Welcome to St. Louis, where the city will embrace you with warm, friendly hospitality and an extraordinary collection of curated cultural experiences, many which offer free admission. Whether it’s a weekend or longer, you’ll find dozens of delightful ways to explore and nurture your artistic side.
Visit the museums, hear the opera, listen to classical music, and watch live theatre as you engage in their highly collaborative art scene.
Where to Stay – The Four Seasons
The essence of luxury is the Four Seasons Hotel, connected to the Horseshoe Casino. This urban oasis in the middle of the city is just steps away from the downtown entertainment district, the Mississippi River, and the Gateway Arch.
The Four Seasons offers fabulous cuisine from Cinder House which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a scrumptious Sunday brunch, starring Wagyu Brisket Hash. Now under the helm of James Beard Award-Winning Chef Gerard Craft, the menu blends wood-fired meat, vegetables, and fish with bold international flavors, emphasizing South American gastronomy and the bold flavors of Brazil. The New York Strip and Lamb Duo were out of this world, served with Yuca Frites and Vegetable Escabeche. What a unique taste experience!
Relax in their heated pool and hot tub in their Sky Terrace. Share a cocktail on the rooftop bar with exquisite views of the city. An extensive wine list, local and craft beer served alongside light appetizers make this the place to see and be seen in St. Louis. Other hotel amenities include Top Golf Swing Suite, spa and wellness treatments, and fitness center. It was the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of seeing the sights.
Recommended room: An Arch-View Room overlooking the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi.
What to Do
A visit to the Gateway Arch, the tallest memorial in the United States, is a must. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, the arch typifies “the pioneer spirit of those who won the West.” Interestingly, both the width and height of the arch are the same, 630 feet. From the exquisite views to the Tram Ride to the top of the museum, you can easily spend a half day seeing everything. There’s a new Virtual Reality Theatre that showcases the St. Louis riverfront in the 1850s with stories of the first immigrants who arrived here. Time: 10 minutes.
Don’t miss the film about the construction of the Arch, “Monument to the Dream.” Time: 35 minutes.
Spend some time at their interactive and accessible museum which features 200+ years of history, commemorating America’s pioneering spirit from 1764 to 1965. Free admission to the museum.
Advanced reservations for the Arch are highly recommended.
Stop at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, an art museum showcasing global art from the past and contemporary. The building itself is a work of art, designed by the architect Tadao Ando. Now showing through August 6 is Faye HeavyShield: Confluences, made up of more than 3,000 small-scale images stacked in grid formation like roof shingles. It symbolizes the confluences of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Check out the famous Richard Serra sculpture of “Joe” dedicated to Joseph Pulitzer in the back. The museum is free and offers a full schedule of programs and events.
I saw the most amazing exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum showcasing the work of Jacolby Satterwhite, entitled “Spirits Roaming the Earth,” now through August 13. His imaginatitve, fantastical work incoporates digital images, animation, art history, and video gaming in a world of surrealism. Check out their artist talks, film screenings, tours and more. Admission is free.
Another free museum is the St. Louis Art Museum which features classic and contemporary art spanning five centuries and across six continents. Opened in 1879, this imposing structure highlights Ancient American, European, Asian and modern art. The museum is currently exhibiting Monet/Mitchell: Painting the French Landscape which compares the work of the French Impressionist Claude Monet and the American Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell. Now through June 25.
Counterpublic and Pillars of the Valley represents public art at its best. This civic exhibition, which takes place every three years, weaves modern art into the essence of St. Louis. Its purpose is to promote an all-inclusive art form that reaches across boundaries and teaches history. Pillars pays tribute to the Mill Creek Valley community, once a thriving black community. View it from the Southern Riverfront through the Brickline Greenway, Through July 15.
Missouri Botanical Garden has been a St. Louis favorite since 1859, creating gorgeous garden landscapes in this National Historic Landmark. Currently featuring “Chihuly in the Garden,” you’ll find 20 installations blending distinctive glassworks with nature. Come by for “Chiluly Nights” when the sculptures are dramatically lit up for an exquisite display with live music and cocktails. Visit the Climatron®, using climate controlled technology in the greenhouse dome, the Japanese Gardens and hop on the tram for a relaxing ride. Enjoy Sassafras for fresh, casual dining, indoors and out.
Other Live Entertainment Options
Check out the Black Rep Theatre Company for performances about the African-American experience in theatre and dance. I saw “Eubie” about composer Eubie Black, their final show for the season. Check their website for upcoming productions.
All of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis productions are in English, so they’re easy to understand and a great way to expose children to the beauty of opera. Next up is “Tosca” now through June 25.
Get Lost in a Maze
St. Louis is a great family destination, offering many fun and educational activities for growing minds. There is no place on earth quite like the City Museum for kids to explore with its wildly weird space, places to hide, slide, and discover. Get lost in twists, turns, tunnels, and just have plain, old-fashioned fun in this amazing gallery. Opened in 1997, City Museum is the king of recyclers, reimagining materials others want to discard. Check out the rooftop with its school bus, fighter jet, and Ferris Wheel. Indoors and out, this is the place to play.
Cheer on the St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis is a big baseball town, routing for their beloved St. Louis Cardinals through 11 World Series Championships. That’s an impressive record, second only to the NY Yankees. With a ballpark in the middle of the city, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and other venues to discover in Ballpark Village, a wonderful place to go if there’s a game going on or not. Check out Cardinal Nation and the Budweiser Brew House.
With more than 17 different food concepts, City Foundry is the place to go because this extensive Food Hall has something for everyone. Formerly The Century Electric Company, this entire shopping, dining, and entertainment complex is chock full of fabulous eats and unique things to buy. Emphasis is on international fare with such offerings as 4 Hens which pays homage to Creole cuisine, dine at Hello Poke with its Hawaiian-style poke bowls, Kalbi Taco Shack, blending Asian with Mexican fare. Top it off with a unique ice pop from Poptimism.
Best St. Louis Tastes: Be sure to try Toasted Ravioli, Concrete Shakes, Imo’s Square Pizza with Brick Cheese, and Gooey Butter Cake.
For more information, visit St. Louis.