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Trip List by mlr

St. Louis on a Shoe String

3 Jun 2006  Vacation in our own home town
3.5 of 5 stars based on 6 votes

There may be no other larger city with as many family friendly and budget friendly and really FUN things to do as St. Louis. With the economy down - this is a way to take a vacation near your home and not break the bank. Even if the budget won't allow the hotel and restaurants - pack a picnic and head for Forest Park after your visit to the Zoo or the Science Center.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Saint Louis, Chesterfield
  • Category: Perfect weekend
  • Traveler type: Culture, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Seniors, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. The Westin St. Louis
    Westin St. Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Since you can do so many FREE or nearly free things in St. Louis, splurge on a wonderful hotel like the Westin. Check tripadvisor for other recommended hotels. We personally feel this one went over and above as far as class, service and food. Huge room, HEAVENLY bed. We brought in wine, cheese and spent the evening watching a 1st run movie on TV. Got a great rate on Priceline. Breakfast was memorable. One of the waiters sang to a newlywed couple - very nice!

  • 2. St. Louis Zoo
    St. Louis Zoo, Saint Louis, Missouri

    No trip to St. Louis would be complete without a visit to their wonderful Zoo. If you live anywhere near St. Louis, we recommend purchasing a membership. It allows you to park close by, ride the train, visit many extra venues that are not free. If you don't join - visit the Zoo itself - it is FREE. So many improvements, something new almost every time you go. The Zoo is handicap accessible and they rent wheel chairs and scooters. These items are discounted if you are a member - so is everything you purchase - snacks and souvinirs.

  • 3. Grant's Farm

    This is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. You can ride a trolly through the grounds and see exotic animals - lots of shade. Grown ups can have a free beer compliments of Anheiser Busch. DON'T MISS the beautiful Clydsdales - you might even see some colts. Even though this venue is NOT free, it is reasonably priced and Families of all ages can enjoy a day here.

  • 4. Missouri Botanical Garden
    Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis, Missouri

    For a very low entrance fee (under $10) you can easily spend a half day or more at the gardens. Every season has its own beauiful display. You may also become a member and receive discounts as well as a number of free passes to the gardens. If you are traveling with a group, this may be the way to go. If you live near St. Louis and plan to visit more than once - JOIN!

  • 5. Sachs Butterfly House
    Sachs Butterfly House, Chesterfield, Missouri

    Wonderful experience for all ages.

  • 6. Gateway Arch
    Gateway Arch, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Everyone has to see the Arch when visiting St. Louis. I was fortunate to pass it on my way to work each day :0) Going to the top is a thrill and the Museum of Westward Expansion underneath is a beautiful display of when St. Louis was The WEST. I highly recommend visiting this one of a kind venue. All ages - handicap accessible. Inexpensive.

  • 7. Lewis & Clark Illinois State Historic Site

    Anyone into early St. Louis History and Historic events will enjoy this beautiful exhibit. Just a short distance from St. Louis. Great for all ages. Handicap accessible. Donation basis as I recall.

  • 8. City Museum

    Kids love this museum. Downtown St. Louis. An eclectic mixture of children's playground, fun house, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. Inexpensive. Very close to Washington Street with numerous cafe's, restaurants, clubs, etc.

  • 9. Saint Louis Science Center
    Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Near the Zoo and Forest Park - Kids of all ages will enjoy this. You can walk OVER the freeway and see how fast the cars are speeding along :0) The OmniMax Theater is there for great films. Fee - I consider it fairly inexpensive considering that you can spend a day there.

  • 10. Six Flags St Louis

    This isn't free, but if you are into this type of fun - there are always discount coupons - check out Schnuck's grocery stores. The prices are pretty reasonable this year (2009)

  • 11. The Blue Owl Restaurant - THE Best Pies anywhere!

    This is NOT fast food. It can get crowded and I think it is closed on Monday. But, if you have time and enjoy great food and fabulous home made pie - this is it. Doesn't get any better. Try their 'mile high apple pie' - to die for. It is a few miles South on I-55 South and worth the drive. Paula Deen's boys filmed a show there last year.

  • 12. Great River Road

    Just took a short trip up the Great River Road near Alton, Il (just across the river from MO). Beautiful fall drive. River on one side, gorgeous leaves on the other. It can get a little busy on weekends - so, going during the week is recommended if you can - but, we enjoyed our day immensely. Be sure to drive through the tiny town of Elsah (just off the main drag) to see the historic homes. The whole little town is on the National Register of Historic places. Not much to do there - but, if you enjoy seeing historic architecture - it only takes a few minutes.

  • 13. Sign up for Groupon or LivingSocial deals in advance

    Sign up for Groupon deals for St. Louis in advance of trip. They can save a ton of money on attractions and dining.


  • 14. Sign up for Travelzoo Local Deals for St. Louis in advance

    Sign up for TRAVELZOO LOCAL DEAL FOR ST. LOUIS. They offer some great bargains on dining and entertainment in St. Louis.