8 Fun Things to Do Around St. Louis
St. Louis is a huge, diverse area with lots to see and do! Whether you're a city native through-and-through or just a tourist passing by, chances are there's something new here for you to experience. These are just a few of my favorite places around "The Lou" to visit that I'm sure you'll love, too!
1. Visit the Arch
The Gateway Arch National Park, more commonly known as just the Arch, is a part of St. Louis's signature skyline. Along with its beautiful new grounds and the picturesque Mississippi River behind it, there is a free museum underground that is dedicated to westward expansion. In addition to visiting the grounds, viewing the museum, and even taking a tram to the very top of the Arch, you can take a boat tour of the mighty Mississippi in a replica 1800s riverboat.
2. Go to the St. Louis Zoo
The St. Louis Zoo is a top-notch destination that attracts tourists and natives alike! The zoo houses an array of different species from all subdivisions of the animal kingdom. Its world-class staff and zookeepers are all friendly and take wonderful care of the animals there.
In addition to the exhibits, there are also extra attractions like sea lion shows and stingray petting offered. All of this and free general admission make going to the St. Louis Zoo an easy, affordable day out.
3. Explore the Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to spend your day. Located away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, its quiet grounds and dazzling flowers are sure to catch your eye, even if you aren't exactly an incredible botanist.
The botanical garden is large but easy to navigate and holds several different collections of plants from around the globe. Throughout the year, there are several special events within the gardens, such as the Chinese Lantern Festival and "Flora Borealis." Low admission prices and a beautiful landscape make the botanical garden a wonderful place to stop and smell the flowers!
4. Shop at Soulard Farmer's Market
While it isn't exactly your modern cosmopolitan shopping experience, Soulard Farmer's Market's traditional roots are what make it special. Established in 1779, Soulard Market is the oldest open-air farmer's market west of the Mississippi.
Now equipped with several large fans and a little bit of A/C, Soulard is the perfect spot to pick up souvenirs to bring home. Its vendors sell everything from succulents to sunglasses at affordable, fair prices. A short walk through the market will reveal that it has something for everyone!
5. Bike Around Forest Park
One of my absolute favorite places in St. Louis is Forest Park. Its beautiful expanse nestled into a busy city is home to several notable spots, including Art Hill, The Muny, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, and the St. Louis Science Center.
Forest Park was also the site of the 1904 World's Fair. The entirety of the park can be accessed by foot, car, bicycle, and more. In fact, scattered around the park are bikes and scooters belonging to the Lime Bike program that can be rented to ride for $1 an hour. If you're looking for a spot with easy access to a ton of cool experiences, Forest Park's the place!
6. Learn at the Science Center
The St. Louis Science Center is also a spot that both natives and tourists frequent. It is connected to Forest Park through the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, which has an unmistakable curved shape.
The Science Center houses several year-round exhibits designed to teach kids and adults about earthquakes, kinetic energy, dinosaurs, space exploration, and more. Their IMAX Theater screens interesting documentaries every day.
In addition to year-round exhibits, the Science Center also houses a new traveling exhibit every few months. In the past, these have included human anatomy exhibits, ancient Egyptian artifacts, and even the Columbia capsule from the Apollo 11 lunar mission! Free general admission, fun learning experiences, and interesting exhibitions make the St. Louis Science Center a great place to visit any day.
7. Visit The Hill
The Hill is a neighborhood with incredibly strong Italian roots and a rich history. Its streets are some of the safest in St. Louis, and many of its bakeries and restaurants are family friendly.
I personally associate it with its many eateries. From family-owned bakeries and marketplaces to high-end restaurants, The Hill's food is practically unbeatable. It is also relatively close to downtown St. Louis, so getting there to grab a quick lunch or dessert is no problem!
8. Go to a Street Fair
If you're in town on a spring or summer weekend, chances are there's a street festival, craft fair, or art fair happening somewhere nearby! From the Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo festival in May all the way to the Pattonville Band Boosters craft fair in December, St. Louis festivals are anything but rare.
Among some of the most popular are the Cinco de Mayo celebration and Pattonville craft fair mentioned above, the Festival of the Little Hills in historic St. Charles, the Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park, the Laumeier Park art fair, and many more! Just a quick online search can show you lots of opportunities to attend one of these events.