St. Louis is a city that really wasn’t on our radar until some old friends recommended it very highly. As we started looking into it, we found all kinds of things that looked great for a vacation with our kids.
After researching all the places and booking everything, the Corona Virus hit and we weren’t able to make our trip (yet!). I didn’t want all that research to go to waste so I recruited the help of travel bloggers, local photographers and Instagrammers to compile what I think is the best compilation of photo spots available in St. Louis!
Once you have finished with St. Louis, be sure to check out the rest of our awesome photography and Instagram guides for cities across the world.
Gateway Arch National Park
The Gateway Arch is the most iconic landmark in all of St. Louis. Besides being something cool to look at, there is a ton of history packed into this location, which became a national park in 2018.
The national park consists of not only the Gateway Arch, but also a large park along the Mississippi River that was home to the original city, the old courthouse where the Dred Scott case originated, and a large museum.
The arch itself was created to memorialize the following very significant events:
- Westward Expansion
- The Louisiana Purchase
- The First Civil Government West of the Mississippi
- The Slavery Debate and the Dred Scott Case
You can get fantastic views of the Gateway arch from anywhere in the park! That being said, this composition from Photographer Benjamin Board is outstanding.
The view is also amazing at night, as you can see in this image from Claire Coats.
Forest Park is a huge public area, consisting of 1,326 acres, a zoo, a science center and two museums. The park dates back to 1876 and has hosted many important events, including the 1904 Summer Olympics.
The park is loaded with diversity and lots of great photographic opportunities. You can see an excellent shot showing off the nature and a small bridge in the following image from local photographer Allen Skinner.
Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium
Ballpark Village is across the street from Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals (Major League Baseball) play.
Ballpark Village is an entertainment and dining district featuring many great photographic opportunities for any baseball fan.
Rachel Pranger shows off the giant St. Louis Cardinals’ logo in the image below.
In the below image, Mychaela poses with a trophy every true baseball fan knows!
Kiener Plaza Park
Kiener Plaza Park is located west of the Old Courthouse, just outside of the National Park.
The small 1.9 acre park features a playground, fountains, concert area, paths and a green space.
The biggest attraction of the park is its magnificent view of the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse and the “The Olympic Runner” statue. The statue honors the former Olympian Kiener for whom the park is named.
You can see the fantastic view featuring all these attractions can be seen in the image below from Cate Wolfe.
Lafayette Square Historic District
The Lafayette Square Historic District contains the area roughly bounded by Hickory and 18th Streets and Jefferson and Lafayette Avenues.
The Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. One of the biggest draws of the district is the park that is featured below, but I love the historic houses around the square.
Some of the beautiful homes are featured alongside fall colors in the image below from Nurana.
This awesome aerial view from local photographer Josh Pawlak shows some of the historic homes in contrast with the rest of the city and the arch in the background.
The Cahokia Mounds are a Pre-Columbian Native American Site across the Mississippi from St. Louis in Illinois.
The historic site is about 3.5 square miles and contains 80 historic mounds. The Mounds are the largest prehistoric earthen construction north of Mexico and are listed as a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you can see in the image below from Juliette Marini, the top of one the mounds is a great place to catch the sunset.
The view from the bottom also makes for a great shot, as you can see from this image of Jared Stevens.
St. Francis Xavier College Church
St. Francis Xavier College Church listed as a City Landmark of St. Louis and is part of the Midtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The church is part of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. It mainly serves the Saint Louis University community after being founded by the Society of Jesus.
The unique architecture of the cathedral makes for a great photographic opportunity, as you can see in the following image from St. Louis Photographer Debbie Fenelon.
Sandy Creek Covered Bridge
The Sandy Creek Covered Bridge, located southwest of town toward Hillsboro, is one of only four covered bridges left in Missouri.
The beautiful bridge is a State Historic Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The red of the covered bridge really stands out with a snowy background, as you can see in the image below from photographer Gary Adams.
The front of the bridge also makes a perfect frame for great portraits, as displayed below by local photographer Dalton Juliette.
The St. Louis Wheel
The St. Louis Wheel is located at Union Station. At $15 per adult, the St. Louis Wheel is cheaper than other big wheels we have done in London and Las Vegas so it is definitely worth a visit.
You can see the great views you get in the below image from Sage Wilder.
Another view of downtown can be seen in the image below from Brittney Jaggie.
The view from outside the Wheel is also well worth a shot, especially at night. You can see the appeal in the image below from Alexis Jesse.
The Eads Bridge is a combination railroad vehicle bridge crossing the Mississippi River north of Gateway Arch National Park.
Built in 1874, Eads Bridge was the longest rigid span built at that time. The bridge held that title for 3 years. Eads Bridge was also the largest underwater construction of the time, extending more than 100 feet below water.
Until the Gateway Arch was built, Eads Bridge was the most famous photo landmark in St. Louis. It is listed as National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
As you can see in the image below from Instagrammer @emir.tu2, Eads Bridge really is an awesome photo location.
Another fun way to use Eads Bridge is to frame the Gateway Arch in one of its brick windows, as you can see in the image below from Steve Oslica.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Laumeier Sculpture Park is located in Sunset Hills, just southwest of St. Louis. The 105-acre open-air museum is home to over 60 sculptures that can be seen via a 1.4 mile walking trail.
With so many sculptures, you can make a ton of fun images at this sculpture park, but I especially like the image below from Jessica Weis.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates over 150 temples across the world, including one in St. Louis. It is actually located west of town off the 64.
It is a beautiful building that can make for a great photographic setting, as you can see in the image below from Marni Butikofer.
While you might be tempted to just grab a shot of the whole building, it would be a shame to not explore the grounds and capture some more detailed or setting shots, like the one below from blogger Carly Wilson.
There are several wineries in the beautiful region surrounding Augusta, Missouri, which is located in a region west of St. Louis along the Missouri River.
Mount Pleasant Estates is one of the picturesque wineries you can visit. I love the perfect framing you can get in of the beautiful fields below, as captured in the following image from Han Le.
And here is another great image-this one from Elise Pate.
Montelle Winery is another winery offering a beautiful view, as you can see in the below image from Abby Schroeder.
Here is another great image from Montelle Winery. This one came from Brianna Stefanic.
Klondike Park is west of town, almost to the Augusta winery region. This is a county park that is home to hiking and cycling trails.
As you can see in the image below from Jess Grega, it is a great place to capture some water and scenery.
It is also a great place to capture a scenic view and pose at the cliffs edge, like the image below from Ryan Sharkey.
Lafayette Park is the big green square that is part of the Lafayette Square Historic District that was featured above.
You can see the beautiful fall colors and lots of trees at the park in the image below from yogi Debby Siegel.
Shaw Nature Reserve
Shaw Nature Reserve is a 2,400 acre extension of the Missouri Botanical Garden, but it is located in Gray Summit, southwest of the city off Interstate 44.
The Reserve features a wetland, wildlife flower garden, several historic homes and native garden. It is open 8-5 in the winter with extended hours in the summer.
Below is a beautiful image of ballerina Vanessa Woods, who is the owner of Vitality Ballet. The photographer behind this beautiful piece of art was Kelly Pratt, whose Instagram is full of beautiful dance images.
Missouri Botanical Gardens
Missouri Botanical Gardens, or Shaw’s Garden, is a large herbarium containing over 6.6 million specimens, making it the second largest in the USA, behind only the New York Botanical Garden.
You can see one of the beautiful species in the image below from awesome St. Louis sports reporter Erica Weston.
The Botanical Garden also features an impressive water feature, as seen in the following image from yogi Debby Siegel.
Art Hill is located in Forest Park between the St. Louis Art Museum and the Emerson Grand Basin. It is an iconic location that is home to concerts and other events, summer picnics and winter sledding.
It also offers a great view, as you can see in the image below from Aubrey McRae.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
Columbia Bottom is located on the south end of the Missouri River north of town, just west of where the Missouri River meets the Mississippi River.
If you visit during the right season, the sunflower fields make for a great backdrop, as seen in the image below from Tori Bowden.
The image below from Instagrammer @ashleytrail3 also shows off the beautiful sunflowers.
It’s not just all sunflowers at Columbia Bottom. There are also lots of beautiful landscape images to be made, as you can see in the beautiful image below from local photographer and popular instagrammer @claprix.
Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park
Creve Coeur Lake is located in Maryland Heights northwest of town, just a little west of the airport. It is the largest county park in St. Louis County.
The oxbow lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Missouri. The park features an asphalt trail that goes around the lake. There are also facilities for picnics, tennis, archery and golf.
If you go after good rain, you may get lucky and enjoy a submerged bench, like Grace Kaufman in the below image.
The lake is also a great place for water activities and catching the sunset, both of which are on display in another image from yogi Debby Siegel.
You can see the trail and the non-water scenery in the below image from Julia Ford.
St. Louis Union Station
There are so many photo opportunities at the St. Louis Union Station, from great architecture, a carousel, views of the St. Louis Wheel, amazing creations at the Soda Fountain and classic railroad shots.
You can see some of the impressive architecture and design at Union Station in the below image from blogger Plan. Pack. Capture.
Shrine of St. Joseph
The Shrine of St. Joseph is a picturesque Catholic Church in Columbus Square. The church was built in 1843 by Jesuits to serve the city’s German population.
The Church is the site of the only miracle authenticated by the Catholic Church in the Midwest.
The image below was taken by St. Louis Photographer Debbie Fenelon.
Rooftop Views of the Arch
There are many places to get rooftop views of the arch, which allow you to create some fun images. The image below was taken from the Four Seasons Sixth Floor Terrace and features yogi Debby Siegel, who teaches yoga at the location.
Aloe Plaza is a two-block section at the end of the St. Louis Gateway Call. It is directly in front of Union Station and is bounded by Market, Chestnut, 18th and 20th streets.
The most popular composition I have seen from Aloe Plaza captures the interesting buildings with the fountain in the foreground, as you can see in the image below from Anthony Alfaro.
For a slightly different take on the location, the image below from iPhone photographer Joy D captures the scene with a longer exposure in black and white.
Castlewood State Park
Castlewood State Park is southwest of town of I-44 and along the Meramec River.
The bluffs in the park provide fantastic views of the river as you can see in the image below from Halley Ungerer.
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park is across the Mississippi River in Illinois, but it provides fantastic views of St. Louis. It is also famous for its fountains, one of which is a geyser that shoots water as high as the Gateway Arch.
You can see the view of St. Louis from the park in the image below from Carolyn Botz.
There are so many great compositions to be had from this location. I love all the lines in this image from Instagrammer Natalie.
Chain of Rocks Bridge
The old Chain of Rocks Bridge, not to be confused with the new one, spans the Mighty Mississippi from the north end of St. Louis. It is famous for having a 22 degree bend in the middle of the river.
While it used to be part of Route 66, the bridge is now only open to pedestrians and cyclists, which makes much easier to capture great images, like the one below from blogger Incredible Wander Woman.
Riverboat tours are always a great way to capture more unique images. There are riverboats that leave down by the Gateway Arch National Park.
The historic riverboats, like the one in the below iamge from Hannah Bigley, make for great images in addition to the ones you can get during the tour.
The City Museum in St. Louis is unlike any “museum” you are likely to find in any other city.
The Museum lies in the old International Shoe Building, and has received numerous awards and designations as a unique and creative space.
Although there are interesting things all throughout the Museum, the best photographic opportunities are going to be on the roof, so it is worth the extra money to get the view from the top.
You can get a sense of what you will experience on the rooftop in the image below from Doris Houston.
Another great shot, showing more of the roof and view comes from Kristi Frank.
Graffiti Wall, also known as The Mural Mile, is a one-mile river-front wall located south of the Gateway Arch National Park where Leonard K. Sullivan Blvd. turns into Wharf St.
The wall features the work of over 250 talented graffiti artists.
You can see an example of the impressive work below in an image from Kaci Miller.
Jefferson Barracks Cemetery
The Jefferson Barracks Cemetery is a military cemetery located south of town along the Mississippi River.
This historic cemetery was started after the Civil War as a place to lay to rest soldiers and their family stationed at the fort that was at the same location.
You can see the beauty and symmetry of the cemetery in the image below from Lindsey Mastis.
The Moonrise Hotel is a popular boutique hotel located half a dozen blocks north of the west end of Forest Park.
The trendy hotel features a popular rooftop bar and other attractions, but it is the colored stairs that we are featuring here due to the great Instagram shots to be made.
You can see the fun stairs in the image below from Shelby Briley.
If you made it here you have seen all of our favorite shooting locations! If you think we missed something or have any other comments, head over to facebook and let us know in the Photography & Travel Group.