Lewis and Clark knew what they were doing when they stopped in St. Louis on their expedition; the Mound City is a great place to visit. Since their exploration, St. Louis has had a few additions and is now packed of fun activities and sites to see. From the iconic Gateway Arch to cruises down the Mississippi River to a nightlife scene full of live music, St. Louis is both family-friendly and enjoyable for adults. Here are five ways to appreciate Missouri’s largest metropolitan area.
5…Gateway to the West
At an impressive 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the country. Representing westward expansion, the arch overlooks the Mississippi River and is the main symbol of St. Louis. Ride to the top for an unforgettable view of the Gateway city. Designed to allow for eighteen inches of swaying room, some visitors claim they can feel the arch move slightly on windy days. Don’t be afraid; the arch was built to withstand an earthquake.
The arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park, which holds the Museum of Westward Expansion. Great for kids and at no cost, learn about the Old West and see the ways pioneers and Native Americans lived. A life-size teepee and wagon are on display and visitors will learn about Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition which lead to the Louisiana Purchase and ultimately the establishment of St. Louis. While you're there, stop by the Old Courthouse, site of the beginning of the famous Dred Scott court cases.
4…Cruise Down the Mississippi River
A variety of cruises are offered including a Blues Cruise on Thursday evenings in the summer, featuring blues music. Another popular cruise is the Skyline Dinner Cruise where patrons enjoy live music and dinner while sailing down the Mississippi. For daytime cruise, check out the daily one-hour sightseeing cruise running March through November.
Go back in time and cruise down the Mississippi River on replica 19th century paddle-wheel boats after your visit to the arch. Take in scenic views of the Mississippi and St. Louis while learning about the landmarks and architecture that make the city unique. Make sure you stop by the Arch View Café on the Gateway Arch Riverboat Dock before or after your ride on the Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher riverboats for a view of the arch while you dine on burgers and fries. Just make sure you book tickets in advance.
3…Visit the Nation’s Largest Brewer
St. Louis is home to the Anheuser-Busch brewery and world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale stables. Visitors of all ages are welcome to explore the brewery of some of America’s favorite beers and those 21 and older will have the opportunity to taste the alcoholic beverages. Soft drinks and snacks are available for younger attendees.
The tour is free and includes a visit to see the beloved Clydesdales, which are featured in many Budweiser commercials and are part of the brewery’s history. Those who consider themselves to be beer connoisseurs can participate in the Beermaster Tour and Beer School for a more in depth understanding of how the beverage is crafted and the proper ways to serve and handle beer. Book your tour now to tap into the fun.
2…Stroll Down Washington Avenue
Discover St. Louis hottest bars and dance clubs on Washington Avenue. This downtown hotspot has a variety of restaurants, bars and is one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. Old meets new in this historic area as many of the clubs and boutiques are housed in 19th century buildings.
If live music is on your checklist for the Gateway City, look no further than the Blueberry Hill where legendary rock and roll musician, Chuck Barry, is a frequent performer. Located in The Loop next to the St. Louis Walk of Fame, Blueberry Hill is a landmark restaurant and music club. Chop down on their famous hamburgers, jerk chicken and trout almondine while enjoying the celebrated décor and dart room.
1…Festivals for the Rest of Us
New Orleans may be better known for it’s Mardi Gras scene, but St. Louis holds its own carnival second only to the Big Easy. Visit the Soulard neighborhood during February to experience the 11-day celebration which wraps up with a nighttime parade through downtown St. Louis on Fat Tuesday.
Head to St. Louis over Labor Day Weekend to participate in the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival along the Mississippi River on the historic Laclede’s Landing. Local and national performers entertain attendees over this free two-day event. You’ll be joining close to 60,000 people who travel to St. Louis to take part in the world-famous Blues event. Past performers include Guy Forsyth, Lurrie Bell and Booker T.
Foodies rejoice, as the Gateway City is also home to award-winning Charter Taste of St. Louis food festival. Try food from celebrity chefs and local eateries and watch nine hand-selected chefs compete in seven categories to be crowned Chef Battle Royale Champion after a three day competition.
Another must-see special event is the annual Greater St. Louis Hispanic Festival. This event features over seventy-five vendors with arts and crafts from varying Hispanic cultures, folkloric dancers and live music. Do some good on your trip by contributing to a scholarship fund supported by the festival to raise money for under-privileged children and their families.