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11 Best Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri

Updated: May 16

Best Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri - Alpacka My Bags Travel Blog

How to Plan a Fun Trip to St. Louis, Missouri


The U.S. has some great cities that are worth visiting, an underrated one being St. Louis, Missouri! Located in the heart of the Midwest, St. Louis, or as the locals call it, STL is a gem of a little city.


About a 4.5-hour drive from Chicago, it makes a great place for a weekend adventure from the Windy City. Pack up your car and get planning, let's dive into what to do in St. Louis, Missouri!


There are many delicious restaurants and cafes to choose from, activities for all ages, and lots of exciting things to see!


From the famous Gateway Arch to the City Garden downtown, to lots of unique coffee shops and restaurants. You can squeeze a lot in during a two or three-day trip to this buzzing city.


Make the most of your time here, and check out delicious restaurants and the best things to do in St. Louis. See and experience the best of Missouri's fun city!


Table of Contents



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Dine at the Best Restaurants in St. Louis


  • The Mud House - coffee and kitchen, vegetarian options

  • Cheshire Grin Cat Cafe - great pastries and coffee with adoptable cats

  • Hartford Coffee - a quieter cafe with delicious coffee and food, vegetarian options

  • Park Avenue Coffee - unique, tasty coffees and famous gooey butter cake

  • Cafe de Blaire - coffee, ice cream, and to-die-for bubble tea

  • Sidney Street Cafe - upscale, unique American dining, delicious options

  • Nudo House - incredible ramen, great vegetarian options


Who doesn’t love finding great food in new places? Surprisingly this small midwestern city offers an incredible variety of restaurants, making dining of the best things to do in St. Louis.


We’re personally huge fans of finding a nice restaurant or two when visiting a new place, and we’re slightly obsessed with finding the best coffee shops and cafes.


Take a look at our favorite coffee shops and the best restaurants in St. Louis and hit them up for a good munch!



The Mud House


Stop at The Mud House for breakfast or a midday pick-me-up and enjoy great coffee and tea and super yummy food. It's tucked into a nice neighborhood and is a popular place.


They have a nice menu with lots of vegetarian and vegan choices. We ordered and highly recommend the Maple Spice Latte, Oat Milk Horchata Latte, and Vegan Slinger!



Cheshire Grin Cat Cafe


This place is a cat lover’s heaven! It’s a great little cafe that also functions as a nonprofit cat rescue. At the Cheshire Grin Cate Cafe you can order a coffee and a pastry if you please, and hang out with some cute, adoptable cats.


Make sure you make a reservation ahead of time as they are highly recommended. You can play with the cats and even apply to adopt one!


We loved our order, so if you’re looking for recommendations we got the Whiskey and Yuki specials and a delicious apple crumb muffin.



Hartford Coffee Company


Located in a quaint neighborhood near a lovely park, Hartford offers a variety of drinks, breakfast meals, and lunch options. It’s a nice place to enjoy a quieter meal break, especially if you’ve been running around downtown. They too have a variety of vegetarian options which we loved.


We highly recommend the Orange Creamsicle Latte, Matcha Lemonade, Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf, and the vegetarian Quesapita! Take note that they have different specials so our drinks might not be available year-round; however, everything we ordered was great so we can only assume you can’t go wrong at this cafe.



Park Avenue Coffee


This wonderful cafe has multiple locations, and they are known for their gooey butter cake. When we say you have to try it, we seriously mean you have to try it. They also offer a few other food options, mostly pastries. Park Avenue Coffee is a more modern cafe with some unique latte flavors and cool merch!


We ordered and highly recommend Thai Iced Coffee, Brown Sugar Lavender Coffee, and Turtle Gooey Butter Cake. All the gooey butter cake options sounded delicious, but we’re caramel fiends, so we went with the turtle and it did not disappoint!



Cafe de Blaire


Located in downtown St. Louis, Cafe de Blaire offers a variety of coffee and tea drinks, frappes, ice cream, milkshakes, and bubble tea. This is the place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth.


The staff here are very friendly and helpful, so if you’re not sure what to order, they’ll help you find the perfect thing for you! We enjoyed the Taro Bubble Tea and the Thai Tea Bubble Tea.



Sidney Street Cafe


An upscale restaurant with a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. You can’t go wrong with Sidney Street Cafe. The food is all delicious, the service is very entertaining and helpful (our waiter jumped for joy at one point!), and the atmosphere is inviting.


We ordered Lobster Turnovers, Agnolotti, Spaetzle, Mashed Potatoes, Hasselback Potato, and a White Chocolate Turtle Blondie. Everything we had was so good, we ate every single bite. We would honestly go back to St. Louis solely for the purpose of eating here again. It was that good.



Nudo House


Experience the best ramen in the Midwest at Nudo House! Make sure you go hungry because there is something for everyone and you’ll want to try it all. They have a few vegetarian options too which is a bonus. It’s a colorful, busy place with fun artwork all around, and it’s popular among local families and college students.


We ordered the Curry Up Ramen with Japanese Squash, the Classic Nudo, Tamarind Tofu, and let’s not forget, Crab Rangoons. This is a must-go when visiting St. Louis. Keep in mind they have two locations; we went to the Delmar location.


I was never too impressed with ramen until we tried Nudo House, and now I have very high expectations for it. (I guess we’ll just have to go to Japan now!)



Best Things to Do in St. Louis


  • City Garden - walk through sculptures in this downtown city oasis park

  • St. Louis Art Museum - free art museum housing over 30,000 works

  • City Museum - a giant playground for all ages to enjoy

  • Gateway Arch - St. Louis’ famous arch, you can’t miss it

  • Trolley Tour - Explore the city with a guide

  • Griot Museum of Black History - one of the best Black History museums

  • Foodie Finds + Barbecue Tour - enjoy the best restaurants in St. Louis

  • Haunted Tour - Learn about St. Louis's haunted history

  • Missouri Botanical Garden - 79 acres of beautiful gardens

  • Busch Stadium - go cheer on the St. Louis Cardinals

  • St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station - fun for all ages, fish, otters, oh my


This small midwestern city surprisingly has a lot to offer. Along with a great variety of restaurant options, you can't miss Gateway Arch and City Museum. You can definitely plan a few days exploring the city and checking off the best things to do in St. Louis.



Gateway Arch - Best Things to Do in St. Louis

St. Louis Art Museum


If you're looking for FREE things to do in St Louis, Missouri, head to the St. Louis Art Museum! This massive museum is free to enter and houses over 30,000 works of art.


It's a little ways out of downtown, so plan to drive or rideshare (Uber/Lyft) to the art museum.


City Garden


Venture into Downtown St. Louis and explore the City Garden. It’s a three-acre park with a variety of neat sculptures and statues to admire. This is a nice place to get some fresh air or a nice break if you’ve been running around the rest of downtown.


The City Garden is a nice little city oasis, making it one of the best things to do in St. Louis. It’s close to restaurants and other activities in Downtown St. Louis, and it’s great for all ages to visit.



City Museum


Fun for all ages, the City Museum in St. Louis is basically a giant playground with three main exhibits. Let your inner child out at this wild place when you go down a 10-story slide, climb up five stories to an airplane, or find your way through the rainforest.


There’s so much to see and do at the City Museum, you could easily spend an entire day here if you please. There are slides and tunnels and fish and climbing, the list goes on.


General admission is $22 and you can get a rooftop add-on which allows you to explore the Ferris wheel, planetarium dome, and more on the roof. You can also add on a Pinball Hall pass for extra and play pinball all day!


If only have time to check off one thing here, let it be City Museum. It is endless fun for all ages and will make you feel like a kid again. It's my top pick of all the best things to do in St. Louis!




Gateway Arch National Park


You simply cannot visit St. Louis without going to the famous Gateway Arch. It is a national park, so if you’re a national park fiend like we both are, this has to be added to your STL plans.


The arch is free to visit, but there are tram rides to the top if you’re feeling more adventurous. During the weekends, they are $19 per person, or $16 if you have a National Park Annual Pass.


Make sure you book your tram ride in advance as the time slots fill up quickly. You’ll get panoramic views of the city and the river, but remember you’ll be 630 feet up in the air, and the trams are very small, so this is not a good idea for claustrophobic people or those afraid of heights. Admire it from below!


There is also the Museum at the Gateway Arch which has free admission. It’s a very informative little museum that teaches you about the history of the arch and of westward expansion in the United States.


When visiting the arch, especially if you’ve bought tram ride tickets, set aside extra time to find and get to your parking spot (you can pre-purchase parking for the Gateway Arch National Park). Traffic is unpredictable here, so avoid missing your timeslot if you can.


With incredible views from the top and a free museum, Gateway Arch is definitely one of the best activities in St. Louis.




City Trolley Tour


Explore St. Louis with a knowledgable guide on the 75-minute city trolley tour. You'll get to see the best parts of the city and learn about its history.


This is a great activity for those short on time who still want to explore St. Louis. And if you pass a place that catches your interest on the tour, you can go back later for more!



Griot Museum of Black History


St. Louis is home to some great museums, one of them being the Griot Museum of Black History. Known as one of the best Black History museums in the US, Griot is a must-visit while in St. Louis, Missouri.


Stroll through the Josephine Baker exhibit and make your way to the Martin Luther King exhibit and more in this educational museum.


Foodie Finds + Barbecue Tour


If you haven’t noticed, St. Louis offers a variety of fantastic restaurants and cafes. And who doesn’t love a delicious meal? This city is great for people who love finding really great food, sipping on a latte, and satisfying their sweet tooth.


The food options did not disappoint here, so if you’re feeling like it, take your time to move around trying the best restaurants in St. Louis and all the different types of food they have to offer!


St. Louis also has a killer barbecue scene for you meat-eaters. Book a private barbecue gastronomy tour in St. Louis to try the best spots!




Haunted Walking Tour


Do you believe in ghosts? Are you into ghoulish happenings? Check out the Haunted walking tour in St. Louis!


Learn about St. Louis's history in a thrilling way and visit the city's most haunted spots. If you're looking for a unique way to admire St. Louis, this is the activity for you.



Missouri Botanical Garden


If you're a nature lover, this one's for you. I love finding local botanical gardens and arboretums, and St. Louis does not disappoint.


Plan a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden and enjoy the 79 acres of lush gardens and greenhouse plants. Make sure you have a couple of hours to spend here so you can truly admire the gardens.


Bee on purple flowers - Missouri Botanical Garden

Catch a Game at Busch Stadium


Baseball fans, go grab your tickets. Watch the St. Louis Cardinals play at Busch Stadium and explore Ballpark Village. If you’re visiting St. Louis in late spring, summer, or early fall, this is a great place to enjoy the nice weather.


Sit outside at the stadium and enjoy a bite to eat while enjoying a baseball game. You can also learn about the history of the team at the Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum or grab some St. Louis Cardinals merch from Arch Apparel.


Sports fans! This is definitely one of the best things to do in St. Louis for you. And there are shops to explore outside if you want to skip the game or kill some time beforehand.



St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station


Always fun for all ages, the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station houses fish, otters, lobsters, and more. They even have touch pools for sharks and rays!



How to Get Around - St. Louis Travel Guide


St. Louis, Missouri is a great city for a weekend adventure. While you could stay longer and easily find more fun things to do in St Louis, two or three days in this city are perfect.


You can squeeze in many activities as everything is pretty close to each other here, especially if you have a car. Continuing our travel guide, above are the best things to do in St. Louis. Read how to get around below.


Driving


Our St. Louis travel guide would not be complete without transportation tips. We drove from Chicago to St. Louis (which is only about 4.5 hours if you’re making that trip) so we had our car to get around in St. Louis.


If you can easily drive here, or rent a car if you’re arriving at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, we highly recommend doing so.


It makes getting from place to place much easier, especially if you only have a few days in the city. That way you can squeeze more activities into your days!


The traffic was never bad in the residential areas. It got a bit congested Downtown, but there was also the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so I believe that the traffic normally isn’t too bad in St. Louis.


Parking


There is lots of free street parking in the more residential areas. We stayed in an Airbnb and had no trouble finding a spot on the street outside. In Downtown St. Louis there are many parking garages and cheap street parking.


The parking garages can get fairly expensive, but if you have the time to drive around a bit, you’ll find a really cheap one. We parked in the Ballpark Village for at least four hours and it cost about $10.


This is a cheaper one, but definitely not the cheapest being right by Busch Stadium. Street parking is generally around $2 an hour, and it is free after 7 pm, Monday through Saturday, and all day Sunday. Check out more parking rules in St. Louis.



Public Transportation


Driving is a good option here; however, there is public transportation as well. St. Louis has a bus system and a pretty small train system. We personally did not use either while in St. Louis, but while wandering around Downtown, we came across several stations and bus stops.


Take a look at the Metro St. Louis website if you have more questions about public transportation, and you can find fare rates, maps, train times, and more on their website.



Rideshare


You can also download Uber or Lyft to utilize while in St. Louis. We personally did not use either as we had our own car, but being a city, you are bound to find some Uber and Lyft drivers here.


Be prepared to have to wait, but this is a great option, especially if your group is only 2 to 3 people. Uber and Lyft XLs are harder to come by, so relying on rideshare apps might not be the best idea if you're traveling with a larger group.


Where to Stay in St. Louis


Airbnb


We personally stayed in an Airbnb while visiting St. Louis. It was in a nice, quiet neighborhood, close to downtown, and very close to restaurants and cafes. There are quite a few options for Airbnbs in St. Louis depending on how many people are going on the trip.


With just the two of us, it was really easy to find one. If you have more than four people in your group, it will start to get harder to find one; however, if you have a car, staying a little further from Downtown would be no problem.


Book this super cute, cozy Airbnb in a quiet neighborhood.



Best Hotels in St. Louis Missouri


If you want to stay close to the action and the best things to do in St. Louis, a hotel downtown is your best bet. The average cost per night is around $150 if you want to stay in the heart of the city.


If you’re willing to stay somewhere a little further from downtown, it will be cheaper. But if you’re only going for a couple of nights, staying downtown would be very fun! Below are my top recommendations for hotels in St. Louis.


Pear Tree Inn St Louis



Drury Plaza St. Louis at the Arch



Tru By Hilton St Louis Downtown



Read Next: Airbnb vs Hotel


Best Things to Do in St. Louis - Alpacka My Bags

We highly recommend visiting St. Louis if you’re adventuring through the Midwest! This small city has a lot to offer. The food is amazing, the downtown is buzzing, and the activities are exciting.


We hope this St. Louis travel guide helps you plan a fun trip! Now you know where to get the best food and what the best things to do in St. Louis are. If you are adventuring around the Midwest, go check out Chicago as well.


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2 Comments


nathanbiggs626
nathanbiggs626
Mar 22, 2022

Absolutely loved St.Louis! Who knew the Gate Way Arch would be so interesting and fun? Also the city museum is probably the most fun I've had all year!

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Georgina D'Angelo
Georgina D'Angelo
Mar 23, 2022
Replying to

It’s such a fun city!

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aboutME

Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 

 

I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.

 

I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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