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9 Best Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri

The largest city in Missouri, St Louis is a vibrant mix of museums, gardens, parks, and breweries. More than just its iconic Gateway Arch, this “Gateway to the West” offers a long list of exciting things to see and do. Whether it’s exploring the largest mosaic collections in the western hemisphere, catching thrills at St. Louis’s most popular theme park, or taking advantage of its budget-friendly activities, there is an attraction sure to satisfy the entire family. From outdoor adventures to family-friendly fun, discover the top things to do in St. Louis.

Get A Bird's Eye View at the Gateway Arch Gateway Arch
Credit: Gateway Arch by bigstock.com

Get A Bird's Eye View at the Gateway Arch

What Is It? An iconic symbol of St. Louis, the Gateway Arch was built to reflect St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States.

Why Do It? Completed in 1965, this stainless steel engineering marvel is a must-see. You can take a Tram Ride to the Top for a birds-eye view as you ascend 630 feet to the top of the Arch via unique tram cars. Learn about its rich history as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening to the West, to the pioneers that helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse. 

Good to Know: For a unique perspective, you can join a scenic riverboat cruise on the Mississippi at the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch, located on the St. Louis Riverfront.

Soak in History at Gateway Arch National Park Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
Credit: Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Soak in History at Gateway Arch National Park

What Is It? Encompassing the famous Gateway Arch, Gateway Arch National Park also includes fun attractions like the Old Courthouse and the Museum at the Gateway Arch.

Why Do It? Start your journey at The Museum at the Gateway Arch, which highlights the captivating story of the Native Americans, explorers, and pioneers in this region. You’ll find a collection of interactive exhibits that are engaging for all ages, with galleries spanning from 1764 to 1965. Topics range from Colonial St. Louis and Jefferson’s Vision to New Frontiers and The Riverfront Era. 

Good to Know: Another site here worth visiting is the Old Courthouse, where you can walk in the footsteps of some of America’s greats. Learn about its location as the site of several notable cases, including where Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom and Virginia Minor fought for women’s right to vote. 

Explore Nature at the Missouri Botanical Garden Missouri Botanical Garden
Credit: Missouri Botanical Garden by Missouri Botanical Garden

Explore Nature at the Missouri Botanical Garden

What Is It? Perfect for nature lovers of all ages, the Missouri Botanical Garden is 79 acres of lush gardens and stands as the oldest botanical garden in the United States. 

Why Do It? Visitors can enjoy wandering through the stunning collections of horticultural plants decorated with beautiful fountains, waterfalls, and landscaped architecture. The Japanese Garden is one of the many highlights here, where visitors can feed koi fish in the 14-acre peaceful landscape. 

Good to Know: Visitors will also find a rose garden, an aqua-tunnel under a water-lily pool, an herbarium, and a children’s garden in addition to attractions that include a cave, prairie village, and treehouse.

Walk on the Wild Side at the St. Louis Zoo St. Louis Zoo
Credit: St. Louis Zoo by stlzoo.org

Walk on the Wild Side at the St. Louis Zoo

What Is It? Currently ranked America’s “Top Free Attraction”, the St. Louis Zoo boasts more than 15,000 exotic animals such as armadillos, sloths, swans, penguins, turtles, and gators in addition to lions, tigers, and bears on its expansive property. 

Why Do It? Perfect for both adults and kids, the zoo has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading zoological parks. Visitors can get up close and personal and observe exciting exhibits such as the Big Cat Country, Penguin & Puffin Coast, the Interactive Stingray Pool, and the children’s petting zoo. 

Good to Know: Visitors can also take an enchanting guided tour through the park on the kid-friendly Emerson Zooline Railroad.

Taste Tradition at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Anheuser-Busch Brewery
Credit: Anheuser-Busch Brewery by Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Taste Tradition at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

What Is It? Historic and quintessentially American, visitors can take a tour of the world-famous Anheuser-Busch Brewery and sample a variety of brands while gaining vital beer knowledge shared by enthusiastic tour guides. 

Why Do It? Visitors will also learn about the brewing methods and how this brewery became to be one of the oldest and largest in the nation. 

Good to Know: Other than tasting the delectable beer in the Hospitality Room, the main attraction with visitors in the Anheuser-Busch Brewery is catching a snap of the magnificent feather-folded Clydesdale horses at the Tour Center.

Catch a Fly Ball at the Busch Stadium Busch Stadium
Credit: Busch Stadium by bigstock.com

Catch a Fly Ball at the Busch Stadium

What Is It? Beloved sports fans, the Busch Stadium is home to the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team. 

Why Do It? During the spring and summer seasons, visitors can cheer on the 11-time World champs at this 46,000 seat stadium. Visitors will find a sea of red-shirted fans cheering on the local team, with even non-baseball fans getting into the action. 

Good to Know: Soak in the breathtaking skyline of the city, cheer on the Cardinals, or visit in the off-season for a tour of this retro-style downtown ballpark.

Breath in the Fresh Air at Forest Park Forest Park
Credit: Forest Park by Keith Yahl via Flickr

Breath in the Fresh Air at Forest Park

What Is It? Owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, Forest Park is 1,293 acres of the tranquil oasis, officially opened to the public in 1876. 

Why Do It? One of the largest urban parks in the nation, and an impressive 500 acres bigger than New York’s Central Park, Forest Park offers a range of activities that include a zoo, golf course, and a host of summer concerts and other special events. 

Good to Know: Nature lovers will enjoy the lush greenery surrounding the trails, waterways, and tennis courts, while history buffs will appreciate its role in the 1904 World’s Fair.

Experience Thrills at Six Flags St. Louis Six Flags St. Louis
Credit: Six Flags St. Louis by Six Flags St. Louis

Experience Thrills at Six Flags St. Louis

What Is It? With so many things to do at Six Flags St. Louis, it is impossible to be bored. From the loopy Batman the Ride to the 62 mph Screaming Eagle wooden roller coaster, thrill-seekers is sure to be entertained. 

Why Do It? The truly adventurous can try the 4D interactive Justice League dark ride while the little ones can ride the Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd-themed rides. 

Good to Know: Bring your swimsuit to explore the large pools, lazy rivers, and whitewater rapids on Thunder River, or attend one of their many live entertainment shows and special events.

Explore Spirituality Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Credit: Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis by Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

Explore Spirituality Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

What Is It? Boasting one of the largest mosaic collections in the western hemisphere, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis is a spectacular sight to be seen. 

Why Do It? Completed in 1914, this gorgeous Roman Catholic church was designated a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1997. 

Good to Know: Known for its impressive mosaic installation, burial crypts, and outdoor sculptures promoting racial harmony, it is an active parish and popular tourist destination for people from all over the world.

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