Let me suggest the first thing you do upon arriving in St. Louis is take a tour, which will not only introduce you to the city and help you get your bearings, but will very likely inform the rest of your itinerary. The city offers an amazing variety of walking, riding, flying, floating, eating and drinking tours tailored to any subject or interest. We’ve assembled some 30 tours under five broad categories, at least one of which we think will appeal to almost everyone.
St. Louis Fun Trolley Tours delivers 90-minute, 23-mile, fully narrated tours from downtown St. Louis to The Loop that include Laclede’s Landing, the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, St. Louis Union Station, Forest Park and more. $22 adults, $20 seniors 60+, $10 children 6-12, free children under 6. Tours start at 10 am, noon, 2 pm & 4 pm from Lumiere Place Casino.
Gateway Arch Riverboats offer sightseeing, dinner and specialty cruises on replicas of 19th-century steamboats, available daily. One-hour cruise $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 3-15.
Gateway Helicopter Tours features four different helicopter tours soaring above St. Louis, from the Gateway Arch ($37) to Forest Park and more ($150). Minimum two and maximum three passengers. Reservations not necessary, open daily 11 am-5 pm.
Trikke STL Guided Tours offers seven tours of the St. Louis region on three-wheeled Elekktric Trikke vehicles (kind of a standing tricycle): downtown, Forest Park, Soulard & Lafayette Square, Tower Grove Park, Bellefontaine Cemetery, The Grove art murals and regional bike trails. Must be at least 12 and under 260 lbs. Tours $50-$60 per person.
Glide St. Louis Tours (2-3-hour Segway tours for $69.95) begin with a training session for new riders. Tours: Downtown, Forest Park and Historic Neighborhoods. Tours sell out quickly. Gliders 18 or younger must have an adult 25 or older to sign a waiver and accompany them on the tour.
Discover Saint Louis LLC offers riding tours on trolleys, Sprinters and motorcoaches, with a minimum of 10 for three hours. They also offer walking tours for up to 15 people at $10/person. All tours by appointment, reservations at least two days prior.
Downtown Walking Tours conducts two-hour downtown architectural walking tours Sa 10am-noon. No reservations necessary, just show up at the appointed time and place. $10 adults (cash only), free children 12 and under.
St. Louis Running Tour, St. Louis' first and only running tour, shows off the most interesting parts of downtown on a 3.5-mile, 1-2.5-hour, well paced run. $25-$35. Private tours $35-$60. Register for starting time and address. SLRT also offers a tour of The Hill, St. Louis' storied Italian neighborhood, and private tours.
City Cycling Tours takes you on a leisurely, narrated bicycle tour of Forest Park. Bikes and helmets provided, of course, and the tour guide knows everything about Forest Park. Reservations necessary. Tours start at the parking lot near the Visitors Center. $25-$30 per person depending on group size.
At St. Louis Walking Tours, former art teacher Maureen Kavanaugh offers seven separate walking tours of historic downtown St. Louis as well as walking tours of the Soulard, Lafayette Square, Central West End and Benton Park Neighborhoods. Both half-day and full-day tours can be arranged. 2 ½-hour tour about $10-$30, depending on group size. Coach tours also available.
St. Louis Walk of Fame, embedded in the sidewalks of The Loop area along Delmar Blvd. west of Skinker, consists of brass stars and bronze plaques honoring more than 100 St. Louisans. Inductees include Josephine Baker, Yogi Berra, Chuck Berry, Vincent Price, Miles Davis, T.S. Eliot, Tina Turner and Tennessee Williams. Self-guided tour offers a vivid history of St. Louis through its most celebrated citizens.
Food and drink tours
Schlafly Bottleworks, one of St. Louis' biggest craft breweries, offers free beer schools and free tours, including a brief history of beer in St. Louis, the history of Schlafly Beer, how they brew our beer, and just as important…how to fully taste and appreciate it. Tours last a little less than an hour and are offered Saturday and Sunday on the hour from noon until 5pm. Closed-toed shoes required.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours run the gamut from free to $25 (totally worth it). Guests 21 or older may try samples of A-B products. Reservations requested. The Biergarten offers more than 15 beers on tap, beer flights, brewmaster tastings, food and occasional live music.
Brewery Tours of St. Louis conducts visits to four local breweries on 3 1/2–hour tours, includes transportation. Book online. $35.
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, local award-winning candy maker, offers free tours of the factory and retail outlet store, where you’ll see artisan chocolatiers create candy from turn-of-the-century recipes using premium Fair Trade Certified ingredients.
Bissinger’s, the venerable chocolate emporium and manufacturer, offers free 45-minute tours of the Chocolate Factory at 1600 N. Broadway.
EAT St. Louis Food Tours, Inc. arranges three-hour walking and tasting tours of The Hill and Soulard neighborhoods, including lots of local history and enough food for lunch. $60-$45 adults, $45-$30 8-12, $30-$15 7 or younger.
STL Culinary Tours, neighborhood gastro tours of some of the city's most celebrated restaurants ($115), fill up fast, so check the website for dates and book immediately. Private tours can be arranged in days.
Fox Theatre Tours get you backstage at this restored 1929 movie palace, an unrelentingly opulent interior of Moorish, Asian and Indian influences. Tours (1-1/2 hours) Tu, Th and Sa at 10:30 am; $8 adults, $6 students; Sa tours $10 adults, $7 students, includes organ demo. Reservations required for groups of 20 or more.
Saint Louis Art Museum offers free docent-led tours departing from the Information Center in Sculpture Hall Tu-F at 10:30 am, Sa-Su at 1:30 pm.
Missouri Botanical Garden conducts walking and tram tours through the city’s prettiest 79 acres. Walking tour included with admission, tram tour $4.
Riordan Tours/St. Louis Haunted History Tour explores the dark side of St Louis: strange, bizarre and spooky stories from the past, including the Great St Louis fire, the Exorcism that sparked a famous movie, the Cholera epidemic, Bloody island and so much more. Tours depart at 7 pm from the Morgan Street Brewery and weave a path through Laclede's Landing. Discounts on food and beverages for tour participants at Morgan Street. $25-$20.
Be advised there may be cursing on a Renegade STL Tour, entertaining, oddball tours conducted by passionate lovers of architecture, history, St. Louis and cursing. Both walking and bus tours cover downtown, the Central West End and more. $20-$35. Must book online to get starting point.
Busch Stadium Tours, which includes Cardinals Museum, are offered year round starting at Gate 3, $15-$18 adults, $11-$14 kids 15 and under; no tours on days with afternoon game. Take in the view from the Radio Broadcast Booth, see the World Series trophies in the Champions Club and imagine yourself as a big leaguer in the Cardinals Dugout*. Tours are a great experience for families and friends and even include a discount in the Official Cardinals Team Store with your ticket stub.
Essentially, a visit to a historic home entails a tour, usually steeped in history and loaded with fascinating insights about the era and the people who lived there. You can’t go wrong at these historic homes:
Daniel Boone Home & Heritage Center, c.1803-1810, yes, Daniel actually lived here in Defiance, Missouri.
Thomas Sappington House Museum, c. 1808, the oldest standing brick residence in St. Louis County was built by slaves.
Eugene Field House & St. Louis Toy Museum, c. 1845, the home of the Children’s Poet also has a civil rights story to tell.
Chatillon-Demenil Mansion Museum, c. 1849-1863, Civil War–era mansion anchors the east end of Cherokee Antique Row.
Campbell House Museum, c. 1851, a taste of 19th century St. Louis upper crust.
Samuel Cupples House, c. 1888, Gilded Age masterpiece built by one of the city’s most successful businessmen.
Magic Chef Mansion, c. 1908, spectacular mansion expresses St. Louis’ turn-of-the-century pride.