Things to Do in St. Louis

LAST UPDATED: Apr 19, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Aug 07, 2019 | By:

Get all the details on Things to Do in St. Louis! This comprehensive round-up includes Free Things to Do in St. Louis and What to do in St. Louis in a Weekend. You’ll find info about the best St. Louis Parks, St. Louis Water Parks, and even Day Trips from St. Louis! 

Concrete foundtain/ splash park with St. Louis high rise in background.

St. Louis is known as the gateway to the West. It’s nestled in the center of the United States, so it’s no surprise that you might find it to feel warm and friendly! It’s just a four hour drive from Kansas City, Memphis, Louisville, Branson and a five hour drive from Nashville and Chicago! It’s easily accessible by trains, planes and automobiles.

One of the many things I love about living in St. Louis (and why I returned so many years later), is that there are so many things to do! Both as an adult and with children, there’s an endless amount of fun to be had and culture to soak up.

The best part? Most of it is FREE!

Children running through splash park with high rise in the background in St. Louis

St. Louis Attractions

Whether you live in St. Louis, are visiting for a weekend or a week, you are sure to enjoy all the city has to offer! This post filled with Things to do in St. Louis is long overdue. As a native St. Louisan who has returned to fall in love with the city all over again, I’m excited to finally share some of our favorite things.

So many friends (including those visiting and those who live here) ask what to do in St. Louis. Several years ago, I compiled a list on iPhone notes that I refer to as the girls and I head out to explore each day. This is a much more organized version of that list!

Zipper line in a fun St. Louis sculpture park.

Things to Do in St. Louis

  • Arch – get a beautiful overview of the history of St. Louis and skyline view with a visit to the newly renovated grounds of the historic National Monument! Take a tram ride to the top to discover St. Louis – from above!
Nighttime image of the St. Louis Arch with fireworks in the foreground,
  • Missouri History Museum – experience the history of Missouri through interactive exhibits. This unique museum features a floor dedicated to kids…play dress up, take photos in front of a green screen to recreate old scenes and so much more!
  • St. Louis Art Museum – three stories of paintings, sculptures, cultural objects and more.
  • Science Center – play games, experience a tornado, run radar over the highway, build an arch and much more. Free to visit, $10 for close parking.
  • St. Louis Zoo – a world-class zoo with incredible exhibits including an indoor / outdoor polar bear exhibit, walk-through sea lion exhibit, get up close with hippopotamus and so much more!
Underwater image at the St. Louis Zoo
  • Jewel Box – a gorgeous greenhouse nestled in Forest Park
  • Magic House – a hands-on children’s museum.
Little girl playing inside an indoor children's playground.
  • Museum of Transportation – take a ride in a street car, train, push train and explore this one of a kind museum of transportation.
  • City Museum – an incredibly imaginative indoor and outdoor play land for adults and kids alike, made from recylcled materials. Truly, there’s no place like it!
  • Healthworks – take a walk through the human body to learn about health in a whole new way!
  • Botanical Gardens – take the tram or take a walk to experience nature at its finest! Enjoy the Children’s garden (April-October) with a splash pad, outdoor kitchen, treehouse, slides, vine swings and more. Peruse the rose garden, feed the fish at the koi pond and more. Don’t miss their special events.
Giant play spider web for kids in St. Louis
  • Shaw Nature Reserve – build with tree stumps, get stuck in a giant spider web, cross the picturesque lake on a giant tree and more. Children are free.
  • Wabash Railroad – operated by volunteers, you can take a two mile ride along the river in an open car steam train! Just a $4 donation per person, Saturday and Sunday only.
  • Purina Farmsdon’t miss the dog show! It’s comprised of trained rescue dogs and is so much fun! Enjoy a three story cat house, barn playground, pet pigs, rabbits, see horses, goats, milk a cow and more!
  • Myseum – explore science with this hands-on experience that includes a slide with radar, noodle swamp, dino dig, vet’s office and more!
  • Butterfly House – enjoy beautiful butterflies among gorgeous flowers and water features. See a variety of unique bugs, watch a movie and even enjoy fun crafts and activities. Take a stroll through the outdoor butterfly garden and visit nearby Faust Park.
  • Billy Goat Chip Tour – schedule in advance for a tour of St. Louis’ most irresistible chips.
  • Carousel – a 1920’s carousel comprised of hand carved wooden horses, relocated from the Highlands Amusement Park to an air conditioned facility at Faust Park.
  • Boathouse – paddle boat, canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals to see Forest Park by water or dine outdoors for beautiful views and feed the fish.
St. Louis boathouse bridge with water in the foreground.
  • Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour – take the complimentary 45 minute tour to see how beer is made and visit the Clydesdales. Looking for something more? There are several tour options available including a you brew.
  • Cards game – take in a Cards game to experience St. Louis like a fan! Visit the family pavilion for speed pitch, a soft playground and more.
  • Blues game – see the Stanley Cup winning team in action!
  • Made by Magic House – craft the day away at Made on Delmar and take it all home with you for just $5! Paint, sculpt and so much more!
  • Six Flags – a classic amusement park filled with thrilling rides for all ages.
  • Grants Farm – enjoy a free tram ride to see deer, bison, long horns, elk, goats, ostriches and more. Then feed the goats, llamas, parakeets, ride a camel, see kangaroos and relax (and enjoy 2 complimentary beers) in the beer garden. Don’t miss the world-famous clydesdales as you leave!
Little girl at the Grant's farm petting zoo in St. Louis.
  • Muny – catch a show at the 100 year old outdoor theatre.
  • Wolf Sanctuary – take a tour and learn how and why they preserve wolves and release them into the wild.
  • Riverboat Cruise – operated by the arch, cruise up and down with live music and breakfast or dinner!
  • Ballpark Village – there are always events going on including free yoga, movies in the biergarten and more.
  • City Gardens – enjoy the sculptures, walk through the park or take a dip in one of the pools. Run through the splash park and take in the skyline!
  • World Bird Sanctuary – take a peek at the bird hospital, see rescued birds and much more.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate – take a tour, and a taste! See how chocolate is made.
  • Pick Your Own Fruits and Veggies – Thies Farm offers you-pick options throughout the growing season, right in the city.
World famous Clydesdale horse at Grant's Farm in St. Louis.

Notable St. Louis Parks

  • Forest Park – a 1300 acre urban park where the 1904 World’s Fair took place. Free tours available, see schedule. There’s so much culture packed into one park, including the Missouri History Museum, Zoo, Muny, St. Louis Art Museum and Science Center. In addition you’ll find the Boathouse, Jewel Box, tennis courts, golf, playgrounds, picnic areas and beautiful trails nestled among gorgeous landscaping, lakes and more.
City garden head sculpture in St. Louis.
  • Souson – lake, petting “zoo”, playground
  • Lone ElkLone Elk is a drive through park with bison, elk, deer and more
  • Powder Valley – easy to navigate trails and nature center
  • Castlewood Park – hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding
  • Route 66 – ride bikes, take a long walk or enjoy a picnic at sunset
  • Deer Creek Park aka Rocket Ship Park
  • Jake’s Field of Dreams – a sports themed inclusive playground just an hour outside the city center
  • Laumeier Sculpture Park – one of the first and largest sculpture parks in the country
  • Challenge course at Carondelet Park – want to be a Ninja Warrior? Give this course a try! Located next to the YMCA at this park.
Shaw Natur Reserve lookout point in St. Louis.

Free Things to Do in St. Louis

  • City Gardens – enjoy the sculptures, walk through the park or take a dip in one of the pools. Run through the splash park and take in the skyline!
  • Lone Elk – drive through to see elk, deer and bison
  • World Bird Sanctuary – take a peek at the bird hospital, see rescued birds and much more
  • History Museum – free admission, every day
  • Art Museum – free admission, every day
  • Forest Park – enjoy the endless trails, picnic areas, beautiful bridges and water features. Perfect for an afternoon picnic!
  • Zoo – arrive early, and even special features including the children’s zoo, stingray petting, and train are free!
  • Purina Farms – don’t miss the dog show! It’s comprised of trained rescue dogs and is so much fun! Enjoy a three story cat house, barn playground, pet pigs, rabbits, see horses, goats, milk a cow and more!
St. Louis turtle park sculpture with little girls playing inside the turtle's mouth.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Tour – take a tour, and a taste! See how chocolate is made
  • Souson Park – pet animals, enjoy the playground or go fishing
  • Rocket Ship Park (Deer Creek) –
  • Jake’s Field of Dreams
  • Loop Trolley – experience U City in a new way
  • Muny – get there early for free seats
  • Jewel Box – free Monday, Tuesday, $1 the remainder of the week

What to Do in St. Louis in A Weekend

This will be different for everyone depending upon who is visiting, but if I had to do St. Louis in a weekend, this would be my can’t-miss list!

Little girl climbing down giant octopus at the City Museum in St. Louis.
  • Arch
  • City Museum
  • Zoo
  • Boathouse at Forest Park (have lunch or take out a paddle boat)
  • Ted Drewes

You can get a free copy of the St. Louis Zoo map here.

St. Louis Water Parks

  • City Garden – an array of water features in the heart of downtown St. Louis with a beautiful view of the arch! Shallow pools, fountains, waterfalls and splash pads among a well landscaped park filled with fun sculptures!
  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor – a traditional water park with a wave pool, water slides, lazy river and so much more!
  • Community Centers – there are numerous indoor and outdoor community centers with slides, lazy rivers, kiddie pools with bucket falls, rock climbing walls, tree swings and more.
  • Raging Rivers – just over the river in Grafton Illinois, about an hour outside of St. Louis.

Indoor Activities

Of course there are also those standards, perfect for rainy days!

  • Flying Spider Trampoline Park
  • SkyZone Trampoline Park
  • Upper Limits Rock Climbing
  • Sports Fusion for indoor mini golf, rock climbing, laser tag, laser maze, dodgeball, and inflatables
  • Epic 6 Laser Tag and Sports
  • Monkey Joe’s for inflatables / indoor bounce houses
  • Ultimate Ninjas
  • Top Golf
  • Healthworks
  • Carousel
  • Magic House
  • Myseum
  • Jewel Box
  • Anheuser Busch Brewery
  • Made by Magic House
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Tour
  • Arch
  • Riverboat Cruise
  • Science Center
  • Butterfly House
Smiling little girl creating at Made by Magic House in St. Mag

Day Trips from St. Louis

  • Eckerts in Belleville or Millstadt – pick seasonal fruit, enjoy rides (in the fall), take a hayride, navigate your way through a corn or sunflower maze
Little girl berry picking at Eckert's in St. Louis.
  • Cahokia Mounds – view the remains of ancient prehistoric native civilization
  • Watch the Eagles – watch the eagle migration with these location tips
  • Take a ferry ride – a fun way to travel along Missouri rivers
  • Elephant Rocks – easy to navigate trails and amazing Elephant Rocks. Take an easy climb to the top and go through the Fat Man’s Squeeze and learn all about the mining culture
Little girl posing under the Elephant Rocks, giant rocks with a beautiful Missouri tree line view in the background.
Little girls picking peaches at Eckert's farm in St. Louis.

Classic St. Louis Restaurants

  • Ted Drewes
  • The Fountain
  • Fitz’s
  • Rocket Fizz
  • Gus’ Pretzels
  • Crown Candy Kitchen 
  • Imo’s

Food St. Louis is Known For

  • Toasted Ravioli
  • Thin Crust St. Louis Style Pizza
  • Gooey Butter
  • Frozen Custard
St. Louis baseball field with the arch in the background

If you think this is fun, you should see all the Things to Do in Branson MO and Silver Dollar City Christmas! Missouri truly is an underrated state! If you have any questions or anything to add, let me know! I love hearing from you!

Are you wanting more ways to feel like a true St. Louis native? You’ll love my take on the St. Louis favorite Gerber Sandwich!

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