St. Charles is a suburb of St. Louis located on the mighty Missouri River northwest of the bustling city. If you haven’t visited St. Louis and/or are looking for suggestions for what to do there, you can head here. Or if you would prefer to visit the city’s Forest Park specifically, this post will do for you. Even though St. Charles is a St. Louis suburb, it is a charming destination in its own right with some interesting lore.
St. Charles was founded in 1769 by a French-Canadian fur trader – Louis Blanchett. It was originally called Les Petites which means “The Little Hills” in French. The city served as a temporary state capital for the US state of Missouri in the early 19th century. It was also known to be the last civilized stop of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition as they proceed to explore the American West in 1804. I would suggest that you visit the St. Charles Historic District for things to do in St. Charles, MO.
St. Charles Historic District
The beautiful St. Charles Historic District is brimming with charm. This is one of the oldest and largest historic districts in the state of Missouri. The beating heart of the historic district is Main Street which is paved with brick. The ten blocks or so of Main Street is filled with dozens of restaurants and shops housed in historic brick buildings that were restored to their 19th century glory.
Many of the restaurants have outdoor patios so that you can dine outdoors and soak in all the charms. One such restaurant is called Bradden’s. It is located on South Main Street north of Pike Street. This restaurant is known to offer a roster of American fare and wine. The restaurant uses home-style cooking as the method for preparing their dishes for diners to enjoy.
The countless shops found on Main Street offer many one-of-a-kind items for you to purchase and take home as souvenirs. So, browse as many of them as you can. Main Street also contain two tiny lovely parks to help beautify the brick-paved street. They are Berthold Square Park and Kister Park. There is also a sizable and lovely park just a very short walk east of Main Street.
This park is called Frontier Park and it is along the Missouri River. I would suggest arriving there via Perry Street which is a short, serene pedestrian street. That will lead you straight to the beautiful, circular Lewis and Clark Monument. If you don’t have your own bicycle, but would like to bicycle, I would suggest that you head to the Bike Stop Cafe which you will pass by on Perry Street on the way to Frontier Park.
They have bicycles available there for you to rent for bicycling on the path inside Frontier Park. There are also tasty coffees available at the Bike Stop Cafe if you want some. Also, there are trolleys that you can ride up and down the historic district so that you can get somewhere more specific without having to do the walking all the time.
First Missouri State Capitol
The First Missouri State Capitol is located across South Main Street from Berthold Square Park. It served as the seat of Missouri’s government when St. Charles was the capital of Missouri from 1821 to 1826. St. Charles competed with eight other Missouri cities for the right to serve as the temporary capital of the state until construction was completed for the permanent state capital of Jefferson City in 1826.
The state government was granted free rooms to be used for the state legislature to meet in. These rooms were on the second floor of the old state capitol, above a hardware store and a residence. The old state capitol is actually four brick buildings connected together. It is known for its rough-hewn timbers and dark wood floors.
During your time there, you can learn about how the state government was formed and what life looked like in the early 19th century. The admission fees for the old state capitol are $4.50 for adults and $3 for youth aged from 6 to 17. Those who are under the age of six get free admission.
Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum
The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum is located between Frontier Park and the Missouri River at the southeastern corner of the historic district. This is the museum where you can learn about the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition. This museum offers Native American artifacts and Missouri River habits that the expedition encountered on their journey westward.
The museum also house full scale replicas of the keelboat and pirogues that the expedition used to journey to the Pacific Ocean in the early 19th century. You can also check out the artwork, Missouri River Walk. This is the largest indoor mural in the state of Missouri.
The entrance fees for the museum are $5 for adults and $2 for children under the age of 17. There is also a gift shop onsite called The Trading Post.
So, the St. Charles Historic District is excellent for things to do in St. Charles, MO. Also, have you wondered about where the mighty Missouri River navigates its way through the United States? It also travels through the states of North Dakota and South Dakota.
Both of their respective capitals, Bismarck and Pierre, are located on the Missouri River. If you are wondering about places that you can visit in Bismarck, you can visit this post to learn more. As far as Pierre is concerned, you will want to head here for what to do if you end up in South Dakota’s capital.
St. Charles, Missouri Hotels
If you are in search of a hotel room to stay overnight at in St. Charles, I will give you a helping hand. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to book your stay at.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, St. Charles, MO
This hotel is located on South Main Street just south of the St. Charles Historic District. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Given this hotel’s proximity to the historic district, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. A few of them include Magpie’s Restaurant, Hendrick’s BBQ, and Trailhead Brewing Co. This hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.
There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $83 to $171. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.
Hampton Inn St. Louis/St. Charles
This hotel is located on West Clay Street near the interchange of Interstate 70 and Harry S. Truman Boulevard around nine minutes drive west of the historic district. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Also, there are onsite barbeque facilities available if you are planning any cookout during your stay.
If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Mario’s Donuts and Cafe, Lil Mickey’s Memphis Barbeque, and LongHorn Steakhouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub available at the hotel. If you are in need of a place to workout, there is a fitness center available for you at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and mini refrigerators.
The average rate for a standard room range from $96 to $148. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.
What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to visiting the St. Charles Historic District? Feel free to leave a comment below.