St. Louis is Home to a National Park, Imaginative Museums and Incredible Restaurants
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.
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.
Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village
Related: Top Things to Do in St. Louis
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.