Located on Missouri’s eastern border on the banks of the Mississippi River, the city of St. Louis is a fun and exciting travel destination. Attracting all kinds of tourists, this thriving metropolis serves up everything from monuments and museums to unique neighborhoods and outdoor spaces. If you’re weighing vacation options, check out these seven must-see attractions in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Gateway Arch
Situated on the riverbank in downtown St. Louis, the Gateway Arch stands a whopping 625 feet high. As the city’s most identifiable symbol, the massive stainless steel structure signifies the designation of St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West.” Underneath the arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion welcomes tourists, and eight elevators take visitors up to the observation deck at the top of the arch.
The St. Louis Zoo
Few travelers turn down a free tourist attraction, and the St. Louis Zoo is one of the favorites in the area. Over three million people each year come to see more than 16,000 animals spread over 90 acres, including Asian elephants, hippos, lions, tigers, monkeys and other creatures. For more zoo amenities, visitors can board the Emerson Zooline Railroad for a 20-minute tour, watch a film at the 4-D theater, take a ride on the Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel and find food and beverages at a number of cafes and food stands throughout the park.
The Missouri Botanical Garden
Are you looking to connect with nature? Check out the Missouri Botanical Garden. Situated in the heart of the city, the site features beautiful Tower Grove House, the historic home of former St. Louis resident Henry Shaw. More attractions include a formal Victorian garden, a greenhouse, a colorful Japanese garden, a children’s garden and a spectacular conservatory housed within a geodesic dome.
When you need respite from exploring, hop aboard the tram for a 25-minute narrated tour of the site or stop into one of the onsite cafés for a meal and a beverage. Don’t forget to pick up plants or mementos at the gift shop or bookstore.
Located in a former shoe factory in the Downtown West neighborhood of St. Louis, City Museum offers a colorful, quirky experience for kids and grownups. Special attractions include a giant aquarium that children can step inside of, an indoor climbing loft made from trees, and metal platforms and a collection of unusual stairways, twisty slides, unique sculptures, subterranean pathways and recycled planes, trains and buses. When tummies get hungry, five cafés and food stands offer sustenance and adult beverages for parents.
If you want to experience St. Louis like a local, head to one of its most popular neighborhoods: The Hill. Chock full of markets, restaurants and bakeries, this charming Italian neighborhood oozes local pride and a warm, welcoming vibe. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners brag about famous former residents, baseball greats Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola Sr., while they flaunt the red, white and green colors of Italy from every corner.
St. Louis Science Center
If you’re interested in topics like space travel, animals, musical instruments and skyscrapers, you’ll never have a dull moment at Saint Louis Science Center. Located at the southeast corner of Forest Park just north of The Hill, this museum offers hundreds of hands-on exhibits, science experiments and live demonstrations. The onsite Omnimax Theater offers exciting films and the planetarium allows visitors to explore the stars.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Just 15 miles southwest of the city center, the Laumeier Sculpture Park offers an indoor gallery and a collection of contemporary sculptures in a scenic outdoor setting. Just a few of the 60 outdoor installations include a face-shaped seating area made of concrete, a bronze sculpture of tulips in a vase, a mass of steel “noodles” twisted into knots and a large, colorful, cat-shaped bench fashioned from stained glass, mirrors, stones and ceramic tiles.
If you’re looking for a vacation destination with a lot of things to see and do, the city of St. Louis fits the bill. When planning your itinerary, these seven attractions in the “Gateway City” promise a truly enjoyable getaway.