12 Fantastic Things to do in St. Louis, MO on Your Trip

Mona Bagasao Cave

St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri, nestled proudly on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, was the departure point for westward-bound pioneers in the 19th century. It was founded in 1764 by French fur traders and was named for their king, Louis IX. The city's French name was established when the U.S.A. eventually bought the land from France. 

Today, it is a vital city that welcomes visitors of all ages for fun, learning, and excitement. Our list will survey a variety of the attractions available in this vibrant metropolis, highlighting some not-to-be-missed places and activities.

Our Gateway Arch experience begins with an interactive museum covering two centuries of history. Then, an animated introduction to the Arch itself follows. Finally, the real magic: a tram ride to the top of the world's tallest arch! 

Plan on an hour for the trip up and back, with plenty of time to “ooh and aah” at the views from the top. NOTE: the ride to the top is not entirely accessible. 

1. The Riverfront

St. Louis
Credit: Depositphotos

While at the Arch, we might as well enjoy the other activities the 1.5 mile riverfront promenade offers. We can take a scenic riverboat cruise up and down the river. This is a working riverfront, so we'll see activities that have helped keep the U.S. and the world going for hundreds of years. Or, take a dinner cruise and see what it's like when the work is done. The riverfront has clubs that hop till late hours, plenty of photo ops, and it's the hub for the River Ring bike trails.

2. The Jewel Box

By 1910, the growing city's smog and pollution were so bad that leaders didn't think the city's flowers could survive. To help the flowers, they built this most unusual greenhouse. The structure's 50-foot-high walls are plate glass fitted into wood and copper frames. The Jewel Box, restored to its former glory in 2002 after being included on the National Register of Historic Places, hosts lush floral holiday exhibits and regular horticultural displays. 

3. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Credit: Jfortner2015/ Depositphotos

For art lovers and those drawn to the transcendent, The Cathedral is for us. It boasts the largest collection of mosaics outside of Russia. Over 76 years, dozens of artists placed 41.5 million glass pieces in more than 7,000 colors into the brilliant, inspiring murals. Guided tours are available, but some may just want to sit and reflect on the nature of beauty in this mystical place.

4. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery

credit: Depositphotos

Named a National Historic Landmark for its remarkable buildings and role in the beer industry, the Brewery has offered tours since the 1890s. On the tour, we learn about Bud's 30 beers, from “the seed to the sip.” And, of course, for those who wish, there is sipping. A team of the famous Clydesdale horses is kept at the Brewery. Children of all ages can't get enough of these magnificent creatures. We can watch them exercise daily and see their accommodations in the carriage house.

5. Grant's Farm

Lipica Stud Farm
credit: depositphotos

We can head to Grant's Farm if we need a bigger Clydesdale fix – with some other animals to round out the experience. This is a child's dream – they can pet, play with, and even bottle-feed baby animals under the watch of the expert staff. There are rides, picnic areas, and – as promised – more Clydesdales. This is a parent's dream, too. From late spring through fall, the general admission to Grant's Farm is FREE! 

7. St. Louis Museum

Did I say Grant's Farm was a child's dream? Wait till they see The St. Louis Museum!

Housed in an old shoe factory with many exhibits made of repurposed items, this is the wildest, weirdest museum ever. It's an architectural playground with tunnels, caves, rides, and more – inside and outside. And there are slides – 5 and 10-story high slides! A human-sized hamster wheel and a circus ring to host live shows daily. And adults can have all the same sliding, climbing, hopping, jumping, and marveling fun the kids do. The educational exhibits are fun and accessible even to the most willful child.

8. The St. Louis Zoo

Cincinnati Zoo
credit: depositphotos

The St Louis Zoo is a global leader in animal research, conservation, and education. USA Today named it the best zoo in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018. The emphasis is on providing animals, including butterflies and insects, with the most natural and safe environment while allowing humans to learn about and enjoy them. New electric trains transport visitors through the Zoo. Staff members are happy to share stories about the animals with guests. Admission is free. 

9. Soulard Market

Traveler buying at market
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

We can enjoy the history and vibrancy of the oldest public market in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River on Wednesdays through Saturdays. The building, completed in 1929, is H-shaped. There isn't much we won't find there. The permanent stores include bakeries, butcher shops, florists, and spice shops. Handmade items are from soaps to clothing, cheeses, metalworks, art, cafes, and produce. Saturday is the most crowded day. But some vendors only sell on Saturdays. So we'll have to see everything and fight crowds, or miss some things and have a more leisurely experience. Maybe both!

10. Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village
Credit: brians101 /Depositphotos

They've won 19 National League pennants and 11 World Series Championships. And they've called St. Louis home since 1882. No wonder the city loves its Cardinals! Their third stadium, Busch Stadium, is the center of this high-spirited entertainment area. The Village, next to the stadium, sits on the land previously occupied by Busch Memorial Stadium, the team's second home field. It includes the Cardinal's Hall of Fame Museum, a German-inspired beer garden, a marketplace, bars, and restaurants. You don't have to frequent any of these to enjoy the vibe and energy of the Village, though. Just being in the area will pump you up.

11. Forest Park

Named in 2022 and 2023 as the Best Urban Park in the U.S. by USA Today, Forest Park has a proud legacy. Created in 1876, it was the site for the 1904 World's Fair and 1904 Olympics. Several of the locations mentioned earlier in this post are in the Park. But its 1300+ acres include a lot more. The St. Louis Art Museum; a 30-mile dual path system for both leisurely strolls and intense workouts; athletic fields and courts; family playgrounds; a roller/ice skating rink; a golf course; the World's Fair pavilion – all are waiting in Forest Park.

Art Hill, outside the Museum, is crowded on snow days with young sledders, some of them with sleds made of cardboard. No one cares – it's just fun! The Park is also home to a 194-acre Nature Reserve with a 2.5-mile river system and a native old-growth forest habitat, restored forests and woodlands, tall grass prairies, savannas, and wetlands.

12. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard 

Italian Gelato
Credit: Depositphotos

Featured in the 2024 History Channel'sThe Food That Built America“, Ted Drewes is the quintessential St. Louis dessert. Available only at the two family-owned shops, this “not ice cream” has people lining up in the street on hot summer evenings. The New York Times leaked that the concrete, Ted Drewes' signature concoction, was the origin of Dairy Queen's blizzard. Real concrete is a frozen custard mixed with your choice of toppings. It's so thick a spoon stuck in it won't fall out when the concrete is turned upside down. There are about 52 possible add-ins. (I always have maraschino cherries.) Previously open only during the summer months, Ted Drewes is now available year-round except in January. 


This is just the beginning if we're looking for things to enjoy and benefit from in the heart of the U.S.A. But these are the things I wouldn't want us to miss on our St. Louis visit. If you think of anything else, let me know in the comments. I'll meet you at Ted Drewes as soon as I can get there!

7 thoughts on “12 Fantastic Things to do in St. Louis, MO on Your Trip”

  1. Powell Symphony Hall and Fox Theatre, plus you may want
    To add The Muni Opera and maybe The Loretta-Hilton Theatre on the campus of Webster University. And, of course Union Station.


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