We’ve been to St. Louis in the past when the kids were tots, and it was one city that we always enjoyed. They offer so many things for families to do! When I heard that St. Louis’ $380 million revitalization efforts were completed, I just had to see the new changes in person. So on our way back from our road trip from Florida, we made a final stop to America’s Gateway City, St. Louis.
Disclosure: A huge thank you to Explore St. Louis and their partners who graciously hosted our family. All opinions are our own.
Places to Play in St. Louis:
We were a hop, skip, and a jump away from our hotel to the Gateway Arch thanks to their new westward facing entrance. We’ve been to the Arch in the past, and all I can say that I’m happy to report that their revitalization efforts have paid off. The new (FREE!) museum is excellent and gives you insight into how and why the Arch was constructed – basically everything you’d want to know about the Arch. The museum has interactive features to keep kids entertained, but it would have been even more awesome if they had more tot-friendly activities. The tram tour going up the Arch is much more entertaining, which makes waiting with kids more bearable. Even though our view from the top was non-existent due to the rain, we still had a great experience going up the tallest man-made monument in the nation.
If you’re looking for a fun, unique place to play, make your way to the City Museum. Part playhouse, part museum, art everywhere you turn, it’s for sure an adventure for both kids and adults. Consisting largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, the City Museum has no shortage of Instagram-worthy opps. There are mazes and tunnels for kids (and adults that fit) to explore. Spin around on a top. Climb nets. Go down a 10-story slide. Run around in a skate park (without skateboards.) Since there are no maps by design, part of the fun is exploring your way around. Words are not enough to describe the City Museum. You’ll just have to experience it yourself.
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Tip: Wear close toed shoes or even bring knee pads.
The Saint Louis Science Center has dinosaurs and in my kids’ book that is enough to consider a visit (especially when a dino dig is involved!) Besides the dinosaurs, the center offers so much hands-on fun that encourages exploration and discovery. My kids reconstructed the Arch using foam blocks. We walked to the Planetarium side connected by skybridge that goes over the highway, so we were able to see cars zoom underneath us. That was pretty cool! We explored the outdoors with a rain garden, chickens, and a water play area. We had a great time at the center. Did I mention that entrance was free? So worth it!
Tip: Admission is free; parking is $12. I’ve also heard you can park on the Planetarium side for free!
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The city loves their baseball, and Busch Stadium is one of the best around. We were able to take in a night game with the city skyline in the background. The stadium is clean with plenty of food and drink options everywhere we turned. Although we are fans of their rivals (Go Cubbies!), we found the Cards fans nice and respectful. If you ever have a chance to visit when the St. Louis Cardinals are in town, I highly recommend it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. St. Louis has SO many things to do with families, many of which are free. Unfortunately, since we were on a time restraint, we couldn’t do everything that we wanted. Some other ideas include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, and the Magic House Children’s Museum.
Places to EAT
After a long day of exploring, sometimes the last thing we want to do is sit in a restaurant with cranky kids. Since we’re a pizza-lovin’ family (who isn’t?), we love having pizza delivered to our hotel. What better time to try St. Louis style pizza? There was only one place to get it — Imo’s Pizza. We thought the thin crust pizza made with Provel cheese was pretty tasty, along with the toasted ravioli.
Sameem’s was our first foray into Afghani food, and it was great! Homemade hummus? Check? If you love appetizers like we do, you’ll need to get the Mid-Eastern Feast: falafels, pakowras, eggplant, hummus, and pashtoon salad. We also shared the butter chicken. Their Emperor’s Feast is large enough for two people, or, in my case, one hungry husband. Man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Everything was full of flavor and beyond delicious.
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A whole case dedicated to booze-infused ice cream? Oh, yes, and thank you! This microcreamery serves seriously delicious ice cream with all types of flavors. I wanted everything I sampled but settled on the staff’s favorite Italian butter cookie and, of course, a naughty flavor, B-52. (Because it’s the bomb! Get it? hah!) After coaxing the kids to choose, they settled on lychee, strawberry, and chocolate. My daughter had a semi-breakdown with her ice cream, and the staff came to the rescue and saved the day by giving her a pink cone. Talk about customer service!
Places to STAY
We absolutely loved our hotel, Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis At The Arch. It has the best location just steps from the Arch. Our favorite part? All the “extras” such as the free hot breakfast, free popcorn and soda, and free light dinner, and free adult beverages. If you time it correctly, you’ll only have to worry about lunch.
Tip: Try to request a room on the 8th floor, the same level as the pool.
Have you been to St. Louis before? What are some of your favorite things to do?