Traveling with kids is so fun! We love showing Sidney the world, and admire how adaptable she is. Last weekend we went to St. Louis, Missouri, just a 4.5 hour car trip from Chicago! So today I want to share my tips on traveling to St. Louis with a toddler.
Traveling to St. Louis, Missouri – With a Toddler
St. Louis is such a fun city. It has the lovely mix of Midwestern friendliness and approachability with the charm of the South. It’s located right on the Mississippi River where SouthWest Illinois and Missouri border each other.
We were there for 3 days and 3 nights and managed to do a lot, while still making time for Sidney’s nap and bed time by 7pm. Here are all my recommendations for where to stay, what to eat, and what to do in The Lou!
Where To Stay
We stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel, right near the famous St. Louis arch. The Drury is in a great location with a convenient parking garage right in the same building. and It’s super kid-friendly! When I look for a hotel, I always try to find a suite-style room with a bit of a separate area for Sidney to sleep and relax, and the Drury had that. This might be obvious, but I always appreciate a hotel with a nice tub for bath time, too. We have stayed in places with no tub and we were kind of stuck doing bath time in the sink!
The free hot breakfast buffet was a huge hit especially because we all like to eat different things! Sidney ate fruit and oatmeal, I had the yogurt and eggs, and Dan really enjoyed the biscuits. In addition to free breakfast, they have a complimentary “kickback” hour from 5:30-7, with drinks and dinnertime bites! I’m talking like sliders and hot dogs and a whole spread of things! You could even turn it into dinner with the fam if you wanted to!
When you need a little break from touring the city, the hotel has an 8th floor pool and a lovely rooftop deck overlooking the iconic St. Louis Arch. We would definitely stay there again!
Where To Eat
Mission Taco – with classic tacos and some newer styles (the duck taco was so good) you just couldn’t go wrong with this menu. The margaritas were top notch. There are multiple locations in STL. We ended up at the Soulard location.
The Soda Fountain – Perfect for ice cream lovers! They have these magnificent shakes called “freak shakes” that have basically a whole meal piled on top of them. You can eat dinner there too with a whole menu of toddler-friendly options.
Adam’s Smokehouse – We really wanted to try St. Louis Bbq and our friend (who is local) recommended this great spot!
Half & Half – This was a cute brunch spot we found in the Clayton neighborhood. I highly recommend the French Toast Latte and Tess’ Toast.
Charlie Gitto’s On The Hill – St. Louis has their own Little Italy, and they call it The Hill. We found this restaurant with a beautiful patio. The inside is probably too fancy for young kids (my own assumption) but we sat outside with no problems. The food is insanely delicious. Sidney crushed a whole bowl of penne.
Breweries – St. Louis is known for their microbreweries. We were choosing between Four Hands, Charleville, and Urban Chestnut, but went to Charleville because the food menu looked the best. Their beer was really tasty! Other breweries you could check out are Schlafly and the historic building and tour of Anheuser-Busch.
What To Do During The Day!
The City Museum – The City Museum was the highlight of our trip. If you are visiting St. Louis with kids it is A MUST!
It’s a 100 year old warehouse that holds the most incredible repurposed pieces from old buildings. Artists used the pieces to build tunnels, slides, bridges, castles…all for our exploration! We were in awe, and I could tell all the other families there were, too!
Sidney loved going up and down all the ramps and running on the elevated walkways and bridges in MonstroCity. And she found a tractor that she absolutely adored. We didn’t get a chance to explore the caves or the rooftop (toddler problems) but we spent a good 2 hours there exploring the rest of the museum.
The Gateway Arch – The arch is iconic. We walked around the surrounding park, splashed in the fountain at the base of the visitor’s center, and walked along the Mississippi River. Next time we will go up in the arch for the city views!
Union Station Ferris Wheel + Aquarium – Union Station is a cool spot that feels like a carnival. It kind of reminds me of Navy Pier in Chicago! They have a Ferris wheel to get the best city views, and an aquarium that is a big hit with the kiddos.
Shopping in the Central West End – The Central West End is a gorgeous neighborhood that is worth an afternoon. We stopped in a lovely boutique called Provisions and did some shopping, and chatted with the friendly staff at The Silver Lady, a beautiful jewelry store known for its sterling silver and gemstones. I picked out a pretty butterfly bracelet that reminds me of my grandmother.
Forest Park – This park is HUGE! Wikipedia says it is over 1,200 acres. We headed to the new Children’s playscape so Sidney could run around and explore. Other highlights include The Zoo, The Jewel Box, The World’s Fair Pavilion, and a ton of other museums.
Missouri Botanical Garden – They have immaculate gardens to explore. There’s a children’s garden that opens at 10, so as soon as you arrive make sure to go over there and grab your tickets before they run out. The Children’s Garden has a nice splash pad for hot days!
St. Louis Cardinal’s Game – We are big baseball fans so we wanted to check out Busch stadium. Tickets weren’t expensive so it was worth it to go in, walk around the stadium a bit, watch a little baseball, have a hot dog, and be on our way. Our toddler doesn’t have much patience for baseball, but if your kids do then you could stay for a whole game!
City Garden – As you can probably tell from this post, there is no shortage of parks and beautiful outdoor spaces in St. Louis. City Park is a sculpture garden that Sidney really enjoyed walking around.
We did so much in 3 short days! If you’re looking for a fun midwestern family getaway, look no further than St. Louis. We found parking easy, the people were extremely friendly, and the city wasn’t intimidating at all. We came home with “fun meters” full and with tons of memories that I’m sure we will talk about for years to come!
Looking for more Midwest summer getaways with family? Check out other places we’ve been!
Which of these traveling to St. Louis tips did you find most helpful? Let me know in a comment below!
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