Beat the middle of summer blahs with this totally random list of 10 Awesome Ways to have fun in Downtown St. Louis…with kids.
We’ve all been there. The kids are bored and you’re running out of ideas of what to do with them. Go to the zoo…again? Hit a park? Been there, done that. Here’s my solution for you: play hometown tourist and hit downtown St.Louis! You don’t need to wait for Cousin Eddie to drop by to do a little sight seeing! So put on your Cardinal’s hat and best vacation wear for a trip downtown! (Hand me that Hawaiian shirt why dontcha?)
10 Awesome Ways to have Fun in Downtown St. Louis
1) Visit the Gateway Arch. There might be some construction hangups, so check out the official Gateway Arch site first to make sure. It will also tell you where to park, because one of these days they’re knocking down the garage on the riverfront and replacing it with a playground. Or something. Anyway, head to the Arch, get you some tickets to the top and find out if people really do look like ants down there.
2) Pretend to be Mark Twain. Twain was from Missouri you know, and he even piloted a river boat on the Mississippi as a young man. You can ride a faux paddlewheeler named after a couple of his book characters: The Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher. Sightseeing tours last an hour and leave from the foot of the Arch.
(Editor’s note: I took a ride on the Becky Thatcher while 9 months pregnant and way past my due date. I was hoping to dare the baby out by putting myself in the most awkward place I could think of…in the middle of the Mississippi River. It didn’t work. But Mitch was born the next day.)
3) Tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Yes, you can take the kids. There’s a free tour and a $10 tour. Both come with beer.
4) Pay your respects to the Man. Visit the Stan the Man’s statue outside of Busch Stadium. Stan is one of Cardinal Nation’s favorite sons…though not everyone thinks the statue did him justice.
5) Play in a fountain. CityGarden is one of the coolest parks in town, and your kids will have so much fun they won’t realize they’re soaking in art as well.
6) Have a some old spaghetti. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Dine at the Old Spaghetti Factory on Laclede’s Landing. It’s not The Hill, but the building is fun, the food is tasty and the bill is surprisingly cheap.
7) Eat the best pretzel in the world. Gus’ Pretzel sticks are a popular St. Louis fundraiser item and can you can find the regular twists (frozen) in most local grocery stores. But if you’re near the brewery, stop by for a fresh one. Bring cash, they don’t take plastic. Ok, they take credit/debit if you’re buying at least $20 in stuff. That’s a lot of pretzels.
8) Go city spelunking. Take the kids to the City Museum, the most interesting interactive “children’s museum” in the country. Seriously, Google it. You can crawl through tunnels, can climb on art and slide down a SEVEN story slide in this converted factory-o-fun. Warning: this museum is not safe for helicopter parents. You’ll want a helmet. And kneepads. Maybe some GPS locator device to strap to the children. (Is she gone? Ok, everyone else: you’ll have a blast!!)
But seriously, this place is for older kids. Leave the babies at home.
9) Have a Cake Hunt. 2014 is St. Louis’ 250th b-day…didn’t you notice all the cakes? Downtown St. Louis is riddled with cakes! Download the app and chase down some cakes with the kids.
10) Time travel to Union Station. Ok, I’m not going to lie, Union Station is in a “rebuilding” phase. But there’s still some really interesting things to do here, and new owners are working on more stuff in the near future. Outside you can ride a paddle boat and feed the gold fish. Inside there’s a mini museum from the Transportation Museum and a new “Grand Hall Experience” where the ceiling of the old hall is lit up with videos. And yes, the Fudgery is still in action. You can avoid the parking fee by taking the Metro Link, which stops just outside.