From paddleboats to sculpture parks, and breweries to the blues, it’s easy to catch the spirit of St. Louis.
St. Louis, known as the Gateway to the West, is an eclectic mixture of Southern charm and Midwest sensibility. Historic neighborhoods with cobblestone streets balance a modern downtown that glistens with sport stadiums, nightclubs and luxury apartments. Blues and jazz giants Chuck Berry and Miles Davis were born here and helped put St. Louis’ thriving club scene on the musical map.
St. Louis’ signature monument, the 630-foot-high (192-meter) Gateway Arch, is the perfect place for newcomers to find their bearings. Ride the tram to the peak for stunning views of the city’s neighborhoods. The surrounding Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park offers a great view into the past with the Old Courthouse and the Museum of Westward Expansion.
Home to Native Americans for centuries before the French arrived in the late 1600s, St. Louis steadily developed into an important trading town and port. The city came into its golden age in 1904 when it hosted both the Summer Olympics and the World’s Fair. A period of decline in the 1950s was followed by successive rejuvenation projects that returned St. Louis to prosperity. To fully appreciate the history of this gutsy city, set aside a day for the Missouri History Museum, the Museum of Transportation and the quirky City Museum.
The Grand Center is the cultural hub, bustling with tourists and locals enjoying the galleries, theaters and concert halls. The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is a renown creative center for visual, literary and performing arts. The nearby Laumeier Sculpture Park provides a tranquil setting for art lovers: dozens of sculptures are displayed within the 100-acre (40-hectare) woodland.
For family fun, check out the Magic House-St. Louis’ Children’s Museum, and then unwind in the Missouri Botanical Gardens and Arboretum. Foodies flock to The Hill, the Italian neighborhood where you’ll find St. Louis specialties like butter cake and deep-fried toasted ravioli.
In the evening, head to one of the many bars at Laclede’s Landing or in the Delmar Loop. Grab a Budweiser, which has a brewery in St. Louis, and keep your ears peeled for Chuck Berry, who, in his late eighties, still performs regularly.