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City Museum
Vacation Travel Guide

This quirky children’s museum invites visitors to crawl through whales, climb into tree houses and whiz down three-story slides.

The City Museum has playgrounds, aquariums and factories among its many hands-on exhibits. Quirky artifacts, such as “The World’s Largest Underpants,” are found alongside slippery slides and live animals. There’s even a daily circus show.

These exhibits take up 600,000 square feet (54,500 square meters) of the old International Shoe Company building in downtown St. Louis. Artist Bob Cassilly transformed the space using objects found on the streets, such as chimneys and old car parts. The museum is largely aimed at toddlers to teenagers, although there are art displays and an architecture exhibit to keep all ages occupied.

The first floor includes an underground cave system and an underwater display. Walk through a life-sized model of a whale, then crawl down into the caves, or up into elaborate tree houses. A 5,000-gallon (19,000-liter) fish tank houses aquatic life from local waterways.

A shoelace factory on the second floor is a nod to the building’s heritage. Watch how laces were made in the 1800s, and you can even order a custom-made pair to take home. There’s also an interesting display of vintage opera posters. The biggest attraction, however, is a large aquarium, with stingrays, sharks, alligators, sea snakes and turtles. Get a different view of the ocean’s greatest predators in a small glass tunnel that runs through the shark tank.

The daily circus show, with experienced acrobats and trapeze artists, is on the third floor. (Check the museum’s website for show times.) Next door there’s a small Natural History collection. The Beatnik Bob’s exhibit has memorabilia from the 1950s, including vintage pinball machines. After exploring these exhibits, ride the slide back down to the first.

In summer the rooftop has a Ferris wheel and playground with splash pond.

On your way out, stop by MonstroCity, a multilevel jungle gym just outside the main entrance.

City Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Opening times vary so check the website before visiting. Wear sturdy shoes with a closed-in toe and heel. Parking is limited, so public transportation is a good option.

Top things to do in City Museum

Top Hotels Close to City Museum

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
4 out of 5
315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥8,225 per night from Dec 16 to Dec 17

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Courthouse, Gateway Arch, and World Aquarium. Dome at America’s Center and Busch ...

4.3/5Excellent! (3,508 reviews)

"The hotel is beautiful. I stayed in a room with a window view of the arch. The service was great. Except no cleaning of the rooms due to COVID-19. Plus a lot of the amenities weren’t available. Great hotel overall."…"

Reviewed on Nov 30, 2020

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
The Westin St. Louis
The Westin St. Louis
4.5 out of 5
811 Spruce St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥9,243 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 21

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Busch Stadium and Enterprise Center. Dome at America’s Center and Gateway Arch ...

4.3/5Excellent! (919 reviews)

"Great stay. Very convenient area; downtown access to many restaurants."…"

Reviewed on Dec 1, 2020

The Westin St. Louis
The Last Hotel Unbound Collection
The Last Hotel Unbound Collection
4.5 out of 5
1501 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥11,294 per night from Dec 8 to Dec 9

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this luxury hotel is steps from Washington Avenue Historic District and City Museum. America's Center Convention Complex and Enterprise ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (331 reviews)

"The hotel was super cool it was very retro and different than any hotel I've stayed in I really enjoyed the decor from the ambiance"…"

Reviewed on Nov 26, 2020

The Last Hotel Unbound Collection
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in City Museum

City Museum

Best Lodging Options Near City Museum

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
4 out of 5
315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥8,225 per night from Dec 16 to Dec 17
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
The Westin St. Louis
The Westin St. Louis
4.5 out of 5
811 Spruce St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥9,243 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 21
The Westin St. Louis
The Last Hotel Unbound Collection
The Last Hotel Unbound Collection
4.5 out of 5
1501 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥11,294 per night from Dec 8 to Dec 9
The Last Hotel Unbound Collection
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
4 out of 5
1 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥9,533 per night from Jan 1 to Jan 2
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
4 out of 5
1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥10,006 per night from Jan 3 to Jan 4
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch
4 out of 5
400 Olive St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥8,298 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 21
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
3 out of 5
2 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥8,878 per night from Dec 16 to Dec 17
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
4 out of 5
421 N 8th St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥8,204 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 21
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis Downtown
Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis Downtown
3.5 out of 5
610 N 7th St, St. Louis, MO
The price is ¥9,209 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis Downtown
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.