Best Attractions to See on Every Visit to St. Louis

Things to Do, What's New — By marylynsimpson on June 15, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Located in St. Louis’ arts district of the Grand Center area in Midtown, the Fox Theatre is one of St. Louis’ most popular performing arts venues. The building’s interiors have been restored to their former breathtaking 1920’s glory making not only the live acts a must-see, but the building itself a popular attraction. If you are lucky enough to be in St. Louis this summer, be sure to reserve tickets for the Fox’s amazing summer line-up of Wicked, Harry Connick, Jr., Shrek the Musical and many other must-see shows.

Just a few miles east of the Fox Theatre, is Forest Park. Larger than New York City’s Central Park, Forest Park is the location of the 1904 World’s Fair where you can still see the historic Spanish Pavilion and visit the ever-expanding St. Louis Art Museum. In addition to lush forestry, scenic bike trails and cultural institutions, Forest Park is also home to the third largest zoo in the US. Puffin Bay is one of the most popular zoo attractions, where visitors enter a cave-like room complete with eye-level, frigid water tanks. There are enough historic and scenic sights to keep most travelers and nature-lovers busy for days with Forests Park’s diverse attractions.

One of St. Louis’s newer attractions is the City Museum. Best described as a playground for adults and children, the City Museum has everything from converted shoe factory shoots turned slides to glass blowing classes. Enter the playground-like facility through a winding ladder jutting out of ceiling-level tubes. Once you have climbed up the ladder and into the tubes, experience the thrill of exploring the Enchanted Caves, built out of a retired shoe factory conveyor tunnel system. Go outside of the museum and marvel at MonstroCity. Imagine two Saber 40 aircraft fuselages, a fire engine, a castle turret, a 25′ tall cupola and several 4′ wide wrought-iron slinkies, suspended outside over 12 stories. No, it’s not just to look at, but an interactive sculpture to explore, experience and keep you entertained for hours on end. The adventure never stops at the City Museum so be sure to make it a part of your travel itinerary.

Another recently developed popular St. Louis attraction is The Butterfly House. Located in St. Louis’ charming suburb of Chesterfield, The Butterfly House is a massive greenhouse filled with tropical plants, humid temperatures and you guessed it, real live butterflies. Walk through this majestic greenhouse and you will come (literally) face-to-face with exotic butterflies from almost every continent. The Butterfly House is family-friendly and full of educational side exhibitions. Encased live beetles and insects can be found throughout The Butterfly House, keeping your little ones enticed as you wait to enter the greenhouse.

And what is a blog post about St. Louis without mentioning the Arch? Since its opening in 1965, the Gateway Arch has been a premiere Midwest landmark. Enter the Arch through its underground museum, where you can learn about the history of the gateway to the West and purchase your ticket to the top. Be warned, ticket and elevator lines may be long, so be prepared to wait. After your ticket purchase, a dome-like elevator complete with seats will take you to the top of the Arch. The windows may be small, but the panoramic views are undoubtedly the best in the city. Downtown, the Mississippi River and the St. Louis skyline will overtake you with awe and appreciation for this beautiful Midwestern city.

Image: Matthew Black/Flickr, Andrei!/Flickr

Tags: City Museum, Forest Park, Fox Theatre, Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Zoo, The Butterfly House