You don't have to spend money in St. Louis, Missouri, to enjoy a lot of what the city has to offer. Many top attractions are free, and there are special free events and activities throughout the year.
Learn about history and science at the museums, watch eagles and movies, too. And in winter, watch the ice carvers at work and go to the ice carnival.
The Missouri History Museum is free to explore and visit year-round. Every season, the museum curates a new exhibit. Continuing exhibits include the 1904 World's Fair, which was hosted in St. Louis, History Clubhouse, an exhibit for children, and "Seeking St. Louis," which tells of the story of St. Louis through photos.
Admission to the Saint Louis Science Center is free for everyone. The only exception is special exhibits. On the first Friday of each month, there is also a free "Star Party" at the planetarium. Members of the St. Louis Astronomical Society set up telescopes for public viewing of the night sky and are available to answer questions.
You can drive along the Great River Road near Alton almost any time in the winter and see bald eagles, but there are also special free Eagle Meet and Greet events on selected weekends at the TreeHouse Wildlife Center in Dow.
Free admission. Coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies will be available. Donations are appreciated.
The Saint Louis Art Museum welcomes families for free events each Sunday afternoon. Family Sundays run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes kid-friendly, hands-on art projects, and a lively, 30-minute tour of the exhibits at 2:30 p.m.
Residents and businesses in the Delmar Loop celebrate the best of winter each year at the Loop Ice Carnival. The carnival is a full day of free, family-friendly events including ice carving, an ice slide, putt-putt pub crawl, human sled dog races, and much more.
Missouri's winter eagle watching is spectacular. The Missouri Department of Conservation hosts Eagle Days during the winter. If you can’t make it to one of the Eagle Days events, you can go to Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis from late December through early February to watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge. Get out early in the morning to see the eagles flying and fishing.
Once a month during the winter, Ballpark Village shows a free family-friendly movie on the indoor 40-foot screen at Fox Sports Midwest Live! TV. Saint Louis' Ballpark Village is a dining and entertainment district adjacent to Busch Stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals play in downtown St. Louis, occupying the site of the previous Busch Stadium.
St. Louis' top children's museum, The Magic House, has free admission for families on the third Friday of the month from 5-8 p.m. Since it opened in 1979, the museum gives children hands-on learning experiences that spark imagination, pique curiosity, enhance creativity, and develop problem-solving skills within a place of beauty, wonder, joy, and magic.
Third Degree Glass Factory hosts a free open house on the third Friday of each month. There are glassblowing demonstrations, art exhibits, live music, and more. For a fee, you can sculpt glowing molten glass into a paperweight; melt glass rods through a torch to craft beautiful beads and add them to a bracelet, keychain, or necklace pendant; or cut and layer pieces of glass to create jewelry, wine charms, bug magnet, glass tile, or a nightlight. Food and drinks are also available for purchase. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Saint Louis Art Museum hosts a free event on the last Friday of each month. Head for the museum on the final Friday of the month for the latest installment of SLAM Underground. You can expect art, music, and cocktails. Tickets are required. You can pick up free tickets near the museum's information desk.
Professional carvers turn blocks of ice into works of art during the Fete De Glace along Main Street in St. Charles usually held at the end of January. The crowd then picks the winners. There are also fire pits, coffee, and hot chocolate to warm you up.
February is maple sugaring season in Missouri due to the weather conditions, which provide the right combination of below-freezing temperatures at night and above-freezing temperatures during the day.
Make your own maple syrup at the maple syrup classes at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood. Workers with the Missouri Department of Conservation show visitors how to find sugar maple trees, tap them, and boil the sap to make syrup.
The Central Library in downtown St. Louis hosts free monthly concerts. The Not So Quiet! concert series features popular local performers from all styles of music: blues, jazz, rap, swing, R&B, folk, to name a few. The concerts are held in the library's auditorium on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. Seating is first come-first served, no reservations required.