While we love exciting adventures, they can get expensive. Luckily, some of St. Louis’ best attractions are totally free to visit and offer experiences just as amazing as any pricey trip! In fact, this city has some of the most accessible parks and museums in the entire county, thanks to grants from the Missouri Zoological Park and Museum District. Some of the best sights in the city don’t cost a dime, proving that you don’t need to break the bank to have fun in St. Louis! Here are fifteen amazing FREE places in St. Louis that you definitely need to see:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Gateway Arch
This one really goes without saying. No matter how many times we visit, our iconic arch always leaves us looking up in wonder. Grab a friend and pack a snack to enjoy on the steps!
The Gateway Arch is located at 100 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO.
While you are down at the arch, take a stroll through CityGarden. This sculpture-filled urban oasis is open year-round and is a perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying the gardens, appreciating the artwork, and people-watching!
CityGarden is located between 8th, 10th, Market, and Chestnut Streets in downtown St. Louis.
3. The Union Station Whispering Arch
You don't need a ticket to ride to enjoy this incredible National Historic Landmark. Aside from the historical relevance (it was once the busiest train station in the nation) and excellent people-watching, one super cool architectural feature is the Whispering Arch. Located right at the entrance to the station, the domed ceiling has a unique acoustic feature; if you are standing in the right spot, you can send a friend across the station and still have a conversation! The sound is carried up and over the crowds, making it possible to hear even quiet whispers spoken on the other side. There are plaques marking where to stand and it's sure to make you smile!
Union Station is located at 1820 Market St., St. Louis, MO.
4. Forest Park
Of course, Forest Park is on this list... there is an endless supply of amazing, free things to do here! With 1,371 acres of beautiful gardens, pagodas, and fountains, you could explore this park for a lifetime and still find something new each time you visit! Forest Park is also home to some of the most amazing museums in the city - read on for more info on these.
Forest Park is located at 5595 Grand Dr, St. Louis, MO.
5. Saint Louis Zoo
One of Forest Park's most fun attractions is the epic Saint Louis Zoo! More than 2.9 million people come to visit the 18,000 different species of animals here and it is celebrated as one of the best in the country. Take a mini-safari through the zoo to see amazing animals from around the world... without even leaving the city!
The Saint Louis Zoo is located in Forest Park at 1 Government Dr, St. Louis, MO.
6. Saint Louis Art Museum
Another Forest Park favorite, the Saint Louis Art Museum has one of the most epic collections in the country, featuring more than 30,000 individual works from around the world, some dating back thousands of years! Rotating exhibits make it so every trip to the Saint Louis Art Museum is a completely unique experience.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is located in Forest Park at 1 Fine Arts Dr, St. Louis, MO.
7. Saint Louis Science Center
Ready to dive into science? Saint Louis Science Center is perfect for interactive fun that makes learning awesome. With over 300,000 square feet and 750 different exhibits, Saint Louis Science Center is one of the largest of its kind and offers tons of opportunities to explore the most fascinating elements of life!
The Saint Louis Science Center is located at 5050 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO.
8. Missouri History Museum
Are you more of a history buff? Head straight for the Missouri History Museum. Even if history wasn't your best subject in school, it's hard not to find something to love here, especially since the collection includes some incredible national artifacts!
The Missouri History Museum is located at 5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO.
9. Purina Farms
Are you an animal lover? Purina Farms is awesome! This epic animal wonderland is open to the public and free to visit! There are cool animal exhibits, barns, and a petting zoo for the kiddos, but the best part is definitely the special shows that take place in the central arena - you can see competition dogs show off their incredible skills on the obstacle course, amaze you with their unbelievable distance jumps, and crack you up with their seriously cool tricks!
Visitors are welcome to come cheer on the performing pups and admission is always free, but it's best to schedule a reservation because they stagger admission so that everyone gets some quality time with their furry friends!
Purina Farms is located at 200 Checkerboard Dr, Gray Summit, MO.
10. St. Louis Walk Of Fame
Take a walk along the Delmar Loop and check out the St. Louis Walk of Fame! There are 137 brass and bronze stars embedded into the sidewalks, each bearing the name of an amazing St. Louisan! Some of the most famous names include Yogi Berra, Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, T. S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, and Tina Turner.
You can start the star walk along the St. Louis Walk of Fame at 6504 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO.
11. Soulard Farmers Market
If you're looking for another great spot to people-watch, Soulard Farmers Market is always a fun, colorful experience. Even if you aren't shopping for produce, it's pretty amazing to see the 100+ vendors who come together in this historic building to share their fruits and veggies. It's the oldest farmers market west of the Mississippi and there's always something interesting to see!
Soulard Farmers Market is located at 730 Carroll St, St. Louis, MO.
12. Old Courthouse
The Old St. Louis County Courthouse holds some fascinating historical stories. Built in 1816, the Old Courthouse played a significant role in shaping the history of the United States. The Old Courthouse is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is now designated as a St. Louis Landmark, U.S. Historical District, and is operated by the National Parks System.
The Old Courthouse is located at 11 N 4th St, St. Louis, MO.
13. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
This Cathedral is another domed masterpiece in the city! The walls and ceiling of Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis are adorned with an awe-inspiring mosaic that will leave you absolutely speechless. The mosaic covers more than 83,000 square feet - it's one of the largest in the world - and includes more than 41.5 MILLION hand-placed glass tiles in over 7,000 different colors. It took more than 75 years to complete the mosaic, with construction beginning in 1912 and ending in 1988. The vibrant domes are indescribably beautiful and really must be seen in person to appreciate the vastness of this masterpiece.
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis is located at 4431 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO.
14. Laumeier Sculpture Park
This beautiful art garden gives you another reason to look up! This 105-acre open air park has 60 sculptures along a 1.4-mile trail and attracts more than 300,000 people every year. The park was opened in 1975 and also features an indoor gallery in a beautiful 1918 Tudor home that belonged to Matilda Laumeier, who left her property to the county in her will.
Laumeier Sculpture Park is located at 12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills, MO.
15. Missouri Botanical Gardens
There's always something blooming at Missouri Botanical Gardens! With 79 acres of beautiful natural displays to explore, incredible Japanese Gardens, and some fantastic special cultural events throughout the year, this is easily one of our favorite spots in the city!
The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO.
Where’s your favorite place to spend a day in St. Louis on a budget? These are just a few of the endless things to do in our amazing city, but there’s plenty to do here without spending a dime. This just goes to show that you don’t need to spend money to have a fantastic experience!