Exploring the Cities on a Budget: NL Central


St. Louis

Part of the fun in visiting an MLB ballpark is experiencing the city it’s in. It’s your chance to see some sights, try the local fare, and take in the culture. An ongoing joke with my friend Liz is that our pictures should always “capture our essences.” I found many times ballparks did just this- they captured the cities they’re in’s essence. Going to the park is great  (obviously, since it’s the reason you’re visiting) but don’t sell yourself short and miss out on the park’s inspiration! While I didn’t always get to fully explore the cities I visited since I was cramming in 30 parks, I did always make an effort to see what I could.

For those who are thinking, this is going to rack up my trip cost, I say “Not so fast my friend!” (yeah I just quoted Lee Corso, happens). Here are some ways to save when sightseeing in the cities of the NL Central… and even some free activities!


Chicago: (Cubs)

  • Plenty of free sights to see in downtown Chicago- The Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park (free concerts on Mondays in the summer), and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Illinois residents can take advantage of free days each month from a plethora of Chicago’s renowned museums.
  • Out of towners can use Gold Star to search for discounted tickets or purchase a City Pass for admission to 5 of Chicago’s most popular attractions including the Skydeck and Shedd Aquarium.
  • The Chicago Children’s Museum offers free days and coupons making it easier to bring the whole family out.
  • If you’re feeling very ambitious, purchase the Go Chicago Card. It gives you admission to 26 of Chicago’s must-see attractions for a fraction of the cost!
  • Be sure to check the Student & Budget Travelers section of the Chicago tourism site. It includes tips, events, and even hotels and restaurants for those looking to save.

Cincinnati: (Reds)

Houston: (Astros)

Milwaukee: (Brewers)

Pittsburgh: (Pirates)

St. Louis: (Cardinals)

  • St. Louis is one of the best US cities when it comes to free attractions- take a tour of the Cahokia Mounds, people watch in the Citygarden, spend a day with the animals at the St. Louis Zoo, enjoy an outdoor concert at The Municipal Opera, take a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, or see the Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm.
  • The following museums all offer complimentary admission to their general exhibits- the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Museum of Westward Expansion (under the Gateway Arch).
  • The Gateway Arch is free to visit and the park around the site is beautiful and provides great views of the Mississippi River. The trip up does cost adults $10, children $5. Book online and receive free parking at the Gateway Arch Parking Garage.
  • Riding a riverboat is another given when visiting St. Louis and there are plenty of cruise options. Advanced purchase is recommended and they do provide group discounts.
  • Check St. Louis’ tourism site for coupons and special offers to the city’s most popular attractions before visiting. There are even deals for Cards tickets!

Not visiting an NL Central city? Check out my previous posts on exploring AL Central, AL East, or AL West cities.


3 thoughts on “Exploring the Cities on a Budget: NL Central

  1. I’m hoping to get to Chicago next season for a Cubs game. My oldest boy loves the Cubbies, and I have a friend in that area we can visit (and who knows their way around). The Shedd Aquarium is awesome and highly recommended. We’ll have to check out some of the museums, too.


  2. The best thing to do in Chicago, if you’re in from out of town and only have a day, is to talk a walk along the lakefront and enjoy the view. The lake is free, and the skyline is second to none.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s