Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in St. Louis

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in St. LouisOn our way from Kansas City to Chicago we made a stop in St. Louis last month. This was my first visit with the kids and I was pleased by all the things to do in St. Louis as a family. There’s the Gateway Arch, of course, but there’s so much more to enjoy in St. Louis. Whether you have just a day or two, or even a week, St. Louis is a fantastic place to explore with kids. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Have fun. 🙂

Where to Stay 

We stayed at the Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown, which is located in the heart of St. Louis. From the hotel, it was just a 15-minute walk to the Gateway Arch and an even shorter walk to the City Museum (a must-go for kids). It was also down the street from a movie theatre, which is ideal when weather keeps you from getting out to explore.

Sports fans will love how close the Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown is from Busch Stadium and Edward Jones Dome. In fact, it’s just a few blocks to both, so whether baseball or football is your sport, the Embassy Suites has you covered when you want to catch a game.

We loved that every room at the Embassy Suites is a two-room suite. Even better, the suites are huge with very high ceilings (the hotel is a former historic building). There’s also a microwave, mini-fridge and two televisions in each suite, which works out well when traveling as a family.

STL-Embassy Suites-Bedroom

Much enjoyed by my kids during our stay was the complimentary evening reception. They loved snacking on chips, dips, pretzels and trail mix after we returned from each day’s explorations. The hotel also had set out board games, like Candyland and Chutes & Ladders, to play while we munched on snacks. A nice touch.

My favorite part about staying at the Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown was the breakfast. Sure, lots of hotel chains offer free hot breakfasts, but only the Embassy Suites offers cooked-to-order omelets. There were plenty of other breakfast foods to add to our plates too, like bacon, waffles and fresh fruit.

STL-Embassy Suites-Games

There are a variety of family-friendly restaurants near the hotel, but we were more than happy to eat in when we saw the pizza special ads in the elevator. There’s a restaurant in the hotel, so we just ordered our pizza when we were getting our reception snacks and picked it up 30 minutes later. Perfect.

There’s also a heated indoor pool in the Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown, which was a favorite of my kids. Our evening schedule was snacks, pizza, pool during our stay. Well, I bypassed the pool in favor of relaxing in the whirlpool while they splashed and played. It was a great way to end the day.

STL-Embassy Suites-Pool

What to Do 

The Embassy Suites St Louis Downtown is within easy walking and driving distance from a number of kid-friendly attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo and the City Museum. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do in St. Louis with kids.

City Museum. There’s really nothing like the City Museum. It’s fun, incredible, amazing and my kids could have spent all day there. There’s a 10-story slide, a huge ball pit outside and a Ferris wheel on the roof. Oh, and there’s a school bus on top of the roof, too. Everything at the museum is made from re-purposed industrial objects. Go on a weekday if you can because it can get busy on the weekends.

STL-City Museum

Museum of Transportation. The Museum of Transportation is a great place for families to learn about the history and science of transportation. Explore on your own or take a guided tour through exhibits focused on cars, planes and trains. Little ones will love checking out Creation Station.

Gateway Arch. Of course, visiting the Gateway Arch is a must-do when in St. Louis. We also loved Journey to the Top, which enabled us to take an egg-like tram to the top of the Arch to take in the views of the city and the Mississippi River from 630-feet up in the air.

STL-Gateway Arch

Faust Park. There’s so much for kids to do at Faust Park, including a visit to Butterfly House and the St. Louis Carousel. On the weekends, you may encounter historical characters dressed in period clothing teaching kids about what life was like in the 1800s.

St. Louis Zoo. Just a few miles from the hotel, the St. Louis Zoo is one of the only free zoos in the country. The zoo is huge and there are loads of animals, including black rhinos, penguins, lions and lemurs. You can even adopt a colobus monkey while you’re there. So cute.

STL-St Louis Zoo

St. Louis Science Center. Kids will love all the hands-on activities and exhibits at the St. Louis Science Center. Even better, admission is free. However, there is a fee to watch movies in the OMNIMAX Theatre and to see shows on the night sky in the planetarium.

Where to Eat 

There are a number of tasty places to eat in St. Louis that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.

The Atrium. Located inside the Embassy Suites St. Louis Downtown, The Atrium serves up a delicious St. Louis-style thin crust pizza. They also offer a variety of soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as peanut butter and jelly and macaroni and cheese on the children’s menu.

Fitz’s. If you like root beer, head to Fitz’s on Delmar Blvd. This popular restaurant serves up American fare and some of the best root beer floats around. Be sure to check the bottling schedule before you go so you can watch a vintage bottling line before diving into one of the specials, like the St. Louis Slinger.


Pappy’s Smokehouse. It’s hard to be a rib joint and not be kid-friendly, so head to Pappy’s Smokehouse and get there early because it can get crowded. No doubt you’ll leave full after a meal of ribs, baked beans and cole slaw. Try the fried corn on the cob. Yum. 

Dewey’s Pizza. Everybody loves pizza and Dewey’s Pizza is a favorite in St. Louis. Look for deliciously fun pizzas, like the Dr. Dre and the Green Lantern. They also have calzones with add-ins like feta cheese, roasted red peppers and artichokes. Yup, they’ve got salads, too. Yum.