Recreation & Culture

There is always a lot going on in Greater St. Louis.

Greater St. Louis is a region whose arts and cultural events and attractions regularly impress even its most cultured residents. Innumerable venues for theatrical, musical, dance and other artistic performances abound.  An impressive lineup of national and local music from all genres is performed throughout the region on a nightly basis.  Many of the world’s most talented artists — including those who call St. Louis home — perform here regularly.

Grand Center, St. Louis’ arts and entertainment district includes the acoustically superb Sheldon Concert Hall, the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, Powell Hall, home of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Fabulous Fox Theater — which for more than 75 years has attracted the world’s most popular Broadway musicals and musical performers.

The St. Louis City Museum was recently named one of the “World’s 10 Best Public Spaces” by New York-based Project for Public Spaces.  This curiosity stretches the definition of museum and includes a giant aquarium, architectural museum, a participatory circus, museums of oddities and more.

Greater St. Louis is known as a major college town and regional literary center.  In fact, the St. Louis region ranked No. 3 in the country for library services on the 2015 "America's Most Literate Cities" study published by Central Connecticut State University. In addition, St. Louis was named the 10th most literate city overall for 2015, based on six key indicators of literacy, which included newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources..

Far from being one dimensional, St. Louis was named “Chess City of the Year” in 2009 and 2011 by the U.S. Chess Federation, and has been called the Chess Capital of the U.S. 

St. Louis is also recognized as a world class sport city.  We’re home to the St. Louis Blues and the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals professional sports franchises, along with many other popular college and other sports teams and events.

Greater St. Louis has hundreds of parks ranging from urban, neighborhood parks to large suburban recreation areas. The area is home to the nationally acclaimed Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country at 1,300 acres. Forest Park features many of the city's premier attractions, including the Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, the Municipal Opera, and much more. In 2016, Thrillist magazine named Forest Park the best city park in America. St. Louis is also known for the Missouri Botanical Garden, an international center for botanical research with extensive public gardens and research facilities, founded in 1859.

Greater St. Louis is building one of the largest urban networks of hiking and bicycle trails in the U.S.  The 600 mile “River Ring” is currently being developed by the Great Rivers Greenway District.  More than 175 miles of trails and bicycle routes have been completed, including over 80 miles of on-street bicycle routes in conjunction with Bike St. Louis.

Just across the river from downtown St. Louis, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Midwest. The site preserves the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico, the Mississippians, within a 2,200 acre tract.

As all this attests, when it comes to recreation and culture, St. Louis area residents’ options are plentiful, diverse and world-renowned.  Whether your interests lie in music, food, and nightlife; sports and the outdoors; or arts, architecture, and history, you’re bound to find your niche in St. Louis.

For more on Life in St. Louis including additional details on arts, culture, and recreation, see Life section.


Recreation and the Arts


“101 Things You Must Know About St. Louis: Things to Do, Places to Go and Other Great Stuff” that appeared in St. Louis Commerce, 2012.

“101 Things Every St. Louisan Must Do” St. Louis Magazine, April 2013.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission also offers "must-see" suggestions in its "25 Things to Do in St. Louis" list.

Arts Zipper calendar: St. Louis Regional Arts Commission.

Explore St. Louis Events Calendar by the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission keeps track of festivales, theatrical presentations, sporting events, and more.

KDHX Arts: Arts & Events Calendar and Concerts.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Events Calendar

Riverfront Times:  Events Search

List of Festivals, Events & Proformances from the International Institute of St. Louis' i! international calendar promoting St. Louis' growing multicultural community.