Most people consider St. Louis and many other areas within the Great Plains as being boring, which means that they do not even want to consider visiting them. However, this part of the country is filled with beauty, history, culture, entertainment, and lots of outdoor activities. The best part though is that there is so much that you can do without spending a dime and many other activities you can do that won’t break the bank either.
50 Free or Nearly Free Things to Do in St Louis MO
1. Saint Louis University Museum of Art
This beautiful museum is open on Wednesdays through Sundays and it is free to enter. Some of the art includes works from the MacLennan Collection of Asian Art and the Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions, but the most intriguing pieces include those by prominent artists.
2. Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
A visit to this museum will bring Lewis and Clark’s journey to life in front of your eyes and it is one of the top St. Louis attractions. The highlights include exhibits about all the prep work that was done in this area before their journey actually began.
3. Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Biergarten
This is the largest brewery in the world and while a basic tour is free, I recommend you pay the few extra dollars for one of the more extensive tours that they have each day.
4. James Cool Papa Bell
James Cool Papa Bell was a baseball player who turned into a legend and he is honored in this fabulous city. You will find his grave at St. Peters Cemetery and you can even have your picture taken on the street that is now named after him.
When it comes to toddler activities St. Louis, nothing beats the Citygarden with its kiddie waterpark and wading pools. Of course, adults will love the artwork created by international artists that is scattered about, so check it out as you chase after your little ones.
6. Gateway Arch
When it comes to things to do in St. Louis this weekend, no one can resist the Gateway Arch. This massive St. Louis attraction stands six hundred and thirty feet in the air and spans a width of the same distance. While it is free to see this extraordinary sight from the ground, it is also worthwhile to pay the fee to go to the top for the gorgeous views of the city below.
7. St. Louis Zoo
One of the best things to do in St. Louis with teenagers and toddlers is a visit to the St. Louis Zoo. There are so many different animals to see and you will also have the chance to touch a few of them at the interactive exhibits. And this zoo ranks as one of the best zoos in the USA.
8. Chocolate Factory Tour of Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company
The tours of this chocolate factory are completely free, and you will learn about the entire chocolate making process when you take one. It is suggested that you make a reservation, especially if you are with a large group of people or visiting on a weekend.
9. Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse is across the street from the Arch and it is where the Dred Scott slavery trial took place. You must take a tour of this building so you can feel and see the history that has happened there over the years.
10. Bellefontaine Cemetery
This cemetery has been around for more than one hundred and sixty years now and one of the most famous people buried there is General Stephen Watts Kearny, who fought in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.
11. Grant’s Farm
Grant’s Farm is now owned by the Busch family and there are more than two hundred acres for you to explore during your visit. While the stables filled with Clydesdale horses will capture your attention the most, you should also love watching the animal shows and concerts that are held there throughout the year.
12. St. Louis Science Center
Science lovers will enjoy every inch of this free museum in St. Louis, especially since they have more than seven hundred hands-on exhibits about everything from space, the weather, animals, and more.
13. Attend Storytime at a Local Library
Traveling with children can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding things to do. However, there are plenty of things to do with toddlers in St. Louis and they include attending Storytime at a local library.
14. Forest Park
If you have thought that Central Park in New York City is the largest park in the world, you have obviously never been to Forest Park in St. Louis. This open space is five hundred acres larger than Central Park and is home to a zoo, golf course, museums, summer concerts, trails, tennis courts, and much more. You will love your time out in nature while enjoying the fresh air that is everywhere in this part of the city.
15. Monks Mound
Monks Mound is always at the top of the list of free stuff to do in St. Louis due to the spectacular views that can be seen from the top of the one-hundred-foot mound. Of course, the history that you can learn at the Interpretive Center will make this area more interesting that you could have ever imagined.
16. Calvary Cemetery
The Calvary Cemetery was created back in 1854 and many people that assisted in establishing the city are buried there. This is one of the better things to do in St. Louis this weekend if you have enough time.
17. Missouri History Museum
Kids of all ages will love learning how to steer a steamboat inside this museum, before they wander through all the historic buildings and attend the World Fair back in 1904. All these attractions can be found within the History Clubhouse inside the museum and don’t worry, adults will love it just as much!
18. Holocaust Museum
No one will ever forget the horrendous things that were done during the Holocaust and this free museum in St. Louis works hard to educate visitors about what really happened all those years ago.
19. Visit the Locks and Dams
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam is not too far away from St. Louis, which makes it the best option when it comes to free things to do in St. Louis this weekend. The tours are approximately forty-five minutes in length, and you will love seeing how the barges navigate the water. Don’t forget to venture into the museum next door either before or after your tour, as you will learn even more there.
20. Visit the Walk of Fame
St. Louis has its own Walk of Fame and every year; new honorees are inducted with their own star. Current stars include Kevin Kline, Chuck Berry, and Tina Turner.
21. Village of Elsah Museum
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Elsah will find that this is the best spot to do so. James Semple founded this museum more than one hundred years ago and many of the nearby colleges have given the museum items to display within the exhibits.
22. Historic Trinity Lutheran Church
This Lutheran Church is an architectural dream come true, but it is also the oldest Lutheran church that can be found to the west of the Mississippi. There is no need to be Lutheran to visit, as you will truly appreciate the intricate details of the building. The church is historic, being the mother congregation of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and offers so many tours.
23. Jefferson Barracks Historic Park
Military enthusiasts will enjoy the history that they can see and feel at this park. This is where the first Infantry School of Practice was founded back in 1826 and while there is no shooting taking place there nowadays, you can still see where the very first successful airplane jump was completed.
24. St. Louis Union Station
This station used to be the largest rail terminal for passengers in the world and at one hundred and fourteen years old, it still fascinates people in its new form, which is a marketplace.
25. Purina Farms
When it comes to things to do with toddlers in St. Louis, your little ones are going to love Purina Farms. Your entire family can watch the dog shows before watching cows being milked and playing in the hayloft.
26. Municipal Opera
The nickname of the Municipal Opera is the Muny and it is considered a summer tradition to watch any of the seven different musicals that are held there every year. Each performance has a large number of free seats available, which means that this is the perfect free St. Louis attraction. Arrive early for the free seats, as they are first come, first serve and you don’t want to miss out!
27. Pulitzer Foundation
When you are in dire need of indoor things to do in St. Louis, the Pulitzer Foundation is the answer. You can enter for free Wednesdays through Saturdays and in addition to seeing the exhibits, you can also watch a concert or listen to a gallery talk.
28. Visit a Farm
Yes, you may have been to Grant’s Farm, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit the other farms in St. Louis. Suson Park is one of the best free things to do with toddlers in St. Louis, because it is filled with numerous animals that include cows, horses, pigs, chickens, and goats. You can wander around the farm on your own, so be prepared to spend hours watching one animal if your toddler finds a favorite.
29. World Bird Sanctuary
This fabulous bird loving sanctuary is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving. You can capture pictures of owls, falcons, bald eagles, vultures, and more, while also taking in a show or special presentation.
30. Cathedral Basilica
This gorgeous church can be found in the Central West End of the city and it is where you will find the largest collection of mosaics. It took almost eighty years to install the forty million pieces of glass and you will want to see every inch of them during your visit.
31. Laumeier Sculpture Park
This park has more than one hundred acres and you will discover dozens of sculptures scattered about as you are wandering around. The best part is that there are also indoor galleries, which is perfect if you need indoor things to do in St. Louis due to the weather.
32. Go to a Star Party
If you do not know what a star party is, you are not alone! However, the St. Louis Astronomical Society hosts star parties throughout the city every month. You can view the stars in the sky through one of the telescopes that are available and learn quite a bit about space at the same time.
33. Eckert’s Orchard
Eckert’s Orchard was founded back in 1837 and it is now considered one of the best free things to do in St. Louis. While the largest crop on the orchard is apples, you can also find blackberries, strawberries, and peaches if you time your visit right.
34. Ride a Ferry Down the River
The Brussels Ferry will take you across the Illinois River and while you can take your car on with you, you can simply ride it one way and then back again. The best thing is that this St. Louis attraction is free to use as many times as you wish.
35. Wander Around The Hill
There are many neighborhoods within St. Louis, but The Hill is quickly going to become one of your favorites. Berra Park will be your option of choice when it comes to things to do in St. Louis with teenagers, because they can easily use the playground and play soccer on the fields. Check out the Hall of Fame to see the homes of Joe Garagiola and Yogi Berra and don’t forget to grab something sweet at Gelato di Riso.
36. The Great Balloon Race Festival
The Great Balloon Race Festival is only held once a year, so make sure you plan your trip to St. Louis carefully if you want to see all the balloons up in the sky.
37. National Great Rivers Museum
This museum is near both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and when you are there, you can learn all about the history that has now shaped this part of the world. Imagine learning about the people and wildlife who lived along the river and how their lives were different from how we live now.
38. Schlafly Bottleworks Brewery
Another brewery, and while you may not think it is necessary after visiting the Anheuser one, you couldn’t be more wrong. The tour dates and times are limited though, so make sure you call in advance if you want to see how Schlafly makes their beer.
39. The Touhill Performing Arts Center
A large variety of concerts and other performances are held at the Touhill Performing Arts Center each year and you never know when you will have the chance to see a dance performance, jazz concert, or something else of interest. The best thing to do in Missouri at this attraction though is the St. Louis Storytelling Festival.
40. Watch a Movie
It is difficult to find free movies nowadays, but in St. Louis, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. The summer months boast outdoor movies in the parks and inclement weather brings those movies into attractions that include the Missouri History Museum and the Ballpark Village.
41. Tackle the Planet Walk
The Planet Walk can be found on the Delmar Loop and the five-block area holds stations for the eight planets and the sun. The distance between each one is the same as the actual solar system, which means you will easily feel like you are up in space as you learn about the sun and the planets.
42. Walk Out in Nature
Walking around St. Louis is easy, but if you want nature to be a big part of your day, there is nothing better than Castlewood State Park. This is a slight drive from St. Louis, but everyone in your family will love exploring the two thousand acres of the park. The hiking trails that go to the top of the bluffs offer amazing views of the Meramec River, but you may want to stick to the easier trails if you have younger children with you.
43. Jewel Box
The Jewel Box is a large greenhouse that is back open again and filled with all types of flowers and plants. Admission is free on Monday and Tuesday mornings, but the rest of the week you can enter after paying a dollar per person.
44. World Chess Hall of Fame
Chess is not popular with everyone, but there is no way you can skip learning all you can about this game when you are in St. Louis. They know how to keep people intrigued when it comes to chess, so you are guaranteed to stay awake while you are there.
45. The Economy Museum
This is one of the best free museums in St. Louis and it is an excellent option when you are wondering what things to do in St. Louis with teenagers. The interactive displays and games will have everyone learning how to manage their money and more about the economy in no time at all.
46. Moto Museum
The Moto Museum is free to enter, but it is completely worthwhile to pay the small fee to have a private tour. Each one of the rare and vintage motorcycles are from 1900 through 1975 and they are all from European manufacturers.
47. Missouri Botanical Gardens
There is a fee to enter the Missouri Botanical Gardens, but they do offer free admission on specific days. However, this is a beautiful St. Louis attraction, as is the Butterfly House, so you may want to consider making an exception with your budget.
48. Soulard Farmer’s Market
This farmer’s market has been open for more than two hundred years now and you can visit there every Wednesday through Saturday all year long. While walking around is free, you probably will spend some money when you decide that you need that delicious food that is all around you!
49. Tower Grove Park
There is so much to do inside Tower Grove Park, but I know that you will love the carriage rides and historic features the most. When you are looking at free things to do in St. Louis this weekend, look no further than the miles of walking trails within this park.
50. Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum
This museum in St. Louis is dedicated to all those who served during World War I. The site was dedicated by the President in 1936 and it opened on Memorial Day in 1938. This museum is now an excellent place to go to learn more about both World Wars and those who fought during them.
These are the fifty free, or nearly free things, that I have found, and thought were the best ones to share with you, but I am sure that there are many others. I would love to hear about them when you are ready to share your secrets about St. Louis, so don’t keep me in the dark much longer! I am ready to keep traveling through this magnificent city while seeing the best free and cheap things that it has to offer!