Forest Park was the site of the 1904 summer Olympics and World’s Fair that introduced the world to America's great, booming Midwestern city. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi, where the Missouri and Illinois rivers intersect, it truly was at the cross-roads of America. From the waterways came the rails, and soon St. Louis Union Station was the busiest rail station in the country. Now it functions as a fantastically restored hotel and venue space.
In a lot of ways, that station is a great metaphor for the city. After air travel crippled the rail industry, its once brilliant architecture and design went into decline. Thankfully, the city had good, solid bones and has since roared back to colorful life. While its population is actually less than it was in 1950, St. Louis continues to play large. Just stop there and enjoy a great Midwestern town that is friendly, lively and interesting.
Its famed City Museum is a must see. Housed in the heart of town you can’t miss the building, or the school bus dangling from it. Inside is a swirling fantasy, a physical salute to the imagination that can’t be explained, only experienced. Ensconced in fanciful, Victorian architecture, Magic House provides interactive and immersive exhibitions like a full-scale replica of the oval office complete with presidential karaoke. We’re not sure what that is, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
Six Flags over St. Louis is a full tilt-amusement park, but for pure, fantastic screams, you could do worse that any of the cities zip-line adventure parks.
If nature’s wonders are more your style, there is the award-winning Zoo. The Missouri Botanical Gardens, the oldest of its kind in the country, covers 79 acres. Citygarden is a green space in the heart of the city, and Laumier Sculpture Park offers some 70 modern art installations in a urban oasis.
For fans of major league baseball, Busch Stadium is home to the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, Anheuser-Busch is home to a lot of things, and no mention of this town would be complete without it – the brewery tours are fascinating even with kids in tow.
St. Louis may be a Budweiser town, but that doesn’t preclude tours of the cities many craft breweries scattered around its many entertainment districts, like Laclede’s Landing. Known as “the landing” locally it is where 19th century architecture meets modern nightlife and is well-positioned to either launch or wind down an adventure in downtown. Westport Plaza lays out 42 acres of entertainment in a clever combination of office and retail space, and Soulard offers the best blues venues in town. If Italian food is your passion, The Hill is the spot to find the best fare in the city.
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