St. Louis City Museum: Tips and Tricks
Heading to St. Louis, Missouri? You will want to make sure you plan an entire day at one of the most popular attractions in St. Louis and the Midwest. The City Museum is pretty overwhelming, to say the least, but this massive playground is the perfect place for people of all ages and it will have you returning for more. Whether you are 30-something or 10 years old everyone will love to play in a ball pit, slide down a ten-story spiral slide, or play pinball machines.
When we made our first visit I was not sure what to expect, but now when I talk to anyone I am always sharing my St. Louis City Museum tips and tricks. Make sure you bookmark this handy guide before your way to the City Museum.
The City Museum is located in downtown St. Louis at 750 North 16th Street in an old shoe factory, the former International Shoe Company Building.
The City Museum is in the heart of downtown St Louis. You will notice signs and hear people talk about car break-ins. I would recommend parking in a parking garage or the City Museum parking lot which is secured. Yes, it is a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. If you will be leaving your bags, purse, and any other important items in your car, it is worth the peace of mind. The City Museum parking lot is enclosed and costs $15. There is also a parking garage within walking distance for the same price.
City Museum Admission
There are many different admission packages when you visit the City Museum. It is recommended to purchase online before you go. When you arrive you can add upgrades for an additional fee including rooftop admission, all-day play in the pinball hall, and more.
PRO TIP: Make sure you check the weather before you go. The rooftop and MonstroCity access is open weather permitting. A ticket must be purchased for every visitor ages 3 and up. If the rooftop is closed consecutively for 3 hours they will offer a complimentary return.
- General Admission + Pinball Combo Ticket – $24+ Tax
- General Admission – This includes all interior exhibits plus outdoor attraction MonstroCity – $20+ Tax
- After 5 p.m Admission – Friday and Saturday night ONLY – This includes all interior exhibits plus outdoor attraction MonstroCity – $18+ Tax
To purchase online check here.
The City Museum hours vary based on the time of year. To get a full picture view operating hours here. Please note that the rooftop is not open all year round. Make sure you plan accordingly!
Where to start?!
There are stairs, slides (a 10-story slide!), structures, a giant whale tunnel, and more EVERYWHERE. I recommend getting there first thing in the morning and going to the rooftop if it’s not raining. It gets extremely hot up there during the day and if you are wanting to ride the rooftop Ferris wheel, wait in line and get it out of the way then work your way to the bottom.
There are no maps because they literally are always building and adding. Some areas to check out include:
- First Floor: This is where the oceanic wonderland is. You will find lots of mosaics, sculptures, grates, and secret tunnels to climb through on the 1st floor. There is also a 5,000-gallon aquarium with native Missouri fish, turtles, oyster shells, sea glass, and mosaic tiles.
- Cabin Inn the City: There is literally a cabin within the museum. This cabin was an actual frontier log cabin from the early 19th century and is now underneath MonstroCity. This is a place to order food and drinks. You can sit either inside or outside.
- Third Floor: Join the circus on the 3rd floor of the City Museum! You will find juggling, acrobatics, magic, the World’s Largest Underwear, and more. Make sure you catch a free show.
- Fourth Floor: We actually didn’t discover the 4th floor until the end, but they have a Toddler Town up there! If you have littles, definitely check it out. You will find a small train called City Express for children to ride on, a skateless park (have you ever seen the World’s Largest Pencil?!), Circus Harmony, Art City, and much more. The perfect toddler area.
- Shops + Concessions: You more than likely will need to refuel and rehydrate. There are several food options available such as Beatnik Bob Broken Record Cafe and other plenty of restaurants.
- The Rooftop of the City Museum: You will find more slides, a water area where you can hop on stepping stones, a school bus to climb in, a Ferris wheel, and a restaurant.
- The Shoe Lace Factory: Make a stop and check out the largest shoelace factory west of the Mississippi!
- MonstroCity: This is where we spent a lot of our time. It has two aircraft suspended in the air, slinkies to crawl through, ball pits, lots of slides, and much more.
What NOT to bring
I figured I would title this section “What NOT to bring” because the less you have, the better off you are. Remember you are pretty much playing and navigating a giant playground. If you have to bring anything, bring it in a backpack or fanny pack so you can climb through the tight spaces. Do not bring any valuables and no strollers.
City Museum Tips and Tricks
- As mentioned above, start with the roof to beat the heat if it is summer.
- There are height requirements on some floors and attractions. Take a look at all the rules and policies before you go here.
- You can leave and come back. If your children need a cool-down time, you will receive a wristband that will give you same-day entry.
- This is an extremely active experience. Make sure you have a family conversation on what to expect, create a meeting place, etc. so everyone is on the same page before you begin playing in this great place!
- Bring knee pads if you have any or you can purchase some in the gift shop. Some of the tunnels really hurt when climbing and crawling.
- When you put your wristbands on, write your phone number on your child’s wristband. There is even a spot for it at the front desk. This freaked me out when I read this, but trust me you want to do it. There are several employees throughout the entire museum and they are super helpful. They have radios on them, so if your child happens to get lost, they know what to do. NOTE: I was very impressed with the employees. Amelia (2 years old) went down an extremely long slide by herself. My husband was at the top, I was at the bottom. The employee at the top radioed down to make sure she made it down okay. It eased my mind that they were on top of it.
- Use your cellphone flashlight in dark spaces. Some of the tunnels get super dark, pull it out and turn it on.
- Wear closed-toe shoes! I wore flip-flops and my feet killed afterward.
- You undoubtedly will not be able to see and experience the entire place in one day. Make sure you plan a second trip!
We had an amazing trip to St. Louis and if you ask our children what their favorite part was, they say the City Museum. Amelia didn’t even make it out the door before falling asleep. It truly is something you should NOT miss when visiting! After all, it was voted the #1 Family Attraction in the World.
Frequently Asked Questions
Artist Bob Cassilly founded the City Museum. This architectural marvel was designed by Sculptor Bob Cassilly and by the Cassilly crew in 1997.
It is a 600,000-square feet museum of fun!
Gateway Arch National Park is nearby and offers tons of fun and history.
Many recommend 4 to 6 hours. Even in that time you probably will not see everything. Definitely plan an entire day of so much fun!