The Gateway to the West. The Lou. St. Louie. These are just a few of the many monikers given to the city of St. Louis, Missouri. From its humble origins as a French settler's town to one of America's largest cities, St. Louis possesses so many great attractions, restaurants, and other features.
The best part about quite a few of the city's attractions is that they are free, so take advantage.
And while St. Louis has recently received a bad rap due to carjackings, violent crime and the unrest in Ferguson — the city still offers an immense amount of culture, attractions and downright gorgeous sights. It is still a city worth exploring and inserting yourself into.
Here are five ways to do just that.
Visit Forest Park
I cannot stress this enough: if you do not go to Forest Park, you miss out on the city. The Art Museum, Zoo, History Museum, Muny Theater and Science Center call the park home.
Tour the utterly breathtaking scenery and environment of the park itself, and take the chance to learn about the setting for the 1904 World's Fair at the History Museum, as well as a key setting for the Civil Rights Movement, culture and organized labor.
You can find fantastic art pieces at SLAM, enjoy a summer show at the Muny, enjoy learning about energy, space and anatomy at the Science Center.
This is easily my favorite part of the city, and you will see why when you immerse yourself in the park. Oh, and everything listed above has free entry. Just as an FYI to prospective travelers.
Visit The Arch
A visit to St. Louis cannot exclude a trip to the testament to the city's past as a gateway to the west. While the museum is always fun and interesting, a visit to the arch without a trip up the arch, with its' infamous elevators, is sorely lacking in a great view.
Once you ascend the arch, you will easily get some of the best views of the city skyline. It is a must-do.
Get to the City Museum
A strange sight to see, the museum is both a kid's and adult's play-place. You can climb on just about everything in sight. Slides, tubes, airplanes and a bus that hangs off the side of the roof!?
Eccentric yet logical, immerse yourself in the warehouse and enjoy indulging.
Go to the Delmar Loop
One of the best spots in the city, and there's not much to debate about the best part of the Avenue. Food? Choose between Seoul Taco, good pizza, Fitz's (where they'll bottle soda right in front of you), to the Snow Factory, where you can get some of the best-rolled ice cream around (and drop off a note too).
Entertainment? The Tivoli Theater and the Pageant remain two of my favorites. The Pageant hosts myriad concerts and artists year-round, while the Tivoli hosts many a great film. Hell, going there for a showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" is nearly a tradition now.
Drop a dime on a vinyl record, great books or any St. Louis themed merchandise on Delmar, too. It's worth the trip.
Catch a game at Busch Stadium
Last, yet not least, go to a game at Busch.
Even as someone who has never been a fan of the Redbirds, the atmosphere is great. St. Louis has always been a baseball city, and it shows in the history and prestige of the club. Whether you sit close to the diamond or more tucked back, the energy is oftentimes electric and magnetic, pulling you into the crowd and immersing yourself in the atmosphere.
It is a thoroughly sublime experience, especially in close games.
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