The perfect way to experience the people and culture of Missouri, St. Louis is a city with class, style and French pedigree.
Founded in 1764 by two French traders following the Louisiana Purchase, the city’s prime position on the Mississippi River made St. Louis a major port. As the city began to grow steadily, St. Louis was even given the honour of hosting the 1904 Olympics games.
Of course, the most recognisable symbol and attraction of the city is the enormous Gateway Arch – a gigantic 192m structure that is the centrepiece to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial commemorating the United States’ western expansion which began with American Independence. The Arch itself is the largest stainless steel monument in the world and Missouri’s tallest accessible building – offering stunning views across the prairies, an absolute must for any visitor to the state.
Catholicism has had an important part to play in St. Louis’ history, as evidenced by the number of superbly ornate places of worship that exist there. Showing great influence from the city’s French past, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is a stunning 5,000 capacity cathedral that is home to the largest mosaic in the world. Other key places of worship worth visiting include the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France on Walnut Street and the Saint Louis Abbey in Creve Coeur which has won many awards for its fine architecture.
Despite the beautiful architecture and churches, St. Louis is also a town where people like to have fun. For a good time, head down to the University City district and seek out the Delmar Loop – a major district for entertainment, culture and restaurants.
Named after the Streetcar Loop that formerly served the area, the Loop of today includes such attractions as the live music orientated Pageant Concert Nightclub, the Tivoli Theatre (a three screen art house cinema), and Blueberry Hill – a hugely popular music hall and restaurant that kick started the Delmar Loop revival of the 1970s. The Loop is also home to the St. Louis Walk of Fame, a series of brass plaques commemorating famous St. Louisans such as Chuck Berry, Tine Turner and John Goodman.
Of course, no trip to St. Louis is complete without sampling the local cuisine. The city is famous for several dishes but most visitors seem to prefer the toasted ravioli – a deep fried ravioli dish served as a starter. St. Louis style pizza is also a must try. Made with a very thin, cracker like crust made without yeast, this pizza is distinctively cut into squares or rectangles rather than slices. If your server asks if you want it ‘tavern cut’, that’s what they’re asking!