Does the idea of leaving the kids at home, so you can enjoy some quality couple time fill you with guilt? Have your parents been craving quality time with your kids (and you)? Plan a multitasking, multigenerational vacation that offers fun for everyone in St. Louis, Missouri.
Bonus: with its free museums and tourist spots it’s far more affordable than many family destinations. Perhaps the only city with more free tourist attractions in the United States is Washington D.C.
Prefer to watch videos? Click here to check out some of the fun we had in St. Louis.
In the pictures: two happy grandparents and one happy grandchild!
During your stay, the kids (and kids at heart) can climb through caves, make their way past mythical creatures and historic Egyptian royalty, as they reach the top of City Museum and take a ten-story spiral slide down. Then, everyone can recover at a ‘50s style diner serving up burgers, sandwiches, Insta-worthy Freak Shakes,and spiked soda fountain drinks. Once satisfied but not sleepy, explore Union Station attractions. Regroup for dinner at the Train Shed where you and your crew can watch the Fire and Light Show while eating family friendly fare with elevated options. Then, tuck the kids into bed, descend the steps to Union Station’s Grand Hall to indulge in dessert, or after dinner drinks, or both.
How to make the most of your time in st. louis:
Book rooms at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. Once one of the largest passenger rail terminals in the world, its castle-like exterior and glamorous 1920s interior provides equal parts magic, glamour, and elegance. It’s fun-filled,romantic, and keeps most of the fun within walking distance.
Drive up and let valet whisk away your vehicle. Then, climb the steps to the grand entrance, where doors will be opened for you. Pause for a moment beneath the beautiful grand arch just inside the doors to discover why, thanks to some acoustical magic, it’s known as The Whispering Arch. Once checked in, a bellhop will help you with your luggage and guide you to your room. The place is massive, so the bellhop’s assistance is most welcome.
Lots of amusement can be enjoyed without leaving Union Station. Onsite activities include: The Wheel, Carousel, St. Louis Aquarium, Ropes Course, and Mirror Maze. It’s enough to keep a family busy for a few days!
With six restaurants, there’s plenty of dining to enjoy onsite as well. Our favorites were:
Attractions worth leaving the station for:
City Museum is as far from typical as a museum can get. Kids of all ages can climb around, discover, and uncover. Check out the pro-tips on their site like wearing knee pads and how to skip the line.
Gateway Arch Museum
It’s free to visit and is part of The Gateway National Park. Built in 2018, its galleries are rich with history. They cover everything from the founding of St. Louis in 1764 to the completion of the arch in 1965.
St. Louis Zoo
The St. Louis Zoo is one of the few free zoos in the nation, though its vastness and quality makes it feel like a zoo one would pay at least $30 to enter. The zoo is home to over 13,000 animals representing 555 species.