St. Louis is famous for its championship-winning baseball team, giant arch and role as the setting of a Judy Garland musical. As a general rule of thumb, be sure you have good directions and have an idea of where you are going once you are in the city. Here are some of the great attractions that St. Louis has to offer:
Arguably St. Louis’ most famous landmark, the Gateway Arch commemorates the city’s role as the gateway to the West. The 630-foot monument is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which honors President Thomas Jefferson’s role in the Louisiana Purchase. This historic deal nearly doubled the size of the United States and opened the door to westward expansion. It is also home to the Museum of Westward Expansion, which honors pioneers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and houses rare artifacts from their time.The Old Courthouse, another famous St. Louis landmark, is famous for its role in the Dred Scott trial -- a landmark Supreme Court case. The decision also deemed unconstitutional the Missouri Compromise, the first attempted congressional solution to the slavery debate. The compromise, which allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state, provided Maine enter as a free state, also prohibited slavery from new states in the Louisiana Purchase land north of the southern Missouri border. The courthouse now presents an exhibit about the trial and Dred Scott himself
Capitalize on free attractions
Why not take advantage of all of the free things to do and places to go while you visit? The Contemporary Art Museum offers free admission on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, a mosaic-filled Catholic church that Pope John Paul II visited in 1999, is worth a visit for aesthetic, if not religious reasons. Check out the Missouri History Museum to learn about the 1904 World’s Fair, also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition as well as Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis plane. The Saint Louis Zoo is free but does charge for parking.
Visit the breweries and wineries
These attractions are specifically for St. Louis visitors who are at least 21 years old. Although it is now a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Leuven, Belgium-based company, Anheuser-Busch is still an integral part of St. Louis history and culture. The brewery is a National Historic Landmark. Take a tour of the Budweiser brewery to see how the beer is brewed and packaged. You can also become more of a beer connoisseur than you already think you are by taking a 45-minute interactive beer class, where you could find yourself on a taste panel.If you’d rather tour vineyards, you are also in luck. According to research done by the Stonebridge Research Group, Missouri had 97 operating wineries in 2009. That same year, it ranked 12th among grape-producing states in the U.S., and eighth for 2008-2009 wine production. There are some popular vineyards a short drive away from St. Louis. These include the Mount Pleasant Estates in Augusta, Mo., which grows 12 varieties of grapes and boasts a 4,000 square foot tasting room. The original Stone Hill Winery, located in Hermann, Mo., is the oldest winery in the state. Stone Hill Winery owns seven separate vineyards, and has won more than 3,700 medals since 1993.