10 Fun Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri
From baseball to breweries, check out our favorite things to do in The Gateway City.
Set on the banks of the Mississippi River, St. Louis is known for its baseball, beer and iconic Arch, but there’s so much more to this Midwest city. Check out our top 10 picks in The Gateway to the West.
1. Be Adventurous With Big Muddy Adventures
Join Big Muddy Adventures for their famous full moon floats on the Mighty Mississippi River, each month from March through November. After a short, guided paddle in one of their signature voyageur canoes across the river, you will arrive on a beautiful uninhabited river island just in time for sunset and the "magic hour." While you explore the sand beach and island, a gourmet meal is prepared by a local chef for all to enjoy around a fire while you wait for the full moon to rise. After enjoying some food and stargazing, you’ll paddle back under the moonlight. Swoon!
2. See the Sites at the Arch
After a recent $350 million renovation to the grounds and museum, visiting the Gateway Arch has become a lot more … well, fun! Part of the Gateway Arch National Park (formerly the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial), this St. Louis landmark is the world's tallest arch and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. On a clear day, visitors can see almost 30 miles in each direction from the top. It’s the perfect spot for a St. Louis selfie! A tram system in each leg of the Arch delivers visitors to the top of the 630-foot-tall structure for stunning views of the city. Admission to the Museum at the Gateway Arch is free. If you want to go to the top of the arch, reserve your space and pay online.
3. Explore City Museum
My heart skipped a beat when we walked into this museum, and I'll tell you why. City Museum has secret caves and passageways, a small circus and an architectural museum, not to mention a museum of oddities and recycled things. The museum is a recycler’s paradise with many of the exhibits created from products that were made for other purposes. It’s a wacky place where a school bus hangs off the roof and airplane parts appear to fly over the parking lot in the playground called MonstroCity. City Museum's rooftop features a Ferris wheel, slides (including a three-story slide on top of a 10-story building) and fountains. It's a great place to bring the whole family and channel your inner child.
4. Visit Forest Park
Considered "The Heart of St. Louis,” Forest Park opened in 1876 and is rich with history, hosting both the Summer Olympics and The Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. The 1,300-acre park is located in the center of the St. Louis metropolitan area close to many of its major attractions. Some free activities include the zoo, art museum, science center, history museum and America's oldest and largest outdoor music theater called The Muny. The newly refurbished Boathouse (pictured) is a great place to sip a cold drink, people watch or rent a boat or canoe for a small fee.
5. Go Shopping
St. Louis has some pretty great thrift stores and vintage shops if you like to shop like we do! Two streets are a must if you want to hit a number of boutiques in a short time:
- Cherokee Street: Check out Retro 101 for a plethora of vintage finds (great ‘50s and ‘60s pieces), Mesa Home and Thrift Gold for more contemporary items, and SwedLife for more of a street-wear vibe. Also, make time to stop in to Mud House for breakfast and coffee before a day of retail therapy.
- South Grand: Parsimonia has a charming collection of great vintage clothes as well. Look for vintage tees at Found by the Pound. Rocket Century is a decorator’s dream with everything from mid-century modern furniture to art deco pieces. If you’re hungry after all that shopping, make a point to stop at Lulu’s Local Eatery for some vegan bites or Pizza Head, a local favorite for slices in St. Louis.
6. Bring Your Pet and Sleep in Style
St. Louis is a very pet-friendly city and The Ritz Carlton St. Louis will welcome you and your pet in style. They take care of your furry friend’s every need, including special menus, walks, soft beds and a framed picture. The Ritz Carlton is located in Clayton, about 15 minutes from downtown, and we found it very easy to navigate our way around this city from this destination. The hotel also offers traditional high tea complete with smalls cakes, assorted sweets and sandwiches. It's a delicious way to spend your afternoon.
7. Catch a Ballgame
Take me out to the ballgame and Ballpark Village! This new dining and entertainment district is located next to Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. With 11 World Series Championships, 19 National League pennants and 13 division titles, the Cardinals are one of the most successful baseball franchises in history. Check out Ballpark Village before or after the game and experience the excitement of being a Cardinals fan in St. Louis. You’ll be surrounded by a sea of red and, like us, you might be inspired to catch the game and cheer on the team. The views inside the park of the city skyline and The Arch are a home run!
8. Visit a Brewery
The Saint Louis Brewery, maker of Schlafly beer, is the first craft brewer in St. Louis and the first brewer to open in St. Louis after prohibition. They are now the largest locally owned independent brewery in Missouri. Each year, they produce more 50 unique styles of fresh beer, with something for every type of beer lover. We visited the Schlafly Tap Room (pictured) downtown and it was a nice place to have lunch, listen to music and take in the local scene. They also offer free weekend tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Others craft beer establishments to check out in the area include Gezellig, Urban Chestnut and Side Project Brewing.
9. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
A trip to St. Louis would not be complete without a run to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. There’s often a long line of customers, but it moves pretty quickly and it's worth the wait to the walk-up window. We had the twisted caramel custard, which is a combination of creamy vanilla swirled with salted caramel, topped with crunchy pretzel pieces. It was a little piece of heaven, so it's no surprise that this St. Louis institution is so popular.
Others on our list of indulgence are Clementine’s Creamery, where you can choose everything from vegan to boozy ice creams. They have a flavor for everyone, including your pets!
10. Walk the Delmar Loop
Voted one of the 10 great streets in America by the American Planning Association, the Delmar Loop offers a little bit of everything for us tourists. There are more than 145 restaurants, shops and galleries to choose from, and it’s also another perfect place to people watch and take in the city. One of the places we enjoyed was the highly recommended restaurant, Publico (pictured). Publico is a wood-fire Latin restaurant from Mike Randolph, known for their tacos and small plates like the guacamole arepas as well as great seasonal vegetarian dishes over the open fire. Publico was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant for the James Beard Awards in 2016, and Chef Randolph has been a semifinalist for the last three years. So, basically, they know good food.
If you want to check out one of the best record stores in the U.S. (according to USA Today) and hang out with the cool kids, stop by Vintage Vinyl.
Also, if you’re thirsty and in the mood for a local St. Louis root beer and soda, pop into Fitz's Root Beer, an American craft soda microbrewery located in the heart of the Delmar Loop. One more for the road, if you like to sing in the shower or in your car, you may love The W Karaoke Lounge. It's a high-end karaoke bar with superior sound system and smart digital displays, and you can pick your language to all their songs in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese.
We hope you liked our recommendations in this vibrant Midwestern town. Check out tripsisters.com for more adventures with Catie and Colleen.