Top Things to Do in St. Louis | Midwest Living

Top Things to Do in St. Louis

Once the jumping off point for westward-bound pioneers, this major metro is a destination in its own right. Attractions include Forest Park, The Gateway Arch, the Missouri Botanical Garden and a top-notch food scene. Check out our trip guide for what to do, where to eat and where to stay.


Anheuser-Busch brewery tours Visitors can choose from five tours, including Beer School, the Beermaster Tour and a free general brewery tour.

Busch Stadium Perennial World Series contenders, the Cardinals play in front of 46,000 fans in the retro-style stadium. For more celebrated moments, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum in Ballpark Village.

Cherokee Antique Row As the name implies, antiques shops line this street, but there are also retro boutiques and coffeehouses in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

Citygarden Download the app for stories behind the artwork in this family-friendly mecca of sculpture, splash fountains and greenery.

City Museum Yes, it’s surreal, but the mishmash of a ball pit, caves, a playground with an airplane and a serious exhibit on architect Louis Sullivan somehow works.

Food tours Savor Saint Louis and EAT Saint Louis both offer neighborhood walking tours that mix samples of the city's culinary scene with history and architecture info.

Forest Park Larger than New York City’s Central Park, Forest Park brims with free and low-cost attractions, including the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, a science center, planetarium and zoo.

Forest Park

Forest Park

The Gateway Arch Take a tram ride to the top in a Jetsons-like pod for 30-mile views. A $380 million renovation of the Arch and surrounding areas wrapped up in 2018, with the last phase—a new museum and expanded visitors center—now open.

Kiener Plaza The 1.9-acre park west of the Old Courthouse reopened last year with a new fountain, event space and splash pad, part of the Arch renovation project.

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

The Muny The outdoor theater celebrates its 101st season in Forest Park in 2019 with plans for $100 million in improvements, including a rebuild of the stage.

National Blues Museum Galleries transport visitors through the decades with decor and blues music from around the country. Put together your own blues song on interactive stations.

Old Courthouse One of the nation’s first iron domes crowns the courthouse where Dred Scott sued for freedom in 1846. Exhibits cover the Scott case as well as westward expansion. ​

Pin-Up Bowl Score big fun bowling and drinking martinis in the retro alley in the Delmar Loop.

Saint Louis Art Museum This free museum's $130 million East Building focuses on modern and contemporary art like Ellsworth Kelly's Spectrum II.

Saint Louis Art Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum

Soulard The district takes pride in its annual festivals and huge Mardi Gras parade. The city’s largest farmers market is open Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Stifel Theatre Returned to its 1934 Art Deco glory, the former opera house hosts entertainers like Trevor Noah and the Blue Man Group.

World Chess Hall of Fame Play a round on the oversize board outside the museum before exploring interactive exhibits about chess’ impact on history and culture.


Bailey’s Range Choose from about 20 burgers made with beef, chicken, bison or veggies—plus boozy shakes—in a funky former Bell Telephone building.

Balkan Treat Box A wildly popular food truck with specialties such as cevapi (grilled meats) and pide (Turkish flatbread with toppings) just opened its first brick-and-mortar store in the suburb of Webster Groves.

BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups Downtown, you’ll find great catfish nuggets, gumbo and sweet potato fries.

The Benevolent King James Beard semifinalist Ben Poremba got his kitchen inspo from his Moroccan mom for this new venture—surely the only one in town listing craft cocktails and hand-rolled couscous.

Blondie’s Coffee, Wine and Dessert Bar The destination for pastries and dessert in a loft setting also serves breakfasts and lunches.

Blueberry Hill Head to the Delmar Loop music club  to enjoy hickory-seasoned burgers, 18 draught taps, 64 bottled beers and shows in the Duck Room.

Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar A story-tall wall of wine indicates what might pair best with cheese, charcuterie and inventive entrees at this downtown spot.

Charlie Gitto’s (on The Hill) It’s famous for toasted ravioli, said to have been created in St. Louis. Service and from-scratch items, like six-layer lasagna, are two reasons for its longevity.

Charlie Gitto's (on The Hill)

Charlie Gitto's (on The Hill)

The Civil Life Brewing Company The microbrewery serves drinks like The Angel and the Sword Ale along with snacks and sandwiches. Come for Taco Sundays in warm months and Soup Sundays in cooler ones.

Clementine's The booze-filled “Naughty” part of the ice cream menu tempts with flavors like Chocolate Cabernet. But nonalcoholic Gooey Butter Cake might bring you over to “Nice.”

Copia Knowledgeable servers help diners choose from the 1,000-plus wines in this trendy spot decorated with mannequins in custom gowns.

Crown Candy Kitchen Luscious sundaes and heart-stopping BLTs keep this 1913 spot going strong. 

Fitz’s Bottling Company Soda jerks pull root beer from the tap and create giant ice cream floats. Watch as Fitz’s original 1940s bottling equipment rolls out sodas in the Delmar Loop spot.

Gaslight The big draw to this bar? A professional recording studio in the back of the lounge. Sip craft cocktails and nibble tacos while seeing artists perform.

Gus’ Pretzels Locals line up at 6:30 a.m. for pretzels, some stuffed with bratwurst, salsiccia or hotdogs. Sauces and cheese toppers make them even better.

Kounter Kulture Locally sourced ingredients, such as Blind Star Farm eggs and Missouri beef, go into steamed buns, ramen and other Asian creations. The brick-and-mortar carryout joint (with outside seating) grew out of a Tower Grove Farmers Market stand.

Molly’s in Soulard Alligator rangoon is popular at this place known for Cajun and Creole food and live music.

Nixta Contemporary Mexican cuisine—such as tacos with confit pork belly and pineapple pico—shines in a retrofitted garage bay in Botanical Heights.

Pi Pizzeria In the Delmar Loop, locally grown ingredients top the specialty and create-your-own pizzas.

Rooster Downtown The European-influenced cafe near the Garment District serves buttery crepes, fluffy pancakes and eggy French toast all day.

Salt and Smoke The pitmasters have a hipster flair at this ’cue star in the Delmar Loop neighborhood. The popovers always get double takes.

SweetArt Bake Shop and Art Studio An artist-chef couple run a vegan-friendly cafe where you can nibble from-scratch breakfast and lunch treats while admiring colorful paintings.

Trattoria Marcella Italian comfort foods fill the menu at this family restaurant.

Vicia Beautifully plated dishes emphasize creatively prepared vegetables (and proteins), such as Missouri wheat berries with grilled broccoli and goat cheese.

Winslow’s Home A 1926 building that was originally a general store has become a gift shop-cafe. Try the spinach, egg and cheese breakfast burrito or a brisket sandwich.


Chase Park Plaza Hotel Stay in a landmark with a pool, and walk to nearby Forest Park. 

Dwell 912 The two-story apartment in an 1885 home has its own entrance, a balcony and full kitchen.

Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch Amenities such as free popcorn and soda, a pool, and free breakfast—plus a prime downtown location—make this a family-friendly choice.

Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown Contemporary suites feel like roomy apartments steps from the convention center.

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis Enjoy Arch views, a spa and new gourmet restaurant Cinder House, where James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft creates South American-inspired dishes.

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Rooms and the rooftop bar, 360, provide views of Busch Stadium and the Arch.

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Hotel Ignacio Reflecting its artsy neighborhood, the hotel’s hallways and 49 rooms have artistic touches like oversize photographs.

Magnolia St. Louis A $15 million renovation freshened the 1924 downtown hotel but left cool vintage touches, like crystal chandeliers.

Moonrise Hotel From the rotating orb on the roof to photos of space on the walls, a lunar theme pervades this boutique hotel near Blueberry Hill.

St. Louis Union Station Enter the luxury hotel through the cavernous Grand Hall, where guests can grab a cocktail or watch 3-D light shows. A $45 million aquarium is expected to open at the Union Station complex in late 2019.

St. Louis Union Station

St. Louis Union Station Hotel

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Comments (2)

sk23121 wrote:
The Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum is a nice history museum for young and old a like. The kids can interact with lots of old phones (candlestick, rotary dial, push button, old cell phones) and adults can see some of the phones we used growing up. Nominal admission fee and seniors and children get a discount.

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