St Louis with Kids: 7 Family-Friendly Things to Do

by Paul Joseph  |  Published June 11, 2024

Perched along the Mississippi River, a trip to the Midwestern city of St. Louis promises tons of great things for families to see and do.

(Photo: Matthew Dillon via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Often referred to as a Gateway to the West, St. Louis brims with opportunities for fun, adventure and cultural immersion. Fans of the great outdoors can make use of a myriad of public parks, miles of scenic walking and cycling trails, and a network of exhilarating waterways. It all amounts to a world-class destination – and one that draws many families with its array of kid-friendly activities and landmarks to explore. Here are 7 of the best.

Ride a tram to the top to an iconic arch

Best known for its distinctive 630-foot-tall arched monument that can be seen from miles around, St Louis’ Gateway Arch National Park is a great place to visit with kids. Spread across some 91 acres, the park is packed full of opportunities for recreation, adventure and fun, including miles of walking and biking paths, a riverboat cruise, a Junior Ranger programs and a family-friendly museum all about the history of the city. But perhaps the centrepiece attraction is the tram ride that takes visitors up to the top of the iconic arch where they are rewarded with stunning views across the city.

Mon-Sun 5am-11pm

Visit a quirky museum

Located in a historic warehouse in downtown St. Louis, the City Museum is about as idiosyncratic as it gets. Packed full of interactive and creative exhibits in which artists have repurposed the pieces of old cities to build miles of tunnels, bridges and castles, it makes for a fascinating place to explore for children and adults alike. There are eye-catching structures every which way you like, while perennial favourites among kids include the chance to ride on a miniature train into tunnels and through a recreation of our solar system.

750 North 16th Street / Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm Fri-Sat 10am-9pm

You can book admission tickets to the City Museum at GetYourGuide

(Photo: City Museum)

Embark on a family-friendly city tour

One of the best ways of getting to know a city is simply by walking its streets and taking in the sights, sounds and smells as you go. As a fairly compact city, St. Louis is easy to navigate on foot, with plenty to see along the way, making a walking city tour ideal for kids as well as adults. You can explore St. Louis’ religious heritage through its majestic architecture, marvel at the ingenuity of American engineering at a national iconic symbol, and enjoy outdoor art in a serene setting, among just some of the highlights.

You can book a guided family walking tour of St. Louis at GetYourGuide

Marvel at an array of exotic creatures

There are few children whose eyes don’t light up at the prospect of a trip to the zoo. Set amid the rolling hills, lakes and glades of Forest Park, around 6 miles west of the city’s Downtown district, Saint Louis Zoo is home to over 16000 animals, many rare and endangered, spanning 500 species, and is widely considered one of the best and most important zoological parks anywhere in the US. As well as the array of exotic animals on display, there are also plenty of other kid-friendly attractions including a 4D Theatre, a carousel, an animatronic dinosaur zone and a miniature railroad.

1 Government Drive / Mon-Sun 9am-5pm

(Photo: Sharon Mollerus via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Immerse the kids in science

Spread across a collection of buildings including a science museum and planetarium, the St Louis Science Center was created for the purpose of promoting lifelong science and technology learning. Brimming with fascinating and interactive exhibits designed for all ages, the venue is one of the city’s most prestigious educational institutions, and also features an IMAX theatre complete with one of the world’s largest domed screens. Admission to the centre is free.

5050 Oakland Avenue / Thurs-Sat & Mon 9.30am-4.30pm Sun 11am-4.30pm Closed Tues-Weds

Catch a ball game

There are few more quintessential American experiences than watching a live baseball game – and visitors to St Louis have the opportunity to do just that at Busch Stadium. Home to the St Louis Cardinals, one of Major League Baseball’s most prestigious teams, the stadium hosts regular matches in front of large crowds of baseball lovers who come to enjoy the top-class sporting action, raucous atmosphere and lashings of food and drink – including plenty of kid’s fast food favourites. It all adds up to a magical occasion and one that will leave families with memories to linger.

General sale tickets can be purchased via the official website, on the phone or at the stadium box office. Alternatively, you can also buy them at Viator.

(Photo: Sports Where I Am / Courtesy Viator)

Join a spine-tingling ghost tour

Every city has its dark underbelly and St. Louis is no different, steeped in tales of ghostly soldiers, suicides, riots, and even a haunted train station. One of the best ways to delve into the city’s bone-chilling past is by booking on to a guided haunted walking tour. Along the way, you’ll visit eight of St. Louis’s most (supposedly) haunted spots, while learning about the local history courtesy of your experienced, entertaining and engaging guide. Tours run for an hour and are best suited to children over around 12 years due to the nature of the commentary and also the amount of walking required.

You can book a St. Louis ghost tour at GetYourGuide