9 Great Museums to Visit in St. Louis

Interested in art, music or classic cars? Then St. Louis has a museum just for you. The Gateway City is packed with all kinds of museums offering up exhibits on everything from Monet to Miles Davis to the Mighty Mississippi. Here are nine great museums that are worth a visit during your next trip to St. Louis.

01 of 09

National Blues Museum

Chuck Berry Exhibit at National Blues Museum
Photo courtesy National Blues Museum

Location: 615 Washington Ave., St. Louis
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday & Monday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for children

The National Blues Museum opened in St. Louis in April 2016. It's located in a rehabbed historic building in the Mercantile Exchange District of downtown St. Louis. This world-class museum has more than 15,000 square feet of exhibits showcasing the history of blues music from its origins in the American South to its ongoing influence on other genres of popular music. The museum's interactive exhibits give visitors the chance to experience the music and those who create it. 

The museum also has a top-notch concert space for concerts and live performances from blues legends and local musicians. Concerts are usually held on Friday nights throughout the year. For a look at the current schedule, see the National Blues Museum calendar of events.  

02 of 09

Museum of Transportation

Photo by David O'Brien

Location: 3015 Barrett Station Road, St. Louis County
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $8 for adults, $5 for children

The Museum of Transportation is a must-see for anyone who loves planes, trains, and automobiles. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of train locomotives in the world, with more than 70 located throughout the museum grounds. Visitors can climb aboard a massive "Big Boy" engine, the largest successful steam locomotive ever built, see powerful Union Pacific diesel engines or hop aboard a miniature train for a ride around the grounds.

For car enthusiasts, there's the Lindburg Automobile Center with more than 200 classic cars and trucks on display. Highlights include a 1901 automobile built by the St. Louis Carriage Company, the Bobby Darin "Dream Car" and a 1963 Chrysler turbine car. For more information on all of the current exhibits, see the Museum of Transportation website.

03 of 09

St. Louis Art Museum

Degas' Little Dancer at the St. Louis Art Museum
Photo by Deborah O'Brien

Location: One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., extended hours Friday until 9 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free 

The St. Louis Art Museum is the top destination for seeing great works of art in the Gateway City. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 30,000 works, including the world's largest collection of paintings by German artist Max Beckmann. It's also home to paintings and sculptures by masters like Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. 

The St. Louis Art Museum also welcomes traveling exhibits from other institutions from around the world. Previous offerings include West African textiles, Chinese landscapes and Egyptian artifacts. For a complete look at the current exhibits, see the St. Louis Art Museum website.

04 of 09

Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum
Photo by David O'Brien

Location: 601 Clark Street, St. Louis
Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or through the 7th inning on home game nights
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for children

St. Louis baseball fans love their Cardinals and there's no better place to celebrate the team than the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum is filled with more than 16,000 items of memorabilia including photos, trophies, autographs, and videos. Fans can visit the "Championship Gallery" to learn more about the team's 11 World Series victories. Another popular exhibit is the "Broadcast Booth." Fans can do their own play-by-play, calling some of the most memorable moments in Redbird history.

The Hall of Fame is right outside the entrance to the museum. It honors Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith and many other Cardinal greats who've had a lasting impact on the team. The display has photos, video, and statistics on players currently inducted. New players will be added each year. For more information, see the Cardinals Museum website.

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

City Museum

Slide at the City Museum in St. Louis
Photo by David O'Brien

 Location: 750 North 16th Street, St. Louis
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $12 for general admission, rooftop is an additional $5

The City Museum is certainly St. Louis' most unique museum. This popular attraction is more like a giant indoor playground for adults and kids alike. The 600,000 square foot building is filled with exhibits made from recycled and salvaged materials like rebar, concrete, construction equipment, tiles and more. Visitors can ride a 5 or 10 story slide, walk into the belly of a giant whale or explore miles of caves and tunnels.

In the warmer months, the museum's rooftop offers additional outdoor exhibits including a rope swing, splash pond, and ferris wheel. The City Museum is also home to Circus Harmony, St. Louis' hometown circus. The circus holds free performances daily on the second floor of the museum. For the current schedule of performances, see the Circus Harmony website.

06 of 09

National Great Rivers Museum

National Great Rivers Museum
Photo by Deborah O'Brien

 Location: Lock and Dam Way, Alton, IL
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free

St. Louis sits near the confluence of America's two great rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi. That's one reason it became the Gateway to the West. This history is celebrated at the National Great Rivers Museum in nearby Alton, Illinois. The museum itself is rather small with about 20 indoor exhibits showcasing the importance of the rivers to the expansion of the country. 

The real highlight of a visit to this museum is the free tour of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. Visitors take an elevator ride 80 feet up to the top of the dam, which is the largest on the Mississippi River. It's a great vantage point to see the huge barges navigate their way through the locks. The tours are offered three times daily. For more information, see the National Great Rivers Museum website. 

07 of 09

Magic House Children's Museum

Pin Art at The Magic House
Photo courtesy The Magic House

  Location: 516 South Kirkwood Road, St. Louis County
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Admission is $10, free admission on the 3rd Friday night of the month

The Magic House is one of the top children's museums in the country with more than 500,000 visitors each year. The museum has hundreds of hands-on exhibits to engage children in a variety of areas including music, art, and science. Popular options include the giant indoor beanstalk, static electricity ball, bubble room and construction zone.

The Magic House also makes it easy for parents of small children with special areas just for babies and preschoolers. For kids ages two and younger, there's “For Baby & Me.” This area features a peek-a-boo barn, baby gym, and miniature school bus. Children up to age six can spend their time at “A Little Bit of Magic" with its scaled-down exhibits designed for smaller hands. For more information on all of the exhibits and special events, see the Magic House website.

08 of 09

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County
Photo by David O'Brien

 Location: 12580 Rott Road, St. Louis County
Hours: Indoor galleries: Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Outdoor grounds: Daily from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset.
Cost: Admission is free

Laumeier Sculpture Park offers the chance to see art on both a big and small scale. It was one of the first dedicated sculpture parks it the country when it opened in 1976. The outdoor grounds feature dozens of large sculptures spread out over more than 100 acres. Visitors can wander through the park for an up-close look at these mighty works of art.

The museum's indoor galleries are housed in the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center. The galleries showcase a rotating schedule of exhibits from local artists and nationally-known talents. Visitors will find photography, paintings, mixed media and more on display. For a look at the current exhibit schedule, see the Laumeier Sculpture Park website.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Missouri History Museum

Missouri History Museum in St. Louis
Photo by Deborah O'Brien

 Location: 5700 Lindell Boulevard, Forest Park
Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays until 8 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free

St. Louis has been part of many important moments in American history: the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the 1904 World's Fair, Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic and the opening of Route 66, to name just a few. Visitors can learn about all of these events and much more at the Missouri History Museum.

The museum has permanent exhibits dedicated to the 1904 World's Fair and to the history of St. Louis over the last 250 years. It also brings in several limited-run exhibits each year that showcase a variety of topics. Popular past exhibits include the Louisiana Purchase, St. Louis in the Civil War and Native American treasures. There is an admission fee for some of the special exhibits. For more information on the current schedule of exhibits, see the Missouri History Museum website.