Updated: Mar 28, 2021
Known as the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, Missouri, boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, beautiful parks and gardens, and a host of entertainment options.
Whether you’re planning a city break with friends or a family-oriented getaway, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in St. Louis. In fact, aside from Washington, D.C., no other city in the United States has more free activities than St. Louis.
Jefferson Expansion National Memorial Park
Image via Flickr by Northfielder
Located on the western bank of the Mississippi River, Jefferson Expansion National Memorial Park is the ideal place to set up residence for your stay in St. Louis. Nearby, you’ll find a range of budget-friendly and high-end hotels offering exceptional service and a variety of amenities.
The popular park is home to the city’s most famous landmark, the Gateway Arch. At 630 feet high, the shining stainless steel arch is the tallest manmade monument in the United States. Rising like a beacon through the city skyline, it symbolizes the nation’s westward expansion during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. Take the short tram ride to the top to of the arch to experience unparalleled views of the city.
In addition to the iconic arch, Jefferson Expansion National Memorial Park is home to the Old Courthouse where the infamous Dred Scott trial took place. The building features exhibits on pioneer life in early St. Louis and is the meeting place for daily ranger-led talks and a host of other free activities.
Arts and Culture
Image via Flickr by Brick Haus Photography
Jefferson Expansion National Memorial Park is just one of the amazing places to take in arts and culture around St. Louis. The City Museum, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, and Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts are just a few of the places where you can immerse yourself in the arts scene.
Located on the grounds of the 1904 World’s Fair, Forest Park gets more than 12 million visitors each year. The sprawling public park is the perfect place to have a picnic or catch a live theater performance at The Muny. As one of the largest urban parks in the country, Forest Park also offers facilities for sports, such as golf, tennis, and rugby, as well as fishing and boating. In addition to being a natural recreational space, Forest Park is home to the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, and the Saint Louis Art Museum, which all offer free general admission.
Image via Flickr by ChrisYunker
A National Historic Landmark, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a must-see destination southwest of downtown St. Louis. Comprised of 79 acres of horticultural displays, including a Japanese garden and Henry Shaw’s estate, Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest gardens of its kind in the country.
In addition to the botanical garden, St. Louis is just a short drive away from dozens of state parks, such as St. Francois, Castlewood, and Meramec. For everything from camping to rock climbing, you’ll find it at one of these parks.
Image via Flickr by Francisco Diez
From Major League Baseball games to brewery tours, St. Louis has no shortage of entertainment to keep you on your toes. Take a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, where you can take pictures with the Clydesdale horses and sample Budweiser for free. Just north of Forest Park, you’ll find The Loop on Delmar Boulevard.
Stretching for six blocks, this trendy area boasts a bevy of bars, galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, including the famous live music spot Blueberry Hill. After dinner, head over to Busch Stadium to watch the beloved St. Louis Cardinals take a run around the bases.
These are just a few of the abundant things to do in St. Louis, Missouri. If you’re looking for a vacation filled with art, culture, outdoor activities, and loads of entertainment, St. Louis is the city for you.