Family-Friendly Fun on a Budget in St. Louis

  • St. Louis Arch, Blue Sky

  • St. Louis Art Museum

  • The exterior of the St. Louis City Museum.

  • The St. Louis Arch over the Courthouse

  • Green grass, blue sky, fountain monument

  • City-scape view of St. Louis

  • View from the St. Louis Arch overlooking the entire city

  • Zoo Keeper Feeding Penguins

When asked, “What do you know about St. Louis, Missouri?” most people will respond, “The Arch,” a 630-foot iconic monument that offers a 4-minute ride up to the top where you can gaze over downtown St. Louis and view the Mississippi River, but that’s not the only highlight of the “Show Me State.”

St. Louis is a bustling city rich in family entertainment, cultural attractions, and award-winning dining.

Here are some of my favorite budget friendly-family activities.

Spend a day at Forest Park listed as one of the World’s 15 Most Beautiful City Parks by Fodor’s Travel Guide and the location of the 1904 World’s Fair. This park is a cornucopia of fun and fascinations.

Inside the 1300-acre park, you will find the St. Louis Zoo, featuring free admission and voted #1 in the nation by USA Today readers. The St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 603 species of animals and also features the historical World’s Fair Flight Bird Cage. Bring your walking shoes and pack a lunch – you may be at this extraordinary zoo all day.

More budget-friendly things to do at Forest Park include the:

St. Louis Science Center.

After spending a day in Forest Park you and your family may want to enjoy a more relaxing activity such as:

  • Bissinger’s Chocolate Tour: The scent when you walk into this factory is like aromatherapy, you instantly feel joy. At the end of the tour, you have a new appreciation for the care and attention that is placed on a quality piece of chocolate. Did I mention, you get to taste samples? The tour is free – visit their website to reserve your space prior to the visit.
  • Anheuser-Busch Tour You don’t have to drink beer to enjoy this tour. Get a little history and take advantage of the opportunity to see and be photographed with the world famous Clydesdale Horses. Tours are complimentary, tickets can be purchased for more detailed and educational tours.
  • City Museum Have you ever walked on a bus hanging from a ledge, slid down a 10-story slide or climbed through metal tubes? If your answer is no, the City Museum is a “must” on your family to-do list. The City Museum is not a subtle attraction but it is among the top favorite things to do, this museum is a huge playground for the young and old and is unlike anything you have ever experienced. There is a cost for entry into the City Museum but a discount is offered after 5:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.


St. Louis is a family-friendly city and this is only a small example of what is here to explore. Finally, enjoy the beautiful landscape and take a leisurely stroll, a fitness run or maybe even ride your bike around the 6-mile trail. Seasonally, you can also enjoy an outdoor concert, see a movie on Art Hill and ride the paddle boats.

Visit the Forest Park website to get information about other attractions in the park and a calendar of events.

To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in St. Louis, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in St. Louis below.

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This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Merilyn J. Are you interested in traveling to St. Louis? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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