10 Fun Things To Do in St. Louis Beyond the Arch

gateway arch is one things to do in st louis
What comes to mind when someone mentions St. Louis? You probably thought of the Gateway Arch! However, there are a wide variety of things to do in St Louis beyond that famous landmark. Do you like sports, dining in unique places, nature and interesting places to visit? You can find all this in St. Louis. You will not be disappointed during your stay of one day, one week or more.

10 Fun Things To Do in St Louis

1. Go Cardinals!

If you are in town during a Cardinals home game, by all means, go! You do not need to be a baseball fan to enjoy the experience. You can people-watch, appreciate one of the best city views from the stands (including the Arch!) and indulge your favorite stadium food.

Busch Stadium offers plenty of year-round entertainment. Tour the ballpark to see behind the scenes. The team store offers a wide range of unique products and mementos.

Cardinals Nation is just across the street with restaurants and a huge TV screen you can watch with hundreds of your new friends. Cardinals Museum exhibits include team jerseys, bats, balls, stadium models and other interesting artifacts.

2. Meet the Clydesdales and Share a Brew

Head over to Anheuser-Busch Brewery to see where the “King of Beers” started. View the modern production facilities located in historic buildings constructed in 1852. Visit the Clydesdales and see the iconic wagon shown in countless parades, commercials, and advertisements. Maybe best of all, sample a fresh Bud straight off the production line at the end of your tour.

3. See the Best Zoo

Did you know St. Louis won “Best Zoo” in the USA Today Reader’s Choice Travel Awards poll? Add it to your list of things to do in St Louis. You will agree after seeing Kali the polar bear up close and personal swimming and playing in his glass enclosure. Or maybe you enjoy (literally) chilling with the penguins in their large, refrigerated habitat.

The Saint Louis Zoo has environment zones rather than cages. Lakeside Crossing is home for the sea lions while River’s Edge sports rhinos, elephants, hippos and more. Four additional zones house everything from A to Z (anteaters to zebras!).

Guess how much admission costs? Nothing! There are fees for some of the attractions (children will want to ride the train). You can pay for parking in the lot next to the entrance, or plenty of free spaces exist throughout Forest Park.

4. Meet Me in St. Louis at the Muny

Another thing to do in st louis jewel resides in Forest Park: The Muny. Residents and visitors alike have enjoyed summer shows under the stars for over 100 years at this amphitheater. Productions change every week throughout the season and ticket prices are very reasonable. You can even get free seats in the back rows on a first-come, first served basis.

5. Eat at The Boathouse – and Boat!

All of this touring can give you an appetite, and St. Louis delivers in fun places to eat. If you are still at Forest Park, why not grab a bite at The Boathouse? A restaurant has been on this lakeside site since 1894, way before the Arch.

The food is excellent and reasonably priced. The main attraction is the lake, so you will want to choose an outdoor table (although the indoor fireplace on cold days has its charms). Watch as couples and children navigate paddle boats between the ducks — then join them after your meal.

6. Experience Old St. Louis at Crown Candy Kitchen

And now for something completely different. Crown Candy Kitchen is one of the things to do in St Louis that is unique. It was built in 1913 as a candy store, soda fountain, and dinner, and is the same today.

You can feast on sandwiches (including the incredible Heart-Stopping BLT), World’s Fair Sundaes and malts. The malts are free — IF you can drink five of them in less than 30 minutes…

Be sure and get there early, preferably when they open. The line usually extends out the door, but the wait is worth it!

7. Eat Incredible Italian Food Without Having To Travel to Italy

Are you ready for an authentic taste of Italy without flying to Rome? Then head to The Hill, a neighborhood close to downtown. Most of the residents are Italian-American, and so is the food.

Popular restaurants include Charlie Gitto’s, Zia’s Restaurant and Adriana’s, but you cannot go wrong choosing any place in the area. Make sure you see a nearby fire plug painted like an Italian flag and you will know you are on The Hill.

Be sure and get some dessert (or goodies to go) at Vitale’s Bakery. The cannelloni is “to die for.”

8. Take a Quaint Stroll Down Main Street in St. Charles

There are things to do in St Louis that are not strictly St. Louis, but close enough. One of them is Main Street in St. Charles, just across the Missouri River.

St. Charles retained its turn-of-the-century architecture. Today you can stroll by excellent restaurants and unique shops. Grab some ice cream or a snack and relax at the park overlooking the Missouri River.

Louis and Clark camped here as they began their epic journey west. You can see a working replica of their vessel at the Boat House and Museum one block from downtown.

Many festivals and events take place throughout the year. You may be lucky enough to catch the local community band during one of its summer evening concerts at the pavilion by the river (bring your lawn chairs or blankets). Historic downtown St. Charles transforms to a “Dickens Christmas” in December with carolers in period dress, Santa Claus, and even the Sugar Plum Fairy.

9. Indulge in the Missouri Wine Country, a “Suburb” of St. Louis

You can see beautiful scenery within a short drive from either downtown or the airport. Set your GPS or smartphone to Augusta, Missouri, and enjoy the view as you pass rolling hills, pastures and forests along Highway 94 — but watch out for deer!

Your route takes you along the Katy Trail (a converted rail trail) by the Missouri River. You can hike or bike with periodic rest stops, all the way to Kansas City. It bypasses the steeper hills trains could not climb over, so the walk is very easy. Stop at Defiance and explore the trail a bit. Bicycles are available at Katy Bike Rental.

Defiance Ridge Vineyards is a great place to eat and sip a glass or two of wine. Grab a table overlooking the lush gardens and relax as you view the hillside vineyard.

The next stop is Augusta, reachable either by road or the Katy Trail. Augusta retained its turn-of-the-century charm with Old World architecture influenced by German settlers. Drive along the narrow downtown streets and pass the vineyard next to Christ Lutheran Church on the outskirts of town.

End your short tour of the Missouri Wine Country with another glass of wine at Montelle Winery (you may need a designated driver at this point!). You will drive up a high hill close to Augusta with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside — do not miss it.

10. Tour the Town and Country Plus Three Rivers at Pere Marquette State Park

If you enjoyed the Missouri Wine Country drive and can spend more than one day in St. Louis, try the “town and country” tour. Set your GPS to the Golden Eagle Ferry from the vicinity of Lambert International Airport — be sure your GPS allows routes via ferry.

You leave the “town” part and head through river bottom country until you reach the Golden Eagle Ferry. Watch the Mississippi River slowly flow past you as you wait for the ferry, then enjoy the ride as you cross the river.

Change your GPS to “Pere Marquette State Park” before you exit the barge. The scenery changes dramatically, to narrow country roads and winding rolling hills with long vistas at the top. You may be lucky and pass a farmer’s produce stand with peaches, plums or blackberries harvested that day.

Your trusty GPS guides you to the Brussels Ferry to cross the Illinois River. A short time later you enter Pere Marquette, State Park. The park includes high wooded bluffs with great river views from the road and trails. You can choose long or short hikes to enjoy the summer woodlands or spectacular fall colors. You may even see a bald eagle!

Stay at the Lodge if you have time for an overnight visit. You can still enjoy the rustic timbered lobby, massive stone fireplace, and home-style food during your day trip. You may see a wedding in progress in this beautiful setting.

Now set your GPS to downtown St. Louis and enjoy the Great River Road as it passes the confluence of the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Look at the endless parade of barge traffic and pleasure boats as they churn through the river.

You can probably tell this is only a partial list of things to do in St Louis. Plan on spending more than a day to experience this unique city!

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