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5 Top Cultural Activities in St. Louis

Magnolia St.Louis | trumpet and piano player z

The home of the famed Gateway Arch, St. Louis has a rich cultural history centered around music and visual art. Many of America’s jazz greats have played here, including Missouri natives Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

Actor Cary Grant regularly stayed in St. Louis, and even started the tradition of leaving chocolates on the pillow at a local hotel called the Mayfair. Now known as Magnolia St. Louis, this luxurious boutique hotel offers modern lodgings with a touch of Old Hollywood glamour.

Many of St Louis’ major tourist sites are just minutes away from the hotel, including Peabody Opera House and the St. Louis Zoo. Here are five of our favorite local cultural activities that you don’t want to miss.

  1. Sheldon Concert Hall

Once the home of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, this 1912 mansion just 2.5 miles from Magnolia St. Louis is one of the most popular music venues in town. Inside, visitors will find a 7,000-square-foot space with rotating exhibits of photography, jazz history and architecture, plus a 712-seat concert venue with original wood seating. The Sheldon has been described as “The Carnegie Hall of St. Louis” due to its ideal acoustics. Legends like Winston Marsalis, B.B. King and Joan Baez performed here, with the venue hosting more than 350 events per year. CLICK HERE for a concert schedule. For more information visit: The Sheldon

  1. The Fabulous Fox

Go on, gawk. The ornate decorations and intricately carved details of St. Louis’ Fox Theatre make it a must-see. Opened in the 1920s, the ornate concert hall hosts Broadway touring company shows throughout the year, plus seasonal events like Mannheim Steamroller and Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker. The theatre went through a downturn in the mid 20th century, closing its doors in 1978, but was fully renovated and restored to its original beauty in the 80s. Visit to see a show, or just to snap a few pics of iconic features like the original 2,000-pound crystal chandelier that hangs in Fox’s auditorium. 

  1. Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG)

Founded in 1859, MBG is the oldest public garden in operation. It encompasses 79 acres in the heart of the city, and features multiple test gardens as well as a Victorian garden and Japanese strolling garden. It’s also home to the Climatron, a tropical conservatory inside of a geodesic dome. Encompassing more than a half-acre, the dome contains more than 2,800 plants including banana, coffee and the rare double coconut. MBG is just a 15-minute car ride away from Magnolia St. Louis, making this a great first (or last) stop on a full day of adventure. For more information visit: Missouri Botanical Garden

  1. St. Louis Art Museum

Located in historic Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) is nearly as beautiful on the outside as it is inside. In fact, many travelers post selfies with the Roman style columns and Charles Henry Niehaus sculpture out front. SLAM owns more than 33,000 paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works, displayed on rotation alongside traveling exhibits. The best part is that general admission to the museum is free every day, with entry to special exhibits free on Fridays. You’ll also find the St. Louis Zoo and Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, so be prepared to spend some time here. For more information visit: Saint Louis Art Museum (slam.org)

  1. The Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz

Opened in 2014, this $10M renovation to Grand Center includes a 220-seat restaurant, education center and the home base of Jazz St. Louis (a local nonprofit that promotes the music form). The onsite jazz club, renamed Ferring Jazz Bistro, was recognized as the best jazz club in town by Riverfront Times. Wynton Marsalis and David Sanborn are among the jazz greats who performed here.

Call 314-436-9000 or visit us online to book your stay at Magnolia today!