If you’re looking for a fun road trip, centrally located St. Louis, Missouri, is a great option from just about anywhere in the United States. Along with delicious food and unique sights, there are so many things to do with kids in St. Louis. We hardly scratched the surface of all there is to do there, but our short trip was packed full of fun.
We began our vacation with a stop in Branson for some miniature golf, so if you’re looking for an extended trip, you might want to consider this stop as well. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Branson.
Things to do in St. Louis with kids
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The Gateway Arch and Westward Expansion Museum
Once we reached St. Louis, we set out to see the Gateway Arch.
This impressive structure is a symbol of the city, and while many people venture to the top for some spectacular views, our little people were too hungry to wait in the line. We did enjoy the museum under the arch, though. This collection of art and artifacts of westward expansion was interesting and informative, and the kids really enjoyed seeing all the cool stuff.
Our main purpose for visiting St. Louis was to see the City Museum, although, we didn’t really know what to expect. The website is purposely vague, and you won’t find guide maps when you get there. The whole point is to discover it for yourself. We knew we were in for a treat because the locals we met at restaurants and such always asked us if we were going to see the City Museum. As it turned out, it was one of the best things for kids to do in St. Louis.
It’s hard to put into words exactly what you will find there. It is the craziest hands-on sensory experience, and we had never seen anything like it before. Built in what used to be a shoe factory, City Museum features climb on and crawl through places both above your head and below your feet.
It is part playground, part collection of gadgets, and part aquarium. It features a giant slide, a kid’s train, places that look like a circus and parts that look like a mad scientist’s laboratory.
There’s a Ferris wheel on the roof, a giant praying mantis, a school bus that looks like it might drive right off the edge of the roof, water features that you can hop through, and a ball pit.
Your kids’ imaginations will run wild. You can easily spend an entire day there and still not see everything.
Be sure the whole family wears tennis shoes because the adults will want to climb and play with the kids, and that is hard to do in sandals or flip flops. For the adventurous among you, don’t miss the 10-story spiral slide. That’s not a typo. 10 stories! If you’re visiting St. Louis with kids, this place should definitely be first on your list.
Getting Out of the City
A great day trip from St. Louis you can take is St. James and Maramec Spring Park. We visited St. James because my uncle, who lives nearby, wanted to take the kids trout fishing. This is a gorgeous park with shady paths and cool breezes off the water. My uncle purchased a day pass for the kids and surprised them with their own fishing gear.
We didn’t catch anything, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time enjoying nature. After fishing, we headed over to see the spring and then to the trout hatchery.
Other Things To Do in St. Louis With Kids
As I said, we hardly experienced a fraction of what St. Louis has to offer, but if you are going to have a longer stay than we did, there is certainly a lot to do. For some great family fun in St. Louis, be sure to put these on your list.
I went to one of these games when I was a kid, and it is one of my favorite vacation memories. Visit the Cards at the new Busch Stadium. Who doesn’t love a good ball game?!
This is a free zoo that includes Big Cat Country, Penguin and Puffin Coast, and an Interactive Stingray Pool.
A must-see for little girls (and I’ll admit it, big girls, too). Located at the Chesterfield Mall, this store features a hair salon and spa for the dolls, so be sure to bring your doll with you, and if you don’t already have a doll, check out the doll of the year.
A great theme park with both family-friendly attractions and thrill rides galore.
Features include a four-story Omnimax Theater, a planetarium, a children’s discovery room, more than 700 hands-on displays, and an animatronic T-Rex.
Where to Stay in St. Louis With Kids
This beautiful hotel is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation®, Historic Hotels of America. Families will love the railroad-themed rooms and a variety of room options with sofabeds to keep everyone comfortable. Cribs are available for families with babies and pets are allowed also. There are some cool dining options within the hotel as well as a Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station.
This hotel is within a mile of some of the best attractions in St. Louis including the City Museum, Busch Stadium, the Scottrade Center, and the Gateway Arch. The hotel’s pool will keep everyone happy after a long day of sight-seeing.
Four Seasons is always a great choice for families, and the Four Seasons St. Louis is no different. Located near the Mississippi River and next to the Gateway Arch, it is a great stepping off point to explore St. Louis. With 200 rooms and suites and gorgeous views of the Arch, it’s a great place for families. Rooms with double beds can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children.
Four Seasons really sets themselves apart with their family activities that include books, DVDs, and board games. They also feature behind-the-scenes pizza and ice cream making classes. Enjoy a swim or a dip in the hot tub on their terrace pool.
Complimentary toiletries for children are also nice touches. Children’s menus and complimentary meals for children under 5 are great for families with small children. Family-friendly services include babysitting, cribs, high chairs, and play pens.
Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, the all-suite Embassy Suites in a great hotel for families. Spacious rooms with refrigerators and microwaves keep things comfortable and easy to save some money on meals. With close proximity to the Arch and other landmarks, this hotel is a solid choice.
Embassy Suites caters to families by offering children’s menus, cribs, and high chairs as well as cooked-to-order breakfast each morning and a nightly Evening Reception offering complimentary beverages. Families can also enjoy the swimming pool and hot tub. Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown gets 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor and offers a lot of incentives for families which makes it worth considering.
As you might expect from the name, the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch is literally the closest hotel to the Gateway Arch. If proximity is important, you can’t do any better than the Hyatt. At 900 rooms, it has something for everyone. Upgrade to a Club room for access to the Regency Club offering snacks and cocktails during the day and evening, or a suite to spread out a bit.
Families will enjoy the views of the Arch from the terrace on the 18th floor, and easy access to other activities around downtown. Splurge for dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, or enjoy farm-to-table cuisine at RED kitchen. The Hyatt offers free Wi-Fi access and there is a on-site Enterprise car rental to make getting around the city even more convenient.
We stayed here on our most recent trip to St. Louis and the proximity to the Arch is totally worth it. If you plan on visiting the Gateway Arch with kids, then this is a great hotel. The views from the room are spectacular, so be sure to request a high floor with a view!
The Westin St. Louis is a luxury hotel located just across the street from Busch Stadium, making it the perfect hotel for families wanting to take in a Cardinals game. The hotel has 255 rooms, is smoke free, and allows pets. They even have Heavenly beds for your pets! Cribs and rollaways are available also. Double rooms will accommodate 2 adults and 2 children.
The Westin has an on-site Avis car rental to help you get around the city, as well as a health club and spa. It’s also is very close to other attractions in the city including the Arch and Scotttrade Center. The nearby St. Louis Ballpark Village is a good place to grab a bite and also check out the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. For those interested in proximity to Busch Stadium, the Westin is a good choice.
If you’re flying into Lambert International Airport, you can take the Metrolink light rail that connects the main and east terminals to the downtown area. From there, you can rent a vehicle at one of the hotels above, or simply walk around downtown.
So, have you been to St. Louis lately? What are your favorite things to see and do there? Let us know in the comments!
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