The Gateway to the West is a getaway in its own right, especially for families ready to explore. The unrivaled Arch is an icon, and you definitely won’t go hungry.
st. louis gateway arch national park ducks pond
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Bucket List

Gateway Arch National Park

Take a tram ride to the top of Gateway Arch in a mod pod for 30-mile views, and check out the fully reinvented history museum, part of an extensive renovation.

city museum st. louis missouri red dragon slide
Credit: Juliana Díaz Muñoz

City Museum

Imagine crawling through a McDonald's PlayPlace—but with a surrealist streak—built from salvaged materials and spread over several floors of an old shoe warehouse. Absolutely brilliant.

Missouri Botanical Garden

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

Forest Park

Larger than Central Park, the green space brims with free and low-cost attractions, including the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, a science center and top-rated zoo.

Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village

Major League Baseball's Cardinals play in a retro-style park near the Gateway Arch. The Village offers food, drink, and fun before and after.

Free and Fab

Tour the beautiful, Neo-Byzantine Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, a Roman Catholic church renowned  for the intricate mosaics on its walls and ceiling. Nearly 42 million glass tesserae comprise one of the world's largest collections.

Where to Eat


Rise early for Rooster, a playful cafe with multiple locations in town. Try the crepe with Missouri sausage, roasted apples, cheddar and spiced cider.


With energy and charm inspired by Tel Aviv's Boho scene, beautifully styled Olio focuses on Mediterranean-style breads and veggies. 


Head to Anthonino's Taverna in The Hill neighborhood for hearty Italian and Greek cuisine, like a big red-sauce meal (toasted ravioli—check) or the saganaki app (fried cheese—yum).

Best St. Louis Bakeries to Try

Nathaniel Reid Bakery

The top pastry chef and his team prepare fancy cakes, sandwiches, quiche and more in the elegant yet intimate Kirkwood suburb bakery

Union Loafers

The smoked beet Reuben at Union Loafers could make meat-lovers go vegetarian. Take home one of the burnished, naturally leavened loaves as a souvenir.

Knead Bakehouse

Seek out this cheery neighborhood cafe for inventive doughnuts, fluffy brioche sandwiches and fresh-squeezed juices.

Pint Size Bakery

This cute spot with a heart of buttercream offers an outsized menu of scones, cupcakes, muffins, sandwich cookies and more.

Missouri Baking Co.

Visit this 98-year-old bakery in The Hill for Italian-American standards. Pick out a bag of mini cookies for the drive home.

clementine's creamery woman ice cream
Credit: Chris Bauer

Family Hits


Not far from the St. Louis Zoo, Clementine's is a "Naughty and Nice Creamery" that scoops up creative flavors for kids' cones and boozy treats for grown-ups.


Two stories of sea creatures within St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station anchor a family entertainment complex in downtown's historic train depot. There's also a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel, 3D light show and mini golf.

Budget Pick

The Citygarden sculpture park is a free and family-friendly downtown oasis of art, fountains and gardens, including a kids' spray plaza and a waterfall.

moonrise hotel st. louis missouri
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Where to Stay

Stylishly boutique from lobby to open-air rooftop bar (with a gigantic, rotating moon replica), the ultra-green Moonrise Hotel caters to fun seekers—and their canine companions. 

Day Trip

Just 30 minutes west of St. Louis, the colonial town of St. Charles nestles on the banks of the Missouri River. Founded in 1769, St. Charles served as the state's first capital. Today, you can capitalize on Main Street, where more than 100 shops, restaurants and cafes fill a beautifully preserved historic district. The Frenchtown area, known for antiques stores, boasts 58 historic French Colonial and German buildings. Visit the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum to learn more about the explorers who used St. Charles as a jumping-off spot for their journey.