St. Louis is the “Gateway to the West,” and it’s one of my favorite cities in the Midwest United States! The Gateway Arch, architecture, baseball, fantastic food, and parks make this city a perfect vacation destination.
When you visit St. Louis, I urge you to educate yourself about the history of Westward Expansion and its lasting impact on the native population of the U.S. Please don’t ignore this history; learn from it.
Here’s the ultimate St. Louis travel guide!
Explore Forest Park (which is 500 acres larger than Central Park)
Marvel at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Experience the St. Louis Science Center
Catch a game at Busch Stadium
Take a riverboat cruise
Catch a show at The Fabulous Fox theatre
Visit the St. Louis Zoo
Tour the St. Louis Art Museum
Go on a food tour
Experience the City Museum (a playground meets funhouse meets surrealistic art pavilion)
Drive a portion of The Great River Road
When To Go
St. Louis summers are hot from June – August, though the humidity usually isn’t too bad. Tourist numbers and accommodation prices are at their peak in these months, so you’ll need to book your accommodation and tickets in advance. These months are peak baseball season, so make sure you check if there’s a home game when you plan to visit. Home games will make prices and tourist numbers even higher.
Fall is a beautiful time to visit the city in September and October. The foliage will be changing, and the temperatures will be pleasantly cool (you’ll want a jacket for the mornings and evenings). This is also the harvesting season in Missouri’s Rhineland (a nearby wine region). Plus, accommodation prices and crowds will be on the decline. September is when the Taste of St. Louis food festival happens every year, and October hosts the Best of Missouri Market.
Winter is cold and windy with high snow chances, and winter lasts from November well into March. If you’re okay with the cold, then you can score some great hotel deals in these months. Plus, you’ll practically have the Gateway Arch to yourself. St. Louis is also home to the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans.
Spring is short and beautiful in St. Louis. April and May have wonderful temperatures in the 60s and 70s, and the Missouri Botanical Garden is a must-see during these months. Prices and crowds will be on the rise, especially around Spring Break weeks. May is home to the St. Louis Microfest (a beer tasing festival), the Art Fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park, and the Schlafly Art Outside Festival.
Where To Eat
Top Picks: Mac’s Local Eats (Burgers $$), Indo (Asian and Sushi $$$), Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. (Seafood $$), Louie (Italian $$).
BBQ: Salt + Smoke ($$), Sugarfire Smokehouse ($$), Pappy’s Smokehouse ($$).
Brunch Places: Southwest Diner ($$), Half & Half ($$), Boundary ($$), Café Osage ($$).
Rooftop Dining: Three Sixty Rooftop Bar (American/Cocktail Bar $$$), Eclipse Rooftop Terrace Bar (Cocktail Bar $$), Vin de Set (French $$).
Bonus: The Grand Hall at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel (pictured above) serves incredible drinks and small plates, and you’ll be at one of the most Insta-perfect places in the city!
Where To Stay
If you want to experience the city like a local, then check out these Incredible Airbnbs in St. Louis!
St. Louis has a hotel for every preference and budget. The Union Station Hotel (pictured above) is historic and picture-perfect. The Four Seasons and Drury Plaza offer you views of the Arch from your room. And if you want a quirky and unique hotel, then check out The Cheshire, where all the rooms are literary-themed around a British author or book.
Best Day Trips
Hermann, Missouri. This picture-perfect town is in the heart of Missouri’s Rhineland, a wine region along the Missouri River. Hermann has cafés, boutiques, beautiful historic red brick buildings, and wineries in town and the nearby bluffs. You can take the Amtrak from St. Louis to Hermann (trolleys will shuttle you between wineries once you arrive), or it’s an hour and a half drive.
Shawnee National Forest (pictured above). If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then Shawnee is worth the two-and-a-half-hour drive from St. Louis. Pack a lunch, water, and your hiking gear, and head to this stretch of woods famed for its sandstone rock formations and incredible views. Prioritize the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area and the Rim Rock National Recreation Trail.
Sainte Geneviève, Missouri. Sainte Geneviève is the oldest town in the state. Most of the town’s early 1700s French colonial architecture has been preserved, so the town still feels like a real “blast from the past.” The downtown district has restaurants, artisan shops, and an old-fashioned soda fountain, and you should visit the Crown Valley Winery, Brewery, and Distillery.
Best Viewpoints Of The City
Best Viewpoints Of The City
Gateway Arch Observation Deck (pictured above)
World’s Fair Pavilion
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
Compton Hill Reservoir Park
Chain of Rocks Bridge
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This post is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this St. Louis travel guide are entirely my own. Some of these links in this St. Louis travel guide are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.