Like all major cities, St. Louis is home to so many wonderful parks.  Through the generous donations of settlers and philanthropists the city boasts some of the finest parks you will find for any type of outdoor enjoyment.  Walking, hiking, cycling, running, golf and tennis are but a few of the activities you can participate in at all of the parks.  With the explosion of pickle ball, many of the parks quickly adapted and now offer fantastic courts for the most avid enthusiasts.  Wanting to enjoy some art or musicals?  Take in Forest Park.  How about a drive through Tilles Park during Christmas for a one-of-a-kind light display the family will talk about for years to come.  St. Louis parks are not to be missed.  They offer so much to do and enjoy.  Read more about some of our favorite parks below.  The entire list of parks can be found here.  Enjoy learning about our parks and leave us your comments for others to enjoy.

Forest Park

Built in advance for the 1904 World's Fair, Forest Park encompasses over 1,300 acres nestled in an area of St. Louis on the western boundaries of the Central West End.  Each year over 13 million visitors enjoy the park and all of its amenities.  Walkers, joggers and cyclists traverse the park each day immersing themselves in the splendor and beauty of nature at its finest. Bordered by Lindell Avenue on the North, Kingshighway on the East, Skinker on the West and Interstate 64/40 on the South, access to the park is easy allowing entrance from all four corners of St. Louis.  

In addition to the many trails for outdoor enthusiasts, visitors enjoy the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri Historical Museum, The Many, St. Louis Zoo and St. Louis Science Center (north entrance). Each year running and cycling events wind their way through the park.  On any given weekend you can find local ROTC troops practicing near the tennis courts, local dog trainers holding events, mens and women rugby matches and golfers hitting their way through one of three 9-hole courses.  Forest Park is financed through various taxes and the generous donations of so many donors via Forest Park Forever.  Whether you live in St. Louis or are just passing through for a weekend visit, Forest Park is a must see.  

Written by Gregg Sharpe

Francis Park

Nestled in beautiful St. Louis Hills neighborhood, Francis Park offers visitors over 60 acres of pure enjoyment.  A pillar in the community the park is located just off of Eichleberger Avenue with a north/south orientation.  Ample parking makes it easy to access any part of park.  Paved walking paths are perfect for that early morning walk or run.  Park benches are found throughout the park if you just want to sit and take in nature.  The reflecting pond is picturesque and a favorite subject of artists throughout the year. With racquetball, handball and pickle ball courts you will find enthusiasts working their 'A' game.  

If a trip to a local brewery is in your plans, then stop by Rockwell Brewery on the west side of the park for some great craft beers and a bite to eat.  Be sure and checkout their live music schedule for a great evening out with family and friends.  Finding fun things to do at the park year round is quite easy.  Spring brings about new life through the park.  Summer offers a multitude of events.  Fall explodes with colors of red, orange and yellow as the foliage caresses the trees before covering the ground in advance of Winder.  Francis Park is clearly one of the hidden gems in St. Louis that must be enjoyed.

Written by Gregg Sharpe

Lafayette Park

Nestled quietly just south of Downtown Lafayette Park encompasses nearly 30 acres of walkable park in beautiful Lafayette Square.  The park was set aside from what was known as the St. Louis Commons and dedicated in 1851.  Many historians refer to Lafayette Park as the older public park West of the Mississippi River.  The park is gated with much of it being installed prior to its dedication 170 years ago.  Popular as a wedding photography site, Lafayette Park is rich in history and a vibrant part of St. Louis.  Adding to the historical feel of the park is a group of individuals who formed the St. Louis Perfectos vintage baseball team.  They can often be seen playing baseball according to the rules used back in 1860.  They travel the Midwest and host games from other vintage teams in the south side of the park.

The park includes statues of Thomas Hart Benton and George Washington.  For art lovers, you will find in the playground area sculptures from Bob Cassilly, the renowned St. Louis artist.  The playground is complete with relics of cannons used during the Revolutionary War.  For those wanting to stroll the park and just take in the peace and quiet The Rockery provides just that environment.  And don't forget to check out the iron bridge in the park that is the only one left following the terrible tornado of 1896 that claimed many lives and wreaked millions in destruction.

Lafayette Park is a true diamond in the rough and should not be missed.

Written by Gregg Sharpe

Tower Grove Park

Tower Grove Park, donated in 1868 by Henry Shaw, is a municipal park located in the city located on 289 acres.  It sits adjacent to the Missouri Botanical Gardens with easy access from Kingshighway, South Grand, Arsenal and Magnolia. Known for its family and community friendly design and pavilions Tower Grove Park is a great park to cycling, walking, running, sitting and enjoying Mother Nature.  For exercise enthusiasts Yoga in the Park is a popular activity with its own page on the Tower Grove website.  If you want to just spend time with family and friends enjoying a nice outdoor meal then one of the many picnic areas or pavilions will do just fine.  To reserve one of the pavilions you can do so here.  The park also offers their signature community events throughout the year.  Check out their calendar of events.

For nature enthusiasts Tower Grove Park is home to nearly 400 species of trees and plants.  The park is home to festivals each year including LGTBQ Pride Festival and the Festival of Nations.  The Tower Grove Farmer's Market is extremely popular from May through October on Saturday mornings from 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM.  It's another fun can't miss event on the weekends.  

Like so many of St. Louis' parks, Tower Grove offers visitors an opportunity to explore the outdoors, take in nature during the four seasons, exercise or just relax and watch time go by.  Make Tower Grove Park part of your must see St. Louis bucket list.  

Written by Gregg Sharpe

Benton Park

Just south of Downtown on Jefferson Avenue Benton Park sits on a site formerly known as the St. Louis Commons just to the west of Soulard serving as a cemetery from 1842-1865.  Thirty years later after the Bellefontaine and Calvary cemeteries were founded, the city, by ordinance, opted to transform the space into a beautifully shaded area to spend time with family and friends. Those who were buried in the cemetery were relocated at that time.  

The park covers a little over 14 acres although it was originally 17 acres when created to accommodate streets around the periphery of the park. The park was used for horticultural and botanical instruction.  While it was originally named City Park, that changed years later to honor Thomas Hart Benton, who represented the people of Missouri as their first Senator.  For many, one of the most interesting features of the park is its location above a system of caves that gave way to the founding of many breweries because of the coolness they offered for storing beer or "lagering" as Germans know it.  The constant temperature of 55 degrees was ideal for brewmaster needs.  

Today, the Benton Park Neighborhood Association, a volunteer, non-profit group, maintains the integrity and character of the park while collaborating with neighborhoods to foster civic involvement and spearhead annual events for residents of all St. Louis.  Popular events include the annual Gateway Cup professional cycling race, Halloween Parade and Trunk or Treat, live music in the park and the popular Tunes on Tap with live bands and eight historic houses on display throughout the neighborhood. 

Being the second oldest park in St. Louis, Benton Park should be on your bucket list.

Written by Gregg Sharpe

City Garden

City Garden, funded by the City of St. Louis, comprises three acres in the heart of downtown.  Bordered by Market Street to the south, Chestnut to the north, 8th Street to the east and 11th Street to the west the park is popular throughout the year for its foliage, shrubbery, sculptures and fountains.  

The City Garden website best describes the park as an urban oasis...a description well suited for this magnificent tract of land.  Being that it is in the city proper, most visitors are immediately struck by its lack of walls or fences.  It is completely open which makes it fun for letting the kids run around and take in Mother Nature.  On any day you will see residents walking their dogs, jogging along the path, taking photographs of the foliage or just relaxing on the many benches.  

Art lovers enjoy the 25 sculptures from 23 different artists throughout the park and often grab a coffee at Kaldi's Coffee before taking a stroll to enjoy the craftsmanship of the artists who created the memorable sculptures for all. 

Throughout the warmer months parents can be found with their little ones enjoying the many water features of the park to cool when temperatures exceed the 90's.  The Split Basin reflecting pool is a favorite of photographers and adjacent to the video wall on the north side of the pool.  Over 1,000,000 visitors pass through the park annually as they stroll through downtown before a Cardinals, Blues or St. Louis City Soccer game.  

Also found on their website are these three statements...FREE TO EXPLORE, FREE TO PLAY, FREE TO FEEL INSPIRED.  Can't think of a better way to describe this gem in the heart of Downtown.  

Written by Gregg Sharpe