We do a lot of road tripping. Sometimes it’s super spontaneous and we move pretty quickly (like a few weeks ago when we drove from Atlanta to Milwaukee and back again in 4 days).

One place that we briefly passed through on this last road trip was St. Louis, Missouri. This was the first time visiting St. Louis for me and our two daughters (ages almost 4 and almost 1 at the time), and I knew there were two really important things for us to see:

  1. The Gateway Arch
  2. The Mississippi River

Since we only had time for a quick stop in St. Louis, we devised a plan to see both of our must-sees in 30 minutes or less, and you know what—it worked!

Visiting St. Louis for quick trip

Visiting St. Louis in Under 30 Minutes


Plan Ahead (Even If It’s on the Way There)

Dad and baby in St. Louis at arch

Don’t wait until you’re in the city to figure out what you want to do in the city. Take a little bit of time (usually about 10-15 minutes is all it takes) to make a simple game plan.

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To Make Your Game Plan:

  1. Research landmarks in the city you’re visiting (a quick Google search is about all it takes)
  2. Try to find something cool that doesn’t require admission, as this will slow you down (and cost you more money)
  3. Keep current weather and time of day in mind (if it’s raining, look for an indoor location, etc.)

When we were visiting St. Louis, we knew our goal was to take pictures of the Arch and Mississippi River and went from there.


Pick the Right Place to Stop

St. Louis with kids

The great thing about the two landmarks that we wanted to see (the Arch and the Mississippi River) is that they are right next to each other. If you pick the right spot, you can see both of them in one shot. Super ideal when you’re traveling with young kids like we were.

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How We Got To Our Ideal Location:

  1. Look up the Gateway Arch on Google Maps
  2. Find Parking Along S. Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard
  3. See the Arch; See the River!

Alternatively, you could go to the Mississippi River Overlook on the Illinois side, giving you a view of the Arch behind the Mississippi River.


Find a Good Spot for Pictures

Visiting St. Louis with kids

Anytime you’re exploring a new place quickly, you don’t want to skip out on the pictures. It may seem a little stressful in the moment, but you’ll always be happy you took the time once you get home and start looking at them.

Once you’re at your location, it’s time to set up for your perfect St. Louis Arch picture. Following a few of our favorite tips for taking great travel photos of young kids, we picked a spot that was a bit away from the road, sat our kids on the ground, and my partner Dave took some shots from below, angled up at the Arch. They came out pretty epic-looking:

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Visiting St. Louis arch with kids

We also got a few cute ones along the Mississippi River:

Baby at Mississippi River in St. Louis

Definitely ones that our kids will love looking at for years to come.

And honestly…that’s it! It was super simple, incredibly quick, completely free, and we snapped a few photos that will be family-favorites for years to come.

It’s a good thing the trip was super short because Miss Thing had just about had it with my picture-taking bullshit by the end of our stop. 😉

Visiting Mississippi River in St. Louis with a baby


What travel tips do you use when you’re in a new city for a short period of time? 

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