Rowan G., M1
The Chess Hall of Fame is not just a venue to learn about chess! They are currently displaying two floors worth of Keith Haring pieces in an exhibit that will be open until June. It’s an intimate three-floor gallery in a neat historic building, and it’s rarely very busy. So, you basically get a private showing of some awesome art. Not to mention, the Chess Hall of Fame is free, and it’s located in the heart of the CWE! Fun fact: they have the largest chess piece in the world!
Rob S., M1
City Museum defies description, but it should be one of the first places you stop when you visit St. Louis. Unlike your typical museum, the City Museum is a warehouse-sized work of artistic vision that allows you to explore your way through caves, castles, and other curiosities. Next time you are in town, put on some sneakers and an old pair of jeans to head straight over for an experience unlike anything you can find anywhere else.
Alice S., M1
Forest Park is one of my favorite parts of living in St. Louis, hands down. It is huge, beautiful, and amazingly convenient because it’s right across the street from the Central West End and the Medical Campus. There is so much open space, great trails, and lots of cool (often free) attractions like museums and the zoo! Whether it’s going for a run, taking walks between classes, or playing outdoor games, there are so many ways to have fun and get fresh air.
Anusha S., M1
A symbol of westward expansion, the Gateway Arch stands 630-ft. high off of the west bank of the Mississippi River. The base of the arch contains a museum that features 201 years of history ranging from colonial St. Louis in 1764 to when the arch was built in 1965. Visitors can also take a tram ride to the top to see a beautiful view of St. Louis.
Sarah V.S., M1
If you need an experience that is a little “out there,” look no further. Grant’s Farm has it all: animals (from Budweiser’s famous Clydesdales to camels), historical tours (the property was originally owned by Ulysses S. Grant), a German village, and beer. Best of all, it is free!
Yuliya K., M1
Lone Elk Park is a fenced-in wildlife area about 20 minutes from WashU where elk and bison roam freely. It’s free for the public and there are hiking trails and a driving route through the park. I highly recommend going for a drive early morning on a weekday (when there’s not too much traffic) to see the bison which will come up right to your car (low key, a little scary even).
Yuliya K., M1
The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the coolest places in St. Louis. Opened in 1859, it’s the nation’s oldest, continuously operating garden. There’s lots to see — rose garden, lily ponds (with world record-sized water lilies), a tropical “climatron” green house, and areas dedicated to different climates and regions of the word. In the winter, there is a festive garden light show with smores, hot chocolate, Christmas music and themed light exhibits.
Helen W., M1
Since the Louis and Clark Expedition in 1803, St. Louis has flourished in the early 20th century, hosting the 1904 World’s Fair and Summer Olympics in Forest Park and what is now the WashU Danforth Campus. The rich history of St. Louis is vividly displayed in the Missouri History Museum, which is a 5-minute drive away from campus and offers free admission to all (advance reservation is required during COVID-19 to maintain capacity). It is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends, exploring the past of the city we now call home.
Free (!) art museum in the heart of Forest Park (they also bring in a touring exhibit each season, for which you must purchase tickets). The building is gorgeous and the museum is world renowned, with a collection spanning 5,000 years of cultures and genres. Originally founded as an independent entity within WashU and housed downtown, it moved to Forest Park right after our famous 1904 World’s Fair (see the movie Meet Me in St. Louis!), into the Palace of Fine Arts fair building. The museum then separated from the university in 1908. An impressive collection of European masters, the world’s largest Max Beckman collection, and ample artifacts, tools, clothing, weapons, and furniture from various cultures throughout history comprise the permanent collection. A perfect rainy day activity.
The Modern Art Wing at Saint Louis Art Museum.
Kehinde Wiley Exhibit at Saint Louis Art Museum.
Vinay P., M2
When you need a break from school, but still want some educational stimulation, there’s no better place to go than the Saint Louis Science Center. The Science Center has a variety of exhibits and attractions ranging from a Mars Rover simulator to a fossil lab. It also has a hyperboloid Planetarium and a fancy Omnimax theater with a screen that wraps almost 360 degrees, making for an incredible movie going experience. The center also hosts monthly events such as Science on Tap (learn about science and explore the museum while sipping on some excellent local craft beer). The best part of the museum? Free admission!
Riley M. outside the Planetarium at the Science Center
Blake S., M1
If you like seeing animals from all around the world, then you’re in luck! The Saint Louis Zoo is consistently ranked as one of the best zoos in the nation and is home to over 18,000 animals. From penguins to seals to lions, there’s something there for everyone. And admission is free!
Joe B. and Bruin P., M2s
The St. Louis Blues are the city’s professional hockey team and play their games at the newly renovated Enterprise Center downtown. For the first time in franchise history, the Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019 and the city could not have enjoyed the ride more. Whether you’re a fan of the sport or just looking for a fun evening activity, Blues’ games are always a blast. Enterprise Center is easy to reach via Metro and as a student, you can often get Student Rush tickets to games for as low as $25!
Joe B., M2
If you like watching grown men strap blades to their feet, arm themselves with bent sticks, and punch each other out on ice, then hockey is the sport for you! Seriously though, as a longtime hockey fan, I was fired up to move to St. Louis right as the Blues won their first ever Stanley Cup. Sports has a magical way of uniting people and has personally helped me to feel much more integrated into this community. Not to mention, the playoff atmosphere in Enterprise Center (only 15 minutes away via MetroLink) is absolutely UNREAL. I still love my hometown NHL team but … Let’s Go Blues! Play Gloria!
Bruin P., M2
Sherwin N., M2
Rejoice, sports fans! Not only is St. Louis home to the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, it is also host to your 11-time World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals! Come join Cardinal Nation at beautiful Busch Stadium, a short 15-minute MetroLink ride from campus, and watch the Redbirds soar through the postseason as they embark on their journey towards another World Series!
Summer in St. Louis is all about Cardinals baseball.
Sathvik P., M1
The area’s largest, outdoor ice skating rink is right across the street from the Medical Campus. As a Floridian, I didn’t know what to expect of the winter, but winter comes with its perks. The admission price to get on the ice is $10 and skate rentals are $8. After skating for a bit, you can enjoy a latte or hot chocolate from the cafe next to the fire pit. If I had to give one tip to someone who has never ice skated before: Don’t be intimidated by falling!
Ilana O., M1
I can’t say enough good things about the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market! Located just a short bike ride or car ride away (about three miles) from the Central West End, each Saturday morning tons of local vendors, families, adorable kids, and dogs (!) all make their way to the park. Whether you’re looking to shop for produce or to start your weekend with a mimosa, there are tons of different stands and food trucks with something for everyone. This summer, everyone at the market was masked and lines were generally respectful of social distancing. When the weather is nice, there is no place I would rather be on a Saturday morning.