About This Place
Saint Louis has played a part in some of the most important chapters of United States history, including the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Founded as an 18th-century port, its strategic Mississippi River location made it a trading hub. A vibrant past is reflected in its historical attractions, plethora of parks and destination neighborhoods.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, core of Saint Louis tourism and part of the city’s Core of Discovery, commemorates the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and is a tribute to 19th-century settlers pioneering westward. Part of the U.S. National Park Service, the Memorial is home to the famous Gateway Arch, the tallest landmark in the nation and the city’s visual trademark. Visitors can take the elevator to the arch’s 630-foot top and see city views and the surrounding landscape.
Other things to do at the Memorial include touring the Old Courthouse and the Museum of Westward Expansion, where exhibits and artifacts offer rich history of the city’s settlers, American Indians, and Lewis and Clark. Spanning more than 90 acres, the Memorial has biking and walking trails and a riverfront that can be explored by paddle-wheel boat. For those who want to enjoy time outdoors, areas for relaxation include Citygarden, a two-block sculpture garden adorned with plants and flowers, and Keiner Plaza, once the site of a 19th-century jail and now a popular gathering place and setting for those who want to have a special photograph made in front of its dramatic fountain and pool.
For transportation and sightseeing, visitors can hail one of the ornate horse-drawn carriages located in front of the Gateway Arch and see city sights.
Forest Park, the most expansive of the more than 100 parks in Saint Louis, is located in the stately neighborhood of Central West End. With over 1,300 acres, the park provides plenty of space to engage in outdoor activities. An elegant boat house located at Post-Dispatch Lake is an ideal place to dine or watch boats gliding on the water. Park attractions include the Saint Louis History Museum and the Muny, a large outdoor musical theater.
Distinctive city neighborhoods add to the number of things to see in Saint Louis. Located near the city’s western border, Delmar Loop, a six-block span of University City, brims with outdoor cafes where food, live music and conversation intermingle. The Hill is home to trattorias, Italian grocery stores and bakeries. On the city’s east side, Lafayette Square provides an ideal place for walks along streets lined with tidy Victorian homes and elegant restaurants. Nearby is Soulard, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Saint Louis and named for the Frenchman who initiated development in the area. The Soulard Farmers Market, which has roots dating back to the 18th century, is housed in two buildings that span two blocks. With numerous bars and taverns, the area is the site of frequent pub crawls and annual festivities that include Mardi Gras and Bastille Day, nods to the neighborhood’s French roots.