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Ten (Free!) Places to Visit in St. Louis This Summer

Don’t bother spending all hard-earned cash on entertainment because a summer in St. Louis can be very budget-friendly. Here is a list of 10 places to visit in the remaining summer months that will keep wallets happy.

Fair Saint Louis— Fair Saint Louis, otherwise known as “America’s Biggest Birthday Party,” will begin with a parade on Saturday, July 2 at 10 a.m. and run through Independence Day, featuring fireworks and air shows each night. Performing under The Arch on the levee is Steve Miller Band on July 2 at 7 p.m., Maroon 5 on July 3 at 8 p.m. and Montgomery Gentry on July 4 at 8 p.m.

Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts— For two weekends in July following Fair Saint Louis, head back out to The Arch for more free music on the levee. Don’t miss Bell Biv DeVoe on July 15, Gavin DeGraw on July 16, Keb’ Mo’ on July 22 and Barenaked Ladies on July 23. Opening bands begin at 6 p.m., headliners at 8 p.m.

Movies on Art Hill— As one of the most popular resting spots for visitors to Forest Park, the Saint Louis Art Museum will turn Art Hill into an outdoor movie theater for four Fridays in July. The series will begin on July 8 with Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” followed by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” on July 15, Elvis Presley in “Viva Las Vegas” on July 22. The events will conclude with James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause” on July 29. Movies start at twilight, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawnchars.

Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden— The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG), located in the Shaw neighborhood just minutes from campus, has countless exhibits of flowers and architecture to explore during the day as one of the finest attractions in St. Louis. While the price of admission varies during the day, each Wednesday MBG opens its doors to the public at free admission to enjoy a live outdoor concert. The Whitaker Musical Festival kicks off at 5 p.m. and live jazz music begins at 7:30 p.m. Entry ends at 9 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and food and beverages. Wine is served and lawn chairs may be rented from vendors. The Whitaker Musical Festival runs weekly through August 3.

The Muny— Visit “America’s Oldest and Largest Outdoor Musical Theatre” at the Municipal Opera Theater of St. Louis in Forest Park for free seats to the remaining summer productions. Pre-show entertainment and karaoke is often offered, including musical montages by the Muny Kids and Muny Teens. See professional performances of “Kiss Me, Kate” June 27 through July 3, “The Little Mermaid” July 6 through 14, “Singin’ in the Rain” July 18 through 24, “Little Shop of Horrors” July 25 through 31, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” August 1 through 7, and “Bye Bye Birdie” August 8 through 14. Gates open at 7 p.m, and their 1,500 free seats, located in the back of the theater, are given on a first come, first serve basis. Each performance starts at 8:15 p.m.

Parties in the Park in Downtown Clayton— An outdoor happy hour awaits visitors to the city of Clayton, neighboring SLU by a mere 10 to 15 minute drive. Admission is free, and 21 and-ups can enjoy half-priced beer from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Live music will begin shortly after happy hour, with the remaining line-up to include Griffin & the Gargoyles on July 13, Vote 4 Pedro on August 10, and Fat Pocket on September 14. Food is available for purchase from several vendors. Head to Meramec Avenue, between Forsyth and Maryland, on the second Wednesday of the month (through September) to party in downtown Clayton.

Thursdays @ The Intersection— Located just off of SLU’s main campus in the Midtown neighborhood, Grand Center provides high-quality entertainment within walking distance, and Thursdays @ The Intersection is no exception. Don’t miss this free music and outdoor movie series, every Thursday through August 25 in Strauss Park. Music begins at 6 p.m. and movies begin at twilight. Enjoy free popcorn and don’t forget to bring a blanket or lawn chair for the movie.

Brewery tours— If beer lovers make a trip to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, they’ll cover the refreshments. That’s right, for our 21-and-up readers, free tours and a free sample of the St. Louis classic, Budweiser are offered to each patron. Those under the legal drinking age can still go on the tour and drink soda in the tasting room for free. Brewery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A Walk in the Park– Citygarden in Downtown St. Louis, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Tower Grove Park and Forest Park are the perfect destinations for a picnic and a summer stroll. For those who prefer a hike or a vigorous bike ride, head to Castlewood State Park in Ballwin and choose from eight different trails of varying length and difficulty. Bring a friend and bring a lot of water, and enjoy the sunshine.

The Usual Suspects— Any article about free hot-spots in St. Louis would be incomplete without mentioning the usual suspects: the Saint Louis Zoo, Art Museum and Science Center. All have free entry, but the trick is finding a good place to park. Parking at the Zoo and the Art Museum might require a good hike, but as far as the Science Center is concerned, park at the Observatory on the other side of I-64 (parking at the observatory is free, but parking at the main entrance is $9!). Zoo hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Art museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Science center hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.