St. Louis is known for its attractions and activities, but did you know there are plenty of free things to do in the city, too? From outdoor adventures to museum visits, St. Louis, Missouri has something for every family.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 22 of the best free things to do in St. Louis with your family. Whether you’re looking to see a national historic landmark or a free zoo, there are plenty of options that won’t cost you a penny.
So grab your family and get ready to have some free fun!
- 1. Tower Grove Park
- 2. Purina Farms Visitors Center
- 3. The Loop Trolley
- 4. St Louis Union Station
- 5. Cahokia Mounds
- 6. Lone Elk Park
- 7. World Chess Hall Of Fame
- 8. Missouri History Museum
- 9. Gateway Arch National Park
- 10. Grant’s Farm
- 11. St Louis Art Museum
- 12. The Muny Free States
- 13. Saint Louis Science Center
- 14. St Louis Zoo
- 15. Forest Park
- 16. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
- 17. City Garden
- 18. Old Courthouse
- 19. Laumeier Sculpture Park
- 20. Central Public Library
- 21. Saint Louis Art Museum
- 22. Missouri Botanical Garden
1. Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park is one of the largest parks in St. Louis, and it’s perfect for a family outing. There’s plenty of open space to picnic or run around, plus there are tons of activities for kids.
Tower Grove Park has two playgrounds, a splash pad, a carousel, and a train that kids can ride. Admission to the park is free, making it a great option for families on a budget.
Check out their website to see the park’s map, opening hours, how to get there, and more.
The park also has an online shop for souvenirs such as holiday ornaments, postcards, dog clothes, and more.
2. Purina Farms Visitors Center
The Purina Farms Visitors Center is the perfect place to take your family for a day of fun. Located in Gray Summit, Missouri, Purina Farms is home to a variety of animals, including horses, cows, pigs, and chickens.
You can tour the farm, meet the animals, and learn about how they are cared for. The Visitors Center also offers a variety of educational programs for families to participate in.
3. The Loop Trolley
If you’re looking for a free and fun activity for the whole family, look no further than the Loop Trolley in St. Louis!
The trolley runs on a 2.2-mile loop through the Delmar Loop neighborhood, making stops at popular destinations like the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, and Forest Park. Best of all, kids under age 5 ride for free!
There is a wheelchair lift if needed, and bicycles are not allowed on the trolley.
When does it operate?
It operates four days a week. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are the operating days.
The operating times?
It operates from 11 am to 7 pm.
4. St Louis Union Station
St. Louis Union Station is a beautiful, historic train station that offers a variety of free things to do for families. For instance, you can explore the station’s many architectural features, take a selfie in front of the famous “Comet” statue, or watch the trains come and go from the outdoor platform.
There is also a free kids’ play area and an indoor carousel. If you’re looking for something to eat, there are several restaurants located inside Union Station, including a food court with several kid-friendly options.
You can also explore the mini golf course, a rope course, the fire and light show, the aquarium, the wheel, the mirror maze, and more. These extra activities come at a cost.
There are hotel packages if you want to stay at Union Station.
5. Cahokia Mounds
Cahokia Mounds is a state historic site and World Heritage Site located in Collinsville, Illinois. The 2,200-acre park includes a complex of earthen mounds built by the Mississippian culture, which flourished in the area from about 700 to 1400 CE.
The largest mound, Monk’s Mound, covers 16 acres and rises 100 feet high.
Visitors can climb to the top of Monk’s Mound for a panoramic view of the site.
Other mounds at Cahokia Mounds include the Woodhenge, a reconstruction of a ceremonial structure used by the Mississippians, and Mississippi River views from atop Sunrise Temple Mound.
6. Lone Elk Park
Lone Elk Park is one of the best places to take the kids in St. Louis. It’s a great place to explore nature and get some fresh air.
There are plenty of hiking trails to keep everyone entertained, and the views from the top of the trails are simply breathtaking.
If you’re looking for a place to have a picnic, there are plenty of tables and grills available for use.
The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for deer, squirrels, and birds.
7. World Chess Hall Of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame is a must-see for any chess lover. The museum/world chess hall has a wide variety of chess sets on display, as well as artifacts and paintings related to the game.
The Chess hall of fame basically celebrates the world of chess. Admission is free, and there are also free chess lessons available for beginners.
8. Missouri History Museum
Missouri is rich in history, and there are plenty of ways for families to explore it without spending a dime. The Missouri History Museum is one of the best free museums in the city, and it offers a ton of kid-friendly activities.
The museum is located in Forest Park, and it covers all aspects of Missouri’s history, from the early Native American inhabitants to the present day.
There are three floors of exhibits to explore, plus a library, a research center, and temporary exhibitions.
The museum offers free admission for all visitors, and there are also free walking tours available. Families can also take advantage of the museum’s Family Resources Center, which has materials and resources specifically for family learning.
9. Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is the perfect place for a family outing. Not only is it free, but there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.
From hiking and biking trails to fishing and picnicking, there’s something for everyone at this beautiful park.
Located just minutes from downtown St. Louis, Gateway Arch National Park is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Once you arrive, be sure to take the time to walk or bike along the park’s many trails.
You’ll get great views of the city skyline and the riverfront while getting some exercise in the process.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity, head over to one of the park’s fishing spots and cast a line. You may even catch dinner! And don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the scenic picnic areas.
With so much to do, Gateway Arch National Park is the perfect place to spend a day with the family. So come on over and explore all that this amazing park has to offer!
10. Grant’s Farm
Grant’s Farm is one of the most popular attractions in St. Louis, and for good reason! This historic farm is home to over 900 animals (Including bison, elk, deer, llamas, and peacocks) from all over the world, making it a great place to learn about different species.
Grant’s Farm is a 281-acre working farm and wildlife preserve located in St. Louis County, Missouri. The farm is owned by the Busch family, who also own the Anheuser-Busch brewing company.
Visitors to the farm can tour the grounds, visit the animal barns, and learn about the history of the farm. The farm is home to over 900 animals, including bison, elk, deer, llamas, and peacocks.
Plus, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities like feedings and animal encounters. And best of all, admission is free! For guests over the age of 21, the farm invites you to a free beer sampling.
11. St Louis Art Museum
The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the many great free attractions in St. Louis for families.
This world-renowned museum features a collection of art from all over the globe and throughout history, making it a great place to explore and learn together as a family.
Exhibits range from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary American paintings, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Plus, the museum offers educational programs and activities for kids of all ages, making it a great option for a fun and educational day out.
12. The Muny Free States
The Muny Free States is a great place for families to visit. The Muny is one of the largest outdoor amphitheaters in the United States and has been operating since 1895. Families can enjoy a variety of free concerts and shows at the Muny, which is located in Forest Park.
The Muny Free States is a nickname for the city of Saint Louis, Missouri. The name is derived from the fact that the city was once a free state prior to the American Civil War.
The city was founded in 1764 by French fur traders and became a part of the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
Saint Louis was a slave-holding city until 1865 when the Union Army occupied the city and freed the slaves
13. Saint Louis Science Center
The Science Center is a great place to take the family for a day of learning and fun. With over 700 hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater, there is something for everyone at the Center.
Exhibits at the Saint Louis Science Center include the Discovering Life Gallery, where you can learn about the human body; the Our World Gallery, where you can explore different cultures; and the EcoZone Gallery, where you can learn about the environment.
The planetarium offers shows on a variety of topics, such as black holes and constellations, while the IMAX theater plays educational films on subjects like animals and space exploration.
Admission to the Saint Louis Science Center is free, making it a great option for families looking for an affordable day out.
14. St Louis Zoo
The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the best zoos in the United States and is a great place to take your family. It is located in Forest Park and is free to enter. The zoo has over 90 acres of land and is home to over 1,400 animals.
You can see lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, and many other animals. The zoo also has a children’s zoo, a stingray pool, and a carousel.
The zoo’s commitment to animal care and conservation is evident in its many successful breeding programs and its participation in global wildlife initiatives.
The zoo also has a great educational program that offers classes and programs for all ages. There are plenty of things for your family to do at the Saint Louis Zoo.
15. Forest Park
Forest Park is a large urban park in St. Louis, Missouri. The park is located in the western portion of the city, and it is the largest municipal park in the United States.
This park is over 1,300 acres and is known for its lush greenery and abundance of trees.
Forest Park features a variety of attractions, including a zoo, an art museum, a golf course, and a lake. Forest Park also has several hiking and biking trails.
Forest Park is a great place to take the family for a day of fun.
16. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Louis and one of the largest churches in North America.
The neo-Byzantine-style church was completed in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can explore the beautiful interior, which features mosaics by Tiffany & Co. The cathedral also has an outdoor sculpture garden and hosts a variety of concerts and events throughout the year.
17. City Garden
Saint Louis is home to many beautiful gardens, but the City Garden is definitely one of the most stunning. Located in the heart of downtown, this 6-acre urban oasis is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic lunch.
The oasis is filled with sculptures, fountains, and lush greenery, making it the perfect place to take a stroll or have a picnic lunch. And best of all, admission is free!
With its brick pathways, manicured lawns, and abundant flowers, the City Garden is an oasis of peace and beauty in the midst of a bustling city.
If your family enjoys being outdoors, then you’ll love exploring the City Garden in downtown St. Louis.
18. Old Courthouse
St. Louis is home to many historical landmarks, and the Old Courthouse is one of the most popular. This beautiful building was completed in 1828 and served as the city’s courthouse for nearly 50 years.
Today, it houses a museum that tells the story of St. Louis’ history from its early days as a French fur trading post to its present-day status as a major American city.
Visitors can explore the museum at their own pace or take a guided tour.
Either way, it’s a great way to learn about this city’s rich past.
19. Laumeier Sculpture Park
Laumeier Sculpture Park is one of the most popular free things to do in St. Louis for families. The park is home to over 80 sculptures, making it the perfect place for a family outing.
Situated on nearly 120 acres of rolling hills in southwest Saint Louis County, Laumeier Sculpture Park is one of the largest open-air sculpture parks in the United States.
There are also plenty of picnic tables and playgrounds for the kids to enjoy. Visitors can also enjoy the Park’s hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views.
The park was founded in 1972 by the late Hilarie and John H. Weil as “Living Art” – a place where people could experience art in a natural setting. Today, the Park is a nationally recognized institution that attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year.
The Park’s collection of contemporary sculptures is internationally renowned, and its exhibitions and educational programs are highly respected.
20. Central Public Library
The Central Public Library in St. Louis is a great place for families to visit. There are plenty of activities for children of all ages, and the library staff is always happy to help.
One of the most popular areas of the Central Public Library is the Children’s Room. This room is full of books, toys, and games that children will love.
There are also plenty of comfortable chairs and couches for parents to relax in while their children play.
The Central Public Library also has a large selection of books for adults.
Whether you’re looking for a new novel or some non-fiction to learn from, you’ll be sure to find something at the Central Public Library. And if you need help finding anything, just ask one of the friendly staff members!
21. Saint Louis Art Museum
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the most highly regarded art museums in the United States. The Museum’s collection includes more than 33,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to modern times.
Highlights of the Museum’s collection include paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh; a comprehensive collection of works by German Expressionist painter Max Beckmann; and an extensive African art collection.
In addition to its world-renowned permanent collection, the Saint Louis Art Museum also presents a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Recent temporary exhibitions have included “The Art of Video Games,” “The Photography of Annie Leibovitz,” and “Andy Warhol: Pop Life.”
The Saint Louis Art Museum is located in Forest Park, on the western edge of the city of St. Louis. The free museum is open every day except Monday.
22. Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in the United States. Founded in 1859, the garden features 79 acres of stunning gardens and greenhouses.
The Garden is home to more than 6,000 different kinds of plants, making it a haven for plant lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.
In addition to its beautiful gardens, the Missouri Botanical Garden is also home to a world-renowned research center.
The Center for Plant Conservation works to conserve and protect endangered plant species from around the globe.
With more than 1,700 plants on the brink of extinction, the work of the Center is vital to the future of our planet’s biodiversity.
Whether you’re looking to marvel at rare plants, learn about cutting-edge conservation research, or just take a stroll through a beautiful garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden is sure to delight you.
Are museums free in St. Louis?
The renowned museums are all free.
Why is St. Louis Zoo free?
It’s free because of the public subsidy from a cultural tax district. Fees are only charged for special attractions.
What attractions in St Louis are free?
The Louis Science Center, the Soldiers memorial military museum, Grant’s farm, historic sites such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Missouri botanical gardens, the old courthouse, Mighty Mississippi river exhibits, The Magic house, and many more.
Free things to do in St Louis at night?
For art lovers, the First Friday of every month means free admission to many of the city’s museums and galleries.
Or, take a stroll down the Delmar Loop and enjoy the vibrant murals and public art. Music lovers can enjoy live music at a number of venues around town, including the historic Jazz at the Bistro or one of the many intimate clubs on Cherokee Street.
For something a little different, head to the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra’s free concerts in Powell Hall.