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Old Courthouse

Some of America’s landmark legal battles, including the Dred Scott and Virginia Minor cases, were fought in this historic building in St. Louis.

Discover an important piece of America’s legal history in the Old Courthouse. Since its completion in 1862, this architectural gem has borne witness to some of the country’s most important legal trials. Tour courtrooms and special exhibits to learn its stories and the history of the city as a whole.

Find the iconic white-columned building in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Its soaring oxidized copper dome makes it easy to spot. Inside, the courthouse’s colorful atrium is just as visually arresting. 

Learn more about some of the famous cases held within the Old Courthouse. In 1847 and 1850, it was the site of the first two trials of the Dred Scott case, regarding a slave who sued for his freedom and that of his family. The United States Supreme Court’s decision against him heightened tensions between the North and South and hastened the outbreak of the American Civil War. Later, Virginia Minor famously argued for women’s voting rights within the courthouse’s walls. 

Explore two historic courtrooms on the second floor. These spaces have been meticulously restored, even down to the original furniture. The National Park Service occasionally hosts mock trials that replay famous court cases, such as the Dred Scott trial. 

Browse four rooms focused on the history of St. Louis. Examine various artifacts, antiques, photographs and other memorabilia. Watch Gateway to the West, a short film that traces the city’s past from its origins as a fur trading post to the present day.

Stop at the Old Courthouse Gift Shop to pick up a souvenir related to St. Louis and African-American history. Browse through a large selection of books, apparel, educational toys and more. 

Visit the Old Courthouse daily throughout the year. Take advantage of its longer opening hours during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. There is no entry fee. 

Find the Old Courthouse in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Walk just two blocks east to reach the iconic Gateway Arch and the meandering Mississippi River.


Guide to Exploring around Old Courthouse


Best Lodging Options Near Old Courthouse

See all 720 Properties near Old Courthouse
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch $99
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Courthouse, Gateway Arch, and World Aquarium. Dome at America’s Center and Busch Stadium are also within 15 minutes. 8th and Pine Station is 8 minutes by foot and Arch Lacledes Station is 9 minutes.

    Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark $115
    Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

    Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

    1 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Gateway Arch National Park, Busch Stadium, and Gateway Arch. America's Center Convention Complex and Dome at America’s Center are also within 10 minutes. 8th and Pine Station is 6 minutes by foot and Stadium Station is 8 minutes.

      Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch $94
      Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch

      Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch

      2 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Courthouse, Gateway Arch, and Busch Stadium. Dome at America’s Center and America's Center Convention Complex are also within 15 minutes. 8th and Pine Station is 7 minutes by foot and Convention Center Station is 9 minutes.

        Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch $94
        Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch

        Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch

        400 Olive St, St. Louis, MO
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown St. Louis, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Dome at America’s Center, and America's Center Convention Complex. Gateway Arch and World Aquarium are also within 10 minutes. Convention Center Station is 6 minutes by foot and 8th and Pine Station is 6 minutes.

          Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel $87
          Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

          Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

          421 N 8th St, St. Louis, MO
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is steps from Washington Avenue Historic District and America's Center Convention Complex. Dome at America’s Center and Busch Stadium are also within 10 minutes. 8th and Pine Station and Convention Center Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            The Westin St. Louis $82
            The Westin St. Louis

            The Westin St. Louis

            811 Spruce St, St. Louis, MO
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown St. Louis, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Busch Stadium and Enterprise Center. Dome at America’s Center and Gateway Arch are also within 1 mi (2 km). Stadium Station is only a 2-minute walk and 8th and Pine Station is 8 minutes.

              Hampton Inn Gateway Arch Downtown $84
              Hampton Inn Gateway Arch Downtown

              Hampton Inn Gateway Arch Downtown

              333 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                This family-friendly St. Louis hotel is located in the business district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, and City Museum. Convention Center Station and Arch Lacledes Station are within a 5-minute walk.

                Live by Loews - St.Louis $109
                Live by Loews - St.Louis

                Live by Loews - St.Louis

                799 Clark ave, St. Louis, MO
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Busch Stadium and America's Center Convention Complex. Enterprise Center and Dome at America’s Center are also within 15 minutes. Stadium Station is only a 2-minute walk and 8th and Pine Station is 6 minutes.