Top Things to Do in St. Louis | Midwest Living

Top Things to Do in St. Louis

Once the jumping off point for westward-bound pioneers, this major metro is a destination in its own right. Attractions include Forest Park, The Gateway Arch, the Missouri Botanical Garden and a top-notch food scene. Check out our trip guide for what to do, where to eat and where to stay.


Anheuser-Busch brewery tours Free tours show the how-to of beer making and include product sampling, plus a peek at the Clydesdale stables.

Busch Stadium Perennial World Series contenders, the Cardinals play in front of 46,000 fans in the retro-style stadium. For more celebrated moments, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum in Ballpark Village.

Cherokee Antique Row As the name implies, antiques shops line this street, but there are also retro boutiques and coffeehouses in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

Citygarden Download the app for stories behind the artwork in this family-friendly mecca of sculpture, splash fountains and greenery.

City Museum Yes, it’s surreal, but the mishmash of a ball pit, caves, a playground with an airplane and a serious exhibit on architect Louis Sullivan somehow works.

Forest Park Larger than New York City’s Central Park, Forest Park brims with free and low-cost attractions, including the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, a science center, planetarium and zoo.

Forest Park

Forest Park

The Gateway Arch Take a tram ride to the top in a Jetsons- like pod for 30-mile views. A $380 million renovation of the Arch and surrounding areas is nearing completion, with the last phase—a new museum and expanded visitors center—scheduled to open in summer 2018.

Kiener Plaza The 1.9-acre park west of the Old Courthouse reopened last year with a new fountain, event space and splash pad, part of the Arch renovation project.

Missouri Botanical Garden Explore 79 acres of gardens and conservatories. Highlights include a 14-acre Japanese Garden and Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures.

The Muny Celebrating its 100th season in Forest Park, the outdoor theater will present seven shows in 2018, including Annie and

National Blues Museum Galleries transport visitors through the decades with decor and blues music from around the country. Put together your own blues song on interactive stations.

Old Courthouse One of the nation’s first iron domes crowns the courthouse where Dred Scott sued for freedom in 1846. Exhibits cover the Scott case as well as westward expansion. ​

The Pageant The nightclub’s unobstructed sight lines make it a top venue to see live acts, such as Meghan Trainor, Wilco and Elvis Costello.

Peabody Opera House Returned to its 1934 Art Deco glory, the former opera house hosts entertainers like Trevor Noah and the Blue Man Group.

Pin-Up Bowl Score big fun bowling and drinking martinis in the retro alley in the Delmar Loop.

Saint Louis Art Museum This free museum's $130 million East Building focuses on modern and contemporary art like Ellsworth Kelly's Spectrum II.

Saint Louis Art Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum

Soulard The district takes pride in its annual festivals and huge Mardi Gras parade. The city’s largest farmers market is open Wednesdays through Saturdays.

World Chess Hall of Fame Play a round on the oversize board outside the museum before exploring interactive exhibits about chess’ impact on history and culture.


Bailey’s Range Choose from about 20 burgers made with beef, pork, chicken, lamb, bison or veggies in a funky former Bell Telephone building.

BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups Downtown, you’ll find great catfish nuggets, gumbo and sweet potato fries.

Blondie’s Coffee, Wine and Dessert Bar The destination for pastries and dessert in a loft setting also serves breakfasts and lunches.

Blueberry Hill Head to the Delmar Loop music club and eatery to enjoy hickory-seasoned burgers, 18 draught taps and 64 bottled beers; hear singers like Ed Sheeran.

Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar A story-tall wall of wine indicates what might pair best with cheese, charcuterie and inventive entrees at this downtown spot.

Charlie Gitto’s (on The Hill) It’s famous for toasted ravioli, said to have been created in St. Louis. Service and from-scratch items, like six-layer lasagna, are two reasons for its longevity.

Charlie Gitto's (on The Hill)

Charlie Gitto's (on The Hill)

Clementine's The booze-filled “Naughty” part of the ice cream menu tempts with flavors like Chocolate Cabernet. But nonalcoholic Gooey Butter Cake might bring you over to “Nice.”

Copia Knowledgeable servers help diners choose from the 1,000-plus wines in this trendy spot decorated with mannequins in custom gowns.

Crown Candy Kitchen Luscious sundaes keep this 1913 spot going strong. 

Fitz’s Bottling Company Soda jerks pull root beer from the tap and create giant ice cream floats. Watch as Fitz’s original 1940s bottling equipment rolls out sodas in the Delmar Loop spot.

Gaslight The big draw to this bar? A professional recording studio in the back of the lounge. Sip craft cocktails and nibble tacos while seeing artists perform.

Gus’ Pretzels Locals line up at 6:30 a.m. for pretzels, some stuffed with bratwurst, salsiccia or hotdogs. Sauces and cheese toppers make them even better.

Molly’s in Soulard Alligator rangoon is popular at this place known for Cajun and Creole food and live music.

Nixta Contemporary Mexican cuisine—such as tacos with confit pork belly and pineapple pico—shines in a retrofitted garage bay in Botanical Heights.

Pi Pizzeria In the Delmar Loop, locally grown ingredients top the specialty and create-your-own pizzas.

Rooster Downtown The European-influenced cafe near the Garment District serves buttery crepes, fluffy pancakes and eggy French toast all day.

Salt and Smoke The pitmasters have a hipster flair at this ’cue star in the Delmar Loop neighborhood. The popovers always get double takes.

SweetArt Bake Shop and Art Studio One couple’s passion for African-American art and baked goods resulted in this eatery and gallery in the Shaw neighborhood.

Trattoria Marcella Italian comfort foods fill the menu at this family restaurant.

Vicia Beautifully plated dishes emphasize vegetables (and proteins) prepared in creative ways, such as Missouri wheat berries with butternut squash. Floor-to- ceiling windows splash light on the modern, white-walled space in the West End.

Winslow’s Home A 1926 building that was originally a general store has become a gift shop-cafe. Try the spinach, egg and cheese breakfast burrito or a brisket sandwich.


Chase Park Plaza Hotel Stay in a landmark with a pool, and walk to nearby Forest Park. 

The Cheshire The Tudor-style property near Forest Park decorates with a British theme.

Dwell 912 The two-story apartment in an 1885 home has its own entrance, a balcony and full kitchen.

Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch Amenities such as free popcorn and soda, a pool, and complimentary evening snacks—plus a prime downtown location—make this a family-friendly choice.

Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown Contemporary suites feel like roomy apartments steps from the convention center.

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis Enjoy Arch views, a spa and gourmet Italian restaurant Cielo, where the chef cooks with vegetables and herbs from rooftop gardens.

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Rooms and the rooftop bar, 360, provide views of Busch Stadium and the Arch.

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Hotel Ignacio Reflecting its artsy neighborhood, the hotel’s hallways and 49 rooms have artistic touches like oversize photographs.

Magnolia St. Louis A $20 million renovation freshened the 1924 downtown hotel but left cool vintage touches, like crystal chandeliers.

Moonrise Hotel From the rotating orb on the roof to photos of space on the walls, a lunar theme pervades this boutique hotel near Blueberry Hill.

St. Louis Union Station The luxury 1894 hotel is within walking distance of the MetroLink.

St. Louis Union Station

St. Louis Union Station Hotel

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Comments (1)

sk23121 wrote:
The Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum is a nice history museum for young and old a like. The kids can interact with lots of old phones (candlestick, rotary dial, push button, old cell phones) and adults can see some of the phones we used growing up. Nominal admission fee and seniors and children get a discount.

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