10 Things to do in Southeast Missouri – 2024 Ultimate Guide


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Welcome to Southeast Missouri, a hidden gem waiting to be explored by adventurous travelers. From charming small towns to breathtaking natural landscapes, there are endless things to do in Southeast Missouri that cater to every type of explorer. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, this region has it all. Join us as we uncover the diverse attractions and activities that make Southeast Missouri a must-visit destination for your next travel escapade. So, pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this captivating region.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Gateway Arch National Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 11 N 4th St, St. Louis, MO 63102
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
– Fee: $3 for tram ride to the top of the arch
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs and architecture enthusiasts


Gateway Arch National Park in Southeast Missouri stands as a symbol of America’s westward expansion. The iconic stainless steel arch, standing at 630 feet, offers visitors a unique perspective of St. Louis and the Mississippi River. A visit to the park is a journey back in time to the days of Lewis and Clark, where you can explore the Museum of Westward Expansion and learn about the pioneers who shaped the nation’s history.

The highlight of any trip to Gateway Arch National Park is the tram ride to the top of the arch. As you ascend, the panoramic views of the city and river below are truly breathtaking. The park also offers scenic riverfront walks, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with a view. Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate impressive architecture, Gateway Arch National Park is a must-see destination that captures the spirit of America’s pioneering past.

City Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103
– Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 11am-5pm
– Fee: $14 for ages 3 and up
– Visit Duration: 3-4 hours
– Ideal for: Families, art enthusiasts, and adventure seekers


City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri is a captivating blend of art, architecture, and adventure that promises a unique experience for visitors of all ages. This eclectic museum is not your typical cultural institution; it’s a playground of creativity and exploration. From the moment you step inside, you are greeted by a whimsical world of tunnels, slides, and sculptures that invite you to unleash your inner child.

One of the main draws of City Museum is its interactive exhibits that encourage hands-on learning and discovery. Whether you’re crawling through a maze of caves, climbing a towering sculpture made of reclaimed materials, or sliding down a 10-story slide, there’s no shortage of excitement here. The museum’s ever-changing displays showcase the work of local artists and craftsmen, adding a touch of authenticity to the experience.

With its vibrant atmosphere and endless opportunities for fun, City Museum is a must-see destination for anyone looking to break away from the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. So, grab your sense of adventure and prepare to be amazed by the wonders that await you at this one-of-a-kind attraction in the heart of St. Louis.

Missouri Botanical Garden:

Essential Information

– Address: 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $14 for adults, $6 for children (ages 3-12)
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, and botany enthusiasts


The Missouri Botanical Garden in Southeast Missouri is a must-see destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of St. Louis. With its lush greenery and vibrant floral displays, this botanical garden offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can explore over 79 acres of meticulously curated gardens, showcasing a diverse collection of plant species from around the world. Whether you’re a nature lover looking to unwind or a botany enthusiast eager to learn more about different plant varieties, the Missouri Botanical Garden provides a tranquil setting for relaxation and education alike. Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll through the Japanese Garden, marvel at the Climatron conservatory, or attend one of the garden’s informative workshops or events. Plan your visit today and discover the beauty and tranquility of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Saint Louis Zoo:

Essential Information

– Address: One Government Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: Free admission, some attractions may require a fee
– Visit Duration: 3-4 hours
– Ideal for: Families, animal lovers, nature enthusiasts


The Saint Louis Zoo stands out as a must-see attraction in Southeast Missouri for its commitment to wildlife conservation and education. With a sprawling campus that houses over 13,000 animals representing 555 species, this zoo offers a fascinating glimpse into the diverse world of wildlife. Visitors can explore various themed areas, from the African savannah to the tropical rainforest, and observe animals in habitats designed to mimic their natural environments.

One of the highlights of the Saint Louis Zoo is its dedication to animal welfare and conservation efforts. Through innovative programs and partnerships, the zoo plays a vital role in protecting endangered species and promoting sustainable practices. Whether you’re marveling at majestic big cats, playful primates, or colorful birds, each encounter at the zoo provides a valuable opportunity to learn about the importance of preserving our planet’s biodiversity.

In addition to its impressive animal exhibits, the Saint Louis Zoo offers engaging educational experiences for visitors of all ages. From interactive presentations and feeding demonstrations to behind-the-scenes tours, there are plenty of opportunities to deepen your understanding of the animal kingdom. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun day out or a nature enthusiast seeking to connect with wildlife, a visit to the Saint Louis Zoo promises a memorable and enriching experience.

Forest Park:

Essential Information

– Address: Southeast Missouri, USA
– Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, outdoor enthusiasts


In Southeast Missouri, Forest Park stands out as a must-see destination for those seeking a serene escape into nature. This expansive park offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, inviting visitors to explore its lush greenery and diverse wildlife. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast looking to unwind amidst scenic beauty or a family seeking a fun outdoor adventure, Forest Park caters to all. With its free entry and convenient operating hours, it’s the perfect spot for a half-day or full-day excursion. From leisurely strolls along winding trails to picnics in picturesque settings, this park provides a refreshing getaway for anyone craving a breath of fresh air. Don’t miss the chance to experience the natural charm of Forest Park during your visit to Southeast Missouri.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery:

Essential Information

– Address: Southeast Missouri, USA
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
– Fee: $15 per person
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Beer enthusiasts and history buffs


Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Southeast Missouri stands as a beacon for beer aficionados and history enthusiasts alike. The brewery, renowned for its iconic Budweiser brand, offers visitors a glimpse into the rich heritage and meticulous craft behind one of America’s most beloved beers. From the moment you step inside, the air is filled with the unmistakable aroma of hops and barley, setting the stage for an immersive experience that delves into the brewing process from grain to glass.

Guided tours lead guests through the state-of-the-art facilities, where modern technology meets time-honored traditions. Witness firsthand the intricate steps involved in brewing, packaging, and distributing the legendary Budweiser beer. Learn about the company’s commitment to sustainability and community involvement, shedding light on the values that have shaped Anheuser-Busch into a global industry leader.

For those seeking a deeper understanding of beer production or simply looking to enjoy a cold brew in a historic setting, Anheuser-Busch Brewery offers a captivating journey that blends education with entertainment. Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a curious traveler, a visit to this renowned brewery promises a memorable experience that celebrates the artistry and legacy of American brewing.

Grant’s Farm:

Essential Information

– Address: 10501 Gravois Rd, St. Louis, MO 63123
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM (seasonal variations)
– Fee: Free admission, parking fee applies
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, animal lovers, history enthusiasts


Grant’s Farm in Southeast Missouri is a must-see destination for those seeking a unique blend of wildlife, history, and entertainment. This historic farm, once owned by Ulysses S. Grant, offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of animals, including exotic species like elephants and kangaroos. The farm’s picturesque setting provides a tranquil backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a tram ride through the lush grounds.

Aside from the animal encounters, Grant’s Farm also boasts a rich history that is sure to captivate visitors of all ages. Explore the historic buildings on the property, including the iconic Bauernhof, which dates back to the 19th century. Learn about the legacy of the Grant family and their contributions to American history.

Whether you’re looking to spend a few hours surrounded by nature, learn something new, or simply enjoy a fun day out with the family, Grant’s Farm offers a memorable experience that is both educational and entertaining. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this hidden gem in the heart of Missouri.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis:

Essential Information

– Address: 4431 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
– Fee: Free admission, donations appreciated
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, architecture lovers, religious visitors


The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis stands as a testament to the rich history and architectural grandeur of St. Louis, Missouri. This iconic landmark, with its stunning mosaic artistry and intricate designs, is a must-see destination for visitors seeking a glimpse into the city’s cultural heritage. The cathedral’s awe-inspiring interior, adorned with over 41 million mosaic tiles, showcases the craftsmanship and dedication of the artisans who brought this masterpiece to life. Whether you are a history enthusiast, architecture lover, or simply seeking a moment of reflection, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis offers a captivating experience that resonates with the soul. Plan a visit to this historic gem and immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of this architectural marvel.

The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 516 S Kirkwood Rd, St. Louis, MO 63122
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:30pm, Sunday 11:00am-5:30pm
– Fee: $12.00 per person
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families with children aged 1-12


The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum, is a vibrant and interactive destination that offers a world of fun and learning for families visiting Southeast Missouri. With its engaging exhibits and hands-on activities, this museum is a must-see attraction for families with young children. From exploring the wonders of science to unleashing creativity in the arts and crafts section, The Magic House provides a dynamic environment where kids can play, discover, and grow.

One of the highlights of The Magic House is its emphasis on educational experiences disguised as play. Children can engage in STEM-focused activities, experiment with various materials, and even role-play in different real-life scenarios. The museum’s friendly staff members are always on hand to guide and assist, ensuring that both kids and parents have a memorable and enriching visit.

Whether it’s a rainy day or a weekend outing, The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum, offers a perfect blend of entertainment and education that will captivate young minds and create lasting family memories. Plan your visit today and unlock the magic of learning through play.

Missouri History Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, families, and tourists


The Missouri History Museum in Southeast Missouri stands as a beacon of the state’s rich heritage, offering visitors a captivating journey through time. With free admission, this museum is a must-see for history enthusiasts, families, and tourists alike. The exhibits showcase the diverse cultural tapestry of Missouri, from its Native American roots to its pivotal role in shaping the nation’s history.

As you wander through the museum’s halls, you’ll encounter interactive displays, artifacts, and multimedia presentations that bring the past to life. From the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Civil Rights Movement, each exhibit offers a compelling glimpse into Missouri’s pivotal moments. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the state’s past, the Missouri History Museum provides a fascinating and educational experience for all who visit.

Food and Cuisine

St. Louis-style BBQ Ribs

Why is it so special:

St. Louis-style BBQ ribs are a regional specialty known for their unique blend of spices and slow-cooked perfection. These ribs are typically trimmed in a specific way, resulting in a uniform shape that allows for even cooking. The rub used on the ribs often includes a mix of paprika, garlic, onion, and other secret ingredients that give them a distinct flavor. The ribs are then slow-cooked until they are tender and juicy, making them a must-try for any BBQ enthusiast.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic St. Louis-style BBQ rib experience, head to Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis. This local favorite is known for its mouthwatering ribs and laid-back atmosphere. For a more upscale dining experience, try Salt + Smoke, also in St. Louis, where you can enjoy a gourmet twist on this classic dish.

Delta Hot Tamales

Why is it so special:

Delta hot tamales are a beloved dish in Southeast Missouri, with a history that dates back to the early 20th century. These tamales are made with a spicy meat mixture that is wrapped in cornmeal dough and then steamed to perfection. The unique blend of spices used in the meat filling gives these tamales their signature heat and flavor, making them a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Where to Try It:

For a taste of authentic Delta hot tamales, visit Doe’s Eat Place in Charleston. This unassuming restaurant is known for its delicious tamales and welcoming atmosphere. For a more upscale dining experience, try the tamales at The Bar-B-Q Shop in Memphis, just a short drive from Southeast Missouri.

Events and Festivals

SEMO District Fair

The SEMO District Fair is a highly anticipated annual event in Southeast Missouri, attracting visitors from all over the region. This fair features a variety of attractions including carnival rides, live entertainment, agricultural exhibits, and delicious food vendors. It is a great opportunity for families to enjoy a fun-filled day out and experience the local culture of the area.

Delta Fair and Music Festival

The Delta Fair and Music Festival is another popular event in Southeast Missouri that combines the excitement of a traditional fair with live music performances. Visitors can enjoy thrilling rides, games, and tasty fair food while also having the chance to see well-known musical acts take the stage. This event is perfect for music lovers and those looking for a lively atmosphere.

Old Town Cape Riverfront Market

The Old Town Cape Riverfront Market is a weekly event held in downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri, showcasing local vendors selling fresh produce, handmade crafts, and unique goods. Visitors can stroll along the scenic riverfront, shop for one-of-a-kind items, and enjoy live music and entertainment. This market is a great way to support local businesses and experience the vibrant community of Southeast Missouri.

Interesting Facts

– Southeast Missouri is home to the mysterious and enchanting Mark Twain National Forest, spanning over 1.5 million acres and offering diverse landscapes, including rugged mountains, rolling hills, and clear streams.
– The region boasts the unique geological feature known as the “Missouri Bootheel,” a distinct area that extends beyond the rest of the state, forming a boot-like shape due to a bend in the Mississippi River.
– Southeast Missouri is renowned for its rich agricultural heritage, particularly in cotton production, making it a significant contributor to the state’s economy and history.

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