5 Best Photo Opportunities in St. Louis

Photo Opportunities St. Louis

Lee Van Grack

There is no shortage of photo opportunities in St. Louis. With a little expert advice, shutterbugs can easily make the most of what this picturesque city has to offer. If you're looking for a fun family shot, a romantic photo from your weekend getaway, or the quintessential pic of the Gateway Arch, follow these tips, and you'll return from your trip with memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Romantic Spots: Art Hill

Situated below the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park, Art Hill has always been a haven for adventurous and daring sledders in the snowy winter months, when only hay bales separate them from racing into the area's trademark fountain. If you're visiting in the warmer months, though, the fountain and lush greenery make for one of the best photo opportunities in St. Louis. Pose under the statue of the city's namesake, King Louis IX or snap your photo on the walkways surrounding the fountain. Art Hill is located in front of the St. Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110, (314) 721-0072.

Tips: Art Hill is particularly stunning at sunset and nighttime, when all the walkways are lit. It's the perfect opportunity to take a photo of the King Louis IX statue with the water in the background. Be warned that the Forest Park curfew is 10PM.

2. Quirky Spots: Turtle Playground

Designed by St. Louis artist Robert Cassilly, the Turtle Playground sits across I-64 from Forest Park. Here you'll find larger-than-life statues of a snapping turtle, box turtles and a large snake, just to name a few. Climb on top of one of the statues for one of the best photo ops in St. Louis. The Turtle Playground is located at the corner of Oakland and Tamm Avenues.

Tip: Go during the day for the best shots with the turtles. It will be less crowded, and you can take advantage of the natural light.

3. Fun Family Spots: St. Louis Zoo

Home to 18,000 animals, the St. Louis Zoo is perfect for photos with children of any age. The elephants, chimpanzees, hippos and other zoo residents are sure to elicit a smile, even if nap time is rapidly approaching. Admission is free, but fees do apply for certain activities. The St. Louis Zoo is located at 11 Government Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63110, (314) 781-0900.

Hours: Daily 9AM-5PM; Summer Hours: Fri-Sun 8AM-7PM, Mon-Thu 8AM-5PM

Tips: A popular attraction, the zoo gets crowded quickly, especially on weekends. Going early will not only increase your chances of finding a free parking spot along the street, but will also let you grab some great shots before the exhibits are crawling with visitors.

4. Scenic Spots: Missouri Botanical Garden

The oldest botanical garden in the nation, the Missouri Botanical Garden opened in 1859 and is located in the historic Shaw District of St. Louis. Photo opportunities include shots of the impressive Climatron® conservatory and pictures on the bridges in the Japanese Garden. Stroll through the flowers and take photos at your leisure. The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110, (314) 577-5100.
Hours: Daily 9AM-5PM

Admission: $8 for adults (13 and up), $4 for St. Louis city/county residents, $3 for St. Louis city/county senior residents (65+), free for members and children under 12

Tips: Early birds can take advantage of morning walking hours most Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7AM until 9PM.

5. Classic Spots: Gateway Arch

Completed in 1965 and built to commemorate America's westward expansion, the Gateway Arch is, at 630 feet, the tallest monument in the United States, and it has become synonymous with St. Louis, nicknamed the Gateway City. The grounds overlook the Mississippi River and provide a scenic backdrop for your photographs. The Gateway Arch parking garage is located at 100 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63102, (877) 982-1410. Parking is also available at the landing, located north of the arch.

Hours: Labor Day to Memorial Day 9AM-6PM, Memorial Day to Labor Day 8AM-10PM
Admission: Free to go inside. To go to the top, the cost is $10 for visitors 16 and up, $5 for visitors 3-15.

Tips: The best shots are from the top of the arch. If you're claustrophobic, the shaky tram ride may not be for you, but stairs are available. The view from the top is well worth the trek.

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