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The real secret? Colorado is a hidden gem on its own. Denver is a bumping transplant town getting busier by the day, but you’d be surprised how many people never get out of the city! Check out these 8 hiking trails, all perfectly hidden gems in Colorado that will make your Colorado trip one for the books. These trails are perfect for visitors and locals looking to beat the bustle and experience Colorado’s beauty.

Colorado is full of history and nature. Don’t forget to Leave No Trace so we can continue enjoying these hidden gems. 

Hidden Gems Hiking Trails in Colorado for Day Adventurers

Centennial Cone “Travois” Trail

  • Distance: 13.0 miles
  • Elevation: 2,020
Travois Trail

Travois Trail

Start your morning with an incredible sunset view from Centennial Cone. You may see a few runners in the morning, but this is a great hidden gem if you’re looking for quiet hiking.

The Travois Trail is closed from February to June for Elk mating season, so be sure to look up open trails and dates before arriving. This 13-mile hike is dog friendly, but there aren’t many creeks, so come prepared with plenty of water for you and your four-legged friends.

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Blue Lake Trail near Telluride

  • Distance: 10.3 miles
  • Elevation: 1,794
The serene Blue Lakes Trail - a hidden gem in Colorado

The serene Blue Lakes Trail

You’ll want to get to this one early – only a few parking spots are available at the trailhead!

This hidden gem in Colorado is great for hikers, campers, and cross country skiers! It’s a longer hike, but the incline is gradual and not too strenuous. You’ll enter the Rawah Wilderness and five miles in, you’ll find yourself with incredible views of Blue Lake. Bonus: it’s a great hike for dogs and if you catch it at the right time of summer, the wildflowers flourish.

Don’t forget: Longer hikes require planning around weather, water, food, and directions! Make sure you’re prepared for Blue Lake Trail.

St Mary’s Glacier Trailhead

  • Distance: 2.4
  • Elevation: 1,030 
St Mary's Glacier Photo by Paul Arterburn on Unsplash

St Mary’s Glacier
Photo by Paul Arterburn on Unsplash

Located in Idaho Springs,  this trail is great for a day trip about an hour from Denver, Boulder, and Breckenridge! St Mary’s Glacier is a popular winter hike; you might find skiers or ice fishermen enjoying the mountain along the way. Throughout the journey, the views are incredible. You won’t be disappointed when you make it to the glacier!  

Be prepared for wind and temperature changes; microspikes, poles, and warm clothes are recommended as the snow sticks around for quite a while.

Parking at the trailhead is $5 cash. View the Forest Service website for closures and restrictions.

Hidden Gems in Colorado for a Weekend Getaway

Ouray, Colorado

Discover Ouray - known as the Little Switzerland of America, one of the best hidden gems in Colorado

Discover Ouray – known as the Little Switzerland of America

Ouray is commonly known as the “Little Switzerland of America”, so you can imagine why it’d make the list for hidden gems. 

Summer is the best time to plan a weekend getaway to this town full of gems. Ouray offers incredibly scenic views along the Million Dollar Highway, Fish Creek Falls, and Red Mountain Pass Summit. Ouray is also home to No Sulfer Hot Springs – filled with geothermal water, packed with minerals straight from Ouray Box Canyon Waterfall.

The downside? It’s over 6 hours from the Denver Airport. There’s no doubt it’s worth the trip though! There are two smaller airports outside of Ouray, but you might have a harder time finding trips in. I would recommend checking Skyscanner to find the best option.

Imogene Pass

  • Distance: 17.5 mi
  • Elevation: 4734

Imogene Pass is a more strenuous hike, but you also have the option of driving! It’s well known for offroading – so well known you can actually rent a jeep in town to try it out yourself.

If you enjoy crazy things, like racing your way up a giant mountain, Imogene Pass hosts an annual, 17-mile run! 

The trailhead is just 30 minutes from Telluride, a quaint mountain town filled with waterfalls, hikes, and festivals in the summer!

Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat, CO

Strawberry Park Hot Springs - one of the best hidden gems in Colorado

Strawberry Park Hot Springs – one of the best hidden gems in Colorado

Sometimes, you just need a weekend of pampering! Strawberry Park Hot Springs is the perfect getaway during cold months. The park has maintained nature’s beauty around these Hot Springs while allowing you to lodge and soak in 104-degree mineral water. Nearby, Routt National Forest has trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and biking.

The “Train Caboose” and “Covered Wagon” are just two of the park’s unique lodging for guests. They also have camping availability or, you can head to Downtown Steamboat Springs and enjoy the local dining and shopping. There is an onsight shuttle to take you to Routt and Steamboat Springs.

Hot tip: After hours, the springs are 18+ and clothing is…optional. No alcohol is allowed or available.

Strawberry Park currently requires reservations for all pools. You can reserve your spot directly on their website

Grand Mesa Lakes

For a snow-filled state, Colorado can get hot. To get through the hottest summer days, Grand Mesa Lakes are the perfect place to cool off. Grand Mesa holds 300 lakes and reservoirs where you can fish, hike, camp, boat, and more. It’s known as the “World’s Largest Flat Top Mountain” with a 10,000-foot elevation.

You’ll find the drive into Grand Mesa National Forest tranquil and beautiful. The forest is home to a diverse group of wildlife like moose, black bears, and is well known for its trout fishing.

If you’re not much of a hiker and need a place to stay, check out nearby hotels on booking.com.

Hidden Gem Hiking Trail in Colorado for Beginners

Glacier Gorge Trail

  • Distance: 3.3 mi
  • Elevation: 646

Glacier Gorge Trail is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, which can be a heavily trafficked area. I’d suggest beating the crowd and enjoying this trail at sunrise. However, Glacier Gorge Trail is not the most popular in the park but you still get spectacular views of the mountains and the lake without the crowds and strenuous hiking.

This loop is just over three miles, making it perfect for a quick trip to see the park and give you the rest of the day to explore. There is currently a fee to get into Rocky Mountain National Park so don’t forget to look up entry requirements before going.

Hidden Gems in Colorado Wrap-Up

I hope you got some great ideas for your next flight. This state offers endless amounts of nature and adventures, it would take a lifetime to experience it all. Now that you have these 8 hidden gems in Colorado, it’s time to start planning your trip! Hope to see you here soon!

When planning a trip to Munich, there are the obvious famous spots, like the Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall, Marienplatz, or the vast English Garden. But if you’re looking for something more off the beaten path, there are plenty of hidden gems in Munich!

I have lived in Munich for four years, and have grown to love it. The city checks a lot of boxes: lots of nature, charming neighborhoods, and a great selection of cultural events year-round. Discover what makes Munich so great with this list of my favorite places in Munich off the beaten path.

The Seehaus Biergarten

The Seehaus Biergarten in the Englischer Garten

The Seehaus Biergarten, my favorite Biergarten hidden gem in Munich!

Munich is well known for its Biergarten culture, and you’ll find them scattered throughout the city. But my favorite Biergarten is in the middle of the English Garden next to the Seehaus. From the Biergarten tables, you have a beautiful view over a small lake and into the dense green that makes the English Garden an oasis in the middle of the city. 

Not only is the scenery unbeatable, but they serve a variety of classic Biergarten food, including Hax’n and Steckerlfisch. And of course, you can pick up a fresh beer right from the tap. Or, if you’ve had your fill of beer, they have an area where you can enjoy cocktails and wine under the Linden trees.

Gärtnerplatz

Hang out at Gärtnerplatz while exploring Munich off the beaten path in the alternative Glockenbachviertel

Hang out at Gärtnerplatz while exploring Munich off the beaten path in the alternative Glockenbachviertel

Nestled between the Viktualienmarkt and the Isar River is the neighborhood known as Glockenbachviertel. While Munich has a reputation for being conservative, Glockenbach is a welcoming and lively neighborhood full of hidden gems in Munich.

Here you can find swanky cocktail bars, grungy dive bars, and hip boutiques. The center of Glockenbachviertel is the circular Gärtnerplatz – grab a drink at a nearby kiosk and hang out with the locals.

Gans Woanders

Even from the funky exterior, it’s clear that Gans Woanders is one of the best hidden gems in Munich. Its name is a play on words from the phrase ‘Ganz woanders’ (somewhere else) but with a twist of using the German word ‘Gans’ which means goose.

A whimsical building houses a unique space that serves as a café during the day and a bar at night. It’s a great place if you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Munich and are looking for something different from the typical beer halls and Bavarian food.

Rosengarten

Just a small fraction of the many roses you'll see at the stunning Rose Garden

Just a small fraction of the many roses you’ll see at the stunning Rose Garden

I lived in this city for 3 years before discovering the beautiful rose garden. In fact, my first visit there prompted me to write this article about the best hidden gems in Munich!

Located near the Isar river, this manicured garden offers a great place to take a stroll and relax. There are plenty of lounge chairs and hundreds of blooming plants. After enjoying the Rosengarten, you can walk along the banks of the Isar river, where the locals love to take a dip in summer.

Neues Schloss Schleissheim

Venture to the north of Munich to explore Neues Schloss Schleissheim

Venture to the north of Munich to explore Neues Schloss Schleissheim

Inspired by Versailles, and serving as a summer residence to the Wittelsbacher royals, the Neues Schloss Schleissheim castle is well worth a visit! It’s a little outside the center of Munich, well off the beaten path. The castle features Baroque architecture at its finest and is surrounded by spectacular gardens. I’m surprised this place isn’t more famous – it took 3 years of living here before I even heard about it! 

View of the Glockenspiel from Galeria Kaufhof

While the Marienplatz Glockenspiel is arguably the #1 tourist attraction of Munich, there is a viewpoint over the famous square that is a true hidden gem. The café in Galeria Kaufhof overlooks the square and gives you a perfect view of the famous Glockenspiel.

Grab a front-row seat to Munich’s most famous attraction without dealing with the crowds. Side note – if you happen to be in Munich during a heatwave, the Galeria Kaufhof is one of the few places in the city that has coveted air conditioning!

Alte Utting

The Alte Utting boat sits atop a bridge and functions as a restaurant and bar

The Alte Utting boat sits atop a bridge and functions as a restaurant and bar

A scene that looks like it belongs in the more edgy Berlin, Alte Utting is one of the best hidden gems in Munich and my favorite place to take out-of-town guests. It’s an old ship that has been elevated onto an old set of railway tracks, a cool place to grab a drink with friends.

The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend is a café and event space in the middle of the student district. It serves great coffee and snacks, and will occasionally have a book reading or poetry slam. Check the schedule of events to see if something sparks your interest.

The Jaded Monkey

With a prominent beer culture, it’s no wonder that great cocktail bars in Munich are few and far between. But there are some great hidden gems, like the Jaded Monkey. Serving up inventive cocktails in a swanky setting reminiscent of a New York bar, you’ll love getting a little more off the beaten path while visiting Munich.

Café im Vorhoelzer Forum

Munich's favorite student hang out

Café im Vorhoelzer Forum – Munich’s best rooftop hang out

As a university town, Munich is full of great restaurants and bars that cater to the student crowd. This rooftop bar is a true hidden gem in Munich because it’s hard to find!

Located atop one of the University buildings, you’ll need to find your way to a back elevator. Once you emerge on the top floor, you’ll find one of the best views in Munich. On a clear day, you’ll even catch a view of the Alps!

Note: Café in Vorhoelzer Forum closed during the pandemic and re-opening is TBD. In the meantime, you can still access the rooftop and BYOB to enjoy a drink with one of the best views in Munich.

Hidden Gems in Munich, Germany

Pin Hidden Gems in Munich, Germany

Santa Barbara, California is one of those cities that feels like an escape every time you visit! You can’t go wrong with year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and mountains, and the gorgeous Spanish-style architecture throughout the whole city. Beyond the more popular tourist options such as visiting the Santa Barbara Mission, shopping on State Street, and visiting the breweries and wineries in the Funk Zone – there are many unique hidden gems in Santa Barbara to explore.

Here are 11 of the best hidden gems and unique things to do when visiting Santa Barbara:

1. Tangerine Falls

The Tangerine Falls Trail is a true hidden gem in Santa Barbara – I lived there for four years before learning about this beautiful hike! The trail is unique because there are not many waterfalls in Santa Barbara since the area doesn’t get a lot of rain.

The hike is a 2.2 mile out and back trail that starts on a path then transitions to scrambling over rocks for most of the hike, so it is a bit more difficult for some. However, the effort is well worth it when you reach the waterfall.

The rocks behind the waterfall have a beautiful orange tint and the water collects enough at the bottom that there is usually a shallow swimming hole, and it all overlooks a great view of Santa Barbara with views out to the ocean! Plus, you might see some animal life (like newts!) and nature that is hard to see anywhere else in Santa Barbara.

2. Montecito Hot Springs Canyon Trail

Santa Barbara has a few areas with hot springs (naturally heated pools of water that have bacteria and sulphur with amazing health benefits) but these Montecito ones are my favorite.

The Hot Springs Canyon Trail is a 3.7 mile moderately challenging loop trail. The hike itself is lush and mostly shady, but the best part is dipping in the hot spring pools at the end.

The hottest pool is at the top and each gets a bit cooler as the water flows down. Whichever pool you choose, you will leave feeling like you came from the spa! Just make sure to follow the signs closely to choose the right turns to reach the hot springs.

3. Visit the Sunstone Winery

Located 35-minutes north of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley, the Sunstone Winery is truly a hidden gem for those looking for a gorgeous California vineyard. It has been voted “Santa Barbara’s Favorite Red Wine” and “Best Santa Ynez Valley Tasting Room” by the Santa Barbara Independent, proving the Sunstone Winery is a local favorite.

With French inspired courtyards, stone barrel-aging caves, and picnic tables under the olive and oak trees, not to mention the wonderful wines that can only be bought onsite… this is the perfect afternoon activity for those looking to get off the beaten path in Santa Barbara!

4. Tour Casa del Herrero

Casa del Herrero Home and Gardens is great for those who want to experience a piece of Santa Barbara’s history by diving into a more unique experience than the typical tours.

This 1920s home is one of the finest examples of Spanish revival architecture in the U.S. and is full of 15th and 16th century pieces from the “Golden Age” of Spain. Plus, the Moorish-style gardens are spectacular.

5. Lizard’s Mouth

Lizard’s Mouth is a rock formation near the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains. It is aptly named for its resemblance to a lizard’s mouth (from a distance) and has some of the best views of the Santa Barbara area.

The distinct silhouette that gives Lizard's Mouth Rock its name

The distinct silhouette that gives Lizard’s Mouth Rock its name

You must do a little walking (~0.3 miles) to see the rock formation, but the area is primarily made up of rocks and does not really have trails. This is a popular spot in Santa Barbara for outdoors enthusiasts and people who like bouldering and rock climbing.

6. Walk Through the Goleta Butterfly Grove

The Monarch butterflies migrate through Goleta from November to February and can be seen at the Butterfly Grove. It’s incredible to see the butterflies come through, but the site itself is gorgeous all year round too.

Hidden gems in Santa Barbara - monarch roosts in the Goleta butterfly grove

At the right time of year, you can see monarch roosts in the Goleta butterfly grove

Situated on the Goleta bluffs, there are a few trails through the trees that take you to the cliffs and some that have beach access. The Goleta Butterfly Grove is a beautiful and lesser-known spot for a stroll, picnic, or to watch the sunset.

7. Visit Santa Barbara’s Most Unique Coffee Chain: Cajé

Cajé is my absolute favorite coffee chain in Santa Barbara! They of course have great coffee, but they are unique because there’s multiple locations across Santa Barbara that each have a distinctly different vibe and slightly different menu.

The Cajé I highly recommend visiting is across from the Arlington Theater on State Street. It’s a stunning location (often used as a wedding venue!) and serves signature coffee cocktails. The Haley St. Cajé also has nice vibes and “fancy” cocktails and even occasionally (it’s not advertised) turns into a speakeasy at night with a full bar.

For a more casual cup of coffee visit the Cajé downtown State Street or in Isla Vista. The original Cajé is in Isla Vista and mainly serves the local UCSB college community, but it has a more extensive breakfast food menu and a casual, fun feel with a 5-minute walk to the beach.

8. Have a Picnic and Watch the Planes at the Santa Barbara Airport

The Santa Barbara Airport is a tiny airport located in Goleta. It’s a very easy airport to fly in and out of when visiting, especially for inexperienced flyers, but it’s also a great place to see unique, old-school airplanes.

A fun, hidden gem activity is to pick up Dave’s Dogs (a nearby place that serves hotdogs with all kinds of toppings imaginable) and watch the planes from the benches in the waiting lot right outside of the airport.

9. Spend a Day in Solvang – “The Danish Capital of America”

Solvang is a town that is 34 miles (~45-minute drive) north of Santa Barbara, but is well worth a day trip. Most buildings have Danish-style architecture, there are plenty of amazing wine tasting rooms, and multiple authentic Danish bakeries and restaurants.

Discover Danish architecture of the nearby town of Solvang

Discover Danish architecture in the nearby town of Solvang

In Solvang Village, you can tour Old Mission Santa Inés, shop at The Book Loft or Rasmussen’s, visit a museum, enjoy an outdoor performance, or pet the alpacas!

10. Hidden Gem in Santa Barbara for Foodies: Zaytoon

Somehow, Zaytoon is rarely mentioned in places to eat in Santa Barbara, which makes it hands down the best hidden gem restaurant in the area and the one place I always have dinner at every time I’m in town again!

Zaytoon is a Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurant with a delicious gourmet menu and beautiful patio. It’s a hidden oasis full of flowers and greenery with fire pits, live entertainment, and a beautiful fountain and architecture.

11. Hidden Gem in Santa Barbara for Extreme Adventurers: Kayak to Platform Holly

There are plenty of outdoor and adventurous activities for people to explore in Santa Barbara from surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, rock climbing, and more. One that many people don’t know about is kayaking towards Platform Holly.

Platform Holly is a decommissioned oil rig sitting about two miles off Coal Oil Point just west of Isla Vista. Rent a kayak, pack a lunch, and pick a fair-weather day to kayak out to the oil rig. You will get amazing views of the Santa Barbara coast and cliffs and likely see some sea life along the way!

Kayaking by Isla Vista

Kayaking by Isla Vista

It is certainly a challenge and not something to do alone or if you don’t have plenty of water experience. Be aware of the currents and conditions of the day, stay your distance from the sea lions that lay on Holly, and practice utmost safety while on the open ocean water.


Santa Barbara has hidden gems to explore for every type of tourist whether you prefer to stay out in nature or want to explore the ins and outs of the city. There is so much to see and do in Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas, especially when you get off the beaten path!

Hidden gems in Santa Barbara

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Anyone who’s into world travel will be familiar with Tulum. This jungle coastline on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula has become a recent hotspot, with its stunning Cenotes and boutique beach hotels featuring prominently all over social media. While Tulum is no longer off the beaten path, the food scene, the funky artist vibe, and the stunning nearby sites make it the perfect destination in our books. If you’re in the area, be sure to take advantage of some great day trips from Tulum.

 

Renting a car is the best way to take day trips from Tulum, but you can also find local tour operators who will organize everything for you. You can check out Get Your Guide or Viator to get an idea of pricing and reviews and to book your tour ahead of time.

1. Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza - one of the best day trips from tulum

The Chichen Itza Pyramid – one of the New Wonders of the World

It’s safe to say that the number one day trip from Tulum is a visit to one of the New Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you see this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site and how it rises impressively from the surrounding countryside.

Chichen Itza is best reached by car and takes about 2 hours one-way from Tulum. If you don’t have your own car, you can go on a full-day excursion that combines a visit to Chichen Itza, the Hubiku Cenote, and Valladolid.

2. Cenote Ik Kil

Swim in the stunning Ik Kil Cenote - a day trip from Tulum

Swim in the stunning Ik Kil Cenote

Located a 2-hour drive from Tulum is one of the most beautiful Cenotes on the Yucatán Peninsula. The ceiling of a former freshwater limestone cave has long since collapsed, creating a steep crater-like opening with jungle vines spilling into the pool below.

It’s hard to believe that a place like this exists on earth. Keep in mind that there is a fee to enter which seems to get more expensive year after year so come prepared with your pesos. 

3. Swimming with Turtles in Akumal

For one of the best day trips from Tulum, head up the coast to Akumal, a Mayan word that means place of the turtles. In Akumal Bay, you can swim with juvenile green sea turtles who hang out here until they head to open waters in their adulthood.

Akumal is a public beach, so it’s absolutely free to swim with the turtles. However, there are some privately-owned beaches near the area, so be sure to avoid trespassing and upsetting the local owners.

4. Coba Mayan Ruins

Climb the Coba Mayan Ruins on your daytrip in Quintana Roo

Climb the Coba Mayan Ruins

The Yucatán Peninsula is home to some of the most impressive Mayan ruins, and the pyramid at Coba is a must-see. This particular site is special because it’s one of the only Mayan ruins that you can actually climb.

If you have your own car, it’s about a 45-minute drive from Tulum, but there are also local buses that connect Coba to Tulum.

5. Valladolid

The Suytun Cenote near the town of Valladolid

The Suytun Cenote near the town of Valladolid

The colorful quaint little town of Valladolid is a perfect day trip from Tulum for anyone who wants to see an eclectic colonial town in the heart of the Yucatán. If you’re making the trek to Valladolid, don’t miss the nearby Suytun Cenote.

This Cenote is one of the most popular sites on the Yucatán, famous for its cathedral walls and stone platform that leads to the middle of the freshwater pool. It’s a popular spot, so it’s best to visit Suytun Cenote in the afternoon after the tourist buses have departed. 

6. Cozumel

Take a Yucatan Peninsula day trip to the paradise beaches of Cozumel

Relax on the paradise beaches of Cozumel

Cozumel is a mostly-undeveloped island that looks like an island paradise: white sand, turquoise waters, and palm trees that grow right up to the shore. Luckily, it’s possible to take a day trip from Tulum to Cozumel.

There are ferries departing from Playa del Carmen every hour, so there is never too long of a wait. Once on Cozumel, you can go snorkelling among the reefs, or head to a sandy beach to relax.

7. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the impressive Mayan-built canals that can still be seen in this area. Located about an hour away, it’s one of the best day trips from Tulum for anyone looking to get a taste for the Mayan culture.

Visitors can even take a kayaking tour through the ancient canals that were used to control irrigation in the region.  If you want to go with a guide through the vast Biosphere, you can take a half-day tour from Tulum that combines kayaking in the lagoon with exploring Mayan ruins in the surrounding jungle.

8. Rio Secreto underwater cave tour

Explore the Rio Secreto Caves and underground lakes

Explore the Rio Secreto Caves and underground lakes

The Rio Secreto is one of the most stunning sights on the Yucatán peninsula. This network of limestone caves has underwater rivers, hiking trails, and massive cathedral-like rooms. You’ll have to go with a guide to explore the underground area, and there are tours ranging from full-day experiences to shorter visits.

9. Swimming with Whale Sharks near Isla Mujeres

Swim with Whale Sharks off the coast of Holbox

Swim with Whale Sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres

If you’re spending a long vacation in Tulum, you should make time to take a day trip to the north. Here you’ll find a more remote and untouched part of the Yucatán peninsula, so it’s the perfect day trip for those looking to get off the beaten path.

From June to September, you can find Whale Sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres, and it’s possible to book a tour from Tulum to swim alongside these gentle giants.

10. Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores

The Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores & Bacalar Cenote

The Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores & Bacalar Cenote

If you’re looking for something further afield from Tulum, you can head 3 hours south to Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores. It’s a good idea to take a day trip to Bacalar from Tulum if you want to get off the beaten path in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Although it’s a fair distance away from Tulum, the stunning lagoon is worth it. The best way to see the lagoon is from the water, so you might consider splurging on a full-day sailing trip that picks up from Tulum.

Anyone looking for things to do in St. Louis already knows to visit Tower Grove Park, the City Museum, the Grand Arch, and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour, but maybe you’re looking for something more off the beaten path. Read on for the top picks of the best hidden gems in St Louis, places that are lesser-known but still well worth a visit!

 

1. Laumier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park - a hidden gem in St Louis

Discover more than 70 large-scale works of art in Laumeier Sculpture Park

The Laumeier Sculpture Park is a free open-air museum located in Sunset Hills which covers 105 acres. Here, you can find sixty sculptures that you can inspect when walking along the various trails across the park.

During your walk, you will come across a Tudor stone mansion which was built in 1816 and now houses a beautiful indoor gallery. 

You can opt to explore the park on your own with a self-guided tour or join the free walking tour, which takes place the first Sunday of every month from May to October. Whichever you choose, you will come away with a whole hoard of knowledge and you may even feel inspired artistically. 

2. Lemp Mansion

If you’re a fan of haunted houses and don’t scare too easily, you should definitely stop at the infamous Lemp Mansion. This historical house is located in Benton Park, where the Lemp family once lived. It is also known for the three suicides that occurred in the house, after the untimely death of the son, Frederick Lemp. 

Legend has it that the Lemp mansion is haunted by the Lemp family and has been named as one of the top ten haunted properties in the US. To see for yourself, you should consider taking the Lemp haunted neighborhood walking tour, where you will find out everything there is to know about the Lemp family, including their brewery business success and of course a few ghost stories. 

3. Union Station Whispering Arch

Hidden gems in St Louis' Union Station - The Whispering Arch

The Whispering Arch in St. Louis’ stunning Art Nouveau Union Station

The Whispering Arch in St. Louis’ Union Station isn’t hard to spot with its intricate green and gold decoration which stands out instantly along with the Tiffany stained-glass windows that feature three robed women. However, the arch is not just beautiful to look at, as it also has sound-altering abilities which make even the quietest of whispers sound clear as day. 

To test out the theory, head up to the second floor in Union Station with a friend. You should stand on opposite sides of the gallery and whisper as quietly as you can, and if the legend is true, it should be heard loud and clear. 

4. Forest Park Jewel Box

The recently restored Art Deco greenhouse is one of St. Louis' best hidden gems

Visit the recently-restored art deco Forest Park Jewel Box

One of the best hidden gems in St. Louis is the Forest Park Jewel Box. While this is not an actual gem, it is an art deco greenhouse that houses hundreds of flowers in the middle of the 17-acre park. 

The Jewel Box was first installed in 1936 and has since undergone a $3 million renovation to rejuvenate its glow by updating the flowers and creating a beautiful and bright space.

You can take a look around the Jewel Box for just $1, although you can keep a look out for any upcoming special events during your visit, as they are bound to be spectacular. 

5. Central Library

Whether you’re a bookworm looking for a quiet space to enjoy a good novel, or want to do a quick search to find out about a travel extension, so you can explore more of St. Louis, the Central Library is the place to go.

This is not only a building with great resources, but it is also brimming with history and beauty, so it’s no wonder that it is known as one of St Louis’ hidden gems and grandest works of art. 

St. Louis’ Central Library is a stunning building that was once voted one of the top 12 architecturally significant libraries globally. To uncover its beauty, you can take your own personal tour of the building or attend one of the many lectures held in the library, where you are guaranteed to come away with a whole host of knowledge. 

6. St. Louis Hills Art in the Park

Another hidden gem in St. Louis is the Art in the Park festival in the St. Louis Hills which takes place every September. Here you can enjoy an array of masterpieces from sculptors to musicians and more. 

If you decide to attend Art in the Park, you will be in for a treat as there is plenty of delicious food available from street vendors. Another great thing about Art in the Park is that admission is free, and it also offers a wide range of child-friendly activities which are guaranteed to entertain any little ones in your party. 

7. Turtle Playground

If you are bringing children along on your trip, then Turtle Playground should be at the top of your list of places to visit. The kids will be entranced by the huge sculptures of snapping turtles, box turtles, and even oversized turtle eggs which are all made of concrete. 

The Turtle Playground was designed as a gift to the children of St. Louis, offering a place to play and explore in the middle of such a busy city. However, just because it was built for the children does not mean you have to resist climbing on the back of a forty-foot-long turtle. 

 


Now that you’ve uncovered some of the best hidden gems in St Louis off the beaten track, it’s time to start planning your itinerary.

Will you be brave enough to face the dreaded Lemp mansion, or would you prefer to discover the beautiful architectural wonders that St. Louis has to offer? Either way, enjoy your visit to ‘The Gateway to the West!’