St. Louis Escapades: The Definitive Traveler’s Handbook

Discover St. Louis

Nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, this iconic city beckons travelers with its renowned attractions, including the majestic Gateway Arch, a symbol of America’s westward expansion, and Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States, boasting world-class museums and recreational amenities. A visit to St. Louis is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for this dynamic city in the heart of America.


Best time to visit
Best places to visit

Three Fun Facts About St. Louis


World’s Fair

St. Louis hosted the 1904 World’s Fair, officially known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Many popular foods, including ice cream cones, hot dogs, and iced tea, are believed to have been popularized or invented during the fair.


Chess Capital

St. Louis has emerged as a major center for chess in the United States. The Saint Louis Chess Club hosts prestigious tournaments and events, and the city has become known as the “chess capital of the nation.”



Forest Park in St. Louis is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, even larger than Central Park in New York City. It is home to several major attractions, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the St. Louis Zoo.


Must See Attractions

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Gateway Arch


Visit the iconic Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the United States, for breathtaking views of the city and the Mississippi River.

Forest Park

Nature & Parks

Explore Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, which is home to attractions such as the St. Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the St. Louis Science Center.

City Museum

Speciality Museum

Experience the City Museum, a one-of-a-kind attraction featuring an eclectic mix of tunnels, slides, caves, and salvaged architectural elements that create an immersive playground for visitors of all ages.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Nature & Parks

Wander through the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States, featuring beautiful landscapes, historic buildings, and a vast collection of plants from around the world.

St. Louis Zoo


Visit the St. Louis Zoo, consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the country, to see a diverse array of animals from around the globe and enjoy educational exhibits and interactive experiences.

Soulard Farmers Market

Shopping & Dining

Shop for fresh produce, meats, baked goods, and more at the historic Soulard Farmers Market, one of the oldest public markets in the country.

Lakes Near St. Louis

Creve Coeur Lake

13725 Marine Avenue Maryland Heights, Missouri 63043

Located in Maryland Heights, Creve Coeur Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Missouri. It offers opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The lake is surrounded by Creve Coeur Park, which features walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views.

Distance from St. Louise: 24 miles
Boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding

Lake St. Louis

100 Cognac Ct Lake St Louis, Missouri 63367

Lake St. Louis is a private lake community located in St. Charles County, about 40 minutes west of downtown St. Louis. Residents of the community enjoy access to the lake for boating, swimming, fishing, and other water activities.

Distance from St. Louise: 38 miles
Boating, swimming, fishing, water sports

Lake of the Ozarks

403 Highway 134 Kaiser, Missouri 65047

While a bit farther from St. Louis (about 2-3 hours drive), Lake of the Ozarks is a massive reservoir with over 1,100 miles of shoreline. It’s a popular destination for boating, fishing, water sports, and lakeside relaxation.

Distance from St. Louis: 191 miles
boating, fishing, water sports

Secret Fishing Destinations Near St. Louis

Meramec River

1401 Kiefer Creek Road Ballwin, Missouri 63021

The Meramec River, located southwest of St. Louis, offers excellent fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, and panfish. Sections of the river near Sullivan and Steelville are particularly productive and less crowded.

Fishing: Shoreline, kayaking, boating
Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, panfish

Horseshoe Lake

3321 Highway 111 Granite City, Illinois 62040

Situated in the Metro East region of Illinois, Horseshoe Lake is a secluded fishing spot known for its abundant largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish. The lake’s quiet atmosphere and scenic surroundings make it a favorite among local anglers.

Fishing: Shoreline
Largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish

Carlyle Lake

801 Lake Road Carlyle, Illinois 62231

Approximately an hour and a half east of St. Louis, Carlyle Lake is the largest man-made lake in Illinois and offers excellent fishing for crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, and white bass. Anglers can fish from the shore or launch a boat to explore the lake’s expansive waters.

Fishing: Shoreline, dock, kayaking, boating
Crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, white bass.

Top Hiking Trails Within 1 Hour of St. Louis

White Bison Loop

Center Rd, High Ridge, Missouri 63049

This tranquil loop trail offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of Missouri’s natural landscape. As visitors traverse the trail, they are treated to breathtaking views of lush forests, rolling hills, and meandering streams. The trail is named after the white bison that once roamed the area, adding a touch of local history and folklore to the experience.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 
97 m
Time to Complete:
1 hour

Fort Bellefontaine Loop Trail

13300 Bellefontaine Rd, St. Louis, Missouri 63138

This scenic trail winds through lush woodlands and alongside the mighty Mississippi River, providing glimpses of the region’s rich past and stunning natural landscape. Named after the historic military outpost that once stood on the site, the Fort Bellefontaine Loop Trail invites hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore its well-marked paths and immerse themselves in the serenity of the surrounding wilderness.

Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 
43 m
Time to Complete:
1 hour

Forest Park Wheels Path

5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, Missouri 63112

Perfect for cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers, and walkers alike, this paved pathway offers a scenic and accessible route for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Spanning approximately 6 miles, the Wheels Path takes visitors on a journey through lush green spaces, tranquil lakes, and vibrant cultural attractions within the park.

Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 
58 m
Time to Complete:
2 hours

Best Golf Courses Within 1 Hour of St. Louis

Gateway National Golf Links

18 Golf Dr, Madison, Illinois 62060

Located just across the Mississippi River in Madison, Illinois, Gateway National Golf Links offers a challenging layout designed by Keith Foster. This public course features native grasses, lakes, and strategic bunkering, providing a links style experience.

Holes: 18
Keith Foster

Visit their website for more information

Whispering Woods Golf Club

 257 Golf Course Rd, Marshfield, Missouri 65706

Situated in the scenic Missouri countryside in St. Charles County, Whispering Woods Golf Club features 18 holes of championship golf amidst rolling hills, forests, and lakes. This public course offers a tranquil and challenging golfing experience.

Holes: 18
Gary Kern

Visit their website for more information

Missouri Bluffs Golf Club

18 Research Park Cir, St Charles, Missouri 63304

Designed by Tom Fazio, Missouri Bluffs Golf Club is nestled along the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River in St. Charles, Missouri. This stunning course features dramatic elevation changes, tree lined fairways, and immaculate greens.

Holes: 18
Tom Fazio

Visit their website for more information

Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in St. Louis

Start Early

Begin your search for vacation rentals well in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during peak seasons or popular events. This gives you a better chance of finding the perfect property that fits your needs and budget.

Define Your Needs

Consider your preferences and requirements for the rental property. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you require specific amenities such as a kitchen, laundry facilities, or a pet-friendly environment? Clarifying these factors will help narrow down your search.

Research Neighborhoods

St. Louis is a city with diverse neighborhoods, each offering its own unique vibe and attractions. Research different areas to find one that suits your interests and preferences, whether you prefer a lively urban environment or a more tranquil suburban setting.

Keep in Touch

Maintain open communication with the host or property manager throughout the rental process and during your stay. Report any issues or concerns promptly to ensure they can be addressed in a timely manner.

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Jet Skiing

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Midwest with our comprehensive travel guide to St. Louis. Nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, this iconic city beckons travelers with its rich history, vibrant culture, and endless attractions.

Begin your adventure by marveling at the iconic Gateway Arch, a symbol of the city’s pioneering spirit and westward expansion. Ascend to the top for breathtaking views of the skyline and the winding river below. Delve into St. Louis’s storied past at the Missouri History Museum, where exhibits chronicle the city’s role in shaping the nation’s destiny.

For nature lovers, explore the sprawling green spaces of Forest Park, home to the renowned St. Louis Zoo, Art Museum, and Science Center. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush botanical gardens of Tower Grove Park, or cruise along the scenic trails of the Great Rivers Greenway.

Indulge your taste buds with St. Louis’s culinary delights, from mouthwatering BBQ ribs and toasted ravioli to gooey butter cake and local craft brews. Sample the city’s eclectic dining scene, ranging from trendy bistros and food trucks to cozy diners and upscale eateries.

Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant arts scene with a visit to the Grand Center Arts District, where theaters, galleries, and performance venues come alive with creativity and expression. Catch a live show at the historic Fox Theatre or enjoy a night of jazz and blues in the soulful clubs of the Delmar Loop.

Experience the thrill of discovery at the interactive City Museum, a playground of imagination and wonder for visitors of all ages. Climb, crawl, and slide your way through this whimsical wonderland of recycled art and architectural marvels.

For a glimpse into St. Louis’s spiritual heritage, explore the stunning Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, adorned with intricate mosaics and stained glass windows. Pay homage to the city’s musical legends at the National Blues Museum, celebrating the soulful sounds that have echoed through its streets for generations.

Uncover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path treasures with our insider tips and recommendations, ensuring you make the most of your time in the Gateway City. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, foodie, or culture vulture, St. Louis offers something for everyone to discover and delight in. So pack your bags, hit the road, and let our travel guide be your passport to an unforgettable St. Louis adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions about St. Louis

St. Louis Arch, Forest Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Zoo, and the City Museum are some top attractions.

Spring and fall offer mild weather and fewer crowds, making them ideal times to visit. However, summer also has its charm with various festivals and events.

St. Louis has a public transportation system including buses and a MetroLink light rail system. Taxis, rideshare services, and rental cars are also available.

St. Louis-style pizza (thin crust with Provel cheese), toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, and pork steaks are some local favorites.

Yes, the St. Louis Zoo, City Museum, Magic House Children’s Museum, and Grants Farm are popular attractions for families.

There are various budget-friendly hotels, motels, and Airbnb options available throughout the city, especially in areas like Downtown West and near the airport.

Visitors can enjoy activities such as biking and walking along the riverfront, exploring Forest Park, or picnicking in Tower Grove Park.

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