Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in St. Louis.


A striking structure of planes of glass and concrete, the Minimalist-inspired Contemporary Art Museum is a fitting vessel for the boundary-pushing art within. Exhibitions change frequently, seeking to present contrasting perspectives and styles; past ones have focused on internationally celebrated artists like photographer Cindy Sherman. Dine at the cafe Tempt (run by Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events), and pick up a memento at Muse, the museum store. The museum temporarily closes on occasion to install new exhibits, so you may want to call ahead to verify hours.

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A memorial to all of the oppressed Jews during the Holocaust, this museum offers guests a chance to reflect on and discover the reality of history. Six main exhibit areas walk guests through pre-Holocaust Europe to the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust and on to post-Holocaust times. Photographs, artifacts, and audiovisual presentations tell the story. The most chilling displays are marked and shielded to avoid scaring young children.

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Located in Queeny Park and dedicated to man's best friend, this museum exhibits artifacts, photographs, paintings and sculptures dedicated to our canine pals. The museum includes a great gift shop where you can find specialty jewelry, unique decorative tapestries, and hand-painted trays depicting the breed of your choice.

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An integral part of the university, this museum furthers the school's mission by collecting, interpreting, and displaying art and objects pertaining to Jesuit philosophy. Traveling exhibitions bring regionally and nationally acclaimed artists into focus, while remarkable permanent collections highlight Asian decorative pieces, New Mexican santos, 19th- and 20th-century painting, and even a series by glass master Dale Chihuly. Weekend children's programs, a small shop, and plenty of nearby lunch spots make the museum an attractive afternoon prospect.

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Since 1944, this museum has provided a grand display of American modes of transport, including planes, trains, streetcars, autos, and buses. Top of the line, vintage wheels like Bobby Darin's Dream Car and a luxury Pullman train car will leave true motor heads drooling. You can stop by the gift shop to pick up an interesting souvenir before heading out.

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This 116-acre sculpture park, which is among the first of its kind in the country, features contemporary sculptures that are both created from and interact with the environment. These works are displayed on landscaped grounds and wooded hiking trails. They include the largest collection of Ernest Trova sculptures in the world, along with the works of William Tucker, Jonathan Borofsky, and a score of other contemporary artists. Thirteen touchable scale models of the works are featured in a Blind Maquette program.

Read more about Laumeier Sculpture Park →

Saint Louis Art Museum
Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum

Housed in the "Fine Arts Palace" of the famous 1904 World's Fair, this art museum regales visitors with an outstanding collection of Impressionist paintings, Asian works, Renaissance pieces, and American art. There are also rotating and special displays throughout the year. Located in Forest Park.

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Located at the base of the Arch, this museum chronicles the activities and history of the area that the Arch symbolizes. Guests can learn about the history of Missouri and its place in America's past through photographic murals and dioramas. Learn more about the American Indian way of life and the Lewis and Clark expedition that the area is known for.

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Come face to face with a dinosaur. Experience an earthquake. Brave a virtual thrill ride. Do all these things at the St. Louis Science Center, where science comes alive. The center houses an Omnimax theater that features larger than life, realistic shows on a variety of topics. Eat at the Galaxy Café or browse the Science Shop for take-home goodies. A skywalk over the highway connects the center to the McDonnell Planetarium. On the way over, you can get tough on motorists by turning cop and monitoring speeds of traffic below via a radar gun.

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Missouri's past comes to life at this museum, whose exhibits include Charles Lindbergh's flight suit and artifacts from the 1904 World's Fair. Other displays educate visitors on the African-American contribution to state culture and the city's response to the 1849 fire. A recent expansion added 92,000-square feet to the impressive stone building located in the Jefferson Memorial Building at Forest Park. The gift shop offers an exciting array of crafts, books, and souvenirs.

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