Our St. Louis Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Missouri, USA. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in St. Louis such as the Delmar Loop, Soulard Farmer’s Market, and The Gateway Arch. It’s all compiled in this St. Louis Travel Essentials. After going through this short and easy-to-read guide, you’ll be a little more prepared to start your trip to St. Louis, MO.

  • When is the best time to travel to St. Louis?

    When is the best time to travel to St. Louis?
    • St. Louis has a subtropical climate, which brings chilly to cold winters and hot, humid summers. Average temperatures range between 32°F in winter and 80°F in summer.
    • Rain falls evenly throughout the year. On average, you can expect up to 9 rainy days per month from October to February and about 11 rainy days per month between March and June. You can expect a few snowfalls in the December–March period.
    • May–September is the warmest time of the year in St. Louis. The peak season is in June–August, when you can expect bigger crowds and higher accommodations rates. It’s best to book a few months ahead if you plan to visit St. Louis at this time of the year.
    • The best times to visit St. Louis are April–May and September–October. These are when hotels usually offer better rates and the weather, although cooler, is ideal for outdoor adventures, especially in the nearby Mark Twain National Forest. Pack a sweater as it can be chilly in the evening.
  • St. Louis basics

    St. Louis basics
    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: United States Dollar (U.S.$)
    • International dialing code: +1 314
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
  • How to get to my hotel in St. Louis?

    How to get to my hotel in St. Louis?

    St. Louis Lambert International Airport is the primary gateway to “The Gateway to the West”. St. Louis has a secondary airport, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, which is a domestic airport mostly used as a general aviation reliever for St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

    You can also get to St. Louis by train or bus. The St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center is served by both Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses. It’s located in the city centre.

    St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)

    St. Louis Lambert International Airport is 12 miles northwest of St. Louis city centre. The driving time from the airport to downtown St. Louis is about 20 minutes.

    You can enjoy free Wi-Fi for 1 hour per day throughout the airport. Ground transportation options available for you to get to your hotel from St. Louis Lambert International Airport are as follows:

    • A free shuttle service links the 2 terminals every 8-15 minutes, 24/7.
    • Taxi cab pick-up neighborhoods are at Exit Door 14 to Garage Yellow Level in Terminal 1 and at Exit Door 12 in Terminal 2.
    • Rideshare pick-up neighborhoods are at Exit 6 in Terminal 1 and at Exit 15 in Terminal 2.
    • A handful of shuttle services, including limos and vans, can be found after Baggage Claim. Their pick-up area is adjacent to the taxi cabs’.
    • Greyhound and local bus services’ pick-up neighborhoods are at Exit Door 12 in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
    • MetroLink light rail system stations can be found at Exit Door 1 (ticketing level) in Terminal 1 and at Exit Door 12 (through the parking garage) in Terminal 2.
    • Major automobile rental counters are located on the lower level between Exit Doors 12 and 17. They offer a free shuttle service to get to their off-site locations. The pick-up neighborhoods are outside Exit Door 17 in Terminal 1 and outside Exit Door 12 in Terminal 12.

    MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV)

    MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is located 22 miles southeast of Downtown St. Louis. The driving time from the airport to the city centre is about 30 minutes.

    Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. Ground transportation options available for you to get to your hotel from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport are as follows:

    • The pick-up area for taxi cabs and rideshares – Uber and Lyft – is in front of the terminal.
    • A bus service links the airport to the MetroLink Shiloh-Scott station, an 11-minute ride away. The bus departs every 20 minutes.
    • Automobile rental with Enterprise Rent-a-Car must be arranged before your flight arrives. Their representative will be onsite during all flight arrivals.

    Getting to St. Louis by Amtrak train or Greyhound bus

    From within the States, you can get to St. Louis by train on the Missouri River Runner line. This line runs between Kansas City and St. Louis. The St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center is at 430 South 15th Street, right in the city centre. The Greyhound bus station is also located here.

    From here, you can easily get to your hotel by MetroLink (the station is 1 block away), Metro bus, taxi cab, or rideshare. Automobile rental agencies can also be found a short walk away.

    photo by SymphonicPoet (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

  • How to get around St. Louis?

    How to get around St. Louis?

    Travel tips

    Downtown St. Louis is about a square mile in size and can easily be explored on foot. It’s home to landmarks and attractions such as the Gateway Arch National Park, Ballpark Village, and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, just to name a few. You’ll also find a good choice of dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment options.

    For longer distances, the Metropolitan Saint Louis Transit Agency conveniently takes you all around the city by light rail, trolley, and bus. Taxi cabs and especially rideshares are also popular.

    Taking a taxi cab

    From United Cab (+1 314-241-8294) to St. Louis Taxicab (+1 314-366-5635), A Best Taxi cab (+1 314-797-8294), and many more, St. Louis offers plenty of choices for taxi cab services. Taxi cabs can also be flagged down on the street and often line up in front of hotel-casinos and major tourist attractions. The usual tipping for taxi cabs is around 15-20% of the fare. Credit cards are accepted by most taxi cab drivers.

    Uber and Lyft are the main ride-hailing apps used in St. Louis. Their rates are slightly cheaper than standard taxicabs. They accept payments by credit card.

    Traveling by public transportation

    Commonly known as Metro, the Metropolitan Saint Louis Transit Agency runs St. Louis’s public transportation services. The company operates the Metro Link light rail system, MetroBus, and a paratransit service called Metro Call-a-Ride. Metro serves the entire St. Louis County in Missouri and St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois.

    Various ticketing options are available. Money-wise, it’s best to purchase a day or weekly pass. Single tickets and 2-hour passes can be purchased on the bus and at vending machines in the MetroLink stations. Metro Transit passes are available for purchase from stores and businesses throughout the St. Louis region, such as at Schnucks grocery stores.

    You can also install the Transit app on your phone. Linked to your credit card, it allows you to buy tickets and passes directly from your phone.

    Renting a automobile in St Louis

    Renting a automobile is a good option for getting around St. Louis, especially if you plan to visit out-of-town attractions. The city alone is around 70 square miles wide. However, roads get congested at rush hour on weekdays and parking fees apply at most street spaces and public lots.

    Besides at both airports, you can find automobile rental agencies in the city centre. In Missouri, foreigners can use their home country-issued driving license, but it’s better to have an international driving license.

    Is St. Louis a bike-friendly city?

    Hiring a bicycle is a cool way of getting around St. Louis. In 2017, the city was ranked a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Metro Transit has bike racks that allow you to easily get outside the city, where you can find many off-road biking trails for all skill levels. You can easily find maps of Missouri’s cycling trails online.

    You can hire a regular bike, an electric one, or a mountain bike at any of the multiple bike rental companies such as Bears Bike (+1 314-329-7433), Urban Shark Bicycle Co. (+1 314-881-0322), and Mike's Bikes STL (+1 314-875-0080), just to name a few.

  • What are the main annual events in St. Louis?

    What are the main annual events in St. Louis?

    Fair Saint Louis

    • July
    • This 3-day festival, held during the 4th of July vacation, hosts live music performances, family-friendly activities, an air show, and loads of food and drink. A firework show serves as the climax of the event.
    • Where: Gateway Arch National Park

    Big Muddy Blues Festival

    • Labor Day weekend
    • One of the largest and most popular blues festivals in Missouri, showcasing world-class musicians. From Delta to Soul and from Gospel to Jazz, all styles of blues are performed on the historic Laclede’s Landing riverside.
    • Where: Laclede’s Landing

    Great Forest Park Balloon Race

    • September
    • One of the most attended hot air balloon festivals in the States, launched in 1973. Alongside the race between over 70 entrants, live music, food, and fireworks are part of the event.
    • Where: Forest Park
  • What are the main landmarks in St. Louis?

    What are the main landmarks in St. Louis?

    Delmar Loop

    St. Louis’ hub offers plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment. The St. Louis Walk of Fame calls it home, paying homage to some of the city’s notable figures such as Chuck Berry and Yogi Berra.

    Soulard Farmer’s Market

    An important community trading center of St. Louis since 1779, the thriving open-air market has over 140 vendors selling fresh, cooked, and baked food products.

    Samuel Cupples House

    A stunning late-19th-century mansion just north of St. Louis University, made of stone and designed in the Romanesque Revival architectural style. It’s a museum that showcases Art Nouveau and Art Deco glassware.

    The Gateway Arch

    St Louis' iconic monument, built in the early 1960s to honor the frontiersmen who went westward and discovered the Great Plains and beyond. Located on the banks of the Mississippi, it features a 630-ft-high observation deck.