Once the home of Chuck Berry, and known as the Gateway to the West, St. Louis is now most noted for that iconic archway, an ultra-modern metallic curve next to the Mississippi River that stretches to 630ft., making it the highest man-made monument in the whole of the States. You can even ride to the top and stare out over the city and across the Mississippi River into Illinois from the hair-raising tramway, before sampling the Museum of Westward Expansion at the base and taking in a quick film about it all.
In line with its fixation with sports (see baseball and hockey in particular), St Louis has an impressive array of open spaces, from the Missouri Botanical Gardens to Citygarden, and ample notable attractions just outside the city limits, too. The iconic route 66, for example, takes you past a host of legendary stop offs and through extraordinary scenery, while you can explore ancient Indian culture by enjoying the Cahokia Mounds, a prehistoric city dating back more than 3000 years.
For the fun loving, the Anheuser Busch Brewery is a free attraction that teaches everything there is to know about the local lager, from packaging to a tour of the aging brew house, while the interactive City Museum has an astounding array of interactive exhibits that make it somewhat more than you might expect from a more typical tourist trap. Second only to the San Diego Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo is free for all and includes a free flight bird cage dating back to the 1904 Worlds' Fair. There are always the casinos, too…
There’s an impressive cultural edge to St Louis, with numerous art museums on offer (including the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts), the Laumeier Sculpture Gardens, as well as a seductive penchant for live blues music. Don’t rule out technology either, with the St. Louis Science Center, or the chance to enjoy a more traditional ride on the Mississippi aboard an aging paddle steamer.
In many ways, St Louis represents everything America used to be, with deep culture, a welcoming and green-filled city and plenty in the way of genuinely stunning tourist attractions. No wonder, then, that it draws in more than five million tourists a year, and most leave raving about the place. Settle down for a dose of blues, a slurp of local lager and a measure of lovable art.