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The Perfect One Day in St. Louis Travel Itinerary

I can only assume that if you’re on this page that you must be planning a visit to St. Louis, and let me tell you… You are in for a treat! St. Louis is a wonderful city! The food is delicious, the activities are exciting and unique and fun for the whole family, and the city is the perfect size… not so big that it’s difficult to get around, but not so small that you’ll struggle to find something to do. We had the privilege of visiting St. Louis back in May of 2021 and had a blast! If you’re a time-crunched traveler like us, don’t let that steer you away from this city. We only had 24 hours to explore and felt like we were able to get a good feel for St. Louis. We put together this itinerary that is perfect for anyone trying to maximize every second that they have in The Gateway to the West!

*Also, check out our “Missouri: 24 Hours in St. Louis” travel vlog for a closer look at our time in St. Louis*

Now, let's get started...

8:00am: Coffee/Breakfast

  • Park Avenue Coffee (1919 Park Ave)

Other Options:

  • Sump Coffee (3700 S Jefferson Ave)

  • Blueprint Coffee (6225 Delmar Blvd)

Anytime we’re in a new city, we love to find a great local coffee shop to get our day started right… with caffeine… and sugar! For this trip, we visited Park Avenue Coffee and definitely recommend it! Their Brown Sugar Lavender Latte was SO good and if you’ve never had Gooey Butter Cake, this is the perfect opportunity to try this St. Louis classic! If you like butter and sugar, you won’t be disappointed. It’s pretty rich though, so you might want to share!

9:15am: Explore Gateway Arch National Park & Museum (11 N 4th St #1810)

After getting a taste of St. Louis history, now it’s time to get a closeup look at it! The Gateway Arch is undoubtedly one of the most iconic US landmarks and since getting a $380 million overhaul back in 2018 (when it became the 60th US National Park), it’s a site worth seeing! If you’re ok with small spaces and heights, the tram ride to the top is a must, but even if that’s not your thing, the museum below the arch is totally worth a visit. By the time you leave, you’ll feel like a St. Louis historian!

*Pro-Tip: Book your tram tickets in advance as they sell out most days.

12:00pm: St. Louis Riverfront Cruise (50 S Leonor K Sullivan Blvd)

Once you’ve finished up at the Arch you’ll head over to the mighty Mississippi to catch a river boat cruise! This 1 hour cruise is a great way to get a different vantage point of the city. Plus, the captain of the boat narrates the entire ride with fun facts and history. There’s a full snack bar onboard as well as restrooms, so the only thing you have to worry about is sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the ride!

*Pro-Tip: If you do plan to do the tram ride and riverfront cruise, you can book them as a combo deal online and save yourself some money.

1:30pm: Lunch

  • Pappy's Smokehouse (3106 Olive St)

Other Options:

  • Bogart's Smokehouse (1627 S 9th St)

  • Blues City Deli (2438 McNair Ave)

After a morning spent soaking in the history of St. Louis, it’s time for lunch! Pappy’s Smokehouse is the home of the Best Ribs in America according to Food Network! And while we haven’t tried all of the ribs in America, we can attest to the fact that these are oh so finger licking good! Be prepared though… The lines here can be a little long, but the food is worth the wait!

3:00pm: City Museum (750 N 16th St)

This stop will put all of those calories from lunch to use! Don’t let the name fool you, City Museum is more art installation than museum, and more playground than art installation. Housed in the former International Shoe building, City Museum consists largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects that have been transformed into functional art. Around every corner is another cave, slide, or ladder leading to the next unexpected adventure! We spent way too long at City Museum and can only imagine how fun it would be with kids! It’s a must-visit place in St. Louis in our opinion.

*Pro-Tip: Wear active clothes, close-toed shoes, and bring knee pads and a flashlight/headlamp. Also, leave any bulky items in the car. You don’t want anything putting a damper on the fun!

5:30pm: Happy Hour

  • 360 (1 South Broadway)

Other Options:

  • Form Skybar (705 Olive St)

  • Cinder House Bar and Sky Terrace (999 North 2nd St)

If you have time and want to get a birds-eye view of the city (other than from the arch), head to 360 (located atop The Hilton) for amazing happy hour views of the Gateway arch and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium!

7:00pm: Dinner

  • Imo’s Pizza (multiple locations)

Other Options:

  • Stacked STL (7637 Ivory Ave)

  • Anthonino's Taverna (2225 Macklind Ave)

Once you’ve gotten all of the 360 views your heart can handle, it’s time to come back down to ground level for another St. Louis Classic… Imo’s Pizza! Claiming to be the Original St. Louis-Style Pizza, Imo’s is a MUST when in St. Louis. If you aren’t familiar with St. Louis-Style Pizza, let me give you a quick introduction… St. Louis-Style Pizza is made on a cracker-thin crust, edge-to-edge toppings, homemade sauce, and the most distinct ingredient... Provel cheese! And if you’re from anywhere outside of the St. Louis area, you’re probably wondering “What is Provel cheese?”. To answer that question, Provel cheese is a mixture of white cheddar, Swiss, and provolone, although it really doesn’t taste like any of them! St. Louis Style Pizza tends to get mixed reviews, but we totally recommend giving it a try. We really enjoyed it! Also... Get the toasted ravioli!


8:30pm: Dessert at Andy's Frozen Custard

If you happen to go to the Imo’s location in Kirkwood like we did, then just down the street is this custard place serving up delicious “Concretes” which are essentially custard with toppings mixed in. I know it’s a chain/franchise with over 85 locations, but it started just a few hours west of St. Louis in Osage Beach, Missouri, so we’re counting it as “local”!

And just like that, your day in St. Louis has come to an end! We hope that you had an amazing time and that this itinerary helped you plan an unforgettable time in this amazing city! Be sure to tag us in your St. Louis adventures on Instagram at @AdventuresofMattandNat, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions by commenting on this post or emailing us at


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