St. Louis is one of those cities that everyone has heard of, but it never really comes up as a ‘vacation destination’. I have family right outside of the city so I’ve been lucky to visit multiple times and explore the whole area. Turns out, there’s a bunch of things to do!! But sometimes you get stuck with just one day to see a place, so I’ve put together the perfect way to spend a single day in the downtown part St. Louis. What to do, where to eat, and everything you need to know about the city that’s the Gateway To The West.
What To Do:
Gateway Arch/Museum of Westward Expansion
This first stop is a must, mostly because wherever you are in the city the arch is going to be looming over you, but also it’s a big part of the cities identity. As you can tell by the pic above, it’s really really tall. Like, your neck is going to hurt while you stand there staring up at it.
Taking a trip to the top is definitely worth it. You get to not only see the entire city, but also into Illinois on the other side. Make sure to buy a ticket early though because it sells out quickly! Getting to the top can be pretty claustrophobic so be sure to do your research if that may be a problem!
If the height is a deal-breaker that doesn’t mean you should skip the whole area though! It’s right on the water so the scenery around the arch is gorgeous! There are a lot of walking trails and open areas so it’s a great place to just hang out. Underneath the arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion-but it’s currently closed for a major renovation. You can still walk all the way up to the base though. It’s pretty cool being able to actually touch the outside, even if it gets really hot on sunny days!
For lots more information & updates check out the official website: Gateway Arch St. Louis
St. Louis Cardinals/Busch Stadium
- Even if baseball isn’t really your thing-it is absolutely THE THING to do in St. Louis. They know baseball and they LOVE their Cardinals. It’s built into the fabric of the city, even when other sports haven’t gotten quite the same love.
- Story Time: We had neighbors in Seattle that ended up moving to St. Louis. They knew nothing about baseball but less than a week of going to school in St. Louis both of their daughters came home begging for Cardinals ‘gear’ because they were the ONLY kids without it. Being a Cardinals fan is basically a requirement of living in the city.
Spending a few hours to catch a game at Busch Stadium is the guaranteed way to get a true St. Louis experience.
For more information check out the team’s official website: St. Louis Cardinals
To get a different take on the city, walk down to the river and take a riverboat tour. Being on a steamboat cruising down the Mississippi River is a great reminder of the history St. Louis has behind it. National Park Service Rangers narrate the cruises so you’ll have a great source of knowledge to guide you and answer any questions you may have.
Described as an “Urban oasis downtown”, Citygarden is worth a quick walk if you like outdoors, art, and water. I’m always keeping an eye out for parks and other areas to hang out outside, and I was pleasantly surprised at how cute this park was. It’s not huge but nestled in between various buildings it really does feel like a little escape. It has a TON of sculptures (some cool, some really weird) but my favorite parts were all the water features and fountains. With an absolutely gorgeous view all the way down the street, you can the most picturesque spot to take in the arch with the city.
You’ll have to walk a few blocks to get here but it’s right down one of the main streets that has an array of old and new structures. I’m always in awe at the architecture and detail of some of the buildings that have been around for a lot longer than I’m used to being a west coast girl!
Where To Eat:
Starbucks @ Hilton at the Ballpark
Let’s be real, the first time (or every time) I go somewhere I’m looking up Starbucks locations. But if you make your first stop of the day to get coffee at the Starbucks inside Hilton at the Ballpark then you may run into Fredbird! If the Cardinals are home keep an eye out, I was totally surprised when he went rolling by on a luggage cart in the hotel lobby but now I’m sharing this secret with you!
If you do make it to a baseball game then make sure to find some food in the ballpark. Whether you want the classic burger or dog, or want to try something new, it’s great getting to go explore what ballparks my have. I found a stand with gluten-free chicken tenders and just about lost my mind. Eating gluten-free is terribly difficult in many occasions but finding a version of my favorite food made an already great day even better.
Whether or not the Cardinals are home, or baseball season is even going on, you have to check out the various restaurants at Ballpark Village. From sports bars, to sushi, to a fudge shop-they have every kind of cuisine you could want. There’s also different events that go on and bands that play so make sure to check out the schedule to see what’s going on when you’ll be there.
For the full list of restaurants & the schedule go to the website: Ballpark Village
Arch View Café
If you want to stay down by the water for lunch, than why not eat right on the water! Down by where the riverboat cruises take off there’s a cute little café, but only open April-October. To see the full schedule & menu go to Arch View Café
When the sun starts to set head back to Hilton at the Ballpark for the best drinks and view you’re going to find. From the lobby they’ll let you up in the elevator to the roof where you’ll find the Three Sixty bar. They menu is kind of ‘out there’ but just because you don’t recognize all the ingredients doesn’t mean you’re not about to have one of the best drinks ever.
With indoor and outdoor seating, all glass walls, and fire pits spread in the outside areas, everything is perfect for a relaxing evening drink after a long day. Being on the roof also means you’re going to have a great view of the arch, the city, the ballpark, and the sun setting to end the day. 360 STL
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay check out my review of the St. Louis Union Station Hotel!
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