Florida Man on the Run

The Perfect Three Day St. Louis Itinerary

Share with your friends!

If you’re planning a trip to “The Gateway City”, then this three day St. Louis itinerary is made just for you! You’ll be able to see the best of this All-American city by following this guide. I’ll take you from the can’t miss stops, to places you may not have considered even including on your own St. Louis Itinerary. Much of this guide is based on our own three day weekend in St. Louis while we were smack in the middle of our massive Great River Road Trip. Get your notepads out and get ready to start packing for your trip to St. Louis soon!

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on them costs you nothing, but it does help support my blog. I promise to never recommend a product or service that I haven’t tried or done plenty of research on. Thanks for reading and supporting!

Day One: The Gateway Arch and Downtown St. Louis

The first day of your St. Louis Itinerary will be focused on the main reason you probably came to town. The Gateway Arch is a monument known around the world. That reputation is certainly well earned too! Just take one look at it and it’s hard not to be simply amazed. Yet, when you visit St. Louis, you can do more than just look at it. You can actually go inside of it and look out on the entire area!

This engineering marvel will be the centerpiece of what you’ll need to see on your first day. Inside the Arch’s visitor center you’ll find a massive museum detailing America’s western expansion and the history of St. Louis. It’ll also be where you gain access to the unique “elevator” system that will take you to the top. The only one like it in the world, the ride up is as cool as the arch itself. Not to mention, that once you’re at the top it provides a view that is simply unbeatable. You can’t have a St. Louis itinerary and not include a trip to the Gateway Arch.

The best view you can find on your St. Louis Itinerary is from the Gateway Arch.
How do you beat a view like this?!

So since you’re already downtown, what else should you consider doing? If you’re a history buff, then checkout the Old Courthouse. This is the location of this historic Dredd Scott decision. For sports fans, the iconic Busch Stadium is right around the corner. Check ahead to see if the Cardinals will be playing when you’re in town. That’ll help you go to a game if you want OR to avoid the craziness if it’s not your cup of tea. Depending on what day you start your trip, you can also catch an excellent riverboat show cruise like Decked Out Divas!

Day Two: A Zoological Experience

You’ll be kicking off day two of your St. Louis Itinerary with a trip to another famous site in the city: The St. Louis Zoo. Not only is the St. Louis Zoo one of the best in the country, but it’s FREE! Something free is already a great value, but the St. Louis Zoo is absolutely the best entertainment value you can get during your three day weekend in St. Louis. The zoo features all the expected animals, including elephants, kangaroos, lions, and more. These are all wonderful exhibits and even without the next animal, would have a been a fabulous way to spend the day.

However, the St. Louis Zoo has another animal up its sleeve that was a huge draw for me: Penguins! These are, by far, my favorite animals. While penguins are showing up at more zoos across the country, St. Louis has one of the best exhibits for them. The indoor habitat space is chilled to a much more penguin-friendly temperature. The added bonus for humans is that it makes for a great place to cool off on a hot day. I loved spending some time with my feathered friends and I’m sure you will too.

You definitely need to chill with the penguins as part of any St. Louis Itinerary
Just look at how COOL these guys are!

After you’ve finished see all the animals at the zoo, you should spend some time exploring the rest of Forest Park. It is a fantastic green space in the heart of the city. Plus, it’ll let you stay close by to a few of the best restaurants you can eat at during your three days in St. Louis. Mac’s Local Eats is a great place to snag a burger and short walk to Modern Brewery for some beers. Alternatively, you can corner hop between Pi Pizzeria for a slice, Up-Down STL for arcade games and drinks, before finishing at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. All at the corner of McPherson and Euclid! What an awesome combo!

Day Three: Indoors or Outdoors? You Decide

Now what you plan for the third day of your St. Louis itinerary is going to depend on if you want to be out in the sunshine or somewhere nice and climate controlled. Not every weekend in St. Louis is going to be amazing weather. So I want to make sure you’ve got plenty of options for your trip!

For a great time outside, you can spend part of the day at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Located not far from downtown (or Forest Park), this beautiful garden is fantastic way to have a nice casual day in the city. It features a butterfly garden, the oldest public greenhouse west of the Mississippi, and over 70 acres of natural and manicured gardens. Its a real treat in the heart of St. Louis. If you’re wanting to get a bit further from the city, then consider heading over to Camp River DuBois. This is the location of where Lewis & Clark set out on their adventure. You’ll get a bit of history and a chance to see where the Mississippi and Missouri meet!

Every St. Louis Itinerary should include a stop at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Just a serene place to spend a day.
Photo courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden, credit to Rebecca Pavelka.

There is plenty to do indoors as well, especially if you’re a fan of museums. The University of St. Louis Art Museum has a wonderful collection. Housed in an equally beautiful building, it’s a great place for art lovers. If you didn’t get enough animals at the Zoo, then consider checking out the St. Louis Aquarium. The Aquarium is housed inside the historic Union Station, which at one time was the largest train station in America. Along with the aquarium is countless options for shopping and other entertainment. That makes Union Station a great place to spend the whole day. If you want to get out of the city a bit, then head west… to the National Museum of Transportation. For a city that was once America’s hub, there is no better place to learn all about how we have gotten around for the last few centuries.

The best part about all of these different options is that it let’s you create your own St. Louis itinerary, no matter how many days it is! Really no matter what you want to do, St. Louis will have it on offer for you.

Hotels to Consider in St. Louis

This is all going to come down to how close to downtown St. Louis do you want to be. For a road trip to St. Louis (or where it’s simply a stop along the way), you’ll probably want to be as close as possible. If you’ve got three days in St. Louis (or more), then where you can stay really begins to open up. That’s doubly true if you take advantage of St. Louis as a great hub for exploration.

To stay close to all the action during your road trip to St. Louis, then you’ll want to be downtown. There are quite a few good options for hotels here. I’m a big fan of what IHG has to offer pretty much any where, and St. Louis is no exception. The Hotel Indigo is in a fabulous location and is one of the top notch offerings from IHG. Hyatt fans can take advantage of the prime location of Hyatt Regency at the Arch. This hotel literally couldn’t get you any closer to the St. Louis Arch during your weekend in St. Louis. A more unique and boutique stay can be found at The Last Hotel STL. This chic spot was built in an old shoe factory and is just steps from the City Museum.

The best views of the Gateway Arch can by found by staying at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch during your St. Louis Itinerary
Check out how close the hotel is to the arch! You can’t beat it!
Photo Courtesy Hyatt Regency at the Arch

If your St. Louis itinerary has you staying further from downtown or needing to save a buck, then I’ve got you covered as well. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express – Central West End during our Great River Road trip. It’s a renovated and updated hotel on a historic spot. The Moonrise Hotel is a really neat spot that I wish I had known about when we spent our weekend in St. Louis. For a stay really away from the center of it all, try the Tiffany Inn located in Alton. It’s a beautiful bed and breakfast in the Alton historic downtown district.

Like pretty much any major city, St. Louis has literally hundreds of hotels. If none of these really work for you, there is always an option like Vrbo. I’ve used this quite a bit when I really want some privacy or plan on staying for longer than just three days in St. Louis. Definitely recommend checking it out and seeing what you find there.

When to Visit St. Louis

It’s probably cliché to say that when you choose to take a road trip to St. Louis depends on the weather, but its true. Like many parts of the American interior, summer can bring high temps. Spring is going to be the rainiest season by far, averaging 11 days of rain a month. Winter brings chilly weather, but none of the winter wonderlands. Which really leaves you with fall as probably the best time of year. Not as rainy as spring, as hot as summer, or as cold as winter. Plus, the fall color change comes a bit later into the fall meaning you can see the wonderful colors around the city.

With all that said, our trip through the city took place in late May. The days were definitely hot, but luckily we avoided getting struck by any unbearable humidity. Being from Florida does come with the benefit of being used to that kind of weather after all. We also got plenty of sunshine, which meant we had our pick of outdoor activities to do. While I think doing this St. Louis itinerary in the fall would have been better, I definitely enjoyed our weekend in St. Louis in May.

Final Thoughts on Your St. Louis Itinerary

I had a ton of fun during our three days in St. Louis as part of our big trip down the Great River Road. There is just so many different things to do in town, that really this St. Louis itinerary is just scratching the surface. To me what is great about cities like this is that they are wonderful places to make return trips. Even if you’ve only got three days in St. Louis on your first trip, nothing is stopping your from coming back again. That’s doubly true if you’re within an easy day’s road trip to St. Louis.

With all that said, I think that St. Louis makes for an even better stop over as part of a larger road trip. Obviously, I’ve mentioned the Great River Road a lot because its one of the best road trips in the country. St. Louis is the natural place to explore the GRR as it winds through Missouri, or as part of a trip down the Mississippi in Illinois. Both are wonderful trips in their own rights and great when combined with this St. Louis Itinerary.

To stay up to date with each post, please follow me on Instagram or Facebook! Alternatively, sign up for my newsletter using the box at the bottom of the page! If you loved this post, then pin it and check me out on Pinterest as well!

Don’t Forget to Pin by Using the Images Below!

Share with your friends!

Continue Exploring With These Posts

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't Miss A single Update

Join my newsletter now to make sure you never miss an update and have access to exclusive discounts on merch and more!