Things to Do in St. Louis

St. Louis has an interesting mix of attractions suited for tourists of all types. History buffs, architecture enthusiasts, beer lovers, Roman Catholics, and civil rights activists will all find something to love in the Gateway to the West. The majority of the must-see attractions are accessible and wheelchair friendly, with some exceptions and limitations (details below). First time visitors to St. Louis should start by exploring the city’s well known treasures. Beyond these, grab a travel guide and explore more of this relatively walkable/rollable city.

Gateway Arch & Mississippi River Waterfront

The Gateway Arch is one of the most recognized monuments in the United States. Completed in 1965, the iconic Arch stands 630-feet tall and is a centerpiece of the St. Louis skyline. The Arch sits amid the breathtaking grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the West bank of the Mississippi River.

While the tram to the top of the monument is not accessible to wheelchair users, the sight of the arch alone makes a trip to St. Louis worthwhile. Beneath the Arch sits the Museum of Westward Expansion, a must-see for tourists. The underground museum and visitor’s center is completely accessible with restrooms for the disabled. The surrounding grounds are both beautiful and expansive, with sidewalks throughout. Sitting directly next to the arch is the Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, built in 1831. The Church was at one time the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. As of January 2016, much of the grounds were undergoing significant construction. For information on the Gateway Arch and National Expansion Memorial, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  Blue/Red lines at Arch-Laclede’s Landing

Old Courthouse

The Old St. Louis County Courthouse, site of the 1846 case, Dred Scott vs. Sandford. Now a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and operated by the National Park Service, the courthouse houses four history galleries and has two courtrooms restored to period presentation.

PHOTO: Old St. Louis County Courthouse.

Most of the first floor of the courthouse is accessible to wheelchair users, but the upper floors can only be reached by climbing stairs. Wheelchair users can access the courthouse via a wheelchair stair lift on the North Broadway side of the building. For more information on wheelchair accessibility at the Old Courthouse, click here for the National Park Service accessibility page. The courthouse is located directly across the street from the Gateway Arch and National Expansion Memorial. During my January 2016 visit, park service staff said that the upper floors would soon be accessible via an elevator, but the work could take 1-2 years to complete.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  4 blocks from Blue/Red lines at 8th & Pine

Basilica of St. Louis, King of France

Also known as the Old Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France is the oldest building in the City of St. Louis. It sits in the morning shadow of the Gateway Arch and is an important piece of St. Louis history.

PHOYO: Basilica of St. Louis, King of France.The church was built between 1831 and 1834. It was constructed as the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of St. Louis which, at that time, oversaw all Roman Catholic dioceses West of the Mississippi River.

While the Old Cathedral has been supplanted by the newer Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, it maintains its designation as a historic Basilica, which was conferred by Pope John XXIII in 1961. Mass is offered daily, along with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have visited the church many times, during my time as a resident of St. Louis and also as a tourist. Wheelchair access is possible via a ramp at the front entrance. The doors are wide and not very heavy. For more information, visit the Basilica’s website at
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink: 6 blocks from Blue/Red lines at 8th & Pine

Forest Park

Known as the “heart of St. Louis,” Forest Park boasts 1,371 acres of forest, meadows, ponds, lakes and streams. Within the confines of the park are the St. Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Science Center. Opened in 1876, Forest Park would be the site of the 1904 Summer Olympics, the first Olympiad held outside of Europe. For the disabled or wheelchair traveler, the park’s 2.14-square-mile size can be traversed with the help of the in-park MetroBus shuttle. The shuttle stops at numerous attractions throughout the park, including the zoo, museums and galleries.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  Blue/Red lines at Forest Park-Debaliviere

Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum was founded in 1866 and is operated and maintained by the Missouri Historical Society. The museum has been located inside the Jefferson Memorial Building in Forest Park since 1913.

Access to the main galleries is free to everyone, and the museum’s exhibitions are wheelchair accessible. Current exhibits include artifacts from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis flight, and the Lewis and Clark expedition. There are also small exhibits on Missouri’s history in the fight for civil rights for people of all races, all abilities and all sexual orientations. For more information on the museum and its exhibits, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  Blue/Red lines at Forest Park-Debaliviere

St. Louis Art Museum

The St. Louis Art Museum was founded in 1881 as the St. Louis School and museum of Fine Arts. In 1904, the museum moved to its present building inside Forest Park, which was built for the 1904 World’s Fair.

The museum’s collection of more than 30,000 pieces is spread across three floors. The collection contains pieces from antiquity to the present time, which are organized in 11 galleries: African, American, Ancient and Islamic, Asian, Contemporary, Decorative Arts and Design, European, Modern, Oceanic, Mesoamerican and American Indian, and Prints/Drawings/Photographs. I was most interested in the European gallery, which featured a significant collection of Dutch paintings, as well as religious sculpture. A particularly interesting piece was a 15th century sculpture depicting St. Christopher, a patron saint for travelers. Admission to the museum is free for everyone, and each of the galleries are wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit the museum’s website at
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  Blue/Red lines at Forest Park-Debaliviere

St. Louis Zoo

Opened in 1904 following The World’s Fair, the St. Louis Zoo has become one of the premier zoological parks in the United States.

Its “Big Cat Country” and “Jungle of the Apes” attractions are among the best in the world. The park’s exhibits touch every point of Earth’s climatic zones — from the Caribbean and tropics to the African safari lands to the freezing Arctic. Best of all, the St. Louis Zoo is FREE to visit and is accessible to wheelchair users. For more information on the zoo, the animals which reside there, and planning a visit, consult  The zoo is located within the expansive Forest Park.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  1.3 miles to Forest Park-Debaliviere, use MetroBus route 90

Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis

Cathedral Basilica of St. LouisSt. Louis, often referred to as “The Rome of the West,” was at one time the center of America’s Western Roman Catholic world. At the onset of the nation’s expansion to the West, the Archdiocese of St. Louis was the “mother diocese” of Chicago and every Catholic diocese West of the Mississippi River. Today, the Archdiocese is one of the most vibrant in the United States and has sent many prelates to high office within the Roman Catholic Church in America and to Vatican City. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, built in 1914, is adorned with one of the largest mosaic collections in the Western Hemisphere and is perhaps the most beautiful. The cathedral is accessible to wheelchairs in all areas except the basement level mosaic museum. However, the mosaic collection is entirely accessible and located within the ground level sanctuary. For more information, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  0.8 miles from Blue/Red lines at Central West End

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

Anheuser-Busch is a historic staple in the culture of St. Louis. Known for brewing Budweiser, the “King of Beers,” the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour is a must-see attraction for visitors to the city.

PHOTO: Wheelchair user John Morris with Clydesdale horse at the Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour in St. Louis.

Located on the corner of 12th Street and Lynch in the historic Soulard district, the tour of the oldest Anheuser-Busch brewery is free of charge and is fully accessible to wheelchair users. Visitors will be taken through each step of the brewing process and will have the opportunity to visit the stables where Budweiser’s world famous and iconic Clydesdale horses are kept. The history of the brewery from its founding, through the Prohibition era and up to today, is discussed. The free tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. Premium tours are available – these last longer, are more in-depth and carry an admission fee. The tour concludes with a complimentary tasting in the Budweiser Biergarten, with 17 beers on tap. For more information on tour times and tickets, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  Use MetroBus route 30 to/from Civic Center MetroLink

St. Louis Science Center

Located within Forest Park, the St. Louis Science Center hosts an average of 1.2 million visitors each year. On display are more than 750 exhibits in a complex of more than 300,000 square feet. The center maintains a dedicated planetarium structure in addition to its main building exhibit halls. The primary building contains an Omnimax theater and exhibits on ecology and the environment, computers, flight and more. One of the primary attractions is the Energizer human hamster wheel. Admission is provided to all free of charge as a result of public grants. For more information, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  1.3 miles to Forest Park-Debaliviere, use MetroBus route 90

Union Station

St. Louis Union Station was opened in 1894 and is a National Historic Landmark. The passenger train terminal at Union Station was once the world’s busiest. Today, it is only served by the Blue and Red lines of the city’s MetroLink Light Rail public transportation service.

St. Louis Union Station - Photo by St. Louis Post-DispatchRegional train service provided by Amtrak has been relocated to Gateway Station. In the 1980s, Union Station was converted to house a hotel, restaurants, shops and entertainment. Among the restaurants currently at Union Station are the Hard Rock Cafe, Landry’s Seafood and the Station Grill. Prior to St. Louis Blues hockey games, fans gather for food trucks and live music at Union Station. The current hotel at the station is the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, which carries the DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The station’s Grand Hall is now a bar and restaurant within the hotel. The complex, shops, restaurants and outdoor areas are fully accessible to wheelchair users. For more information about Union Station and for a directory of businesses located there, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  Blue/Red lines at Union Station

Pro-Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

While this church does not appear in typical St. Louis guidebooks, it did play an important role in the history of Roman Catholicism in the city. St. John’s was also my home parish when I lived in St. Louis, and maintains a special place in my heart.

Pro-Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

The St. John’s parish has occupied the present Church building since 1860. It is located in the Plaza Square neighborhood, only a short walk from Union Station. The Church is recognized as a “Pro-Cathedral,” because it served for some two decades as the temporary cathedral seat of Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick in the late 1800s. The church’s architecture and interior design is breathtakingly beautiful. The east apse is decorated with a reproduction of Raphael’s 1520 painting of The Transfiguration. This beauty, pointing to and celebrating the Glory of God, leaves me speechless every time. The St. John’s parish sanctuary can be accessed by those in wheelchairs. The photo of the church exterior, seen above, was taken from Chestnut Street. There is no ramp to bypass the stairs up to the Church here, so wheelchair users should enter through the Church parking lot on Pine Street, one block North. For more information on the parish and its schedule of services, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  5 blocks from Blue/Red lines at Union Station

Lumière Place Casino

Lumière Place, owned by Tropicana Entertainment, was opened in December 2007. It is a casino and hotel located in downtown St. Louis along the Mississippi River. The casino is within walking distance of the majority of downtown attractions and is only two blocks from the Edward Jones Dome, stadium for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

Lumiere Place Casino, Photo by RamblingGambler, en.wikipediaThe building was designed by the architectural firm responsible for Las Vegas hallmark, The Bellagio. The casino floor spans 75,000 square feet and features 1,800 slot machines, 55 gaming tables and a 13 table poker room. Two hotels are operated by the casino. HoteLumière has 294 all-suite guest rooms. The 200 room Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis is the only AAA 5-Diamond hotel in the State of Missouri. The casino and restaurants are wheelchair accessible. Both hotels offer wheelchair accessible rooms and suites. For more information about Lumière Place, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  3 blocks from Blue/Red lines at Arch-Laclede’s Landing

Peabody Opera House

The Peabody Opera House, formerly the Kiel Opera House, recently underwent a $79 million renovation and reopened in October 2011. The Opera House today hosts a wide variety of performances — opera, popular and country music, comedy, theater and concerts. With the renovation, the building has come into compliance with the ADA and is now wheelchair accessible. Handicap accessible restrooms are available. Spaces for wheelchair seating are provided for in the left and right sections of the Orchestra level, and the left, left center, right and right center sections of the Mezzanine level. The Orchestra Pit is not wheelchair accessible. For more information, to view a performance schedule or to purchase tickets, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  3 blocks from Blue/Red lines at Union Station

Citygarden Park

Spanning two city blocks between Eighth, Tenth, Chestnut and Market streets, Citygarden Park was dedicated and opened to the public in 2009.

Citygarden Park, Photo by Tyler BurrusThe park has since become a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists in the Gateway Mall district of the city. Featuring 24 sculpture installations of all sizes, the park is open year round and attracts more than one million annual visitors. Citygarden contains numerous water features, including a waterfall fountain on a northern limestone wall, bordering Chestnut Street. The park’s green spaces include more than 10,000 plants, inclusive of 240 trees. The restaurant, Death in the Afternoon, is a popular lunch destination offering dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. The 2.9 acres is crossed by smooth paths and is fully wheelchair accessible and compliant with the ADA. Citygarden has received numerous recognitions, including the 2011 Urban Land Institute Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award. For more information on the park and artwork installed there, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest MetroLink:  2 blocks from Blue/Red lines at Stadium