What NOT to Miss in St. Louis {with kids}


So we are planning an upcoming overnight to St. Louis and would love to have your input for things we need to see while we are there! And we trust your awesome opinions and experiences over Google or TripAdvisor!

So what MUST we see?
What MUST we do?
What MUST we eat?

We’re already planning to visit the FREE zoo and will probably at least go visit The Gateway Arch (undecided if it’s worth the money to take the ride up IF the government isn’t shutdown). That’s all we have on the agenda thus far!

Thanks in advance for helping us with our little family getaway, and we will be sure to share our memories with you!

20 thoughts on "What NOT to Miss in St. Louis {with kids}"

  1. Steph says:

    You must go here: http://www.citymuseum.org/. It’s so fun.

  2. Faith says:

    Yes, definitely the City Museum! If the roof is still open (I think it closes sometime in the fall), it’s worth the extra money to go up there and drive the school bus, etc. “The Hill” neighborhood is great for authentic Italian food and bakeries/cheese and meat shops.

  3. Dave says:

    The zoo and science center are great destinations. The arch is worth a visit as well, including the Museum of Westward Expansion underneath it.

    1. Courtney Bender says:

      I was going to say that even if you don’t want to pay to go to the top of the Arch, the museum underneath Iis good and free!

  4. Heidi H. says:

    I agree with City Museum! Bizarre but great fun. The St. Louis Science Center is in Forest Park and free as well. Magic House…not free, but friends had a great time when they went.

  5. Deanna says:

    I live in St. Louis and there are a lot of great things to do and good places to eat. I second the City Museum. My son is 6 and had an absolute great time there. The Museum of Transportation is great if your boys are into trains. You have to go to Ted Drewes and get ice cream!

    1. Courtney Bender says:

      I was goimg to suggest Ted Drewes too! Milkshakes so thick they serve them to you upsidedown!

  6. Katy Mann says:

    The botanical gardens are great but I’d only visit with kids in the summer when they can play in the water spaces. The zoo is a must do. The kids museum is very nice. A riverboat cruise would be fun if your kids are into that.

    The ABSOLUTE BEST PLACE in addition to the City Museum is the mall. Union station on a weekend, just for one reason. I can’t find my post with video but the fudge shop is amazing! They make it in front of an audience and sing and gather a HUGE crowd and give the crowd a GREAT show! I’ll find my video….or you could just go!

  7. Keary says:

    I was beaten to the punch, I was going to suggest the city museum, strange but interesting.

  8. Amy Wells says:

    If you have a pass to another science center or children’s museum you can get in the Magic House for free and the science center (but that’s free anyway). (ASTC.org or Childrens Museum participant.) The Magic House does take a while- it’s much bigger than you realize.

    For the Arch, buy your tickets early when you first get there even if you don’t plan on going until 3 days later, they sell out fast even in advance at certain times. Don’t forget there is a museum under the Arch too. And last time we were there our Arch ride tickets were good for 24 hours and we could go up 2xs if we wanted to.

    We loved City Museum and Grants Park (free) is a fun trolly ride for the kids. Plus Grants has the horses that drive the Busch wagons. The brewery tour is always interesting as there is lots of historical stuff there.

    We always enjoy going to Hanks on Delmar for lunch after the zoo since you can watch them bottle the root beer and try all the different flavors they make there when you buy a drink with your meal. We’ve done the art museum and the boys didn’t really care and we heard the butterfly garden and park is cool but they didn’t really care about going.

    When you go to the zoo we always get there right when it opens and head straight for the kids area since for the first hour it’s free.

    We’ve done the Union Station, but it wasn’t really that amazing and the same thing for the Turtle playground.

    We love St Louis and have been several times and the boys always love it. We typically stay at the Drury Hotel (there are always coupon codes) and we’ve done the one downtown convention center one and the one in Fenton if you want something a little farther out. The only hard thing is the time change so it was tough for the boys to wait for the 5:30 kickback “dinner” since we had been going all day long.

  9. Brenda M says:

    Definitely do the City Museum and the Science Center. We love Grant’s Farm too, and it’s free. You’ll get to see the Clydesdales, Ulysses Grant’s home, and lots of zoo animals. We love it as much as the Zoo! So many great things to do! And — lots of great food in St. Louis — great BBQ, pizza, root beer bottling company (Fitz’s American Grill), and much more. But if you get a chance you have to eat on “The Hill”, and old Italian neighborhood with authentic Italian food (not far from Forest Park). Our favorite is Cunetto’s (www.shopthehill.com). Have fun!

  10. Jennifer MiddleName Murray!!! You’re going to be in St. Louis and NOT SEE ME just a hop, skip and a 4-hour drive across the state away???


    (Seriously, though…I wonder if it’s possible we could drive over and see you guys? When are you going?)

  11. Momma Megan says:

    Definitely city museum.
    We loved Magic House, thought it was worth the ticket price.
    If the weather is nice, City Garden (not too far from the arch) is fun & we also like the Laumeier Sculpture Garden (http://laumeiersculpturepark.org/).
    And for a treat (amazing custard/ice cream!!), you have to go to Ted Drewes! (http://www.teddrewes.com/)

  12. Jen says:

    The zoo is a must. Also, if you come before the end of the month, dress the boys up and go to Boo at the Zoo :http://www.stlzoo.org/events/calendarofevents/booatthezoonights/
    Also, check out the Museum of Transportation. http://www.transportmuseumassociation.org/. The boys, if anything like my 5-year-old son, will love walking around on the old trains and learning about them.
    And not far from there is the Magic House, http://www.magichouse.org/. This place is so fun and educational! Grants Farm is great, you can feed the goats and watch a great elephant show: http://anheuser-busch.com/index.php/our-heritage/grants-farm/
    The Arch is great, but unless the “government shut down” ends before your visit, you won’t get in: http://www.gatewayarch.com/
    Other fun place to go are City Garden, http://www.citygardenstl.org/, Butterfly House http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/butterfly-house.aspx, Science Center: http://www.slsc.org/,
    Depending on where you are staying, city or county, there are great places to eat. If the family likes milk shakes, I suggest Crown Candy: http://crowncandykitchen.net/. Best BTL and milkshake in the world…my son loves this place. I could go on forever….

  13. Danielle says:

    St.louis born and raised. For sure Magic House and City Museum. Zoo is free and great too. Ted Drewes ice cream rocks. Food: The Hill has dozens of killer Italian restaurants! Real deal stuff that will leave you dreaming of it until you get more. 🙂 If you are staying out in West County area, that’s my hood and could give more recommendations. Have so much fun!

  14. Sonya says:

    The zoo is wonderful! If tight spaces aren’t your thing that might keep you from going up in the Arch. It is an amazing view and they do have plenty of exhibits underneath. The botanical gardens are very nice as well. The Loop has some great restaurants. We went to Fitz’s on one trip. They bottle their own root beers and a bunch of other sodas. Ozzies by the City Museum is good too.

  15. Liz says:

    I live in STL! I think everyone has already suggested all the best spots – Zoo, Grant’s Farm, City Museum, Science Center, Museum of Transportation, Magic House, etc. I think the Botanical Gardens has a children’s area. And there are TONS of great parks with playground for the guys to run off some energy. If you’re coming in October, Six Flags is about 45 minutes away and Purina Farms is out that way as well, I believe, though I’ve never been (just hear great things).

    As for food, you can’t go wrong with Italian from The Hill area, but know that some are more upscale/pricier than others. The Loop has some good restaurants. And if you’re staying downtown, stick near Washington Ave for restaurants. Not much going on downtown, especially on weekends. Could also check out a sporting event. STL Blues? Rams? This is a good site: http://explorestlouis.com/

  16. Susan says:

    Definitely city museum and Forest Park and all it’s free attractions…planetarium, science museum. My kids are teens and they still enjoy those things, though they are aimed more for your kids’ ages.

  17. Jenny says:

    I know these have been suggested already, but I have to agree wholeheartedly with the suggestions of the zoo, the science museum, and the Museum of Transportation. My teen son and my middle-schooler both love them all, even now.

    My 12-year-old was at the City Museum three years ago, and still talks about how much fun he had there — he says it’s his absolute favorite place EVER! Definitely a do-not-miss!

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