Fun and Unique Things to Do in St. Louis Missouri

There are so many hidden gems and fun things to do in St. Louis, Missouri.

The hardest part might be narrowing down all of your great options. No matter what attractions you choose, you’re likely to have an unforgettable experience.

St. Louis is located in the eastern part of Missouri near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and is the second largest city in Missouri.

Grand Hall Light Show at St. Louis Union Station

Watch the Light Show in the St. Louis Union Station Grand Hall

1820 Market St, St. Louis, MO 

St. Louis Union Station Grand Hall has incredible architecture dating back to the late 1800s.

Grand Hall at St. Louis Union Station

The intricate details of the Grand Hall become even more illuminated during the Grand Hall Light Show.

touch pool at St. Louis Aquarium

The 13 different light projection shows make each viewing a unique experience. It also gives you an excuse to come back.

You can read more about the top 20 things to do at St. Louis Union Center here.

couple at St. Louis Aquarium

Explore the St. Louis Aquarium

201 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO

The St. Louis Aquarium has 13,000 animals and 257 aquatic species native to rivers and oceans of the world.

This aquarium has several unique animal encounters including a touch tank with red garra fish and an opportunity to feed a turtle in addition to touch pools with sting rays.

It’s recommended to plan 1-3 hours for a visit to the St. Louis Aquarium so plan accordingly.

behind the scenes tour St. Louis Aquarium

You can see another perspective of the aquarium that isn’t open to the public during a 45-minute guided behind-the-scenes tour.

You’ll learn more about the aquarium animals and their habitats, what they eat, and how they make saltwater in the facility.

The tour concludes after a walk across the rope bridge that spans Shark Canyon.

The Old Courthouse St. Louis

Learn About the Significant Trials at the Old Courthouse

11 N 4th St, St. Louis, MO (Park of Gateway Arch National Park) (The inside of the courthouse is currently under renovation)

The historic building was built between 1839 and 1862. 

The Old Courthouse St. Louis

The Old Courthouse was the site of two trials of the Dred Scott case in 1847 and 1850.

Dred Scott, with his wife Harriet, sued for and were granted, their freedom in 1847 but unfortunately, that ruling was appealed and the decision was reversed when it went to the Supreme Court. More than 300 other “freedom suits” were filed there by 1860 as a result of their bravery.

In the 1870s,  Virginia Minor‘s case for a woman’s right to vote came to trial at the Old Courthouse in the 1870s.

the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Take the Tram Ride to the Top of the Gateway Arch

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO (Gateway Arch National Park)

If you’re claustrophobic this is NOT the adventure for you but it is an incredible way to appreciate this National Historic Landmark from another angle.

tram for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Each pod for the tram can hold 5 seated passengers and the seats are right next to each other. You can sit inside a sample pod if that helps you determine if the ride is right for you.

The tram rides to the top of the arch are very popular and it’s recommended to purchase tram tickets in advance for your desired time and day.

underneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Guests are transported 630 feet to the top of America’s tallest monument referred to as the “Gateway to the West.”

Once on the tram, it is a 4-minute tram ride to the top.

You have around 10 minutes to enjoy the views from the top followed by a 3-minute ride back down.

The entire process of the tour typically takes 45 minutes to an hour.

I rode the tram to the top of the arch in July and the little glass window on the tram helped me not feel as panicked because I could see that we were moving.

view from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

From the top, you can see up to 30 miles to the east and west through the 16 windows on each side of the observation deck.

This is one of the best places to enjoy an aerial view of the St. Louis area.

view from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

The views at the top are pretty incredible!

view from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

My favorite part of the viewing experience was seeing the shadow of the arch.

If you want to enjoy a few different vantage points of the Gateway Arch the best value is a combo ticket that includes the tram and a riverboat cruise located steps away from the monument.

The Museum Under the Gateway Arch at Gateway Arch National Park

The Museum Under the Gateway Arch at Gateway Arch National Park

If you prefer to stay on the ground you can learn more about the monument for free at The Museum under the Gateway Arch, admission is free to visit.

The Museum Under the Gateway Arch at Gateway Arch National Park

The museum has 6 interactive galleries taking you from Colonial St. Louis to the process of building the Arch.

Gateway Arch Riverboats in St. Louis

Enjoy the Scenic St. Louis Riverfront Cruise With Gateway Arch Riverboats

50 S Leonor K Sullivan Blvd, St. Louis, MO

The one-hour riverboat tour provides fantastic views of the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis on the Mississippi River.

Gateway Arch Riverboats in St. Louis

Gateway Arch Riverboats are conveniently located within walking distance of the Gateway Arch.

view from Gateway Arch Riverboats in St. Louis

I would recommend arriving early for your boat tour to secure a seat if you don’t want to stand.

Gateway Arch Riverboats in St. Louis

During my tour, there weren’t enough seats for all of the guests onboard.

view from Gateway Arch Riverboats in St. Louis

While on the narrated tour you learn about the Gateway Arch, the local history, and the ecology of the river.

barn for Budweiser Clydesdales at Grants Farm

See the Famous Budweiser Clydesdales and More at Grant’s Farm

7385 Grant Rd, St. Louis, MO

The 275-acre attraction has a lot to see and do including an open-air tram ride through Deer Park, Grants Farm Animal Friend Show, historic buildings, behind the scene tours (for an additional fee), and more.

Grant’s Farm is the site of the Busch family home dating back to 1903.

What’s even more incredible is that Grant’s Farm has FREE admission!

*There is an additional charge for animal feed, the carousel, and some of the other attractions.

beer garden at Grants Farm

For 68+ years this attraction hasn’t charged an admission fee. Afternoons and evenings are less busy if you want to avoid the crowds at peak times in the morning.

goats at Grant's Farm in St. Louis

Grant’s Farm has 900+ animals of all sizes in addition to the famous Clydesdales.

Budweiser Clydesdale horse at Grants Farm

The Clydesdales are located at the Bauernhof stables located in the guest parking lot.

free beer samples at Grants Farm

While you’re there don’t leave Grant’s Farm without a generous free sample of Anheuser-Busch products for guests 21+ and up at the Biergarten.

airplane at City Museum

Play for Hours at City Museum

750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO

City Museum is one of the coolest museums I’ve ever visited. It’s a combination of repurposed art + play inside a building that was a former shoe factory.

City Museum in St. Louis

City Museum is a children’s museum where adults will have just as much fun as the kids! Trust me!

City Museum in St. Louis

The creativity will give you a sense of wonder that with some imagination anything is possible.

City Museum in St. Louis

Inside you’ll find 29K+ artifacts from all over the world in the 600K square feet museum in addition to rides, slides, caves, and more!

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring walkie-talkies if you have elementary-aged kids who tend to wander.

This is the perfect place to explore and feel like a kid again because it’s so much fun!

10 story slide at City Museum

I highly recommend going down one of the 5-story- 6-story or 10-story spiral slides.

Pro tip- wear clothes that you would feel comfortable climbing around and sliding in.

Take the Guided Tour at City Museum

I also recommend taking the one-hour guided walking tour of the City Museum available on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

City Museum in St. Louis

Tour guides will share the history of the museum, tell stories behind the art and help you get an overview of the places in the museum that you’ll want to return to.

Half the fun is discovering the uniqueness of each room.

Check out the upcoming special events at City Museum that include events for kids and events for 21+ and up if you prefer to visit kid-free.

The Rooftop at City Museum in St. Louis

Visit The Rooftop at City Museum

The Rooftop is only open from March – October, weather permitting so if the weather is good it’s a must-see!

view from the school bus at The Rooftop at City Museum in St. Louis

It does require an additional admission fee but the views and interactive art installations on the rooftop are definitely worth checking out!

Budweiser Brewery Experience

Taste and Tour During the Budweiser Brewery Experience

1200 Lynch St, St. Louis, MO

There are a variety of Anheuser-Busch brewery tour experiences that you can book at Budweiser Brewery.

Clydesdale at Budweiser Brewery Experience

There are tours that focus on your interest level, aspect of beer production, tastings, or behind-the-scenes with the Clydesdales.

Budweiser Brewery Experience

During my visit, we booked the “Day Fresh Tour.”

Clydesdale Paddock and Stables Budweiser Brewery Experience

The Day Fresh Tour is a 1.25-hour walking tour that takes you around the Budweiser campus. You’ll learn about the brewing methods and the history of the company from seed to sip.

Day Fresh Tour Budweiser Brewery Experience

Beer fans 21+ will also appreciate that you get to enjoy a tasting and a Day Fresh beer as a keepsake from your tour.

Clydesdale Paddock and Stables Budweiser Brewery Experience

Building highlights on the tour include:

  • Clydesdale Paddock and Stables
  • Beechwood Aging Cellars
  • The historic Brewhouse
  • Bevo packaging facility

*Closed-toed shoes are strongly recommended for the tour.

Budweiser super fans will find plenty of themed merch in the gift shop.

Cardinals Baseball Game at Busch Stadium

Attend a Cardinals Baseball Game at Busch Stadium

700 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO

If you visit during baseball season it’s fun to attend a game at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

The St. Louis Cardinals joined the National League in 1892 and have won the World Series 11 times.

St. Louis Ballpark Village

Explore Ballpark Village

601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO

Ballpark Village is located adjacent to Busch Stadium which means that you are steps away from an assortment of entertainment, live music, and dining options before or after the game.

St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark

Enjoy Rooftop Views at 360 Rooftop Bar at St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark

1 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO

This is a great place for panoramic views of downtown St. Louis.

360 Rooftop Bar at St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark

The rooftop views of the Busch Stadium are pretty incredible.

bar at Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Guests can also enjoy another perspective of the Gateway Arch from the bar inside.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Admire the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

4431 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 

The historic cathedral was built from 1907 to 1914 and it took until 1986 to complete the 41 million individual tile mosaics.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

To learn the most about the history and incredible architecture, you’ll want to take a tour of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The inside of this church is one of the most beautiful places in the city.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Self-guided tours don’t require reservations but you may want to call ahead and make sure that there isn’t a special event going on.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Guided tours are available by appointment only so plan accordingly.

City Foundry Food Hall St. Louis

Find Cuisine For All Types of Foodies at City Foundry Food Hall

3730 Foundry Way, St. Louis, MO

This food hall has plenty of restaurants to choose from and an assortment of culinary preferences and dietary needs including gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.

City Foundry Food Hall St. Louis

This is a great place for dining with a group because everyone can choose their own culinary adventure.

Toasted ravioli from Toasted City Foundry Food Hall St. Louis

I really enjoyed the Toasted ravioli from Toasted during my visit.

toasted ravioli at The Train Shed

Try Toasted Ravioli

Speaking of toasted ravioli…Toasted ravioli is one of the signature appetizers to try during a visit to St. Louis. One of the best ways to experience a city is to try a few of the local dishes.

What is Toasted Ravioli?

The inside of the ravioli is filled with meat and cheese and the outside of the pasta is coated in breadcrumbs with Italian seasonings.

Toasted ravioli is technically deep-fried not toasted and served with Parmesan cheese on top and a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Angelo Oldani is credited with serving the first toasted ravioli in the 1950s in the restaurant Oldani’s now known as Mama’s on the Hill.

During my visit, I enjoyed toasted ravioli at The Train Shed at Union Station.

Other popular places to enjoy toasted ravioli in St. Louis according to St. Louis Magazine are:

St. Louis style pizza

Try St. Louis Style Pizza

While you’re in St. Louis you might as well try their style of pizza.

What makes St. Louis Pizza so unique?

St. Louis pizza uses unleavened dough which creates a super thin cracker-like texture for the crust.

The cheese used on a traditional St. Louis pizza is a 3-cheese blend called Provel made with Swiss cheese, white cheddar, and provolone. Slices for the pizza are typically cut in 3-4 inch squares vs. a pie-shaped slice.

The sauce for the pizza tends to be seasoned with more oregano than other pizza styles.

IMO's Pizza St. Louis

During my visit, I tried Imo’s Pizza that’s been around since 1964.

Popular places to try St. Louis Pizza according to Yelp:

  • Pizzeoli Wood-Fired Pizza
  • Anthonino’s Taverna
  • Salvage Yard Bar and Grill
  • Imo’s Pizza
  • Pizzeria Da Gloria
  • Adriana’s on the Hill
  • Uncle Leo’s Pizza
  • Pizza-Go-Go
  • Mama’s on the Hill
  • Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill

Additional Popular Attractions and Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri

The following attractions are in or within a reasonable drive of St. Louis:

hotel room St Louis Union Station Hotel

Save on Your St. Louis Hotel or Vacation Rental

Ready to book your stay in St. Louis, Missouri?

Use the interactive map below to book directly and compare prices on hotels and vacation rentals.

I’ve previously stayed at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. It’s a great place to stay because you’re within steps of so many fun things to do at Union Station.

How Far is St. Louis from Other Midwest Cities?

One of the best things about St. Louis is that it’s a reasonable road trip from several Midwest and southern cities.

Drive time and distance to St. Louis, Missouri:

  • Springfield, IL to St. Louis – 1hr 28 min – 96.2 miles
  • Jefferson City, MO to St. Louis – 2 hr 5 min – 132.7 miles
  • Evansville, Indiana to St. Louis – 2 hr 41 min – 166.7 miles
  • Indianapolis to St. Louis – 3 hr 41 min – 242.3 miles
  • Kansas City, MO to St. Louis – 3hr 51 min – 248.2 miles
  • Louisville, Ky to St. Louis – 4hr 4 min – 260.1 miles
  • Nashville, TN to St. Louis – 4hr 50 min – 308 miles
  • Memphis, TN to St. Louis – 4 hr 52 min – 290 miles
  • Chicago to St. Louis – 5 hr 14 min – 311.3 miles
  • Cincinnati to St. Louis – 5hr 16 min – 349.9 miles

Thanks again to St. Louis Union Station for hosting my visit.

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