About four hours from Chicago, Saint Louis shyly overlooks the Mississippi, peering towards Illinois and protected by the famous metal arch that marks its skyline. Founded by French fur traders in 1764, it is now a quiet Midwestern town with an excellent reputation in the fields of biotechnology, medicine and… baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are in fact among the most acclaimed teams in Major League Baseball.
America less known, not very touristy and true: Saint Louis is an ideal stop during an on the road to spend one or two days between modern architecture, baseball and events (don't miss the Blues at the Arch every Friday in August). Here are the main attractions not to be missed during a visit to the city:
- What to see in Saint Louis
- Gateway Arch
- Old Courthouse
- Tower Grove Park e Missouri Botanical Garden
- St. Louis Cathedral
- Forest Park
- city museum
- Laumeier Sculpture Park
- Busch Stadium
- Anheuser-Busch Brewery
- Getting around Saint Louis: where to park and the nearest airports
- Where sleeping in Saint Louis
What to see in Saint Louis
The city's most popular landmark and attraction, the Gateway Arch, built in the 60s, is the tallest arch in the world. The steel with which it is covered sparkles in the sun and attracts more than four million visitors a year. In addition to observing it from the outside, it is possible to enter and climb to the top via a futuristic lift that takes passengers to the observatory.
It is open every day from 8 to 18 in winter and from 8 to 22 in summer. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at the Old Courthouse for $ 3 for ground floor entry only, which also gives access to the arch construction film. To go up, the price is $ 13 for adults and $ 10 for children (3-15). The monument is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, operated by the National Park Service, and you don't need to pay the $ 3 ticket if you have a parks card.
A stone's throw from the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, is a courthouse dating back to the 1800s. Here Virginia Minor, a suffragette activist, tried to vote in the 1872 election and was arrested. Inside you can learn about a part of the history of the United States, especially regarding the first settlements from Europe, the fight against slavery and the civil war. The Old Courthouse was in fact the scene of hundreds of battles for freedom, but one left its mark more than the others: in 1857, Dred Scott and his wife denounced slavery but the Supreme Court rejected their requests because the constitution did not protect African Americans. The story became a historical case and is today remembered as Dred Scott Decision or Dred Scott v. Sandford.
Admission is free and is open every day from 8 to 17 in winter and from 7:30 to 20 in summer. It currently serves as a visitor center for the Gateway Arch.
Tower Grove Park e Missouri Botanical Garden
Moving away from the Mississippi and pouring inland, about 10 kilometers from the Old Courthouse and the arch, we find two parks: Tower Grove Park and Missouri Botanical Gardens. The latter extend over 32 hectares of vegetable gardens, gardens and greenhouses. Among these is the spectacular futuristic Climatron dome that encloses a tropical forest: the dense vegetation gives way from time to time to waterfalls, rocks and 2.800 plants. Other attractions include a Japanese garden and a Victorian style garden.
Il Tower Grove Park it is adjacent to the botanical gardens and is 25 kilometers long. It includes 11 pavilions dating from the Victorian era, buildings, statues, tennis courts and football pitches. During the autumn months it turns into a riot of yellow and orange. If you happen to be on a Saturday, don't miss the farmers' market from 8:30 to 12:30 near the Wading Pool Pavilion.
St. Louis Cathedral
La Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, completed in 1914 and dedicated to Louis IX of France, houses the largest collection of mosaics in the world outside Russia. The mosaics, which cover an area of almost 8,000 square meters, are made up of 41,5 million tiles and more than 7,000 colors.
The basement houses crypts and a museum dedicated to mosaics, while outside stands a 4-meter steel statue dedicated to peace and justice between the different races. Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral in 1997 and a plaque with a phrase of him was dedicated to him, shown on the statue.
It is open from 7 to 17, while masses are celebrated at 7, 8 and 12.
Close to the cathedral, the Forest Park it covers more than 550 hectares used for museums, buildings, attractions and a zoo. Take a boat ride, take photos of the falls and one of the park's oldest buildings, the Cabanne House, built in 1876. Among the museums I point out the Missouri History Museum and the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Go inside a whale or explore caves? Here it is possible! It is not the classic museum with works of art and statues, but on the contrary consists of a series of industrial objects and buildings exhibited inside the former International Shoe building dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. The City Museum consists of four floors and a terrace with a pond and a real school bus protruding from the roof. Slides, winding stairways, a plane and a dragon are just some of the fun constructions of the engaging St. Louis museum.
Tickets at $ 14 + taxes for ages 3 and up, $ 12 + taxes after 17pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Access to the terrace requires the purchase of a $ 5 ticket. Children under two years of age enter for free.
The times are as follows:
- Monday and Tuesday - closed
- Wednesday and Thursday - from 9 to 17
- Friday and Saturday - from 9 to midnight
- Sunday - 11am to 17pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Moving away from the city center you will reach the Laumeier Sculpture Park in 20 minutes. It is the ideal opportunity to stretch your legs and immerse yourself in nature as well as in a series of particular sculptures. Among more than 60 works present stand out The Way, completed in 1980 and built by putting together 18 barrels of oil for a height of 20 meters, e Eye, a 2007 giant eye with a circumference of 12 meters. There are some routes to walk, all very simple and suitable for all ages.
The park is free and open every day from 8:30 until thirty minutes after sunset.
This is where the famous play St. Louis Cardinals 11-time winners of the World Series of baseball. Obviously the suggestion would be to see a real live match but if you don't have the opportunity you can consider taking a tour of the stadium.
You can experience how it feels to observe the pitch from the commentary booths, observe the trophies won by the Saint Louis team and above all admire the beautiful panorama that can be enjoyed from the steps of the stadium on the city skyline and on the Gateway Arch. find all the information on schedules and prices of the tours by visiting the official website of the stadium.
If you want to try to see a live match you can take a look at all the events taking place at Busch Stadium by clicking on the link below.
Look for a St. Louis Cardinals game
Enter the TRAVEL code to obtain 10 euro discount on a minimum purchase of 150 euros
If you like Saint Louis beer, this is the city for you. Obviously, you cannot miss one of the most famous breweries in the city or that of Anheuser-Busch, one of the largest American beer producers known above all for the brand Budweiser. One of the best known and most photographed attractions are certainly the Clydesdale horses, a true hallmark of the company.
But obviously, as this is a brewery, I don't think you want to come here to photograph only horses. So get ready to take one of the many tours inside the structure (there are 5 to choose from that you can see here) and refresh yourself at the Biergarten, one of the most popular meeting points in the city by both tourists and locals.
Getting around Saint Louis: where to park and the nearest airports
Saint Louis is about four and a half hours from Chicago, the most important airport in the Midwest and on which direct flights land and depart from Spain. Other nearby cities are Indianapolis (390 km), Kansas City (400 km) and Nashville (500 km).
The two airports in St. Louis are Lambert International Airport and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
It is assumed that you will visit a city like Saint Louis, not very touristy and small, by car, so you will need to find a parking space to get around it. Personally, I recommend that you look for a closed lot because some of the places near the sidewalks have a maximum parking time of two hours. For example, QuikPark has an hourly rate of $ 2 and is very central. From there you can walk to Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium in under 10 minutes.
Where sleeping in Saint Louis
The most convenient area to look for accommodation is Downtown thanks to its proximity to the main attractions of Saint Louis. The further advice is to consider a hotel that already has parking, so as not to have to search for them specifically to visit the city. Here are some examples
- Hyatt Regency Saint Louis at The Arch: located right in front of the Gateway Arch if you can book a room with a view on this side they will surely add something extra to your stay.
- Drury Plaza St. Louis at the Arch: large rooms and an indoor swimming pool with excellent value for money.
- Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark: the recommended choice if you are a baseball lover. This hotel was in fact built close to the Busch Stadium where the local team of the St. Louis Cardinals plays. Many rooms therefore have a nice view of the stadium and the arch.
If you want to look for accommodation in another part of the city, you can get an idea of the possibilities by clicking on the link below.
Search for accommodation in Saint Louis