Road trip worthy: Visit St. Louis

///Road trip worthy: Visit St. Louis

Dontknowaboutyou but our theCityMoms members have been flooding our channels lately with  plenty o’ where should we go this summer? q’s. So when CityMom Mary raised her hand and was like VISIT ST. LOUIS YO, we knew it was perfect timing to put out a post to chat all-things-STL with our readers too. Have you considered St. Louis for a summer travel destination? If not, read on, reader. You might be surprised.

{Also disclaimer: This post is produced in partnership with the National Park Service and Explore St. Louis.}

The grass is turning green again, the flowers are blooming, and the travel bug is in full effect.

It’s not just me, right? You feel it too? Warmer weather and the need to roam? If you’re like my family, spring means lots of things, but one of the things is summer travel plans. One of the perks of Midwest living is all the great places we have within a day’s drive.

Visit St. Louis - theCityMoms

This photo used courtesy of Explore St. Louis.

Did you know you can get to St. Louis, Missouri, the Gateway to the West, in less than four hours? St. Louis has become our family’s go-to for a long weekend away because every time we go, we never have enough time to take in all the things the amazing city has to offer so we just keep going back.

Can I suggest you add St. Louis to your summer travel plans? Yes? Great! Here’s what you need to do while you’re there:


Visit Gateway Arch National Park

Visit St. Louis - theCityMoms

Photo courtesy of the Gateway Arch National Park Facebook page.

Did you know the Arch went from a national monument to a National Park site last year? After years of construction and mess, the new grounds are open and the museum is completely renovated. This isn’t the Arch of your childhood where you stood outside in the Missouri heat for an hour to get in then watched a black-and-white video before boarding the tram to the top. They changed the entrance point, made the museum beautiful and modern with universal design to make the experience better for everyone (and free!), added stories from lots of people groups, and created an outdoor area made for dog walking, picnics, and amazing views of the river. While you’re there, you can get tickets for a riverboat cruise or helicopter tour of the park and city. Heading to St. Louis for this experience alone is worth it. (And don’t forget the Old Courthouse across the street. I know the Arch is the big draw, but the historic courthouse held such famous cases as the Dred Scott trial and Virginia Minor trial. Don’t miss this often overlooked stop.)


Spend a day at the City Museum

Visit St. Louis - theCityMoms

Photo courtesy of the City Museum Facebook page.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the mythical place called the City Museum. It’s the thing childhood dreams are made of. Tunnels and treehouses, ramps and rope swings, this place is the best parts of childhood crammed in one giant factory. Visiting in the summer is best because the roof experience {a Ferris wheel, an old school bus hanging off the side of the building, and swinging walkways} is open too. You could easily spend the day here. Admission is for the full day so bring cash to park, spend the morning playing, walk to a nearby pizza place for lunch, and then spend the afternoon exploring more. Bring a backpack with water bottles and snack, wear comfy play clothes, and plan to close the place down.


Sleep at the Drury Inn

Sure, there are less expensive places to stay, but where else will you get a huge hot breakfast, endless popcorn and pop during the day, and a 5:30 kickback hour that they bill as appetizers and drinks but is actually a complete hot meal for your whole family. We had a taco bar, salad, soup, hot dogs, chili, and tons of other hot food options every single night. So yes, you’ll pay a little more for this hotel, but you can eat two meals a day here too. We like the downtown location because some rooms have a view of the Arch, you’re within walking distance to a playground and donuts {Pharoah’s} and you’re just few blocks from the next place you should go…


Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village

Visit St. Louis - theCityMoms

If the Cardinals are home, grab a ticket to the game. Get there early to wander around Ballpark Village, soak up the electricity of a summer MLB game, and let the kids eat cotton candy and popcorn for dinner. If you stay at the Drury Inn downtown, you can avoid the traffic and just walk over. Every kid needs at least one summer evening spent holding their ball glove in hopes of catching a foul ball and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. It’s classic American childhood at its finest.


Meet the animals at the Saint Louis Zoo

Visit St. Louis - theCityMoms

The most shocking part about St. Louis is that the majority of their museums and zoos are free. YES, FREE. You’ll pay to park at most places, but admission is free. Their zoo is out of this world. Indianapolis is spoiled with our great zoo, but St. Louis’ doesn’t disappoint either. You could easily spend the whole day here without getting bored or hungry. There is a children’s zoo inside you have to pay to get in, but it’s worth it. Paying to get in here doesn’t feel like a stretch because you didn’t spend any money to get in to begin with.

MORE ROAD TRIP FUN: These fun games for the car will definitely keep CityKids occupied.


Eat at Hi-Pointe Drive-In for lunch

Located really close to the zoo, you’ll work up an appetite walking around the animals and this popular dining spot will fill your belly and your soul. Hi-Pointe Drive-In is on all the best-of lists for Saint Louis so it might be crowded (we went on a Wednesday afternoon and got a table and food with no wait), but it’s worth it. Make sure you pick a table with a full bottle of their fry sauce because you’ll be tempted to drink it.


Stroll down the Delmar Loop

This beautiful street is full of unique shops, delicious places to get a snack or a full meal, and independent bookstores. If you’re hungry, go to Salt and Smoke (their cheese popovers haunt my dreams and will surely be in heaven). Make sure you stop in to Fitz’s Root Beer where you can watch them bottle their own pop (in glass bottles with real sugar–grab a few four packs to bring home!) and order one of their huge sundaes. What I’m saying is go to the Delmar Loop hungry.


Finish your trip by stopping by the Saint Louis Science Center

Visit St. Louis - theCityMoms

Admission is free {parking is not}, and you’ll have to drag your kids away at closing time. Maybe the adults too; they have an exhibit full of gaming systems {vintage and new}, and you’ll love playing Sonic the Hedgehog on an old Sega or playing Mario Brothers on a life-size Nintendo controller. At some point, you’ll want to push your kids out of the way so you can take over. I’m not telling you how I know this.

I could keep this list going another few thousand words, but this is a good start. Once you go, you’ll figure out just like our family did that visiting St. Louis is not a one-time thing. You’ll make the trip again and again and never run out of great things to do.

Seriously, what are you waiting for? Check your calendar and get your trip to Saint Louis scheduled today.


Mary Graham - theCityMomsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Graham is a freelance writer living just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, two daughters, and crazy rescue dog, Blue. She writes about life, faith, and books at

Mary also hosts the Not Terrible podcast with her high school friend Jess where they talk about hard life situations with hope and healing.

Connect with Mary on her website, on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

2019-05-07T13:06:36-05:00May 7th, 2019|
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