Make way for the museums! Roughly 7.6 million people visited the top 15 museums and tourist attractions in St Louis in 2021. Many people consider St Louis museums to be not only the best things to do in St Louis, but some of the best attractions in the country.
Yet, with so many terrific things to do in St Louis Missouri, it can be hard to tell what museums in St Louis to visit. Some museums in St Louis Missouri are great for kids, while others are perfect for adults. Some St. Louis museums are free, while others require tickets.
The best thing to do is look at a range of St Louis museums and pick a few ones to visit over time. Here are the best museums in St Louis.
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City Museum | Interactive St Louis Kids Museum With Culture and Art Installations
The City Museum St Louis is the most unique Downtown St Louis museum. All City Museum STL exhibits are made of repurposed and recycled architectural and industrial objects, including skateboard ramps and aircraft fuselages. You can run and climb through tunnels, slide down over 30 slides, tour man-made caves, and play in a three-story treehouse, making the City Museum one of the best museums in St Louis for interactive elements.
The City Museum is designed to be a family-friendly attraction. Kids are encouraged to run through the St Louis City Museum and explore exhibits by themselves. Adults can enjoy artwork installations and collections both inside and outside the STL museum, including the world’s largest pencil.
It’s also one of the best St Louis MO museums for special events and parties. Circus Harmony is a circus group that performs hundreds of acrobatics, juggling, and magic shows for free at the STL City Museum. You can take classes with the group in a private studio. Adult-only events include jazz performances, beer and wine tastings, and holiday parties. City Museum contains several restaurants, including the Cabin Inn, which is a full bar housed inside a 19th-century log cabin.
- Address: 750 North 16th Street, St. Louis, MO, 63103
- Phone number: 314-231-2489
- Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday; 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; closed on Monday and Tuesday
- Price of St Louis museum tickets: Starting at $39.99
St Louis Art Museum | Diverse St Louis Art Museum With Rotating Exhibits
The St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) is one of the most popular St Louis art museums and free museums St Louis. The St Louis MO art museum is home to over 36,000 works of art, including contemporary and ancient pieces. You can find works from Vincent van Gogh, Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, and other notable artists throughout the facility.
You can enjoy the SLAM permanent collection or rotating exhibitions throughout the year. The St Louis Art Museum has been home to exhibitions about hip hop, Japanese military art, and Native American art in recent years. If you’re curious about the museum collection, you can visit an on-site library and study room for drawings, photographs, and prints.
Special events take place at the museum almost every day. You can enjoy guided tours and lectures about works of St Louis art, as well as musical performances, writing workshops, and kid-friendly storytelling sessions. Some of these events require tickets, but most cost $10 or less. You can also rent out the grounds for a rehearsal dinner, wedding, or another landmark event in your life.
The St Louis museum has one on-site restaurant, Panorama. Panorama offers sandwiches, salads, and light desserts in a casual space with incredible views of Forest Park and Art Hill. Many residents consider Panorama to be the best restaurant in St Louis museums free.
- Address: 1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63110
- Phone number: 314-721-0072
- St Louis art museum hours: 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday; 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday; closed on Monday
- Admission price: Free
St. Louis Car Museum | Quaint St Louis Auto Museum With Historical and Modern Cars
The St. Louis Car Museum has a collection of over 100 cars, including classic and collector vehicles like the Chevelle SS and the 1969 Dodge Charger. The museum’s showroom also contains unique pieces of memorabilia like license plates, car advertisements, and other quirky items. The facility is small, so you can visit for a quick trip and then attend nearby attractions like Ruth Park Golf Course or other St Louis free museums.
The St Louis auto museum also offers a range of cars for sale, unlike other St Louis car museums. You can buy classic vehicles dating back to the 1930s for less than $100,000. You can also sell or trade your car to the car museum in St Louis. The museum of transportation does not have an on-site restaurant, but you can find several popular restaurants in the area, including Chevys and Sugar Fire Smoke House.
You can visit car shows, open houses, and other special events throughout the year. Over 300 cars were displayed at the museum of transportation’s most recent show. You can enter your car to win an award and participate in raffles with all proceeds going to charity.
- Address: 1575 Woodson Road, St. Louis, MO, 63114
- Phone number: 314-993-1330
- Hours: 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday; closed on Sunday
- Admission price: Free
Missouri History Museum | Best Downtown St Louis Museum for History Buffs and Students
The Missouri History Museum holds over 200,000 artifacts related to the history of St. Louis and the State of Missouri. The museum regularly rotates its exhibitions, so you can visit at least once a year and see something new. Recent exhibitions have discussed St. Louis soccer teams, female artists who lived in Missouri during the 1800s, and public sculptures in the city.
Notable St Louis history museum exhibits discuss the 1904 World’s Fair, the civil rights movement, and the St Louis Cardinals. The History Clubhouse covers nearly 6,000 square feet and contains numerous interactive exhibits for kids. In the St Louis interactive museum, children can put on puppet shows, fish in canoes, and play in recreations of important buildings.
The St Louis museum is a hub for public educational events in the city. Many walking tours start from the museum and take you through St. Louis neighborhoods and attractions. You can also participate in genealogical workshops, using the on-site archives to learn about the history of your family and home. Children can attend free reading programs, including ones for Spanish speakers. You can visit one on-site restaurant, The Key Bistro, which is a French-inspired eatery that offers sandwiches and salads.
- Address: 5700 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63112
- Phone number: 314-746-4599
- Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday; closed on Monday
- Admission price: Free
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis | Free St Louis MO Art Museum with Unique Educational Programs
The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) is the leading center for contemporary art in the city. The St Louis MO art museum contains numerous rotating exhibitions, many of which focus on one local artist and show the breadth and depth of their work. CAM does not keep any works of art, so exhibitions rotate frequently, and each visit to the museum is different. You can spend around two hours at CAM STL, making it a good choice for people who want to visit several museums on the same day.
The Great Rivers Biennial is an exhibition that occurs every two years, showcasing three artists in the St. Louis metro area. The exhibition provides financial support to the artists and promotes their work on social justice and other important themes. The next biennial will occur in 2024. You can also attend film screenings, block parties, artist talks, and other special events throughout the year, most of which are free.
The St Louis Contemporary Art Museum runs over 100 public programs every year for students and residents to learn about art and engage with local artists, making CAM one of the best art museums in St Louis for education. New Art in the Neighborhood is a teen-friendly educational program that partners high school students in the city with local artists. The artists and museum staff teach the students about how to make art and discuss social issues over twelve weeks. Students can use the program for college credits at Webster University and the Kansas City Art Institute. Middle school students can participate in the LEAP Middle School Initiative, collaborating with artists on their projects.
- Address: 3750 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63108
- Phone number: 314-535-4660
- CAM hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday; 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday; closed on Monday and Tuesday
- Admission price: Free
St Louis Science Center | Family-Friendly STL Museum With a World-Class Planetarium and IMAX Theater
Saint Louis Science Center covers over 300,000 square feet and contains more than 750 exhibits, including rotating and temporary installations. Visitors can learn about all types of science and view unique artifacts, like full-scale replicas of dinosaurs and Mars rovers. This is the best St Louis kids museum, as children can find dozens of exhibits with interactive and educational elements. You may not be able to see all of the exhibits and attractions at the Science Center St Louis in one day, so you can come back for repeated visits.
Other attractions at this St Louis museum of natural history include a planetarium and an OMNIMAX Theater. The James S. McDonnell Planetarium has the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere, and you can attend shows with presenters who explain the constellations. After each planetarium show, you can visit exhibit galleries inside the planetarium, including Mercury and Gemini space capsules. The OMNIMAX Theater screens documentaries and blockbuster films throughout the year.
Special events and programs at the St Louis Science Center include laser light shows, esports competitions, and festivals. The STL museum has four on-site eateries, including the Fermentation Station, which offers beer and wine for adults.
- Address: 5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63110
- Phone number: 314-289-4400
- Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday; closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
- Admission price: General admission is free, but attractions require Saint Louis Science Center tickets
Map of Museums in St. Louis
You can use this map to find the best St Louis museums, including ways to visit the greatest St Louis museums for free.
You can see the world in St Louis museums! Kids will love the City Museum St Louis and the Science Center St Louis. Adults can spend hours at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri History Museum, and families can go for quick trips to CAM and the St Louis Car Museum.
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