The Gateway to the West, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, and gem on the Mississippi, St. Louis is one of the finest examples of Midwest charm meeting big city style. With plenty of things to do, see, and eat, St. Louis will not leave you disappointed. Check out the top things to do in the Gateway City!
1. Thomas Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park
The park commemorates the national expansion westward, which started full force in St. Louis. Here is where you'll find the Gateway Arch but know that if you want to ride the tram to the top, it is a little tight so claustrophobics beware. Also check out the Old Courthouse, part of the same park, as well as the Museum of Westward Expansion.
2. Busch Stadium
Home to the World Series champions, the Cardinals' Busch Stadium is a state of the art, comfortably clean, new stadium with retro finishes that easily holds over 46,000 individuals. Come see the Cards play on their home turf, take a tour of the stadium, or if you don't want to attend a game, head over to the Ballpark Village, just outside the gates, where you can watch the game, eat, and buy merchandise within view of the Arch.
3. Grant's Farm
Originally, the site of Grant's Farm was home to President Ulysses S. Grant and his family. Years later, the land was purchased by the Busch family of Anhueser-Busch fame and turned into a wildlife reserve, historical park, and German style meeting place for visitors. Today, you can see elephant shows while eating a Bavarian style bratwurst, ride camels, pet zebras, and ride the tram through the wildlife reserve and see a number of animals roaming freely.
4. St. Louis Zoo
One of the finest zoos in the country is also free! Located in beautiful Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo takes wildlife viewing to a new level with interactive exhibits like the touchpool where you can reach in and pet live stingrays and small sharks (free the first hour the park is open) and the new polar bear exhibit among others. See all of your favorites in an innovative and historically ahead of its time zoo featuring rare, endangered, and fabulous favorites from every continent.
5. Missouri Botanical Gardens
Built in 1859, this botanical garden has had a long time to innovate, create, and style its gardens into spectacular nature galleries to wow the senses and energize the mind. Not only is it beautiful but its a registered historical site and a continuous scientific research facility, always growing. Make sure you see the Climatron, the world's first geodesic dome greenhouse housing a tropical rainforest, and also stop by the Biblical Garden featuring plants mentioned in the Bible, and many others.
6. St. Louis Art Museum
One of the best art museums in the U.S., the St. Louis Art Museum is absolutely free, all the time. The three story structure stands in Forest Park, the site of the 1903 World's Fair, housing more than 30,000 works of art from ancient civilizations through to modern art. Some of the most notable pieces include works by Gauguin, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Picasso among others.
7. City Museum
Sometimes, when you're lucky, you come across a museum like no other. Completely innovative, ingenious, and wholly original. This is what you find at the City Museum, largely created from repurposed materials in the former International Shoe factory in downtown St. Louis. Like a playground of industry, you have to see it to believe it at the City Museum and it's well worth the stop.
8. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Something evident in many churches is the desire to worship God through the beauty of architectural design and decor. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis certainly does this. Completed in 1914, the Cathedral is styled in the Romanesque, Neo-Byzantine style with archaic details unseen in many American churches, harking back to early Christianity. Even if you aren't a practicing Catholic, a tour of the Cathedral's magnificent mosaics will be enough to bring tears to your eyes.
9. Fox Theatre
Opened in 1929, the Fox Theatre is St. Louis' own historic theater, completely renovated to its original state in 1982. Ignoring the amazing live theater productions for a moment, focus on the early 20th century architecture and theater design from the thick red stage curtain to the ornate box seats and cavernous, highly decorated auditorium. Now picture in the amazingly talented performances and Broadway productions and you get a recipe for a fabulous night on the town.
10. Delmar Loop
One of the top 10 streets in the United States (as stated by the American Planning Association), the Delmar Loop is the place to be for entertainment, shopping, and dining, located in University City. More than 145 specialty shops call the Loop home including Italian restaurant Tavolo V, the Center for Creative Arts, several boutique hotels, and a number of live music venues like the Market Pub House and The Pageant among others.