St Louis is likely the most well-known city in all of Missouri, which explains why there are so many fun things to do. With big buildings, a river, and the Gateway Arch, it’s a city you’ll want to see in your lifetime. At first glance, you might expect its attractions to be the same as any other city, but many of these popular destinations go above and beyond the norm. So, here are 12 fun things to do in St Louis that you won’t want to miss out on!
#1 – Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is an iconic landmark in Missouri, so you can’t visit St Louis without seeing it. This stainless steel structure stands 630 feet tall, making it the biggest archway in the world. Of course, this structure is free to view from the ground, and you can go to the visitor center for more information. But if you want the most impressive views of the city, then you can buy tickets to ride an elevator to the top of the structure. If you want more beautiful pictures of the arch with the city in the background, sightseeing cruises and helicopter tours are available too. As you can imagine, this famous Missouri attraction is even more impressive in person, so you won’t want to miss it. Of course, if you’re afraid of heights or claustrophobic, you probably won’t want to walk inside this skinny structure.
#2 – Saint Louis Art Museum
This art museum is one of the most fun things to do in St Louis because it’s known as one of the best art museums in the United States. It first opened in 1879, but construction wasn’t complete until 1904. Inside the museum you’ll find 33,000 art pieces, along with a wide range of special exhibits. These works of art come from all over the world, including pieces from Europe, Asia, and Africa. The art varies between all types of mediums, including paintings, textiles, photographs, and sculptures. The Saint Louis Art Museum is located in Forest Park, so it’s a good stop if you’re looking for an indoor activity along the way.
#3 – Old Courthouse
Many travelers can’t resist a historical building, especially when it has beautiful architecture and stunning views. It’s a massive building with a dome on top, which sits perfectly inside the arch if you view it from the front. Thus, it’s one of the most gorgeous photo opportunities. It was built in the mid-1800s, and it’s known for several major cases, including the Dred Scott case for freedom from slavery and the Suffragist Virginia Louisa Minor case for voting rights. You can explore the courthouse and take tours to learn all about these incredible people fighting for what’s right.
#4 – Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden isn’t just a favorite attraction for nature lovers, but it’s also a key part of history. This garden began in 1859, thanks to botanist Henry Shaw. Thus, it’s often referred to as the Shaw Garden, even in the present day. Of course, at these gardens you’ll see a wide variety of flowers, including roses and lotuses. But on-site you’ll also find the Tower Grove House, which is where Shaw lived. Shaw’s garden house is also there. While exploring exotic plants is exciting enough for many tourists, this attraction also has special exhibits, including a children’s garden and a man-made cave.
#5 – Forest Park
The Saint Louis Art Museum isn’t the only fun thing to do at Forest Park. In fact, the park as a whole is one of the most fun things to do in St Louis. It takes up over 1,000 acres, and it’s located on the grounds of the 1904 World Fair. Some attractions in this park include the Jefferson Memorial, the Missouri History Museum, and the Saint Louis Zoo. But you can walk around the park without visiting these attractions and you’ll still have a great time! The park is full of lakes, meadows, ponds, and streams. It’s an excellent area to explore when the weather is nice.
#6 – EAT Saint Louis Food Tours
You can’t go on vacation without having lots to eat. Luckily, St Louis is full of amazing dining options. If you love trying new foods, then these food tours will be some of the most fun things to do in St Louis for you. The tour lengths vary depending on which one you choose, but most of them last for about three hours. The tour will take you to several eateries throughout the city, where you can get a bite of a wide variety of dishes. Some locations you might visit on the tour include bakeries, pizzerias, and Mexican restaurants. You need to eat, so why not make an adventure out of it?
#7 – City Museum
When most people hear about a “museum”, they often associate it with old or boring. While most museums are fascinating regardless of the stereotypes, the City Museum is far from what you’d expect. As soon as you see it, you’ll know it’s one of the most fun things to do in St Louis. The majority of the City Museum is made of pieces of St Louis that no longer had a purpose, such as construction items and vehicles. Then, these items were repurposed to make a wacky museum. A lot of the attraction is more like a funhouse than a museum because there are places to climb and slide down. On top of everything, this place was built in an abandoned shoe company. A lot of this attraction is outdoors and can be seen from the road, so plan accordingly for your visit.
#8 – Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum
If you’re traveling with children, this is the perfect kid-friendly attraction in Missouri to stop at. The ‘magic’ that this name is referring to is the fun ways that kids can learn. It makes “boring” topics like math, government, and science innovative and exciting. The building looks like a Victorian mansion from the outside, and it has 55,000 square feet of activities that kids can enjoy. It has gotten lots of expansions since it first opened in 1979. Some popular exhibits include a static electricity demonstration, a Jack and the Beanstalk climbing station, and different set-ups where kids can pretend to work jobs like vets, librarians, and bank tellers. Your kids will have such a blast that they won’t even know they’re learning.
#9 – Grant’s Farm
Grant’s Farm was first built by Ulysses S. Grant, but is now owned by the Busch family, who owned the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company for many years. It’s a 281-acre farm space that has more animals than your typical farmland. Over 900 animals live on the farm, and over 100 of them are different species. They have large, free-roam spaces for animals like deer and bison. But then, there are other animals like goats, parakeets, and camels, who are protected from the other creatures. During your visit, you might also encounter elephants, tortoises, monkeys, lemurs, and swans. So, it often feels more like a zoo than a farm. It’s an excellent attraction for animal lovers who enjoy the great outdoors.
#10 – Saint Louis Zoo
If you can’t get enough of animals, you’re not alone! This zoo is another one of the most fun things to do in St Louis for animal lovers. Like many of the other attractions, it can be found right in Forest Park. The Saint Louis Zoo is an excellent location for conservation, education, and research. So, you’ll feel at ease knowing that the animals are well cared for. This zoo is home to over 700 different animal species, including sloths, lions, penguins, turtles, alligators, and even tarantulas! One of the most popular parts of the zoo is the railroad, which takes you on a 20-minute tour around the park. You’re sure to see lots of exciting creatures during your visit.
#11 – Laumeier Sculpture Park
The Laumeier Sculpture Park is another perfect attraction for a beautiful day. It’s an outdoor venue that showcases sculptures that are intertwined with nature. It has some massive sculptures that you can’t miss, along with more subtle sculptures that blend in with the grass. The park has a wide variety of permanent sculptures, but they occasionally rotate some of them as well. You can view the sculptures by following a hiking trail, which is surrounded by lots of trees and other natural sights.
#12 – Market Street
If you visited the Gateway Arch, you probably already spent some time on Market Street. The street starts right beside the major landmark, and it’s full of a lot of the excitement that the city has to offer. Some attractions you’ll find along this street include the Busch Stadium, the St Louis Memorial Plaza, and the National Bowling Hall of Fame. And, of course, you’ll find plenty of unique shopping and dining options too. So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to explore the city, Market Street is a great place to start.
Are you ready for a trip fo Missouri? Luckily, there are so many fun things to do in St Louis! If you have enough time, why not add all 12 of these attractions to your itinerary? They’ll be sure to make it a trip you’ll never forget.