Fun Things to Do in and around St Louis

by Paul Joseph  |  Published July 18, 2021

St Louis is one of the most bustling of Missouri’s major cities, pulsating with cultural and creative energy and home to tons of fun things to see and do.

Repurposed objects outside City Museum (Photo: sawdust_media via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Perched along the Mississippi River, the city of St Louis is made distinctive by the iconic Gateway Arch that adorns millions of postcards. Yet delve a little deeper and you’ll find its uniqueness is also evident in its unrivalled buzz and vibe. We’ve picked out 12 of the most fun and exciting attractions and activities to add to your St Louis itinerary.

Visit an unusual museum

A world away from the typical staid and sombre atmosphere of a museum, the City Museum is truly one of St Louis’ most unique and quirky attractions. A masterclass in urban renewal, the museum is housed inside (and outside) a century-old warehouse and consists mainly of repurposed objects that once served a function in the city but are now obsolete. First opened in 1997, the venue is great fun to wander around and explore, with many of the exhibits positioned in the street directly outside. Among the most eye-catching items on display are a giant praying mantis, an old school bus, and a Ferris wheel.

516 S Kirkwood Rd, St.Louis / Mon-Sat 9am-5pm Sun 10am-5pm

Another St Louis museum that bucks the trend is the Magic House Children’s Museum. Housed in a striking Victorian-era style building, the venue features a wide range of whimsical, interactive exhibits that encourage hands-on learning that sparks the imagination, enhances creativity and develops problem-solving skills and techniques. There are also enchanting gardens surrounding the museum that are open to the public.

750 North 16th Street, St. Louis / Sun-Thurs 10am-5pm Fri-Sat 10am-9pm

Take a wander around a scenic botanical garden 

The brainchild of renowned botanist Henry Shaw, Missouri Botanical Garden has become one of St Louis’ most popular attractions since opening its doors in 1859. An enchanting and relaxing place to explore, regardless of the extent of your horticultural inclinations, the garden is divided into several sections, including a Japanese Garden featuring plants such as lotus and flowering cherries, an area featuring tropical plants, and Tower Grove House, where Shaw himself once lived.

4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis / Tues-Sun 9am-5pm Closed Mon

The picturesque environs of the Missouri Botanical Garden (Photo: Aaron Carlson via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Attend a top class art fair

If you’re looking for wildlife art so finely drawn that it resembles a photograph or pieces of art made of recycled materials, you’ll find this and so much more at the Saint Louis Art Fair presented by Centene Charitable Foundation. The city of Clayton, Missouri closes eight of its downtown streets to accommodate more than 150 of the nation’s top artists and their artwork. Meet the artists, hear their inspirations, and buy or just browse original art. Thousands of art enthusiasts from across the region are attracted to this space filled with beautiful art, live music performances, scrumptious food and drink samplings from some of the area’s premier restaurants, children’s activities, and much more.  Go to saintlouisartfair.com for more information.

Downtown Clayton / 10-12 September 2021

(Photo: Saint Louis Art Fair)

Immerse yourself in science

Committed to promoting lifelong science and technology learning, the St Louis Science Center is packed full of fascinating and interactive exhibits designed for all ages and tastes. One of the city’s most prestigious educational institutions, the venue is also home to permanent galleries, an IMAX theatre complete with one of the world’s largest domed screens, a planetarium, and regular live science demonstrations. Admission is free.

5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis / Thurs-Mon 9.30am-5.30pm Closed Tues-Weds

Discover a beautiful urban park

Spread across some 1,000 acres, the stunning Forest Park is home to beautiful landscapes sprinkled with forests, ecosystems, nature reserves, lakes and streams, as well as a number of prestigious cultural venues – some of which feature on this list. Attracting 13 million visitors each year, it also offers an array of recreational activities including hiking, boating and cycle paths.

5595 Grand Drive, St. Louis / Mon-Sun 6am-10pm

Muny Bridge at dawn in Forest Park (Photo: Christian Collins via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marvel at exotic animals at a world  class zoo

Part of Forest Park, St Louis Zoo is widely considered one of Missouri’s finest destinations for seeing a diverse range of over 12,000 exotic animals representing 500 species from around the world. Highlights include several creatures indigenous to Africa including lions, zebras, and flamingos, as well as sharks from the Caribbean in the venue’s aquatic zone. The zoo has also gained widespread acclaim for its strong focus on animal conservation and for applying an innovative approach to animal care.

1 Government Drive, St. Louis / Sun-Thurs 8am-5pm Fri 8am-7pm

Pick up some local produce at a farmers’ market

Part of the fabric of the St Louis community for almost a century, Soulard Market has been located in an architecturally impressive “Grand Hall” since 1838. The bustling open-air market is built in the Italian Renaissance style, with a central section for shops and four wings of vendor stalls. Drawing large numbers of locals and visitors alike, more than 140 vendors fill the market with fresh produce, meat, seafood, cheese, snacks, baked goods, spices, flowers, and other enticing merchandise.

730 Carroll Street, St. Louis / Weds-Thurs 8am-5pm Fri 7.30am-5pm Sat 6am-5pm Closed Mon-Tues & Sun

Fresh produce on display at Soulard Farmers’ Market (Photo: Bryan Mills via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Join a True Crime walking tour

St Louis’ long history is dotted with unsolved murders, bootleggers and colorful characters, and visitors to the city can learn all about this seedy underbelly by joining a True Crime Walking Tour. In the company of an expert local guide you’ll stroll the historic streets, walking past buildings said to be the scene of notorious crimes, many of which took place during the tumultuous prohibition era.  Tours last for 1 hour.

Book at Viator.com

A cobbled street in St Louis (Viator.com)

Delve into St Louis’ vibrant brewery scene

Since being introduced way back in 1876 by Carl Conrad & Co. of St Louis, Budweiser has become one of the largest-selling beers in the US and a major part of American popular culture. The Budweiser Brewery Tour lets you enter the inner sanctum of this 19th-century brewery, inviting you to discover the processes that enable the beer to be made. There’s also ample beer tastings and a beer garden.

1200 Lynch Street, St. Louis / Mon-Sun 11am-5pm

Alternatively, for a taste of St Louis’ craft brewery scene, you could join a Mid-Town Brewery Tour. A must for those who appreciate the craftsmanship of a great brew, tours take place in the city’s mid-town district, which sits at the heart of St Louis’ burgeoning craft beer industry. As you experience a unique view of where the brews are crafted and enjoy a wide selection of local beers, your friendly host will share the local stories that add colour to an industry that continues to grow.

Book at Viator.com

A glass of beer is poured in St Louis (Viator.com)

Spend the day at a fun-packed theme park

Located in the city of Eureka, a 30-minute drive west of St Louis, Six Flags is one of Missouri’s most cherished theme parks. Packed to the rafters with thrilling rides, shows, events and activities, the park makes for a fabulous day out for all the family. From pulse-pounding roller coasters to gentler options for tots, there’s something for everybody. Admission include access to the on-site Hurricane Harbor waterpark.

4900 Six Flags Road, Eureka 

A roller-coaster in full flow at Six Flags(Photo: Jeremy Thompson via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Book yourselves onto a City Trolley tour 

One of the most traditional ways to see St Louis is aboard an authentic trolley bus, complete with padded seats, large windows and air-conditioning. Regular trolley tours invites guests to take a trip back in time and learn about the city’s rich history, all in the company of a friendly and knowledgeable local guide. Along the way you’ll see many sights and attractions including the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, the Mississippi River, the Old Cathedral, the Old Courthouse, Millionaire’s Row and Forest Park.

Book at GetYourGuide.com