The Best Free Things to do in St. Louis

free things to do st louis

My travels have taken me to faraway corners of the globe, but my roots are in the best free things to do in my backyard – St. Louis.

You see, nothing tickles this particular thrifty adventurer’s fancy more than seeing a city without breaking the bank.

St. Louis has some free stuff to do that will make your wallet sigh of relief. I have searched every corner of my hometown for the very best free things to do that will only take you a little time—that you are going to spend pleasantly.

Get totally hooked on my picks for free things to do in this city as big on adventure as the Mississippi River. From green parks to history and artsy corners, there is something for every explorer in here, including you!

Key Points You Need to Know.

1. I loved going to the St. Louis Zoo, which is among the country’s finest zoos and is free. The zoo has animals from around the globe; I was particularly interested in Big Cat Enclave as well as the primate exhibits. It is a fantastic place to spend a day without spending a penny—a great deal for such an excellent attraction.

2. I also spent time at the Missouri History Museum learning about St. Louis and Missouri in general. The museum is free, and I got to see exhibits about local history like the 1904 World’s Fair and the civil rights movement in the region. The displays and educational materials helped me find out about St. Louis history.

3. I went to see the Gateway Arch. A ride to the top is fee-free, but walking around its base and around the park grounds is free. The architectural marvel provided great photo opportunities, and being near this westward expansion symbol was awe-inspiring.

4. It was nice to spend time in Forest Park, among America’s biggest urban parks. It contains a lot of St. Louis’s free attractions, like walking paths, picnic areas, and landscapes as gorgeous as any paid park I have ever seen. Whether I was running or simply enjoying nature, Forest Park was a break from the city.

5. Free concerts at St. Louis Symphony Orchestra community events were an excellent cultural experience that did not harm my wallet. These are held periodically throughout the year and feature great music in an accessible format for any age. Such high-quality performances are seldom free, and that is what makes them so special for locals and visitors like me who really like live music.

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Walking through Forest Park.

When people ask me what would be the best free activities to do in St. Louis, it always comes up Forest Park. It’s more than 1,300 acres of outdoor recreation and history.

I like to walk past the Missouri History Museum, dip my toes in the Grand Basin, and smell the flowers in the Jewel Box greenhouse. It is remarkable that this expanse of nature and culture sits at our fingertips, entirely gratis.

Forest Park in St. Louis - Missouri, USA
Forest Park in St. Louis – Missouri, USA


St. Louis Zoo: An Exploration.

I love animals, and the Saint Louis Zoo is like going to see wildlife without paying a price. It’s among the few free zoos in the nation, and I could spend many hours marveling at the Big Cat Haven or the whimsical Penguin & Puffin Coast.

The commitment to conservation and education here is palpable, with experts typically on hand to share intriguing tidbits about the creatures in their care.

St. Louis Zoo: An Exploration
St. Louis Zoo: Big Cat (Lions) enclave

Art Appreciation, Saint Louis Art Museum, St.

As an art lover, I go to the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park each year. Their collection spans centuries and continents, and it always makes me think.

The museum provides complimentary admission, making it possible for everyone to witness the brush strokes of Van Gogh or the sculptural genius of Rodin without spending a dime.

Witnessing History at the Old Courthouse.

My favorite spot to visit is the Old Courthouse, together with the Jefferson National Extension Memorial. It is an architectural masterpiece and also a historical site.

Here, I delve into the pivotal Dred Scott case and marvel at the building’s storied past. This piece of history is available to the public, which makes me appreciate our city.

The Old Courthouse missouri
The Old Courthouse Missouri

Visiting the City Garden.

Nature meets contemporary art form in the Citygarden in downtown of the St. Louis. I like the interactive installations and water features—great for a family day out or a long solo stroll.

The creativity and greenery are a respite from the urbanized grind, and they are free to explore.

Joining cultural events and festivals.

St. Louis has a rich culture, with festivals year-round like the Festival of Nations or Shakespeare in the Park.

I try to go to these events—little tasters of the city’s spirit and vibrancy—that are all free to me. It is a terrific way to get involved with your local community and traditions.

Concert at the Blues Museum.

As a lover of music, I get my rhythm and blues fix at the weekly free concerts at the National Blues Museum. Live performances are electric and reflect St. Louis’ raw musical heritage.

I get lost in the guitar riffs and in the soul vocals, and I recommend it to all music nutters out there.

Relaxing in Lafayette Square Park.

For all those quiet moments, I go to Lafayette Square Park, a Victorian park with a lake and layout reminiscent of the Victorian era.

I like to picnic under the gazebo and also watch the old homes across the park. It is a pleasant place to relax in the city if you have to.

Take a Budweiser Beer Tour.

I always try to take a Budweiser Brewery Tour. The brewery in St. Louis provides free tours of this worldwide beer brand.

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I always like the process of brewing, Clydesdale horses, and, of course, the free samples of fresh beer at the end of the tour—for novices and beer lovers alike.

Budweiser Brewery Tour St. Louis - Missouri, USA
Budweiser Brewery Tour

Taking part in community workshops.

I keep an eye out for community workshops at St. Louis libraries and community centers.

From gardening seminars to coding bootcamps, these sessions enable me to learn new skills and also meet brand new faces in the city.

There is always room to grow with such a broad range of topics, and these workshops give that space away.

How Do You Make the Most of a St. Louis Adventure?

  • Check the schedule of attractions first. St. Louis venues often have designated free-admission days or hours.
  • Ask locals for recommendations; they might have some undiscovered gems that are seldom seen.
  • Use public transportation or even bike shares to get around economically and blend in with the city’s rhythm.
  • Take light snacks and water with you when you visit outdoor sites to keep yourself fueled and hydrated.
  • Remember to respect the spaces you visit by leaving no trace—a very simple way to help the city’s preservation.
  • Does the St. Louis Zoo charge an entrance fee if I visit?
  • Definitely! Visitors to the St. Louis Zoo get in free. You can visit dozens of exhibits and see wildlife without spending a penny. It is a great spot for families and solo travelers to see the animals.

free things to do st louis

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there cultural institutions in St. Louis that are free of charge?

St. Louis is a culturally accessible city. The Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park provides free admission to its primary collection. It’s a museum of art for history buffs and creative types alike.

How Can I Get Outside in St. Louis for Free?

Check out Forest Park, home to some of the city’s very best institutions in addition to walking and biking trails, lakes, and greenery for picnicking and outdoor relaxation.

Is there a place to get free music in the city?

Indeed. There are free live music events at Gateway Arch National Park in the summer months. Plus, you can walk the park grounds for free and also see the arch itself as a symbol of Saint Louis.

Does St. Louis have any free festivals or events?

St. Louis has several free festivals throughout the entire year, including the Festival of Nations, Shakespeare in the Park, and several holiday parades. These events are a great way to sample local culture and festivities without breaking the bank.

Can I Visit a St. Louis Brewery Without Paying?

Beer fans rejoice! Free tours of the iconic Anheuser Busch Brewery, including samples in case you’re of drinking age, can be found.

Are there historic sites in St. Louis that are free to visit?

History buffs can go to the Old Courthouse free of charge. You can read local lore here, including Dred Scott and his struggle for freedom. It’s a free way to walk through history.

What Can Kids Do for Free in St. Louis?

Kids and adults can get hands-on at the Science Center without a ticket. Its free interactive exhibits inspire curiosity and make learning about science fun—all for free!

Where can I get free views of the city?

View the cityscape from Art Hill in Forest Park. It’s a favorite of photographers and sightseers who want to see St. Louis without paying a price tag.

Are there free walking tours available?

Free walking tours are occasionally organized by local organizations and enthusiasts but aren’t always advertised. Seek out these gems via social networks and community boards to find out about the city’s architecture and history.

Final Thoughts.

Take a journey through St. Louis and see just how much you are able to find without spending a cent. From the attractions in Forest Park to community events, there are tons of free things to do.

I like to meander through the historic streets, hear the stories of yesteryear, and just enjoy all that St. Louis has to offer in culture, history, and innovation.

Whether you live here or visit, this city will wrap its arms around you and show you its splendors without the price tag. And judging by experience, the best things in life are free, at least in St.


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