Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in St. Charles, MO

  • Published 2021/10/12

A new adventure is waiting for you, so let the possibilities wash over you as you explore the heart of the historic city of St. Charles.

If you search historic sites, museums, art galleries, parks, and places for recreational activities, St. Charles has it all for you.

Whether you want to discover the past, relax and unwind, go hiking and camping, or want to have a place for a getaway, everything you need to get started is in this historic place.

What are you waiting for this time? Take a trip to this place, and here are the 15 best things to do in St. Charles, MO:

Have Unique Historical Perspective in St. Charles Historic District

St. Charles Historic District

Malachi Jacobs /

The Historic Main Street, which is on the banks of the Missouri River, is the colonial town of St. Charles.

It is the largest and the first nationally registered historic district in Missouri.

The community was founded in 1769 as Les Petites Cotes, which means, The Little Hills, by French Canadian trader Louis Blanchette.

St. Charles Historic District

Wirestock Creators /

The restructured buildings and structures date back to the 1800s, specifically the German and French Colonial buildings.

Many preserved architecture will prove to you that this is the first capital of the state.

Enjoy strolling in the street and find blocks of shopping stores and varieties of shops selling books, artworks, teas, wines, coffees, furniture, antiques, fashion accessories, jewelry, and stained glass.

St. Charles Historic District

Malachi Jacobs /

Take a Trip to the Fast Lane Classic Cars

If you are a car enthusiast and want to check out the massive collection of classic cars for free, you must go to the Fast Lane Classic Cars!

Are you ready to witness the campus with three showrooms filled with almost two hundred cars, trucks, and even motorcycles?

Take this chance because visiting the place is for free, and you will learn a lot about automotive, the history of the dealership, and even see the classic trucks, muscle cars, or late model collector cars.

Fast Lane Classic Cars is a family-owned car dealership that buys, sells, consigns, and trades cars, and its services include automotive restoration and detail. Maintenance, repairs, and mechanics specialization.

But a souvenir in their gift shop sells an antique collection of cars, memorabilia, automotive apparel, and diecast cars.

Relax and Unwind in St. Charles Trailhead

Not too far from downtown St. Charles, you’ll find a scenic part of Katy Trail Park, the longest stretch of rails-to-trails of the city, where you can run, hike, or ride your bike.

St. Charles Trailhead is one part of Katy Trail, a great spot to unwind after a long, tiring week or to relax and find peace with yourself and in the natural environment.

A man riding a bicycle in Katy Trail Park

Wirestock Creators /

The trail in St. Charles starts between the depot building and the first capitol building.

The trail riders can take the opportunity to visit different bike shops, breweries, coffee shops, and other trailside stores.

If you don’t have a bike, you can rent in the Bike Stop Cafe, and if you want to have other recreational activities, you can camp and lodge in the park and convention center.

But whether you are a bicyclist, a nature lover, or an equestrian, St. Charles trailhead offers you a place to enjoy nature and the time you spend away from your busy work, and it has many recreation options to give to you.

Visit Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum

The town-charm of Missouri is full of living history, and one of the major attractions in St. Charles is a museum located along the Missouri River.

Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum is a two-story building full of replicas of the Keelboat and memorabilia of the two famous explorers Lewis and Clark and their discovery expedition.

Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum

John Dorsey /

The Boat House is on the first floor, which houses all the boats that Lewis and Clark used, and the volunteers constructed the three ships to reenact the journey of the two explorers.

The volunteers spent over 16,000 hours building the boat and having the full-scale replica of it, and they also showcased the Keelboat, red and white pirogues, and the display of two dugout canoes.

In the re-enactment, the boats traveled Ohio, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, to Montana, and aside from the expedition of the two explorers, this educational facility exhibits the Missouri River ecosystem.

Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum

Rosemarie Mosteller /

You can find the Museum and Visitor’s shop on the second level, where you can find unique items and a wide selection of books on Lewis and Clark, general history, nature, Native Americans, and even local books.

The museum tour does not have a guided tour, so you can have all your time to discover and explore the place, and you can also use this place for meetings, receptions, and other events.

Know Weldon Springs’ History at Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center

If you are curious about the site’s contribution to World War II, the Cold War, and the commitment of the US Department of Energy to the future, you should go to this interpretive center.

Weldon Spring Interpretive Center also gives out the progression of the cleanup process and the construction of the disposal cell that future generations will use.

The center provides tours, educational programs, and research opportunities for people who want to know more about the past and the history of the Weldon Spring area.

You can also hike in the eight-mile Hamburg trail with the surrounding garden and go to the disposal cell viewing platforms that offer a scenic view of St. Charles and the Howell Prairie.

Have an Exceptional Gaming Experience in Ameristar Casino St. Charles

Ameristar Casino St. Charles

RN Photo Midwest /

As the largest casino in the region and one of the riverboat casinos in town, you’ll have a premium star treatment when you visit Ameristar Casino.

This luxury hotel with rooms overlooking the Missouri River offers a great entertainment experience and gaming with its 130,000-square foot casino, pools, fitness center, full-service spa, nightclub, and even game room.

Swimming pool at Ameristar Casino

Malachi Jacobs /

Ameristar Casino is more than just a gambling place, but you can have fun and enjoy a night full of table games.

There are plenty of Vegas-style table games you can try, and it has real money video poker and hundreds of slot machines with modern and old games to play.

The main attraction in the Ameristar Casino is the Baccarat Pit, where you can play popular games such as roulette, blackjacks, poker, and craps.

Solve Puzzles and Mysteries in Mastermind Room Escape

Do you want to solve puzzles, find clues, and work together to get the answer to the mysteries in less than an hour?

If you have what it takes, then you should try out the Mastermind Room Escape and have the best experience and escape in time.

Check out the individual escape room to know what room is best for you, and take note that there are rooms that are a bit scary that your heart may start racing so fast.

There is a game master in each room that will go over the rules, facilitate the game, and help you give hints, but if you use all of your hints, you need to solve the puzzle on your own.

You will love the variety of rooms, the team effort you need to solve puzzles, and the challenges that you need to overcome within a time limit; you must go to this room escape.

Play in the Frontier Park

Lewis and Clark statue

EWY Media /

This scenic and river-side park has a lot to offer to kids and young at heart because you will have access to the beautiful garden, riverfront views, and walking trails, benches, and pavilions for your meetings and events.

This 16-acre park features picnic shelters, hike and bike trails, rest areas, Katy depot, Lewis and Clark statue, restrooms available for all.

Frontier Park

Malachi Jacobs /

Frontier Park is also the place to go for many events throughout the year, so be sure to check your calendars and know local organizations that will host events in the park.

Do not forget to stroll in the grassy areas or other trails around the park.

You can also sit on one of the benches and relax your mind while you are looking over the Missouri River.

Drink Local Wine and Eat Cheese in Bella Vino Wine Bar

Bella Vino

briantium /

Set in the cobblestone street and historic town of St. Charles, you will find Bella Vino, a wine and tapas bar which offers house-made wine, cheese, pasta, and flatbreads.

If you are looking for a blend of Italian and Spanish cuisine, you must go here and discover the elegance of the place and the wide selection of wine that will truly add flavor to your tapas dish.

Bella Vino

briantium /

Bella Vino offers an extensive list of wines from the western part of America, California, Napa Valley, Oregon, and Washington.

You have indoor and outdoor dining options, and if you choose to stay outdoors in the backyard, there is music playing in the background.

Bella Vino can accommodate up to 50 people that will satisfy your needs for tapas creations, wine, and other delicious beverage selections and appetizers.

Have Your Recreational Pursuits in August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

Anantha V from Creve Coeur (Saint Louis), USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The world is in its fast paced-mode, and work is everywhere, that’s why it’s best to spend a day relaxing and doing recreational activities to regain your strength and peace of mind.

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is the place to go if you want to walk or run in trails, go on fishing in the lakes, try out a shooting range, or visit the center’s exhibits.

You can get brochures to see hand-curated trail maps for your self-guided tours in the area and visit the driving directions for auto-tour.

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

John Dorsey /

You can check out photos and reviews from nature lovers, hikers, campers, and people who want relaxation.

Make sure you look for the hunting activities regulations if you want to hunt as there is wildlife found in the area.

If you are interested in the shooting range, the Busche Shooting Range complex has a rifle/pistol range with 15 covered shooting stations with a target posting from 7 to 50 yards.

The shooting range provides a safe environment for new and experienced shooters who enjoy this kind of sport, and there are also archery facilities on site.

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

Brandonrush, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out the Gallery in Missouri Artists on Main

Missouri Artists on Main

John Dorsey /

For someone very interested in arts and culture, you should check out the Missouri Artists on Main Gallery, including award-winning local artists’ works.

If you visit the gallery, you will meet one of the artists, and you will be able to discuss the artwork, the inspiration and motivation behind the work, and other things that will capture your mind.

They are also giving out classes and workshops for those interested in learning and learning about using different mediums in art with attributes of acrylic and watercolor.

Missouri Artists on Main

John Dorsey /

You will discover the design principles of using Casein or Gouache in painting or any other medium that will bring joy to you as a starter.

Check out the paintings, jewelry, ceramics, and photography set in the gallery, and do not forget to make new friends with different artists in town.

Visit the Shrine of Saint Philippine Duchesne

In North Second Street, you can visit the Shine of Saint Philippine Duchesne, dedicated to Saint Philippine, who brought formal education to St. Charles.

She founded the Society of the Sacred Heart and founded a school for Indian children.

At that time, Saint Philippine spent her time taking care of sick Americans, and they called her Quahkahkanumad, which means “woman who prays always.”

Saint Philippine spent the last ten years of her life in St. Charles, and after she died, people built a memorial church in her honor, and she was canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

If you visit the shrine, you will see the crucifix in the convent where Saint Philippine attended school, other items from her log cabin days, and the cell where she died.

You may also check the gift shop to buy items such as rosaries and prayer books that will catch your interest.

Visit The First Seat of Government in the First Missouri State Capitol

First Missouri State Capitol

Rosemarie Mosteller /

At the heart of the historic site of St. Charles, you will find the First Missouri State Capitol, which is the first seat of the state government from 1821 to 1826.

At the start of the 1900s, the first state Capitol and its neighborhood slowly started to decay.

Still, when the government recognized the history and value of this building, the state began a restoration project to revive the building and the area.

First Missouri State Capitol

Wspin /

The first legislator met in this building, and now, it has the restored government chambers and office, a residence, and even a dry goods store.

If you visit this building, interpretive programs will help you understand how government formed in the early 19th century and how it evolved.

Take the opportunity to visit the place for free, and there are tours and exhibits available to the public.

First Missouri State Capitol

Michael Pittman, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Let Your Children Play in Jaycee Park

Jaycee Park, which opened in 2021, is famous for its Discovery playground.

It features the water play, swing area, butterfly, log, fully ramped area, connective pathways, interlocking rubber tiles, and bathrooms for the family.

The playground has a theme of adventurer or explorer; that’s why the kids will enjoy the chess boards, vines, beautiful pergola, and the water play area that looks like the Missouri bluffs.

There are also shelters and paved trails in the area that provide access from the north to south access points, and the playground utilizes the natural hillside of the park.

On the northern side of the park, there are public arts and open lawn areas where the family sits and enjoys the moments together.

Just be sure you follow the rules and regulations in the park and always check the things that your kids do in the park.

Watch Sports Game in the Family Arena

Family Arena

Johnmaxmena2, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Family Arena is a multi-purpose event venue that can accommodate 10,000 people, so make sure you always check its events page to see the next game in town or the next concert it will hold.

The outer concourse is why the arena can be suitable for a wide choice of events, even for conventions, trade shows, and company gatherings.

There is also over 3,500 paved parking lot, so you won’t have any problem when it comes to looking for a place to park to get to this arena.

If you are also interested in hosting your family event in the arena, you can call the administrative office to talk about the details and reservation for the place.

Final Thoughts

St. Charles is full of reasons to visit and worthy of your time with all the places to see and things to do.

St. Charles won’t just give you the blend of the past and present, but you’ll realize that a vibrant community will make you feel welcome in every place.

The people in this town are dedicated to preserving its heritage and culture, and you’ll enjoy the mix of relaxation and fun activities in the parks, escape rooms, and art galleries in town.

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