The Best Time to Visit St. Louis

Downtown St. Louis skyline

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For all you may have heard about St. Louis, there’s likely a lot you haven’t heard. St. Louis, Missouri — known as the Gateway to the West — is one of the country’s most up-and-coming food cities with a vibrant arts and music scene and unique neighborhoods each with their own identity and charm. The best time to visit St. Louis is May through October: The warm weather allows for free events and family-friendly activities almost every single day, meaning you can have a full calendar on a budget.

Here, we’ll walk you through the (somewhat unpredictable) St. Louis weather, main attractions, and the can’t-miss activities.

Weather in St. Louis

The weather in St. Louis is as unpredictable as anywhere else in the Midwest. In the span of a spring week, it’s not unheard of to have early morning frost, thunderstorms, and sunny 90-degree weather. That being said, late spring and early fall usually have the best weather: It’s typically sunny with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but without the high humidity that is a hallmark of St. Louis summers.

St. Louis summers can be sweltering. Temperatures are typically in the high 80s to mid-90s Fahrenheit, and it’s not uncommon to see 100 degree days. Add in the humidity (70 percent on average!) and getting through a St. Louis summer can seem like a slog. So why do we recommend visiting St. Louis in the summer? It’s simple: That’s when the most popular events are scheduled!

If you’re looking for a winter wonderland vacation, St. Louis’s winters are pretty standard for the Midwest, with most days being in the mid-30s and the occasional snowfall.

Popular Events and Festivals in St. Louis

St. Louis loves a good party. Almost every month there is some sort of major festival, with smaller events sprinkled in more heavily in the warmer months.

St. Louis hosts one of the largest Mardi Gras festivals in the United States, drawing crowds of over half a million to the streets of St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood on one Saturday in February or March.

St. Patrick’s Day is another big draw in a city that’s historically had a large Irish and Catholic population. Over 5,000 partygoers join the parade and all-day festival in the Dogtown neighborhood every March 17. Don’t forget to wear your green!

Winter, summer, spring, and fall are all completely packed with the two biggest draws to St. Louis: The St. Louis Blues NHL team and the Cardinals MLB team. St. Louis is a huge sports city and has some seriously dedicated fans. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll likely be able to snag a ticket to a hockey or baseball game and enjoy the electric energy of being surrounded by some of the country’s biggest fans.

Year-Round Events in St. Louis

There are a few institutions in St. Louis that offer free admission every day, including the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the History Museum, the Science Center, and more. Many of these have regular monthly events at night, designed to appeal to a different crowd.

  • St. Louis Science Center First Fridays: Starting at 6 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, the Science Center hosts hands-on science activities, trivia, drinks and snacks, and a 10 p.m. screening of a a classic sci-fi movie.
  • First Fridays in Grand Center: The Grand Center neighborhood has museums and galleries that open for free on the first Friday night of every month. Enjoy live music, cocktails, and art — for free!
  • SLAM Underground at the St. Louis Art Museum: The last Friday of every month, the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park stays open late for music, crafts (and craft cocktails), and specialized gallery tours.

    January

    If you want to kick off the New Year in St. Louis, be sure to bundle up for the cold weather and be prepared to spend a lot of time inside!

    Events to check out:

    • Meet St. Louis Cardinals players, get autographs, and attend presentations and clinics at the Winter Warm-Up. This event donates its proceeds to Cardinals Care, an organization that supports children in the St. Louis area.
    • The St. Louis Auto Show brings hundreds of new cars, SUVs, and trucks to the downtown Edward Jones Dome and America’s Center.
    • Attend the Midwest’s largest international food and wine show at the annual St. Louis Food and Wine festival; each ticket gives you access to tastings from hundreds of restaurants and vendors.
    • If you’re a craft beer connoisseur, visit local brewery Schlafly in Maplewood at their Cabin Fever Winter Beer Festival to enjoy over 40 beers, great food, and live music.

    February

    The shortest month of the year is packed full of activities, making February the perfect time to fall in love with St. Louis.

    Events to check out:

    • St. Louis' Mardi Gras festival is often called the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country. While the morning parade is family-friendly, as the day goes on, this turns into St. Louis' biggest party of the year.
    • Learn about orchids at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s annual Orchid Show. The garden has one of the world's largest collection of orchids and your ticket includes entrance to a rotating exhibit of hundreds of species of the flower, including rare and endangered orchids.

    March

    St. Louis in March can still be pretty chilly; temperatures can get up to 70 degrees but the 50s with a bit of sun are the norm. Wear a few extra layers so you can bring in spring, St. Louis style.

    Events to check out:

    • Calling all basketball fans! You’ve heard of March Madness, but in St. Louis, it’s called Arch Madness. The Missouri Valley Conference games are held every March in St. Louis at the Scottrade Center.
    • Local brewery Schlafly holds another event in March that brings in over 20 professional oyster shuckers and over 80,000 oysters for the Schlafly Stout & Oyster Festival. This fest, which is the largest of its kind in the Midwest, has over a dozen different stout beers on tap (plus Schlafly’s whole beer and food menu).
    • Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, especially in St. Louis. Head to the historically Irish Dogtown neighborhood on March 17 for a family-friendly parade followed by hours of pro-Paddy partying.

    April

    This is when spring really begins in St. Louis. As flowers begin to bloom, you can typically expect sunny days and 70 degree temperatures. St. Louis is beautiful in early spring and there’s plenty to see and do.

    Events to check out:

    • One of the most exciting days of the year is the Cardinals’ Opening Day. The first home game of the season at Busch Stadium involves the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, baseball legends and Hall of Famers, and a sea of fans clad in red. If you can manage to snag a ticket, it’s a must-see event, but if you can’t, just head to almost any bar to find a crowd full of fans happy to cheer along with you.
    • Whether you’re an experienced marathoner or you’ve never even thought about running a 5K, the Go! St. Louis Marathon Weekend is a great experience that brings the entire city together. No matter your age or ability, there’s an event for you this weekend, including cheering on the St. Louis Marathon runners from the sidelines.

      May

      May kicks off the best time of the year in St. Louis: warm weather, flowing drinks, and lots of fun. With low humidity and great temperatures, May just might be the best time to visit St. Louis.

      Events to check out:

      • Visit Forest Park for St. Louis Microfest, a two-day family-friendly festival full of international, domestic, and local beers, food, and live music.
      • While you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo pretty much anywhere, in St. Louis, you should head to Cherokee Street, a neighborhood full of authentic Mexican restaurants and stores owned by immigrants for the St. Louis Cinco de Mayo celebration.
      • Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County holds the excellent Laumeier Art Fair each May with live music, kids activities, and over 150 artists from all over the country.
      • Greek food is best enjoyed surrounded by friends. Assumption Greek Orthodox Church holds the St. Louis Greek Festival full of authentic food, music, and entertainment.

      June

      June is when the St. Louis social calendar starts getting seriously packed; it’s not unheard of for residents to go to two, three, or even four festivals in one weekend just to hit it all! You can expect temperatures (and the humidity) to be much higher from this point on during summer.

      Events to check out:

      • Enjoy Shakespeare in the Park, where professional actors put on a selected Shakespeare play almost every night in Forest Park for free. Bring a picnic blanket or chairs and your own food and drink and enjoy their spin on a seriously old classic.
      • St. Louis is a beer city (if you haven’t been able to tell). IndiHop is an annual festival in The Grove and Cherokee Street neighborhoods that allows you to sample over 50 beers from independent breweries in venues on both streets all for one ticket price.
      • The Muny is the country’s oldest outdoor theater and their musical season begins every year in June. Buy tickets in advance or go to a performance early to get one of the free 1,450 seats they reserve for every performance.
      • Beginning in June and running through August, enjoy free live music every Wednesday night at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Whitaker Music Festival.

      July

      July is the hottest month of the year in St. Louis, so stay hydrated when you’re outside — or head inside for some air-conditioned fun.

      Events to check out:

      • On Friday nights in July, head to Art Hill in Forest Park for the Art Hill Film Series, where you can watch a popular movie on a giant screen surrounded by thousands of St. Louisans.
      • Celebrate Independence Day under the Arch at Fair Saint Louis. Each year, this three-day event hosts headlining music acts, air shows, and, of course, tons of fireworks.

      August

      Just because summer is winding down and most kids are back to school doesn’t mean St. Louis fun stops. You can expect the weather to still be pretty hot and humid, but by strategically mixing in outdoor festivals with indoor attractions, you can handle the St. Louis heat without a problem.

      Events to check out:

      • Get in the World’s Fair spirit at St. Louis World’s Fare, a three-day tribute to the time St. Louis hosted the real World’s Fair in 1904. With plenty of food vendors, tons of live music, and experiences that will teach you about St. Louis history, this is one festival you won’t want to miss.
      • Jammin at the Zoo, an event hosted by the Zoo Young Professionals group, raises money for the zoo with wine and beer tastings in addition to food, live music, and dancing.
      • St. Louis is a proud city of immigrants; the annual Festival of Nations in August is dedicated to celebrating their culture and contributions to the city. Over 100,000 visitors can sample food and buy crafts from over 40 different vendors to show support for the immigrant community.

        September

        Don’t let September fool you: It’s just as likely to be 90 degrees as it is 60, but these days come with some cooler breezes and crisper mornings. Take advantage of the last warm weather before St. Louis is finally in full fall mode.

        Events to check out:

        • Taste of St. Louis is yet another food festival in the Lou. This event hosts over 30 restaurants together plus a chef competition, free samples, and plenty of cocktails, highlighting the best of St. Louis food.
        • The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in St. Louis and each September, they play a professional symphony show for free in Forest Park.
        • There’s nothing like Balloon Glow and the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. On a Friday night in September, visit Forest Park to see dozens of hot air balloons up close as they’re fired up and glowing. The next day, the race across the city begins.
        • The St. Louis Art Fair brings together artists, musicians, restaurants, and more to showcase the best of art of all kinds from the St. Louis region.

        October

        When the Cardinals are in the playoffs, it’s every St. Louisans’ favorite month! But if all you’re going on is the weather, October is a truly beautiful time of year, with comfortable temperatures and gorgeous fall colors.

        Events to check out:

        • Zootoberfest is the perfect Oktoberfest event for families. While you can attend any number of Oktoberfest events at local breweries, the Zoo’s event combines animal learning for kids and a biergarten for mom and dad!
        • Shop the wares of over 120 vendors at the aptly named Best of Missouri Market, held at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
        • Since 1993, the beautiful Shaw neighborhood has hosted the Shaw Art Fair, one of the most popular arts and crafts fairs in the city that brings in artisans from around the country.

          November

          As temperatures take a serious dip and the weekly events come to a slow, there’s still plenty to be thankful for in St. Louis in November.

          Events to check out:

          • Move over, Sundance. The St. Louis International Film Festival shows the best in international and domestic film to St. Louis filmlovers, including some of the most buzzworthy Oscar prospects.
          • If you’re in town over Thanksgiving, consider the Turkey Trot 8K to run off some of that turkey. Don’t forget your cinnamon roll at the finish line!

          December

          Sometimes, St. Louis can look like a picture-perfect winter wonderland. You can expect temps in the 30s and 20s (and sometimes lower), but since most events supply gallons of hot chocolate, they’re plenty popular.

          Events to check out:

          • For one of the most innovative Christmas light displays, check out the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow. With over a million lights displayed throughout the park, this is family-friendly activity to get you in the holiday spirit.
          • Another excellent holiday light option is the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights. It’s also a family-friendly event where you can get up close and personal with the AB Clydesdales, see ice sculptors work their magic, and ice skate, all surrounded by beautiful light displays.
          • For a unique (and historic) holiday experience, attend the Lafayette Square Holiday Home Tour. On the second Sunday in December, residents of the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood open up their impeccably decorated 19th-century homes to the public to showcase some of the best in St. Louis Victorian architecture.
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