Chances are when you think of St. Louis, Missouri it conjures up things like the Arch, Anheuser Busch and other beer companies, or one of their major league sports teams like the Blues or Cardinals. But St. Louis offers plenty more attractions to keep you busy, whether you seek family fun, clubbing or culture. St. Louis is chock full of history, dating back to its founding in 1764. It has been a center of trade and culture owing to the fact of where it's positioned. Situated between the "The Big Muddy" Mississippi River and the Missouri River, as well as being "The Gateway to the West," St. Louis has so much to explore whether you're there for a day trip or a full family vacation.
10 Forest Park
One of the top urban parks in the US, Forest Park was founded in 1876 and consists of 1300 acres including gardens, rolling hills, lakes, and forests. Today it's home to several of the city's top tourist attractions and all of them are free to the public every day! Ranked number one zoo in the US in 2018, is the Saint Louis Zoo. This 90-acre attraction has over 17,000 animals. Another big draw in Forest Park is the Saint Louis Art Museum, which was constructed for the 1904 World's Fair. It covers 5000 years of history and contains 34,000 objects. Finally, the Saint Louis Science Center is an immersive science museum that is fun for all ages, spread over 3 levels and even has a skyway over an interstate connecting parts of the museum.
9 Grant's Farm
Named after General Ulysses S. Grant, this 281-acre farm is actually the home of the Busch family. But your kids will likely think of it as the home of the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales. Open from May to the end of October, this attraction contains Grant's 1855 log cabin, a deer park, farm grounds and animal shows, as well as camel rides, a carousel, and paddleboats. Grown-ups will appreciate the free samples of the family beer.
8 Delmar Loop
For the pulse of the city, head to the Delmar Loop's 8 blocks of culture, dining and unique shops. Frequently home to the city's best live music and events, the Loop is also where you'll find the St. Louis Walk of Fame. You can sample St. Louis tasty treats like BBQ, toasted ravioli or St. Louis' own square pizza made with Provel cheese and yeastless crust. Hop on the trolley, pop into the 1924 Art Deco Tivoli Theatre or enjoy a luxury karaoke lounge. From a root beer brewery to a boutique hotel to an arts and crafts center, Delmar Loop is jam-packed with activity.
7 City Museum
A museum like no other, the City Museum is set in a century-old warehouse, but you will notice it more for the 500-foot-tall serpent of wrought-iron and concrete guarding the parking lot. Using the architecture of the building and inviting sculptors and artisans to design exhibits, kids of all ages enjoy the dozens of slides found throughout the museum. There's a rooftop Ferris Wheel, a skateless park, an artquarium and a circus exhibit with performers and classes. The Museum is quirky, interactive and imaginative, and attracts visitors of all ages to throw off their inhibitions and explore.
6 Soulard Farmer's Market
The Soulard Farmer's Market is the oldest farmer's market west of the Mississippi dating back to 1779. Open year-round, Wednesday through Saturday, the market now consists of two buildings, one built in the 1840s and the other in 1929. The latter is modeled after a 15th-century foundling hospital in Florence, Italy and is in Renaissance style. There are shops, a theater, and various eateries so you can pick up goodies for later, and sit down for a meal, as well. Nearby is the Anheuser-Busch brewery as well as many other bars and restaurants.
5 Missouri Botanical Garden
A national landmark as well as the nation's oldest (continuously operating) botanical garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden has over 79 acres of manicured gardens and grounds, including a 14-acre Japanese garden, the 1850 Shaw estate home, and an impressive collection of rare and endangered orchids. There's a tropical rainforest in a geodesic dome, a garden maze and a children's garden area complete with a limestone cave, slides, splash areas and plenty of hands-on activities. There are often special events or exhibits, classes, and programs for amateur gardeners.
4 Laclede's Landing
The St. Louis riverfront area includes the 630-foot Gateway Arch, riverboat cruises and historic Laclede's Landing, or simply the Landing to locals. Laclede's Landing is a historic area of St. Louis dating back to the 1700s, and once the shipping, manufacturing and warehousing center of the city. Today Laclede's Landing encompasses 9 blocks of downtown and is a bustling area of dining, shops, and bars. It's home to events like the Big Muddy Blues Fest, and unique stops like the St. Louis Wax Museum. Taking a walking tour of the area's historic buildings is a treat in itself. Noteworthy: it's only about a 15-minute walk from the Landing to Busch Stadium.
3 Fabulous Fox Theatre
One of the city's treasures, the Fabulous Fox Theatre, is host to top concerts and theatre productions. Opening in 1929, the glitzy theatre was built in a unique style melding Moorish, the Far East, and Egyptian, as well as Babylonian and Indian architectural and art elements. The theatre, like many of its day, fell into disrepair over the years, relegated to hosting martial arts films and rock concerts to dwindling audiences by the time it closed down in 1978. Several years later, it was restored and revived to its former brilliance. Today you can catch a Broadway show or a concert there, or enjoy a 1.5-hour tour on selected days each week.
While exploring other downtown attractions, make time for a true urban oasis at CityGarden. This park is on two blocks and contains 24 sculptures, a 180-foot-long pool with a six-foot waterfall, as well as six rain gardens and an area for kids to splash, wade, and play. You can even download an audio walking tour with an app from the CityGarden. It's a great spot to let kids burn off some energy, appreciate some unique art and even find a perfect picnic spot.
1 National Blues Museum
This museum celebrates our national music, the Blues, which is the foundation for all American music. This brand-new museum opened in 2016 and is supported by folks like John Goodman, Morgan Freeman, Buddy Guy, and Jack White. You'll find exhibits including art by blues artists, displays using cutting edge technology and a state-of-the-art theater hosting live music every Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Don't have time for a full visit? Then pop into the gift shop and peruse the aisles of souvenirs, Blues CDs and guitar picks, as well as nifty items with a specifically St. Louis angle.