St. Louis, Missouri is the perfect weekend getaway, just make sure it’s a long weekend because there is a lot to do in this town! My only regret is that we didn’t have more time! You need at least 3 or 4 days, but you could stay busy for a whole week.
Where to stay in St. Louis Missouri
There are a lot of places to stay in the area. We are big fans of Drury Inn and Suites and have stayed with them on numerous vacations. There are several in St. Louis, including one that is a stones throw from the Arch and another close to the zoo. We stayed at the one by the Convention Center.
It was a super location, we were able to walk to the Arch with no problem at all. We loved this hotel because it had one amenity that most others don’t: a really nice common area. We were traveling with 2 other families and we were able to go out of our room and be right by the indoor pool, buffet area, and common sitting area. This was awesome because it gave us a place to play cards in the evening.
Another great thing about staying with Drury Inn and Suites is that they have a hot breakfast included in the price of your room each morning. I know, I know, a lot of hotels have that. BUT Drury included a buffet dinner too! AND each adult gets 3 beverages from the bar each happy hour! The dinner isn’t anything fancy, but it’s good and definitely beats taking my kids out for a $10 dinner that they probably won’t eat anyway! They also provide free popcorn and sodas around the clock, my kids thought they’d died and gone to heaven.
On Saturday night we realized that there was a pro football game the next day and the hotel was full of rowdy Browns fans. My first thought was “Oh great, we aren’t going to get any sleep tonight” since our room was right by the common area. To my pleasant surprise, the hotel was actually pretty quiet. The staff in this hotel were so nice from the front desk, to the people helping with the happy hour. If you haven’t ever stayed at a Drury, give them a try!
Things to do in St. Louis with Kids
If you only have time to do one thing in St. Louis, City Museum is AMAZING! But really I don’t think it’s really a museum, more like a giant piece of abstract art that you can crawl on, with a 10 story slide I might add! Seriously you have to take your kids! What did I like about it? How long do you have? The best thing about this place is you don’t have to be a kid to have a blast and . . . they serve alcohol!
I don’t think it would be as fun for toddlers; it’s better suited for school-age children and up. Some of our favorite attractions included MonstroCity, the Enchanted Caves, the giant organ player, the giant hamster wheel, and the Ferris Wheel on the roof. If you are planning to visit the City Museum I recommend leaving your purse in the car, it will totally be in the way! Travel as light as you can! Wear tennis shoes; there is lots of climbing and crawling, etc. (I recommend jeans). There is a rooftop play area that is so much fun as well, but it costs $5 extra. If the weather is good you will definitely want to go up to the roof. While there is a lot to do inside, there is a lot of fun outside, so try to visit during favorable weather.
St. Louis Zoo
I try not to write about zoo’s too much because let’s face it . . . every city has a zoo and how many do we really need to see? But, I’m one of those people who never gets tired of visiting different zoos. The St. Louis Zoo is definitely a top pick for me. It’s really beautiful and they have a great selection of creatures and exhibits. I was a little nervous to see the R.O.U.S and was thrilled to see that they were actually quite cute. (If you don’t know what a R.O.U.S. then I recommend watching The Princess Bride tonight.) The Saint Louis Zoo is free, but for an extra fee you can pet the goats, ride the train, see a movie, and ride the carousel. Parking is a whopping $15, but there is also some street parking if you get there early you can snag.
Another must do is a visit to Grant’s Farm. The farm is named for Ulysses S. Grant who once owned the property which is now owned by the Busch family, who owned the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. The farm is an animal reserve for many rare types of deer, elk, and wild mustangs. There is also a small zoo and an animal show. Our favorite exhibit was feeding the goats bottles of milk. In the old stables, there is a display of antique buggies that we enjoyed looking at. During the summer you can rent paddle boats and cruise around the lake. My personal favorite part of the farm was seeing the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales. They are so beautiful! Grant’s Farm is free except for the $12 parking and a few dollars here and there for some of the activities. Did I mention there was free beer?
The Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch sits on the edge of the Mississippi River, with a surrounding park, that at the time of our visit was under construction. My 10-year-old son is an American History buff so he was interested in reading all of the history information about the arch and Lewis and Clarks expedition. My daughter who is 6 was mostly interested in the gift shop, but she still had fun going up in the Arch. If you have members of your group who are claustrophobic, you might want to let them skip the ride to the top! Tickets for the Arch are now sold at the Old Court House which is about 2 blocks away. We bought ours online in advance and then went to the Court House to pick them up. You also might want to peak your head in the Old Church which is right next to the Arch.
Places to Eat in St. Louis
There are so many great restaurants I could write about, but I’m going to zoom in on Melt! This place is funky in the best possible way! With its mismatched tables and chairs and casual wait staff, it gives a whole new meaning to laid back. Kids didn’t need crayons while we waited as there are plenty of pinball machines and skeeball machines to keep them happy. The menu couldn’t be more kid friendly and I’m not talking about the standard chicken nuggets! This place has some amazing waffles with topping combinations I had never even considered until now. What I really liked was that it’s just really unique in both atmosphere and menu.
If barbecue is your thing you might want to check out Pappy’s Smokehouse. It’s excellent, but you will want to get there early, when it’s gone it’s gone!
St. Louis also offers an array of professional sports teams. A trip to St. Louis isn’t complete without catching a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium. It’s a really nice stadium with clean bathrooms and comfortable seating! You can also catch a professional football game with the St. Louis Rams or a professional hockey game.