Also called the “Gateway to the West”, the city of Saint Louis, MO connects Missouri with Illinois and it’s the second largest city in the state of Missouri. It was called “one of the finest cities in America” by French Pierre Laclede Liguest who, in 1763, discovered the place where the city is today. There is a lot of history in Saint Louis, Missouri and many historical sights to visit, but not only. You will be able to plan a perfect summer day in
Saint Louis, see the city’s most important places and have some fun as well.
Start your day early in the morning with a visit to the Zoo, located in Forest Park at One Government Drive. The park is open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday. It’s better to go in the morning because the animals are more active and you don’t risk a sunburn-the heat can become a problem on a very sunny day around lunchtime. Admission to the Zoo is free, however if you are visiting with children you can also buy tickets to animal shows or you can choose to feed the animals.
The whole area is very clean, very well organized, you can get a free map right at the entrance which will show you what animals are located in each area of the park. If you choose to walk around St. Louis Zoo, it will take you about 3 hours to visit all animal areas but you can also buy a tram ride or a Safari one-day pass which will ensure your entrance to most of the animal shows and it includes the tram ride as well. That’s a very good option if you’re visiting with children.
Parking at the Zoo can be tricky if you go on a very busy day-they offer 2 paid lots and limited street parking in Forest Park. So, if you travel by car, make sure you arrive early or choose a parking place further from the Zoo and then walk to the park. In case you want to use the city transportation, you can take Forest Park Trolley, the MetroBus or MetroLink.
Drive from Forest Park to Downtown Saint Louis to check the other sights that the city offers-and there are plenty! You can take Washington Ave or Broadway Street to admire the old buildings, the skyscrapers and the wonderful parks located all over the city. But no matter what street you take, the Gateway Arch will rise over the skyscrapers and on a clear sky you can see it from any angle. It’s definitely the symbol of Saint Louis and it’s a must see attraction.
You can enter the Arch for free, you will pass security check and get to a whole area of museums, souvenir shops and most importantly, buy a ticket to get to the top of the Arch, that is the ultimate experience of Saint Louis and most importantly, buy a ticket to get to the top of the Arch, that is the ultimate experience of Saint Louis! You will ride a small tram to the top, it’s like a capsule with 5 seats and it will take you 4 minutes to go up and 3 minutes to get down.
But, once you are up, you get amazing view of the city on one side and the Mississippi River on the other side. It may be a bit scary, but definitely worth the 4 minutes tram ride-you must not miss it! It’s an amazing feeling to be on top of everything at 630 feet (192 meters) high, the city’s skyscrapers will seem nothing compared to the height you’re at on top of the Gateway Arch. The Arch’s history is impressive as well, you can see movies about it at the ground level.
To make things even better, check out the summer events taking place at the Gateway Arch, most of those are free and very entertaining. You can even do yoga by the Arch! So, imagine how diverse the events and activities are by the Arch. The park around it is also a good place to take a walk, jog, ride a bike or have a picnic. It’s an awesome place to spend a few hours, take some pictures, enjoy the nature and breath the fresh air.
River Mississippi is right behind the Arch, so you can go down the stairs and take a closer and better view of the water. There is also a heliport where you can go and check the helicopter rides prices, times and other details in case you want to fly over the river and the city.
After getting on top of the Gateway Arch, it doesn’t seem there’s much left to do in Saint Louis, in only a day…but there is! You can go up on Washington Avenue or Broadway Street to get to Laclede’s Landing to have a drink or just enjoy a walk on the quiet historical streets of old downtown Saint Louis. There are plenty of bars and restaurants you can choose from and many of them have tables outside as well.
In the evening you can head to the Loop on Delmar Boulevard – it’s a vibrant, lively street where most of the students from Washington University in Saint Louis go out. It’s located close to Forest Park and Saint Louis Zoo and it’s one of the main nightlife spots in Saint Louis. You will have plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from, people are friendly and the atmosphere is amazing. If you feel young, you have to go on Delmar Loop, that is a must!