops, where your money supports area artists, makers and entrepreneurs. For a wide assortment of one-of-a-kind treasures, peruse Cherokee Antique Row, City Foundry STL, Civil Alchemy, Hearth & Soul, Plaza Frontenac, the Saint Louis Galleria, Urban Matter and more.
Throughout St. Louis, historic sites and museums tell stories of the region’s past, present and future. From Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site to Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum and the Missouri Civil War Museum to The Griot Museum of Black History, local attractions cover a range of significant topics and spotlight a variety of historical figures. At the Museum at the Gateway Arch, you’ll hear untold tales of the city’s founding, examine westward expansion from multiple perspectives and see artifacts and tactiles commemorating America’s pioneering spirit. You can also take a deep dive into the history of the Gateway Arch, learning new tidbits about its design, construction and lasting legacy. The exhibits at the Missouri History Museum occasionally change, but they’re always well done, and if you’re looking for innovative and unexpected ways to interact with St. Louis history, you can join one of the Missouri Historical Society’s See STL tours. For information on more historic sites and museums such as the Campbell House Museum, Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion, Field House Museum, Old Courthouse and Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, check out our historic St. Louis guide.
St. Louis is your ticket to great music. From small stages to sold-out stadiums and country to hip-hop – if you’re in the mood for live entertainment, you’ll find it here. Intimate venues – with no covers, might we add – include Broadway Oyster Bar, Hammerstone’s, The Garage, The Honky Tonk and Tin Roof. We also recommend snagging seats at shows hosted by City Winery St. Louis, Jazz St. Louis, The Factory and The Pageant. For dazzling spectacles at massive arenas, get tickets to Chaifetz Arena, Enterprise Center, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – St. Louis and The Dome at America’s Center. This is only a handful of our beloved concert venues – find more places to rock out in our music guide.
The Missouri Botanical Garden has long been a place of beauty, serenity and discovery, as well as an institution of scientific research and education. Every visit represents a new opportunity to learn about plants and how they’re connected to our lives. Will you be able to choose your favorite flora among the 27,000 options? Throughout the year, you might catch one of the Garden’s annual events, including the Orchid Show, the Whitaker Music Festival, the Japanese Festival and the Best of Missouri Market, on your walk, too.
While St. Louis casinos have plenty of places to play blackjack, craps, roulette and slots, each one offers something unique, as well. Hollywood Casino St. Louis boasts more baccarat games than any other casino in the area, while River City Casino hosts epic events featuring live music, stand-up comedy, prize fights and more. Horseshoe St. Louis offers access to the Topgolf Swing Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, and Ameristar Casino Resort Spa pampers guests with lavish spa services. All of the casinos in the region have excellent hotel amenities and delicious dining options, too.
Have you caught the Broadway bug? Luckily, dazzling musical productions make their way to The Fabulous Fox in the Grand Center Arts District and The Muny in Forest Park throughout the year. STAGES St. Louis and the St. Louis Black Repertory Company put on spectacular shows, ranging from A Chorus Line to The African Company Presents Richard III to Million Dollar Quartet. And audiences can experience the magic of innovative storytelling at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Union Avenue Opera, where performances travel between fantasy and reality, comedy and tragedy, love and revenge. The spotlight also shines at .ZACK, a 202-seat, proscenium-style theater, which hosts everything from one-woman shows to large-cast musicals; Circus Flora, which performs one-ring circus productions at The Big Top; Center of Creative Arts, where the thought-provoking programming features talented students from COCA’s Pre-Professional Division dance and theater companies; and The Marcelle, which welcomes musicals, plays, dance productions and other performances from Kranzberg Arts Foundation resident organizations and independent producers to its stage. If you’re interested in movement, check out the lineup from Dance St. Louis, which brings world-class performances to the area, making dance accessible to a diverse audience.
Every year, fairs and festivals enliven St. Louis’ event calendar, with signature events such as Soulard Mardi Gras, Pridefest, Music at the Intersection, The Great Forest Park Balloon Glow and Race and Winterfest taking the cake for the most memorable. Art-lovers should plan trips around Art in Bloom, the Saint Louis Art Museum’s annual celebration of flowers and fine art; the Laumeier Art Fair, a showcase of 150 juried artists at Laumeier Sculpture Park; Let Them Eat Art, a celebration of the arts and a whimsical tribute to Bastille Day in Maplewood; and the Saint Louis Art Fair, an explosion of color in the streets of Clayton. There are also plenty of events for the music, food, film and sports enthusiasts among us – think Evolution Festival, Taste of St. Louis, the St. Louis International Film Festival and Arch Madness.
St. Louis is often referred to as a city of neighborhoods. Each one has its own identity, with a unique character, style and vibe that adds to the vibrant patchwork of our region. As you explore our diverse neighborhoods, you’ll experience the convergence of intriguing history, exquisite architecture, eclectic boutiques, signature cuisine and entertaining nightlife. Dine around the world on South Grand Boulevard, drink and dance in The Grove, admire the “Painted Ladies” in Lafayette Square and more. We don’t expect you to see and do everything in one trip, though, which is why we’ve created neighborhood guides to help you decide where to start.
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