Interactive guide

Essential
St. Louis

Dozens of fun things to do
and can't-miss
destinations
for visitors and locals alike.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

1200 Lynch Street

Anheuser-Busch beer was born in St. Louis. Soapmaker Eberhard Anheuser got into the beer business, and brewing supplier Adolphus Busch met Anheuser and married his daughter Lily. It’s a love story on many levels, which you can learn about in detail on a tour of the brewery. Some tours are more detailed, exploring how to brew beer or how to care for a Clydesdale (and include a souvenir photo with one of the famous horses). The tours conclude, appropriately, with a cold beer. The Biergarten is open year-round and hosts special events such as Oktoberfest in the fall and Brewery Lights in winter.

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Cost: Tours are $15 and up; reservations required

Website: budweisertours.com

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Cahokia Mounds

30 Ramey Street, Collinsville

The visitor center at this ancient site is closed for renovations through 2022, but you can still explore the place where as many as 20,000 people lived 1,000 years ago, building giant earthworks for burials and ceremonies. A new mobile app uses augmented reality to show you the structures and fences that once stood here. Cahokia Mounds is a National Historic Landmark and one of two dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States. Greet the sun at the giant Woodhenge calendar at ceremonies marking the winter and summer solstices and equinoxes.

Hours: Grounds open from sunrise to sunset; tours available (visitor center closed for renovations)

Cost: Free; app download is $4.99

Website: cahokiamounds.org

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Cardinals and Blues games

Busch Stadium, 700 Clark Avenue; Enterprise Center, 1401 Clark Avenue

We bleed red and blue in St. Louis, and if you think we talk a little too much about our World Series titles from 1982, 2006 and 2011, don’t even ask about our 2019 Stanley Cup win. (We’ll probably tell you anyway.) Ballpark Village is the place to visit before or after a baseball game for food, drinks and music, or take a walk around Busch Stadium to see bricks detailing great moments in team history, statues of Cardinals greats and a giant replica of the Commissioner's Trophy. Opening in 2023: Centene Stadium for the new St. Louis City Soccer Club.

Hours: Hours and game times vary

Cost: Prices vary

Websites: mlb.com/cardinals; nhl.com/blues

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Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

4431 Lindell Boulevard

Ground broke for this "new cathedral" in 1907, so it’s not really new anymore. Formally named the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, it's the heart of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, a Byzantine and Romanesque structure with one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world. Attend a Mass here or take a tour, and be sure to visit the crypt, the mosaic museum and the side chapel where Pope John Paul II prayed during his 1999 visit. Look up at the mosaic ceiling for depictions of saints and historical St. Louis figures, including St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and Fr. Pierre Jean De Smet. (For fun, see if you can find the images of the Statue of Liberty and Raggedy Andy.)

Hours: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; daily Masses; reservations required for guided tours

Cost: Free; $2 donation requested for museum

Website: cathedralstl.org

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Central Library

1301 Olive Street

Hidden in plain sight downtown, you wouldn’t think of a library as an architectural jewel — but there the granite building sits, taking up a whole city block, the St. Louis Public Library’s flagship branch. Designed by Cass Gilbert and opened in early 1912, the building underwent a vast renovation in time for its centennial year. Its Great Hall, actually a freestanding oval tower within the rectangular design of the building, houses several exhibits throughout the year. Take an architectural tour, then lose yourself in a book. Guided tours are available, or you can download an audio guide app called SLPL Central Library Tour.

Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday; tours by appointment and 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Saturdays

Cost: Free

Website: slpl.org/central-library-tours

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City Museum

750 North 16th Street

To truly experience this playground of curiosities and repurposed objects, grown-ups will need long pants, probably kneepads, and maybe an ibuprofen or two afterward. (The kids will be fine.) You’ll be climbing through cooling coils, sliding down shoe chutes, and crawling through caves and up, around and through tree stumps. You can still walk upright through most of the museum’s attractions, which include the Artquarium, an Architecture Hall and a giant whale. Watch as Circus Harmony's young performers juggle, tumble and balance in their third-floor performance ring. Catch a ride on the rooftop Ferris wheel, and venture outdoors to explore MonstroCity, a playground that’s part castle turret, Sabreliner airplane fuselages and fire truck. You'll work up an appetite, so there are cafes and bars throughout, including Cabin Inn (an actual 19th-century log cabin), the Lizard Lounge and Beatnik Bob's.

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday (closed Monday-Wednesday)

Cost: $18 online, $20 at the door

Website: citymuseum.org

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Delmar Loop

Delmar Boulevard between Trinity and Hodiamont avenues, St. Louis and University City

Still hopping by day, the Delmar Loop is an eclectic, eight-block stretch of restaurants, cafes, shops and entertainment venues spanning the border of University City and St. Louis. The Loop gets its name from the many streetcars that once "looped" through to other parts of town. You can see workers bottle root beer and other frosty sodas at Fitz’s Root Beer, snap a selfie with the Chuck Berry statue, catch a concert at the Pageant or the Blueberry Hill Duck Room, and gaze at the world’s largest manmade rotating moon atop the Moonrise Hotel. As you walk, look down: More than 140 brass stars and plaques honor famous St. Louisans on our very own Walk of Fame.

Cost: Free

Website: visittheloop.com

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Forest Park

Bounded by Skinker and Lindell boulevards, Kingshighway and Oakland Avenue; visitor center at 5595 Grand Drive

Yes, you have to enter Forest Park for its many individual attractions — the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the Jewel Box, the Missouri History Museum and so on. But it takes getting out of the car and exploring the park’s more than 1,300 acres to find its other natural and manmade gems: the Victorian footbridge, the Kennedy and Successional Forests, statues and sculptures and waterways. The Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape, an escape for children and adults, opened in 2021. Art Hill and the Grand Basin offer serene settings for relaxation. And don’t miss the giant turtle playground and the revamped turtle-themed traditional playground just south of Interstate 64 (Highway 40); that slice of land is technically part of the park. Another fun fact: Forest Park is twice the size of Central Park in New York.

Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Cost: Free

Website: forestparkforever.org

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Fox Theatre

527 North Grand Boulevard

There’s a reason they call it the Fabulous Fox — step through the brass doors after the usher scans your ticket, and look up at the glowing-eyed lions flanking a grand lobby staircase. The five-story theater’s “Siamese byzantine” decor style has the feel of a faraway time and place, with elephants in the carpet pattern (their trunks always pointing toward the stage) and looking down from above the auditorium. The theater opened in 1929 as a movie palace and eventually closed in 1978. Since its restoration and reopening in 1982, the Fox has welcomed more than 1,500 Broadway shows, musicians and comedians, which are celebrated in Peacock Alley, an exhibition on the fourth level. Behind-the-scenes tours are available on Saturdays, where you can see the backstage murals and signatures left behind by touring artists.

Hours: Showtimes vary; box office open only on show days

Cost: Prices vary; tours are $10

Website: fabulousfox.com

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Gateway Arch National Park

11 North Fourth Street

Gateway Arch National Park is home to the glistening, 630-foot-tall symbol of our city, and a short ride to the top inside what feels like a clothes dryer will also get you some of the best views to the east and west. Underground, the newly renovated Museum at the Gateway Arch tells a comprehensive story of early St. Louis and its explorers, as well as a history of the design and construction of architect Eero Saarinen's monument to westward expansion. While you’re strolling or bicycling, take in the vast Mississippi River and imagine dozens of riverboats parked along the cobblestone levee. Board one of the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch for a scenic cruise, or stay closer to land at Paddlewheel Cafe or Dockside Bar.

Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily in summer

Cost: Free for museum; fees for tram ride and movie

Website: gatewayarch.com

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Grant's Farm

10501 Gravois Road

Grant's Farm, the historic estate of the Busch brewing family, is home to bison, deer, donkeys and other animals that you can spot from a tram that weaves through the deer park; goats that you can feed in a goat yard; and kangaroos, camels and guinea pigs you can visit in the zoo area. Enjoy a free Busch beer inside the Bauernhof, and say hello to the famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales in the paddock before you leave. You can also book special tours of the "Big House," or President Ulysses S. Grant's log cabin, which has been moved to the grounds.

Hours: Hours vary

Cost: Free; advance parking purchase recommended

Website: grantsfarm.com

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The Magic House

516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood

The Magic House isn’t just for kids, and if you grew up in St. Louis, it might astound you to see how much its footprint has grown in more than 40 years. The children's museum started inside a 5,500-square-foot Victorian mansion and has grown to a massive 55,000 square feet. It hosts adults-only events, and kids of all ages will enjoy getting their hands wet, sandy and soapy while exploring, pretending and creating. Don’t miss the replica of the Oval Office, where youngsters can sit behind a Resolute Desk, and the newest cultural exhibition, "Kenya’s Kids." "Molly of Denali: An Alaskan Adventure" debuted in May, and Sandcastle Beach will stay outside through July 4.

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday

Cost: $12, free for children under 1

Website: magichouse.org

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Main Street in St. Charles

North and South Main streets, St. Charles

Sometimes you just want to take a leisurely stroll along a cute, historic street — to shop, eat, maybe learn a little something about local history. Main Street in St. Charles ticks those boxes. Set along the banks of the Missouri River at the foot of the “petites cotes,” or little hills, that fur trader Louis Blanchette first saw here in 1769, the street is lined with shops, restaurants and the site of the first state capitol, now a state historic site. Check out the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum for another glimpse of early local and national history. The street is home base for several special events throughout the year, such as Legends & Lanterns, Christmas Traditions and a July Fourth parade.

Cost: Free

Website: discoverstcharles.com

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Missouri Botanical Garden

4344 Shaw Boulevard

Stroll through the 79 acres of gardens, historic structures and sculptures, and you’ll quickly forget you’re at the heart of some of the city’s most established neighborhoods. Businessman Henry Shaw built the Missouri Botanical Garden and opened it to the public in 1859, making it the oldest botanical garden in continual operation in the country. Fourteen acres of grounds make up a strolling Japanese Garden, and its landmark Climatron caps a tropical rain forest, perfect for warming up in wintertime. Prepare to chase after and lose happy kids inside the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden, a maze of delightful climbers, caves and creeks to explore. Shaw's residence, Tower Grove House, is also open to curious visitors.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)

Cost: $4-$14, free for children 13 and under

Website: missouribotanicalgarden.org

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Missouri History Museum

5700 Lindell Boulevard, Forest Park

The Missouri History Museum tells the stories of St. Louis and its evolution as the Gateway to the West. While galleries on the history of St. Louis and the 1904 World's Fair are permanent, other exhibitions and spaces take a deep dive into other topics and how St. Louis responded to or helped change the world. On display through Jan. 22: "St. Louis Sound," a 6,000-square-foot exploration of our city's rich music heritage from 1800 through the 2000s. Nearly 200 artifacts from musicians, songwriters and notable venues help to tell the story, starting with the oldest surviving audio recording. Inside the museum's award-winning History Clubhouse gallery, kids can experience local history through puppets, costumes and other hands-on activities.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, Saturday-Sunday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday (closed Monday)

Cost: Free

Website: mohistory.org/museum

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The Muny

1 Theatre Drive, Forest Park

Now in its 104th season, the Muny sits in the heart of Forest Park and is the country’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. The institution just completed a $100 million capital campaign that included a rebuilding of its stage to make the big Muny moments even more magical. And even when the summer nights heat up, a cooling system and giant overhead fans keep things breezy. The theater seats 11,000, but arrive early for a chance at the free seats — more than 1,400 of them are first-come, first-served, with gates opening at 7 p.m. This year’s productions are "Chicago," "Camelot," "Mary Poppins," "Sweeney Todd," "Legally Blonde," "The Color Purple" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Hours: June 13-Aug. 18, showtime at 8:15 p.m.; box office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday

Cost: $18-$115, plus the free seats; subscriptions available

Website: muny.org

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Old Courthouse

1 Memorial Drive

While the interior is closed for renovations through late 2023 or early 2024, you can’t miss the Old Courthouse. It's an iconic part of the downtown skyline, often framed under the legs of the Gateway Arch. It is one of downtown’s oldest buildings, constructed between 1839 and 1862. It's also where the enslaved Harriet and Dred Scott fought for their freedom, as did hundreds of others, and where Virginia Minor sued for her right to vote. Visit the grounds and a statue of the Scotts, just feet away from the courthouse steps where enslaved people were sold at auction.

Hours: Interior closed for renovations

Cost: Free

Website: nps.gov/jeff/planyourvisit/och.htm

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Six Flags St. Louis

4900 Six Flags Road, Eureka

Six Flags St. Louis, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021, offers popular old-school thrills such as the Log Flume and River King Mine Train, as well as newer rides like Catwoman Whip, which makes its debut this season. The wooden Screamin' Eagle roller coaster broke world records for height and speed when it opened in 1976, and the Ninja, the Boss and Batman: The Ride coasters step things up a bit. Bring your swimsuit for the adjacent Hurricane Harbor water park, and check out its new interactive area, Adventure Cove.

Hours: Seasonal hours vary

Cost: $34.99 and up

Website: sixflags.com/stlouis

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St. Louis Aquarium and Union Station

201 South 18th Street

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station made a splashy debut in 2019, bringing new life to the National Historic Landmark that opened in 1894 as a bustling train station and then became a shopping mall in the 1980s. Take a virtual "train ride" into the six aquarium galleries, which include a focus on Mississippi and Missouri riverwaters, with touch pools and interactive exhibits throughout. While you're at Union Station, check out the St. Louis Wheel, the St. Louis Carousel, miniature golf, an indoor ropes course, a mirror maze, a light show on the ceiling of the historic Grand Hall, and several restaurants and gathering spots.

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Cost: $18-$25, free for ages 2 and under; advance purchase recommended

Website: stlouisaquarium.com

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St. Louis Art Museum

1 Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park

The St. Louis Art Museum’s main building, designed by Cass Gilbert, is one of just two permanent structures from the 1904 World's Fair. (The other is the Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo.) The building has grown over time — a $160 million East Building opened in 2013 — and is home to an expansive collection of more than 34,000 works and objects spanning 5,000 years. The Egyptian gallery features three mummies as well as dozens of artifacts, period rooms show off furniture from various countries and eras, and galleries and hallways throughout showcase everything from Picasso to Polynesian art, Wylie to Warhol. After you’re finished gawking inside the grand Sculpture Hall, head outside for a stroll through the sculpture garden.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday (closed Monday)

Cost: Free

Website: slam.org

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St. Louis Science Center

5050 Oakland Avenue

The St. Louis Science Center, at the edge of Forest Park, is home to an Omnimax theater, an animatronic T. rex and triceratops, a discovery room for kids, a makerspace and an exhibition on gaming, an outdoor garden and more hands-on experiences. "Hockey: Faster than Ever" is on view through Sept. 5 and explores the science and technology behind one of St. Louis' favorite sports. Navigate the covered walkway to cross over Interstate 64 — use radar cameras to catch speeding motorists, or wave to them through windows in the floor — and visit the iconic, curved James S. McDonnell Planetarium, designed by architect Gyo Obata.

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday-Wednesday)

Cost: Free; fees for movies and some special exhibitions

Website: slsc.org

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St. Louis Zoo

1 Government Drive, Forest Park

The St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park is home to more than 14,000 animals, often ranks among the country's best and — better yet — admission is free. Take a walk through the historic Flight Cage from the 1904 World's Fair, or spot the turtles, monkeys and lizards in the facades of the Primate House and Herpetarium of Historic Hill. At Primate Canopy Trails, which opened in 2021, visitors can use the boardwalk to get up close with the primates living in the trees. And the former Children's Zoo area is home to the interactive "Dinoroarus" exhibition, which includes 14 groupings of animatronic and stationary dinosaurs that roar, shake their heads and even spit water. To feel like a kid again and catch a breezy break, take a scenic ride around the park on the Zooline Railroad.

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday (summer hours through Aug. 14)

Cost: Free; fees for parking, train and special exhibits

Website: stlzoo.org

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Dining destinations

You gotta eat, and while natives will tell you to get frozen custard at Ted Drewes, St. Louis-style pizza at Imo’s, and toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake wherever you can get your hands on it (local grocery stores sell it all), the local dining scene offers a much broader spectrum of options. Try one of these destinations, or check out Ian Froeb’s STL 100, our critic's annual guide to the city's best spots.

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Interactive map

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