St. Louis, also known as the “Gateway City” or “The Gateway to the West,, is such an underrated city that has so much to offer. From its rich history, amazing attractions and diverse culinary scene, there is truly something here for everyone. As someone who hasn’t explored much of the Midwest, I was surprised at the fun things you can do here! So, if you’re planning to travel to St. Louis, here are my top recommendations for you to have a memorable weekend! 

Where to Stay: 

During my time in St. Louis, I stayed at the historic Union Station Hotel. Union Station first opened in 1894 and was one of the biggest and busiest passenger rail terminals in the world! It has since been remodeled and transformed into a hotel and entertainment complex, while still retaining many of its features reminiscent of those old days. 

When you first arrive at the hotel, you will enter the Grand Hall and notice the beautiful archways, mosaics and stained glass windows. The Grand Hall is now a wonderful place to relax, read a book or grab a drink. They also offer a stunning 3D Light Show nightly – in the evenings, on the hour from 5pm – 10pm. 

The hotel is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, and I found the rooms to be very spacious and comfortable. The best part is you also have so many fun activities at your doorstep, such as The St. Louis Wheel, St. Louis Aquarium, Mirror Maze, Mini Golf, Ropes Course and more., It is the perfect choice for families! 

It is also situated in the heart of downtown St. Louis, just walking distance to some of the city’s other main attractions like the iconic Gateway Arch and City Museum. I loved this hotel so much and think it’s a great choice for a weekend getaway in St. Louis.  

What to Do:  

Gateway Arch National Park  

St. Louis is brimming with activities to fill your weekend itinerary. Probably the most popular thing to do here is to visit the Gateway Arch National Park. The Gateway Arch is 630-feet-tall, making it the tallest arch in the world! As a first-time visitor, I also had no idea that you could actually take a tram ride to the top. I recommend doing this – it offers great views of the city and the Mississippi River! It’s a short ride to the top, but the tram is quite small, so please be mindful of this if you’re claustrophobic. Overall, I think it’s definitely worth it, and the 4-minute ride to the top is an experience in and of itself! 

After the tram ride, you can learn more about the history of St. Louis and its importance in westward expansion by visiting the museum. The museum has six interactive galleries, and it is complimentary! Be sure to also explore the arch grounds, and capture the perfect snapshot to commemorate your visit.  

Another great way to see the Gateway Arch is from the river! You can take a scenic riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River and see the beautiful arch from a different perspective. We did the one-hour sightseeing cruise, and they also offer dinner cruises.  

Anheuser-Busch Brewery 

Another fun thing to do here, especially for beer lovers, is to take a tour of Anheuser-Busch Brewery – the home of Budweiser. You can learn about the brewing process and sample some of their iconic beers! We did the Clydesdale VIP experience and were able to meet the beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales!  

Missouri Botanical Garden 

With the weather warming up, I also recommend walking around the beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden. Founded in 1859, this is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation! I loved seeing all the flowers in bloom. From the tulips to the cherry blossoms, it was a beautiful sight to see.  

Where to Eat:  

St. Louis is home to such a delicious and diverse culinary scene. Everything from cute brunch cafes with bottomless mimosas to authentic St. Louis BBQ and Italian food on “The Hill,, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Don’t miss the chance to explore the vibrant dining scene along South Grand Boulevard, where you can indulge in international cuisines ranging from Ethiopian food to Brazilian dishes! I’ve listed some restaurants below that I believe you should include on your St. Louis itinerary. 

Bowood by Niche: This brunch spot is in a large greenhouse called Bowood Farms. It has a beautiful patio to enjoy on a sunny day.  

The Bellwether: Amazing brunch spot with a rooftop patio for scenic views. 

Pappy’s Smokehouse: The BBQ here is so good! I recommend ordering burnt ends. So delicious!  

Charlie Gitto’s On the Hill: Delicious authentic Italian food located on The Hill. The Hill is a unique neighborhood in St. Louis founded by Italian immigrants in the 1800s.  

Salve Osteria: Another great Italian restaurant! The pastas here are made in-house, and they have an amazing cocktail menu!  

This is only a taste of what St. Louis has to offer! Whether you’re a history lover, a foodie or just looking for a quick weekend getaway, I hope I’ve inspired you to visit this underrated city! St. Louis, Missouri, offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.