Missouri is home to a number of military installations, including Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. It also may be along your route during a cross-country PCS move. St. Louis is worth a drive to explore some iconic and truly unique locations.
1. For everyone: Gateway Arch
A view of Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo/Heather Schneider)
This is the one place in St. Louis that everyone must visit while they are in town. The architectural marvel will captivate your attention as soon as you first glimpse it, and seeing it up close is even more awe-inspiring. There is a fantastic museum inside (underground) and a documentary about the building of the arch that will answer all your questions about this incredible feat of engineering. For those who don’t mind heights or small spaces, you can take a ride to the very top in a small tram. The ride is only a few minutes up and down, and at the top you have a view of the river, Busch Stadium, and plenty of downtown St. Louis. Military members and dependents can waive the $3 entrance fee with their America the Beautiful National Parks Pass, but they will need to purchase a tram ride. Consider booking in advance if you want to ride the tram – they tend to sell out during the summer season.
2. For the kids (or the kid at heart): The City Museum
An outdoor crawling space at The City Museum. (Photo/Heather Schneider)
Don’t let the word ‘museum’ in the title fool you- The City Museum is much more like an indoor/outdoor exploration park. This place is enchanting for adults as well as kids elementary age and up. Crawl through caves, slide down a ten-story slide, grab some food and, for those over 21, enjoy a cocktail in Beatniks Bobs on the third floor. There are no maps in the museum, so give yourself a few hours to try to explore it all. This will be an experience you and your loved ones won’t forget.
3. For the nature lover: Missouri Botanical Gardens
A view of a water display and the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. (Photo/Heather Schneider)
This world-renowned botanical garden is well worth the visit. One of the most notable parts is the Climatron, a large climate-controlled dome where you can see tropical plants up close. There is also a restaurant inside the gardens if you’d like to enjoy a meal between browsing the flora. You can receive 50% off the ticket price with a military ID. Military discounted tickets must be purchased at the garden window, not online.
4. For the sports fan: Baseball game at Busch Stadium
A view from the bleacher seats at Busch Stadium. (Photo/Heather Schneider)
For the baseball lovers, catching a Cardinal’s game at Busch Stadium is in order. If you are on a budget, the bleacher seats are surprisingly good. Additionally, military members can get complimentary tickets by visiting Windows 17 or 18 on game day, no earlier than 90 minutes before the start of that day’s game.
5. For the theatre lover: The Muny
This one is for kids and adults alike, depending on the show you choose. This delightful outdoor theatre has an incredible backdrop. If you attend an evening show, you may find your eyes drifting from the stage to the sunset behind it. Buy some snacks at the concession stand and enjoy an evening of live entertainment in an incredible setting. The Muny offers a significant military discount so don’t forget to show your ID at the box office.
6. For the casual tourist: Explore Delmar Loop
Ranked as one of the 10 great streets in America by the American Planning Association, Delmar Loop is a fun place to visit if you don’t have anything particular in mind that you want to do. Stroll the bustling streets where there are plenty of interesting stores and famous restaurants to stop at. You can have lunch at Blueberry Hill, Fitz’s Root Beer, Salt + Smoke BBQ, or a number of other delicious St. Louis staples. Don’t forget to keep your eye out for stars on the ground as part of the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Rock and roll fans can take a picture with the life size Chuck Berry statue right across the street from Blueberry Hill, which hosts a large music memorabilia collection.
7. For the foodie: Toasted Ravs and Frozen Custard
Toasted ravs at Fitz’s Root Beer. (Photo/Heather Schneider)
Try some toasted raviolis, a St. Louis staple, at a number of St. Louis locations. There are many delicious Italian restaurants that boast homemade toasted ravs (look intro Lombardo’s Trattoria or Charlie Gitto’s). If you’re already on Delmar Loop, you can order them as an appetizer at Fitz’s.
Frozen custard at Ted Drewes. (Photo/Heather Schneider)
Lastly, a trip to St. Louis would not be complete without tasting a Ted Drewes frozen custard. There are two locations and dozens of flavors, as well as toppings to customize your custard. If you flew to St. Louis and you forget to stop here while you are in the city, don’t worry, there is a Ted Drewes custard frozen vending machine at the airport.
Heather Schneider worked as a high school science teacher for many years and now works in curriculum development. She has a Masters degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and is passionate about environmental education and the ocean. She loves to read, hike, write, listen to podcasts, travel, and spend time with her family. She is an Air Force Spouse and currently resides at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida with her husband and dog.