Visiting St Louis - What to See and Do
(Lambert St. Louis International Airport STL, USA)
began life as an outpost for pioneers seeking their fortunes in the uncharted western United States
. Its iconic Gateway Arch symbolizes this role as the door into possibility and prosperity, and visitors will find plenty of reasons to linger here before heading on their way.
Culturally, the city's historic role as a gateway has created a melting pot of European ethnicities reflected in its diverse neighborhoods and restaurants. There are top-class museums in St. Louis along with a deep tradition of good music and amazing food. Venture to the Delmar Loop and all will become apparent.
Situated along the Mississippi River, St. Louis also offers visitors lots of water-based attractions. From riverboat cruises and walks along the bike path to the cobblestone charisma of Laclede's Landing, the river is an essential component of city life. This city can easily be a one-stop travel destination, but it is also a great base for historic explorations along the Mississippi.
Ten things you must do in St. Louis
- One of America's largest urban parks is Forest Park. With close to 1,300 acres / 526 hectares to work with, this is the place for walks, bike rides, boat rides, a jog or any other escape from the city bustle. Many of the top attractions in St. Louis are located in and around Forest Park as well, including the art museum and the zoo.
- St. Louis has several grand historic homes, perfectly preserved and open to the public. The huge 1851 Campbell House Museum is a good place to start, with most of its original Victorian décor and furnishings intact. The 1889 Samuel Cupples House is a class example of America's Gilded Age architecture, with 42 rooms to imagine you are back in another era.
- The Missouri Botanical Garden is America's oldest and one of the world's finest. Planted in 1859, its 79 acres / 32 hectares are woven with different gardens, such as the country's largest Japanese garden, an English woodland and a Turkish Ottoman garden. You can easily pass half a day strolling around, and the kids will love the Children's Garden built to resemble a river town from the 1800s.
- The Beaux Arts building, where the St. Louis Art Museum is located, is just as impressive as the artwork inside. Built for the 1904 World's Fair, the building has a truly comprehensive collection of art from around the globe, covering all the ages. This is a fun art museum, because it offers visitors tastes of so many different forms of art.
- The downtown district of St. Louis is where you will find the densest concentration of bars, together with an enticing live music scene. The neighborhoods of the Loop and Laclede's Landing are filled with bars of all kinds, most of them featuring live blues, jazz, honkeytonk or rock every night of the week. The Soulard district, in the south corner of downtown, is another hot spot for local music.
- St. Louis is a city where you should make an effort to incorporate eating into your itinerary. Local smokehouses create some of the finest barbecued food in the country, while the city is also known for its tasty Italian cuisine, which is best served in the Hill neighborhood. You can also find lots of excellent eateries in the Loop and Central West End, two of the city's trendiest districts to eat and play.
- Its name, the Museum of Transportation, is incredibly bland compared to the wealth of motorized vehicles contained inside. It is one of the country's top museums of its kind, boasting over 70 locomotives and countless models of vintage automobiles. Another highlight is the miniature train ride that cruises around the 129-acre / 52-hectare property, passing by many of the big machines.
- If you are a fan of Budweiser beer (Bud, to its devotees) then a trip to the original Anheuser Busch Brewery is a must. Founded here in St. Louis in the 1860s, it is one of the planet's largest breweries, and its tour is quite engaging. Besides learning about the brewing process, guests get to see the stables where the Clydesdale horses reside and the 1892 Brew House that started it all. Naturally, there are free beers at the end of the tour, which takes about 90 minutes.
- America's second-oldest symphony orchestra is to be found in St. Louis. Performing arts fans have plenty to get excited about, and all of it conveniently happens in the Grand Center district. Here, the historic Powell Symphony Hall, Fabulous Fox Theater and Grandel Theater host a steady schedule of classical concerts, ballet, theater and other wonderful (and quality) shows.
- It is certainly worth checking out the Gateway Arch up close if you have time. This iconic attraction serves as America's tallest national monument at 192 meters / 630 feet high, and the tram ride to the top rewards passengers with superb views across St. Louis - when the weather is clear. Also onsite is the IMAX theater that shows a range of short movies, and the Museum of Westward Expansion, where the epic journey of explorers Lewis and Clark is showcased.