St. Louis, the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, is a major midwestern metropolis filled with culture. St. Louis planners have created an aesthetically beautiful city with green space at the street level. It is said that St. Louis is second only to Washington, D.C. in the number of free activities available in an American city. The Gateway Arch, the world's tallest man-made monument, forms a triumphant city skyline. An open mall surrounded by reflecting pools leads up to the historic court house, the site of the Dred Scott decision, facing the Gateway Arch.
The city is named after King Louis IX of France. St. Louis is known by the nickname of The Gateway to the West. The city was the last major stop before pioneers journeyed Westward to the Pacific coast. The city also played a large part during the steamboat era due its position at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. St. Louis was acquired from France by the United States during President Thomas Jefferson's term in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The transfer of power from Spain was made official in a ceremony called, "Three Flags Day." On March 8, 1804, the Spanish flag was lowered and the French one raised. On March 10, the French flag was replaced by that of the USA. In 1904, St. Louis hosted that year's World's Fair and the Summer Olympic Games. Many of the parks, buildings, and finer homes in St. Louis were built around this time period. While there are few, if any, living residents who attended the Fair, it holds an important place in the modern development of the city.
Before Detroit became America's automotive capital, St. Louis was the largest producer of American automobiles in the early part of the 20th century. Midtown and Downtown still have many of the original warehouses and factories standing, but most have been converted to other purposes, such as loft apartments, shops and restaurants. St. Louis was also home to a bustling fashion manufacturing industry in the early 1900's, centered on Washington Avenue downtown. As with the auto industry, the last remnants of the fashion manufacturing industry can be found in the recently rehabbed warehouses which now contain new businesses and loft condominiums. In the late 20th century, St. Louis began a transformation from a manufacturing and industrial economy into a globally known center for research in Medicine, Biotechnology, and other sciences. Firms such as Monsanto, Centene, Solae, Energizer, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Edward Jones, Wells Fargo Advisors (formerly A.G. Edwards), Anheuser-Busch/Inbev are headquartered in St. Louis. AT&T and Bank of America operate major regional offices here. Two major private research universities, Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University, are an important part of the local economy and society.
Forest Park from above
St. Louis is truly a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct flavor and culture. There are 79 government-designated neighborhoods within the City of St. Louis, many of which have associations and councils that exercise wide control over development and subsidies from the highest to the very lowest local level. Some neighborhoods contain avenues of massive stone mansions built as palaces for heads of state visiting the 1904 World's Fair, and now occupied by some of the more wealthy families and individuals in the City of St. Louis. Other neighborhoods are predominantly middle class and working-class and have retained their singular cultural identity for 200 years. Today, most of them have endured as strong and cohesive communities for their residents.
Check the weather forecast for St. Louis from NOAA.
With neither mountains nor large bodies of water nearby to moderate the climate, St. Louis experiences extremes of temperatures at both ends of the scale. The Winter cold from December through March can be brutal to the unaccustomed body, as can the Summer heat from June through September. The Mississippi River makes this area humid, though temperatures are generally moderate. Storms can occur at any time of the year. July and August are hottest and most humid, and January and February are cold, with occasional snow. Normal temperatures range from 21°F in the winter to 90°F in the summer (-6°C to 32°C), but summer highs of 100°F and winter lows of 0°F are not uncommon (38°C and -18°C).
St. Louis can be accessed by Interstate 70 West from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and points eastward, I-64W from Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and points southeastward, I-55N from Arkansas, Tennessee, and points southward, I-55S from Illinois, I-44E from Tulsa, and I-70E from Kansas City. There is a loop around St. Louis which is I-270 (I-255 on the Illinois side). Don't be surprised if locals refer to I-64 as Highway 40; US40 is coincident with I64 through St. Louis, and it's not uncommon to speak of "40" rather than "64."
Most visitors fly into Lambert St. Louis International Airport (IATA: STL) , which is served by most major US carriers. The airport is directly served by the MetroLink light rail line.
Spirit of St. Louis Airport (KSUS) in Chesterfield serves general aviation. With dual runways and convenient access to I-64, it offers convenient access to west St. Louis County, and is a 20 minute drive from downtown St Louis.
St Louis Downtown Airport also serves general aviation (KCPS), and is only three miles from the Arch on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, in Sauget, IL. Flying into KCPS yields impressive views of the Arch, Busch Stadium, and the St Louis downtown area.
Creve Coeur Airport is a general aviation airport (1H0) on St Louis' west side, and is home to the one of the largest assemblages of flying antique aircraft in the US, as well as the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum.
Greyhound Bus Lines, 1450 N 13th St., +1 314 231-4485 .
Megabus - Service to St. Louis from Chicago, Bloomington-Normal, Kansas City, Columbia, and Memphis. The St. Louis stop for arrivals and departures is located on the west side of 18th Street, just south of Market Street and adjacent to Union Station. Fares from $1 when reserved very far in advance.
The Mississippi River forms the eastern boundary of the city, separating it from Illinois. The Missouri River runs into the Mississippi just north of St. Louis.
You may be able to arrive on a cruise boat from a nearby city like Peoria or Memphis.
MetroLink, +1 314 231-2345  - A light rail system with much room to grow. It runs from Lambert-St.Louis Int'l Airport (STL) in Missouri to Scott AFB in Illinois. The MetroLink has stops in many of the metropolitan area's most popular destinations, such as Delmar Loop, Grand Center arts district, Forest Park, the Central West End, and several in Downtown St. Louis. The campuses of University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University and St. Louis University each have stops on campus or nearby. The Metro recently expanded, and now includes a second line that goes to the St. Louis Galleria (a shopping center) and farther out to Shrewsbury.
Metro Buses - Crisscross the bi-state metropolitan area.
A car is extremely useful here.
Please note that the City of St. Louis does have taxi cabs - but they do not drive around the city looking for pedestrians to hail service. You must call a cab company for pick-up. Hotels and phonebooks have the numbers of the most commonly used cab services in the area. In a few downtown areas like at the Convention Center, they wait at the curb for customers.
St. Louis is one of the more segregated and boundaried cities in the nation, and is home to the country's first private gated street - Benton Place in Lafayette Square. In one minute you might be driving down tree-lined avenues with large houses, and the next minute you might be in a low-income neighborhood. Though the region is now more racially and economically integrated than it was, the road system still follows historic boundaries marking one area from the next. Hotels and most St. Louis guide books should have good maps of the layout of the neighborhoods of the City.
Note that St. Louis City is separate and distinct from St. Louis County - the City is really a city without a county, with its own government, school system, and other services. The City has just under 400,000 residents while the St. Louis County has just over 1,000,000 residents. The entire St. Louis metropolitan region has approximately 3,000,000 residents. Any study of St. Louis neighborhoods can be complicated and is bound to leave out some small (yet distinct) areas, but some of the more well-visited and larger neighborhoods in the metropolitan region are:
St. Louis City
Downtown - The Central Business District of St. Louis, downtown is nearing the end of a decade-long multi-billion dollar revitalization. Featuring all three professional sporting teams' stadiums, dozens of hotels, corporate headquarters, trendy dining and shopping, entertainment, nightlife, and the Gateway arch, downtown St. Louis is now also home to tens of thousands of residents, many living in warehouses that have been converted to affordable and luxurious apartments and condominiums.
Laclede's Landing - On the city's eastern edge, this is one of the oldest standing neighborhoods of the city. A former industrial area, the Landing has original cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriage rides in the evenings, live music, and restaurants and bars in converted industrial buildings.
Soulard - To the immediate southwest of downtown lies St. Louis's oldest neighborhood. Today it is a perfect case study for traditional St. Louis red brick architecture, and also features the famous Soulard Farmers Market and many trendy restaurants.
Lafayette Square - Although some may group this with Soulard due to proximity, Lafayette Square features its own distinct architecture (Victorian and French Second Empire) and demographics. Surrounding the oldest park in St. Louis are tree-lined streets with rehabbed townhouses, some shopping and dining, and bed and breakfasts.
Old North Saint Louis - just north of Downtown, the historic Old North neighborhood is in the midst of a dramatic revitalization that includes a significant number of historically rehabilitated brick, 19th Century structures; new businesses, such as Old North Grocery Co-op, Therapy Boutique, and La Mancha Coffeehouse; and a diverse community of residents, with a population that grew by 28% since 2000. The center of the neighborhood is at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street, which is where the legendary Crown Candy Kitchen is located, along with the award-winning Crown Square, the recently completed $35 million redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall. Crown Square is also the site of the North City Farmers' Market, which in 2010 was identified as one of "America's Favorite Farmers' Markets," according to American Farmland Trust.
Benton Park/Brewery - Located just south of Soulard, Benton Park has recently come back from decades of disrepair. The area contains the Anheuser Busch Brewery and the old Lemp Brewery, in addition to a small eponymous park and working-class versions of the townhomes of Lafayette Square.
Forest Park Southeast - Situated just where the name suggests, Forest Park Southeast is at the beginning of a revitalization. Younger professionals have been attracted to the area due to the popular bars, and have since settled down and contributed to the area's infrastructure.
Grand Center/Midtown - Located going West of Downtown down an area known as the Central Corridor (that includes Forest Park and the CWE), Grand Center is home to a booming performing arts, theatre, and museum district. St. Louis University is in this area.
Tower Grove/South Grand - a few miles south of Grand Center is Tower Grove Park, a 19th-century Victorian walking park. The nearby South Grand strip has a variety of shops, coffeehouses, bars, service businesses, and the area's largest concentration of Asian restaurants and shops. An ethnically diverse, gay-friendly area with an active street life and turn-of-the-century architecture.
Central West End - A very cosmpolitan neighborhood featuring stunning turn-of-the-century palace-like homes, upscale dining, and boutique shopping, the Central West End also contains an eclectic mix of antique shops, coffee houses, and art galleries. Located on the eastern edge of Forest Park, it also includes the world-renowned Medical School of Washington University.
The Hill - St. Louis's Little Italy is home to a large number of locally renowned Italian restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores. Its name is due to its proximity to the highest point of the city.
North St. Louis - The historic African-American neighborhood known as "The Ville", and contains many historical sites relating to the history of Black America in the Midwest,i.e. Sumner High School and Homer G. Phillips Hospital. This area extends from Delmar to I-270 and contains much of the industrial record of St. Louis and the migration of new comers to the city.
St. Louis County
Clayton - The county seat of St. Louis county, Clayton has an important downtown business district that is also home to several hotels, many coffeehouses, and upscale dining. It is one of the older suburbs of St. Louis, and has many large 100 year-old-homes wonderfully preserved by old-monied families, while the area's nouveau riche help keep the area trendy. It has a great school system and is home to the main campus of Washington University. Clayton begins where Forest Park ends on the west.
Delmar Loop/University City - Located just north of Clayton and beginning at the northwest edge of Forest Park/Washington University is this culturally, ethnically, and economically diverse neighborhood of St. Louis. One of the more liberal areas of the region, it is a popular area for college students and post-graduates to live and interact. "The Loop" (a.k.a. Delmar Blvd) itself is one main street of storefronts, restaurants,hotels, music venues, bookstores, and one of greatest independent movie theatre- The Tivoli.
West County - This expansive, largely undefined region of St. Louis includes most areas west of Clayton, especially upper-class neighborhoods like Frontenac, Ladue, Huntleigh, Town and Country, and Creve Coeur. The area may include expanded development of older areas such as Chesterfield and Wildwood. The area has one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the Midwest, and home to two of the most upscale shopping areas in St. Louis Region- Plaza Frontenac and The Galleria-Brentwood Square.
North County-Home to Lambert International Airport and the sight of many historical flights by Charles Lindberg and Boeing. This area is also the home of post WWII home development and contains many small subdivisons of ranch style homes of ethnically diverse populations.
South County - A nebulous region primarily served by I-55,I-44 and I-64 in a triangle of interstates, most of the towns dotting South County are largely indistinguishable and include some new developments. It is home to Affton, Bayless,Brentwood, Webster Groves,Maplewood, Richmond Heights, Crestwood and other picture-perfect kinds of towns that provide a nice small-town atmosphere great for families.It is home to a popular shopping area in St. Louis Region- The appropriately named "South County Mall".
The Gateway Arch
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd (at Newstead Ave in the Central West End neighborhood), +1 314 373-8200  - 7AM-7PM. This Roman Catholic church contains the most mosaic art in one site in the world--83,000 square feet, installed by a family of artists who used more than 41 million tiles with more than 7,000 colors.
The City Museum, 701 N 15th St, . For the young or young at heart. Don't let the name fool you--this place is a blast! The City Museum is a huge playground built in an old warehouse made largely out of architectural artifacts from around St. Louis collected by an eccentric millionaire. There are concessions inside the museum as well as bar service by local brewery Schlafy. Not really much of a museum as it is mazes, obstacle courses, tunnels, airplanes suspended in midair, and chutes and ladders.
Contemporary Art Museum, . Sharing a courtyard with the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, this is a contemporary art museum located near the hip 'loft district' downtown, in the Grand Center arts district.
Eads Bridge - This bridge was the first to cross the Mississippi, the first primarily steel structure in the world, and the longest bridge in the world at completion in 1874. This overlooked landmark is worth checking out for the Eiffel Tower-like steel lattice that still holds up cars and the Metro-link to this day. It connects to Washington Avenue, and is directly adjacent to Laclede's Landing, both are centers of St. Louis nightlife. The easiest way to access Eads Bridge is via the Laclede's Landing MetroLink stop.
Forest Park - Is one of the nation's largest city parks with 1,293 acres, open to the public for golf, tennis, baseball, bicycling, boating, fishing, handball, ice skating, in-line skating, jogging, cricket, rugby and more. The park is also home to the St. Louis Science Center, the art museum, the zoo, and a history museum, all with free admission. Forest Park is really at the heart of St. Louis. It was also the site of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase World's Fair, which lays claim to serving the first hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream cones. You cannot visit St. Louis without hearing about, driving by, or exploring Forest Park.
The Old Courthouse
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, +1 314 655-1700, . A large park located along the Mississippi River facing downtown St. Louis, with plenty of big lawns, wood areas, and a few ponds.
Gateway Arch, +1 877-982-1410,  - 9AM-6PM daily, (Summer 8AM-10PM). Designed by Eero Saarinen, it's the world's tallest national monument, built to be a symbolic gateway to the west. The icon of the city, the Arch is in the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial Park by the Riverfront. You can ride a unique elevator - essentially it's a cross between a cable railway and a ferris wheel - up to the top. There is also an innovative historical museum under the Arch. Don't miss the movie, "Monument to the Dream," about the building of the Arch--it is an exceptionally well-made and memorable tribute to how a vision was made tangible. The Arch was designed as an inverted catenary curve (a shape similar to a parabola) scaled from 21 inches of string held 7 inches apart. Its foundation is anchored 60 feet underground.
Museum of Westward Expansion, underneath the Gateway Arch, +1 314 655-1700, .
Old Courthouse, . The site of the historic Dred Scott slavery case which was one of the seeds of the Civil War.
Old Cathedral, 209 Walnut St, +1 314 231-3250, . The first cathedral built west of the Mississippi River.
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum,  Skinker Blvd and Forsyth Blvd. Located on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, this museum was recently voted the best Museum in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times. One of the world's finest University art collections, it is also the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River - it was founded in 1881. It is now housed in a new facility designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Fumihiko Maki. Among the permanent collection are pieces by Pablo Piccasso, Rembrandt, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Juan Gris, Alexander Calder, and a separate department dedicated to currency called the Newman Money Museum.
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd, +1 314 577-9400, +1 800-642-8842  - A place of serenity, beauty, and fun amid the bustle of the city, the Missouri Botanical Garden is open every day except Christmas Day (Dec 25). Stroll the grounds, explore the home gardening resources, or enjoy one of the many events throughout the year. This is a "must see." One of the main features is the Climatron, a very large geodesic dome that houses a good portion of the Garden's 80 acres of horticultural offerings. 2006 featured hundreds of glass sculptures around the park by glass artist Chihuly.
Missouri History Museum, . Also located in Forest Park off of Lindell Blvd, it is free and open to the public as well. Check out the Charles Lindbergh exhibit and see a life size replica of the original Spirit of St. Louis.
Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, . Experience modern art in a stunning avant-garde structure. A permanent installation titled Joe by Richard Serra is large enough for visitors to walk through and experience first-hand. The uber-modern concrete building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando.
Saint Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Dr, Tel: 314-721-0072, . Tu–Su 10AM–5PM, F 10AM-9PM. Located in Forest Park atop a large lake and hill, it is one of the leading comprehensive art museums in the nation. They host visiting displays which in the past have included such exhibits as the Angels of the Vatican and the Royal Tombs of Ur. Free.
Saint Louis Science Center, , in Forest Park, is a fun hands on learning experience for the entire family. Equipped with an IMAX Dome theater, a planetarium, floors of interactive activities, and several traveling exhibits, the Science Center has something for everyone. The museum is free and open to the public daily. The museum consists of two buildings joined by a walkway.
Saint Louis Zoo, 1 Government Dr, +1 314 781-0900  - Daily 9AM-5PM. Recognized as one of the top five zoos in the nation. The zoo has both indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a children petting zoo. There are several centers for in depth exploration and learning. Free.
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, 7400 Grant Rd, (314) 842-3298 ext. 245,  - One time home of Ulysses S. Grant. Known as "White Haven" was intially the home of the family of Julia Dent, Grant's wife. Free.
Wainwright Building, 705 Chestnut St  - Designed by Louis Sullivan and built in 1890, it is one of the world's first skyscrapers.
America's Convention Center, . Over 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, also featuring formal reception rooms, presentation-style rooms, a theatre, and the Edward Jones Dome next door.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery,  12th St and Lynch, +1 314 577-2626. A Free tour (with free beer samples for those of legal age) of one of the world's largest breweries and bottling factories. The Clydesdales and their historic truck and stables are one of the biggest attractions on the tour, as are the brew house and packaging facility.
The Central West End, . An eclectic, cosmopolitan neighborhood home to soaring turn-of-the-century mansions on St. Louis's famous private streets, chic dining, and upscale boutique shopping with a great mix of cafes, independent bookstores (check out Left Bank Books on Euclid and McPherson), art galleries, salons, antique and modern furniture such as a Design Within Reach and Centro, coffee houses, and youthful energy. One of the more lively neighborhoods in St. Louis that borders Forest Park, the CWE is a great destination for a day of walking around or a weekend stay.
Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration. The entire day is a major event in St. Louis under the Arch with concerts and festivities. Every year a major musical talent headlines the event; acts such as Cyndi Lauper, the Goo Goo Dolls, the Black Eyed Peas, and the Beach Boys have performed in the past. A dazzling fireworks spectacle caps off the night while tens of thousands of St. Louisans watch under the Arch lawn. This event kicks off a weekly concert series called "Live on the Levee", also taking place on the Arch grounds, and features a big-name musical act, food vendors, and games. The Veiled Prophet Parade  is a St. Louis tradition for over 130 years, and is essentially the main parade with floats on the Independence Day holiday, starting at Washington Avenue and ending at Union Station.
The Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire,  Come, travel back in time as you step into the beautifully wooded, 16th century village, we call Petit Lyon! Immerse yourself in the costumes and mannerisms of the era. Thrill to the exploits of Jousting Knights on thundering steeds. Roam the village shops for unique crafts and goods as our artisans demonstrate period skills. Delight in comedy, music and feats of derring do. Feast on delicious food and drink while strolling minstrels entertain. Interact with the colorful villagers, nobles, peasants and personalities of ages past.
Laclede's Landing, . Just north of the Arch and part of Downtown St Louis, and the second oldest neighborhood after Soulard, "the Landing" is what amounts to St. Louis' old town. You are likely to enjoy the cobblestone streets and the shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and a bizarre wax museum. Recently constructed right next to the Landing is a new $400+ million dollar casino complex called Lumiere Place, featuring a Four Seasons hotel, nightclubs, 75,000 square feet of casino gaming, and an innovative multi-colored light feature spanning 24 vertical floors on the exterior of the building that lights up St. Louis' skyline. Not many original buildings on the Landing remain, as the area is constantly undergoing new developments and rehabbing of older buildings. Nightly horse-drawn carriage rides take you around the Landing and much of Downtown.
Lafayette Square and Park. A fashionable area with tree-lined streets, Victorian and Second Empire townhomes, and shopping and cafes surrounds the city's oldest park - chartered in 1836. In the warmer months, the park features small concerts, picnic locations, art fairs, and a team that recreates old-style baseball - but it is walkable all year round. Twice yearly are walking tours of the area that will take you inside some of the more remarkable Victorian mansions.
Laumeier Sculpture Park.  Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Laumeier Sculpture Park is one of a handful of open-air museums around the world and a unique compliment to the cultural landscape of St. Louis. Free to all and well worth a visit.
The Moolah Theatre and Lounge,  3701 Lindell Blvd, 314-446-4500. This refurbished former Masonic Temple now boasts a one-screen movie theatre. The single screen is essentially a giant living room that forgoes traditional theatre-seating; instead, it features leather couches, club chairs, and coffee tables. The Moolah also has two bars, ample lounge seating, and a bowling alley in the basement. A very cool place for a night out! Located in Midtown/Grand Center.
The Museum of Transportation, . Planes, trains, and automobiles! Take a step back into history and explore this unique collection of cars, locomotives, trolleys and airplanes. Train rides, car shows and even boats are on offer here. Good fun for adults and kids alike.
Riverboat Cruises, . Take a cruise down the Mississippi River on the Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher riverboats. They offer dinner and music cruises and also a day trip to historic Kimmswick, Missouri.
Soulard Market, . Although strangely named ("un soulard " means "a drunk" in French.), the Soulard neighborhood, covering the waterfront for several miles south of the Arch, is the oldest in St. Louis. The Georgian (or should that be Louis XVI?) style houses surround a central farmer's market which supplies the city's residents, supermarkets, and restaurants with the freshest, and inexpensive, local produce. This is the oldest farmer's market west of the Mississippi, and is open year-round every weekend. There are a number of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood as well, and visitors can celebrate French heritage with the locals during Mardi Gras or on Bastille Day.
South Grand and Tower Grove Park. By day, visitors enjoy the numerous boutiques and coffeehouses of South Grand Ave., and the shaded walking paths and recreational amenities of Tower Grove Park, including bike paths, playgrounds, a wading pool, several restored Victorian pavilions, and a Farmer's Market (Saturdays, May-Oct.). The park is a frequent home to festivals, including the pan-ethnic Festival of Nations (August) and PrideFest (June). By night, they turn to the numerous bars and restaurants on South Grand: a wide variety of food and drink options, along with one of the best people-watching scenes within the city limits.
St. Louis Union Station
St. Louis Union Station, 1820 Market St., +1 314 421-6655 .. This 110-year-old National Historic Landmark has been restored and redeveloped as a dynamic mixed-use project that includes shopping, dining and entertainment. For history buffs, this is where the classic photo of Harry Truman holding the incorrect "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" newspaper was taken.
The University City Loop, Delmar Blvd., . Straddles the city limits and University City. This street was named in 2007 by the American Planning Association as one of the 10 Great Streets in America. This is the area known as The Loop to most locals, however, usage of the term outside of the St. Louis area is not as popular due to more famous Chicago loop. Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry performs every month at the historic Blueberry Hill restaurant. Although most popular with the 20-something hipster crowd, something can be found for everyone. Boutique shopping, ethnic restaurants (including many Thai establishments), upscale dining, independent movie theatres, record stores, nightlife opportunities, a few music concert venues, and people watching are among the many things to do on the Loop. Many restaurants feature outdoor dining to take in the bustling street scene.
West Port Plaza, . Over 18 restaurants, bars and entertainment spots in Suburban St. Louis.
St. Louis Blues Hockey (NHL), Scottrade Center, 1401 Clark Ave, . The Blues play in the Central Division of the Western Conference.
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball (MLB), Busch Stadium, 420 S 8th St, . The 2011 World Series champions have won 11 World Series titles, the most of any National League team, and second only to the New York Yankees. The Cardinals play in the Central Division of the National League.
St. Louis Rams Football (NFL), Edward Jones Dome, 901 N Broadway, . The Rams play in the NFC West.
Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament (Arch Madness), Scottrade Center, 1401 Clark Ave, (toll free: Tickets +1 800-745-3000), . 1-4 Mar 2012. The nation's second-oldest athletic conference, the MVC, has all conference members' men's basketball team square off in a 4-day tournament. The winner automatically qualifies for the NCAA Men's Tournament ("March Madness").Single-game ticket from $23, all-games ticket from $115.
Fabulous Fox Theater, . Built in 1929 and restored to its glory, this rare gem seats 4,500. A performance at the Fabulous Fox Theater is a "must see." Only two of this design exist, the Detroit Fox Theater built in 1928 has also been restored and seats 5,000. Probably the two most ornate theaters ever built in the US, they were the first to have live sound. They were built for William Fox, the founder of Fox Film Corporation, the forerunner of Twentieth Century-Fox studios. These two original Fox Theaters are still among the largest in the US in terms of total seats and the size of the stage.
Jazz At the Bistro, . No visit to the Gateway City is complete without experiencing its rich jazz and blues heritage.
The Muny, . America's oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. A popular summer attraction show casing a variety of musicals throughout June, July and August. Tickets range from $6 to $50 or so, but the top several rows are always free. Come early (and bring binoculars) to the top entrance if you want to see a show for free.
Off Broadway, . Boasting excellent acoustics, this comfy concert venue usually has blues, bluegrass, roots, and folk touring acts along with the occasional indie-rock and country performers.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis, . Opera festival every May and June at the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves.
The Pageant, . A venue for concerts and national touring acts, the Pageant usually has an extensive schedule of events ranging from rock, pop, soul and comedy.
Powell Symphony Hall, . A magnificent performance center, home to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
The Shakespeare Festival,  The mission of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is to produce professional Shakespeare theater, outdoors in a city park, free and for a diverse audience, and to provide education through schools and community outreach. Free shows are usually put on in the late spring and early summer. An excellent way to spend a summer evening in St. Louis.
Sheldon Concert Hall, . The Sheldon's perfect acoustics earn it the reputation as the "Carnegie Hall of St. Louis". It features the best in jazz, folk, and classical music, and joins with the Sheldon Art Galleries to promote both music and visual arts.
Whitaker Music Festival, . Wednesday evenings in summer enjoy music in the beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden. Admission is free (after 5PM), and you can pack your own picnic basket and cooler. Genre ranges from jazz to folk-rock to world music. Bring folding chairs or a blanket to spread on the lawn.
Delmar Loop, . Funky, hip and great for people watching, the University City Loop is one of the best places in St. Louis to fulfill your "alternative" shopping needs.
Downtown St. Louis, . Revitalized Downtown St. Louis is now home to a number of local fashion-forward shops and several upscale furniture stores. For the latest in fashion trends in a non-mall environment, there is nothing like checking out the boutiques downtown St. Louis. Most are centered around Washington Avenue. There is also a six-story Macy's department store in the company's Midwestern headquarters on Olive St.
The Hill, . The city's Italian district, The Hill has a great selection of Italian restaurants, shops and businesses.
Hullabaloo, 1908 Washington St, +1 314 241-1969, . One of the two or three biggest vendors of used clothing and costumes in the U.S., Hullaballoo does most of its business by mail order, or at shows in San Francisco, Seattle, and Las Vegas. They keep a store in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis, however, so if you are into vintage or goth clothing you should definitely stop in.
Plaza Frontenac, 1701 S Lindbergh, . Exclusive shopping in an upscale mall. Featuring stores such as Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Sak's Fifth Avenue, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Tiffany & Co, Talbot's, and Williams and Sonoma. A small, six-screen independent movie theatre shows the latest non-blockbuster releases.
Saint Louis Galleria, . The city's largest mall in Richmond Heights, MO.
St. Louis Mills, huge shopping center, with some outlet stores. The Mills includes an ice rink, a NASCAR speed track, over 175 stores, and a 130,000 square foot Cabela's super store.
West County Mall, . Suburbs, featuring the only Nordstrom department store in the region until 2010 when a new Nordstrom opens at the St. Louis Galleria.
St. Louis has its very own magazine and accompanying website, Sauce, which is the definitive guide to dining in St. Louis. Visit  for a searchable restaurant directory, news, and reviews.
Try St. Louis original foods
Barbequed Pork Steaks, St. Louis Style Boston Butt sliced into steaks, basted with Maull's Barbecue sauce.
Gooey Butter Cake, a type of coffee cake with a bottom layer of buttery yellow cake and a top layer of either egg and cream cheese, or butter and sugar.
Gus's Pretzels,  great hot LARGE pretzels about 1' long and 1" diameter!
Maull's Barbecue Sauce,  a spicy, semi-sweet tomato-based sauce unusual for containing pepper pulp and anchovies. Eight varieties.
Provel Cheese, a soft, white processed cheese made from cheddar, swiss and provolone. Mainly found on the pizzas at local favorite Imo's Pizza. You either love it, or you hate it; either way, it's worth trying!
Red Hot Riplets,  a somewhat-spicy variety of potato chips made by local firm Old Vienna with St. Louis-style barbecue sauce.
Toasted Ravioli, Breaded, then deep fried, these small meat, cheese, or veggie stuffed pasta pockets reflect local Italian influence. A favorite bar food in St. Louis.
Slinger, a large plate full of hash browns piled over with two eggs and a hamburger patty (or other meat) and then covered with chili and cheese (onions optional). A popular ultra-heavy diner food.
St. Louis Style Pizza, made with Provel cheese on a super thin crust.
St. Paul sandwiches, a fried egg and vegetable patty on white bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Unique to the Chinese-American restaurants in St. Louis.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, . Every St. Louis resident has had Ted Drewes at some point in their life. They have two locations in St. Louis, including one on the original Route 66. Featuring dozens of toppings for its famous frozen custard, it's a wonderful treat in the warmer months.
St. Louis' German heritage is evidenced in its vintage bakeries throughout the metro area:
Zia's Restaurant, ☎ +1 314 776-0020, . One of the most popular restaurants on The Hill, Zia's pastas stand out in St. Louis.
Rigazzi's Restaurant, 4945 Daggett Ave, ☎ +1 314 772-4900. High-quality Italian food, with lots of old-country atmosphere. Wait can be long, but food is good.
Central West End
Bar Italia, . Italian. Delightful venue for parties, drinking, picking up lovely ladies and happytimes. Refreshingly, ID's are rarely checked, although this tends to be a bit of a secret, so the crowd is actually happily devoid of drunken teenyboppers.
Dressel's, 419 N. Euclid Ave, ☎ +1 314 361-1060. Possibly St. Louis's only Welsh pub, Dressel's features wood panel walls, original artwork from floor to ceiling of literary and jazz legends, and a central bar that makes this quite a cozy establishment. Try the homemade pretzel, anything with their beer and cheese sauce, Ruben sandwich, or Welsh rarebit.
Eau Bistro and Cafe, 232 North KingsHighway, ☎ +1 314 454-9000. Trendy, avant-garde cuisine and a great wine list, this place is great for a date or night out before a movie or the nightlife options in the CWE. Located in the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel.
The Loop features award-winning dining, and has everything from sidewalk cafes to upscale restaurants. This is a great street to walk and find something that appeals to your palate. Many ethnic restaurants, including Lebanese and Thai, are on the Loop.
Riddles Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar, 6307 Delmar Blvd, +1 314 725-6985, . A place to eat, drink, and listen to music on the Loop. A constantly changing menu features only food from local farmers and producers. Now under a different name.
Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Blvd, +1 314 727-4444, . A true landmark restaurant and bar, open till 3AM. Chuck Berry frequently on the calander to play. Absolutely filled with pop-culture memorabilia spanning decades, including lunchboxes, concert posters, toys, sports trading cards, and other Americana. This place is definitely not one to miss.
Fitz's Rootbeer, 6605 Delmar Blvd, . American Bar and Grill, Family friendly, watch the bottle factory go to work as you dine.
The Melting Pot, 6683 Delmar Blvd., +1 314 725-4141, . Fondue. Reservations are essentially required here.
Pi, 6144 Delmar Blvd, +1 314 727-6633, . The crowds don't lie - this is terrific pizza.
The Bevo Mill, 4749 Gravois, +1 314 481-2626, . August Busch, of the Busch family and brewery, built this giant windmill as his private dining room in the early 1900s. Today it serves traditional German cuisine and amazing breakfast. Look for the giant windmill - you can't miss it if you're in South City. This restaurant closed abruptly in March 2009, and it is not known when or if it will reopen.
Eleven Eleven Mississippi, 1111 Mississippi, +1 314 241-9999, . Consistently on critic's Best Of list (if not at the top), Eleven Eleven features an interesting fusion of American and Mediterranean/Tuscan cuisine and the city's finest wine selection. Exposed brick walls, an open kitchen, and a busy dining room has made this place a St. Louis favorite for the past several years.
Merb's Candies 4000 S Grand Blvd, +1 314 832-7117. Old-fashioned chocolates, candy, and other sweets. Try the 'bionic candy apple' and the delicious chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Sidney Street Cafe, 2000 Sidney St., +1 314 771-5777, . In a 100+ year old brick building, the inside features exposed brick and street lamps to be reminiscent of a New Orleans sidewalk cafe. The attentive wait staff always gives a verbal presentation of the entire menu, which has many tried-and-true favorites and seasonally changing newer items. A great place for a first date or anniversary.
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, 6740 Chippewa St., +1 314 832-2639, . Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company is an award-winning chocolatier founded in St. Louis, Missouri. The company was founded in 1981 after the founding chocolatier spend over a decade training with the finest chocolatiers in the world. They specialize in fresh, chocolate covered Strawberries, Premium Truffles, Gourmet Boxed Chocolates, holiday chocolates and chocolate molded novelties all made fresh daily.
Hodak's, 2100 Gravois, +1 314 776-7292, . Hodak's has been St. Louis' premier stop for fried chicken lovers since 1962! Hodak's has been featured on Rachael Ray's "$40 a Day" on the Food Network. If you like chicken and a lot of food for a small price, this is the place to go. (If you are meeting a group, you will not be seated until all members of your party arrive.) ~$5-10 per person.
Blues City Deli, 2438 McNair, +1 314 773-8225, . Some of the best Po-Boys from cities on the "Blues Highway", St. Louis, New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago. Add in some Love with a little taste from Italy. Set it in a turn of the century store front in one of St. Louis' great historic neighborhoods (Benton Park. Drench your ears with some of the best Blues from the 1920's to the 50's.
An American Place 800 Washington Ave, +1 314 418-5800. . Contemporary American, this is celebrity chef Larry Forgione's restaurant. Known for its locally supplied and grown food, the restaurant is in an the impressive, elegantly restored former lobby of the Statler Hotel downtown.
Broadway Oyster Bar 736 S. Broadway, +1 314 621-8811, . Cajun Creole cuisine with live jazz and blues.
BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups 700 South Broadway, +1 314 436-5222, . Name says it all.
Hannegan's Restaurant and Pub, 719 N. 2nd St., +1 314 241-8877, . On Laclede's Landing, uniquely St. Louis in nature.
Harry's Restaurant and Bar, 2144 Market St, +1 314 421-6969, . Adjacent to historic Union Station, serving fine food and hosting local live music on the patio.
The Gelateria, 1327 Washington Ave, 314-621-8838. The best Gelato outside of Florence, Italy, this small storefront on Washington Ave is sophisticated and a great place to stop in for an inexpensive treat after a long day of touring Downtown. All flavors are made fresh in-house same day.
Kemoll's, 1 Metropolitan Sq., +1 314 421-0555, . Superb Italian cuisine in a stunning setting atop 1 Metropolitan Square.
Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood 620 Market St. +1 314 421-1540  On Market Street within eyeshot of Busch stadium, overlooking Keiner Plaza. Worth the visit for the aged steaks alone. Outdoor patio dining available, comprehensive wine list, and a pretty good chance to meet a local legend.
Mosaic, 1101 Lucas Ave, 314-621-6001. One of downtown's more recent hotspots for food, festivities and fun, Mosaic is a fantastic modern fusion tapas-style restaurant featuring more than 40 wines by the glass.
Robert E. Lee Riverboat restaurant docked beneath the Gateway Arch.
Rooster, 1104 Locust St, 314-241-8188. A small European-style cafe with great crepes, sandwiches, and salads. On the inexpensive side, this place is ideal for breakfast or lunch - or a weekend brunch.
Schlafly Taproom, 2100 Locust St., +1 314 241-BEER, . Surprisingly good "European inspired pub food", and great microbrew beers on tap in a remodeled brick warehouse. Many tables have views of the beer being brewed in action, and as the building is quite old, you can feel the hum and vibrations of the brewery process through the floor.
Tony's, 410 Market St. +1 314 231-7007. Opens 5PM. The only AAA rated five-diamond fine restaurant in the State of Missouri, this is considered by most to be the city's finest restaurant. Make reservations, look nice, and appreciate the fine cuisine and outstanding service.
Top of the Riverfront, 200 South 4th St. at the Millennium Hotel, +1 314 241 9500,  28 stories up on top of the Millennium Hotel the restaurant revolves 360 degrees around while you eat. A wonderful view of the city and riverfront.
Pappy's Smokehouse, 3106 Olive Street +1 314 535-4340, . Slow smoked Memphis style BBQ. Long line will form during the lunch rush but it moves fast.
The Fountain on Locust, 3037 Locust +1 314 535-7800, . Serves an extensive offering of decadent ice cream desserts. Everything is made in house except for the ice cream. Try the pineapple inside out cake in a cup. Or if you only have a small sweet tooth then the world's smallest sundae is just for you. They also have an abundance of adult only ice cream shakes and martinis. You should also give the signature polish dill pickle soup a chance.
BARcelona, 34 N Central, 314-863-9909. One of the best places in St. Louis for tapas, this place is great for large parties and hanging out with friends. One of the louder places in the city, expect a long wait - but it's worth it.
City Coffeehouse and Creperie, 36 N. Brentwood Blvd, 314-862-2489. Always busy and crowded for a reason. Best crepes in the city - and about two dozen of them. A Clayton landmark.
Benito's Gelato #14 North Central Avenue +1 314 863-3366 A friendly staff and a colorful and chilled-out atmosphere only make the handmade gelato taste better. Try the blood orange and dark chocolate combination: yum.
Pomme, 40 N Central, +1 314 727-4141. A very small, very intimate French restaurant. On the pricy side, this is a great place to have a romantic, elegant, amazingly delicious dinner in Clayton.
Harvest, 1059 S Big Bend Blvd, +1 314 645-3522. . Outstanding and unique seasonal menus, a great wine list, amazing foie gras appetizer, and perhaps the best bread pudding in the midwest. If you're kind to your server, they may provide you a photocopy of the recipe on request.
J. Buck's, 101 South Hanley Rd. +1 314 725-4700. . Jack, Joe and Julie Buck broadcasting family restaurant.
Kaldi's Coffee, 187 Carondelet Plaza, +1 314 726-2900. ". St. Louis's finest coffee roaster. Delicious vegetarian food, bottomless coffee cups, and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Fatted Calf, 12 S. Bemiston Avenue, +1 314 726-1141. ". Welcome to Hamburger lovers' heaven. The Fatted Calf is a St. Louis landmark, and dare I say the home of the best burger in town. The Fatted Calf features a mall style dining experience with fast service.
Bellaluna Ristorante, 451 S Kirkwood Rd, Kirkwood, +1 314 909-0455. Fine Italian cuisine.
Imo's Pizza, multiple locations. St. Louis style thin crust pizza. Locals favorite.
Kobe Steak House of Japan, +1 314 434-2600. Japanese Steak house.
Olympia Kebob House & Taverna, 1543 McCausland Ave, +1 314 781-1299. Greek food near University City.
Pointer's Delivery, 1023 S. Big Bend Blvd., +1 314 644-2000. ". Featuring the Pointersaurus, the world's largest regularly delivered pizza, measuring in at 28" in diameter. Pointer's has been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel.
Robust Winebar, . Excellent wine bar with good food and tapas in Webster Groves.
Woofie's,  1919 Woodson Road, Overland, +1 314 426-6291. A St. Louis landmark featuring Chicago-style Hotdogs.
Most tourists will be familiar with St. Louis' world famous Anheuser-Busch brewery, especially its signature variety Budweiser, or their best-seller Bud Light. However, unless you are accustomed to American style pilsners, it is unlikely you will find these and other Anheuser-Busch brands suit your palate. For those more familiar with European brews or who have been caught up in the domestic microbrewery explosion interested in sampling a local brewery's product, the Saint Louis Brewery's Schlafly microbrews are more likely to satisfy. Schlfaly is the largest microbrewery in St. Louis but not the only one. 4Hands, Civil Life, Urban Chestnut, Square One, Perennial Artisan Ales, are just a few of the other breweries in town. They are definitely worth a look.
If you are would rather explore rather than choose one specific establishment, two areas in St. Louis are great for wandering from location to location: The Central West End (featuring Sub-Zero Vodka Bar, the Drunken Fish, Tom's Bar, the Loading Zone, Mandarin Lounge, and Bissinger's Chocolate Lounge all off Euclid Ave), and Downtown centered around Washington Ave (featuring Kyo, Home, Pepper Lounge, Lucas Park Grille, Plush, Nectar, and rue13). St. Louis's MetroLink system is great if you prefer not to drive, but much of the line will stop running by 1:00AM.
St. Louis is also home to a number of gay and lesbian friendly nightlife options. From busy bars to energetic dance clubs, make sure to stop by rBar, Atomic Cowboy, Novak's, and the Complex. Much of these are on Manchester Rd in Forest Park Southeast.
The Big Bang, 807 N. Second St. Laclede's Landing, +1 314 241-BANG . Two dueling piano players lead the crowd in a rock 'n' roll sing-along show.
Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Blvd, +1 314 727-4444, . Restaurant, darts, bar open till 3AM. Located on the Delmar loop.
Cicero's, 6691 Delmar in University City, +1 314 862-0009, . Cicero's probably derives the bulk of its income from the pizza joint upstairs, which is fair, because the pizza is good. That said the main interest for the traveler is the well equipped bar and the venue downstairs, which hosts touring indie and rock bands.
Halo Bar, 6161 Delmar in the Music venue The Pagent , .
Hair of the Dog, 1212 Washington - Downtown. Wahington's only dive bar; great atmosphere and cheap drink prices. Cheers-type environment, where everybody knows each other's name, and strangers are warmly welcomed. Service is a strong point, and this place is perhaps St. Louis' best watering hole.
Pinup Bowl, 6191 Delmar, . Bowling alley and martini lounge open till 3AM.
Sub Zero Vodka Bar, 308 N. Euclid Av. in the Central West End, +1 314 367-1200,.
Venice Cafe, 1903 Pestalozzi St South City area, +1 314 772-5994, . A mosaic-covered bar with outside sitting features nightly music.
St. Louis does have the host of usual Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, and the like, chains. Check out chain websites for exact locations throughout the metropolitan region. One great thing about the city is an abundance of hotel rooms, convention and meeting space, and amenities for travelers. Since the city has a low cost of living, even for the Midwest, you might find even the most expensive hotels relatively affordable; rooms at even the Ritz-Carlton start in the mid $200s per night.
Drury Pear Tree Inn (previously Hampton Inn), 2111 Market St, ☎ +1 314 241-3200, . Near the Union Station. Swimming pool.
Huckleberry Finn Youth Hostel, 1904-1908 S 12th St, ☎ +1 314 241-0076, . Thirty-year history. Separate men's and women's dorms. Beds start at $20 per night plus $5 key deposit.
Drury Inn Union Station, 201 S 20th St, ☎ +1 314 231-3900. Indoor pool, restaurant. Restored historic hotel, near the magnificent Union Station.
Moonrise Hotel, 6177 Delmar (The Loop), . An affordable, luxury boutique right on the Delmar Loop. True to its name, the entire hotel, and every room, is lunar-themed. Check out the roof-top bar with great views of downtown. Close to Clayton, University City, Washington University and tourist attractions.
Seven Gables Inn, 26 N Meramec St, . A historic Tudor-style boutique hotel near St. Louis, Missouri in Clayton offering 32 lodging accommodations and meeting space close to local tourist attractions.
900 Westport Plaza, ☎ +1 314 878-1500,, . Well appointed full service Sheraton hotel among the 18 restaurants, bars, and fountains of the modern Westport Plaza. Centrally located in the suburbs.
Beall Mansion, 407 E 12th St, Alton, +1 618 474-9100,  mobile . A "USA Top 100 Gold Inn" Award Winning Property. Elegant accommodations for leisure or business, weddings and receptions for 2 to 100, corporate retreats. Whirlpools, fireplaces, Wi-Fi, HDTV, and complimentary 24 hour "all you can eat" chocolate buffet. Located on Millionaire's Row in the Middletown Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chase Park Plaza, 212-232 N KingsHighway Blvd, Phone: +1 314 633-3000, . A historic luxury hotel in the heart of the Central West End, right across the street from Forest Park. The "place to see and be seen" in the roaring 20's, this place still retains it's original, elaborate yet graceful, ambiance after a recent $100million renovation.
Sheraton Clayton Plaza, 7730 Bonnhomme Ave, Clayton, +1 314 863-0400, . Located in the bustling downtown of Clayton, a sophisticated suburban community yet convenient to local St. Louis attractions. This property is located nearby several Forbes and Fortune 500 business headquarters, as well as restaurants, art galleries, specialty boutiques and shopping. Alexander’s Restaurant serves American cuisine throughout the day.
Four Seasons Hotel, 999 N Second St, 314-881-5800. The Four Seasons' newest hotel, located Downtown St. Louis in the Lumiere Place casino and entertainment complex. The structure itself is an exciting and vibrant addition to the St. Louis skyline, and with being just steps from Laclede's Landing, there is plenty to do around this urban oasis.
Frontenac Hilton, 1335 S Lindbergh Blvd, Phone: +1 314 993-1100 (Fax: 1-314-993-8546), . Luxury hotel, colonial elegance near the upscale Frontenac Plaza mall.
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, 1 S Broadway, Phone: +1 314 421 1776 (Fax: 1-314-331 9029), . Right next door to the St. Louis Cardinals' Busch stadium.
Millennium Hotel St. Louis, 200 S 4th St, Phone: +1 314 241-9500 (fax: +1 314 516 8149),. The 28-story hotel offers 780 guestrooms and suites as well as 65,000 square feet of flexible event space in downtown St. Louis. It features the only revolving restaurant in St. Louis with 360 degree views of the city including the Gateway Arch.
Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel, 9801 Natural Bridge Rd, (314) 429-1100 . Luxury hotel, contemporary style.
Renaissance Grand Hotel, 800 Washington Ave, Phone: (314) 621-9600, . Luxury hotel, historic downtown flagship.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 100 Carondelet Plaza, 314-863-6300, . Continually rated as having the best customer-service throughout the entire Ritz-Carlton chain, this hotel is located downtown Clayton next to many great dining and shopping opportunities. Across the street is a MetroLink stop, affording access to the entire city.
The Roberts Mayfair - A Wyndham Historic Hotel, 806 Saint Charles St, Phone: +1 314 421-2500 (fax +1 314 421-0770), . Luxury hotel. Join a guest list that includes Irving Berlin, Cary Grant and Harry Truman. Since 1925, American notables have made the Mayfair Hotel St Louis their St. Louis headquarters and home away from home. Once you experience the special blend of elegance and service, you'll know why.
Union Station Marriott, 1820 Market St, Phone: +1 314 421-6655, . A hotel in the heart of downtown with 550 rooms inside the historic train station lined with trendy tourist shops. Access to the metro link makes this a convenient place to stay.
St. Louis' recent designation as the Most Dangerous City in America should not deter the potential visitor -- vagaries in data collection and the city's fixed borders distort the true nature of the Gateway City's safety. Areas most often visited by tourists are no more dangerous than any other large American city. The more popular and most-visited areas in the city, such as Clayton, Downtown, the Central West End, and Forest Park have very low crime rates, even for the Midwest.
Some economically depressed North County suburbs like Wellston, Pagedale and parts of Normandy and Jennings, as well as many parts of North Saint Louis city are unsafe. The post-war exodus to the suburbs has taken a huge economic toll on these areas, leaving many buildings abandoned, decaying, or demolished. East St. Louis, in Illinois, is also noted for its high crime rate (note this is not true of Alton or Belleville, in Illinois to the north and south). When in the city, a general guideline (though politically incorrect and somewhat simplistic) is that areas north of Delmar Blvd are less safe than south. Most tourists, however, will have little reason to visit any of these places, so it should not present reason for much concern.
Some Metrolink stations are located in areas some may find questionable after dark as well. But most downtown areas around Busch Stadium, and Union Station, as well as the St. Louis University area and commuter lots near the airport, are generally safe and patrolled.
Although the chance is extremely rare, an earthquake is possible in the area, as St. Louis sits on a fault line, whose last big earthquake changed the course of the Mississippi River. While many scientists have cautioned that a "big one" may occur again, the majority agree it is unlikely to happen any time soon.
St. Louis has had more urban tornadoes than any other city in the country, so make sure you understand tornado safety precautions.
There are tons of free and safe trips in St. Louis. Check out a few at 
Cahokia Mounds, 30 Ramey Street, Collinsville, IL 62234  - located just across the river in Illinois, this is the site of the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico and has been designated an official UNESCO World Heritage site.
Alton, Illinois is a historic river town just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Enjoy wineries, winter eagle watching, 50 antique shops, 9 golf courses, historic sites, fine dining, and elegant bed and breakfast accommodations.
For a scenic day trip, take the Great River Road north from Alton to Grafton , stopping for antique shops and then on to lunch at the Pere Marquette Lodge  in Pere Marquette State Park. This drive is especially beautiful in the fall months, but in the winter you can see a number of bald eagles roosting along the river bluffs.
The Katy Trail State Bike Trail. The Katy Trail is a bike path built where a Kansas-Missouri-Texas railroad line formerly ran. It's over 200 miles long, and biking on a section (or the whole thing) and stopping on the small towns dotting the tree-lined trail is a worthwhile excursion. Great place for bikers, runners, and those who want to experience small town Missouri and the great outdoors.
Lewis and Clark State Memorial Park (Camp Dubois) where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi River. On the Illinois side, about 15 miles from the Gateway Arch. Take I-70 North to Exit #248A McKinley Bridge, then Hwy 3 north towards Alton, exit at New Poag Rd. (Hwy 203) and turn left. This is the location that explorers Lewis and Clark stayed at to begin their journey to the Pacific in 1803-04. Short hiking trails, 82 campsites, 1930s lodge, popular for family picnics.