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The  “Gateway to the West,” was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau, and after the Louisiana Purchase, it became a major port of the Mississippi River. The population grew after the American Civil War, and it became the fourth-largest city in the United States in the late 19th Century.  In 1904, St. Louis hosted the World’s Fair, and the Olympic Games.  The city’s population peaked in 1950, after which began a long decline until the beginning of the 21st century.  In 2010 St. Louis was the 58th-largest U.S. City with a population of 319,294.  The economic increase is due to the manufacturing, trade, and transportation of goods. 

Tourists come from all over to see the famous Gateway Arch, which was built in 1965 by Finnish-American architect Eoro Saarinen as a tribute to president Thomas Jefferson for his westward expansion.  The Gateway Arch is one of our nation’s tallest manmade monuments at 630 feet.  Take a ride to the top of the amazing arch, for the fantastic views of the city.

As locals will tell you, “there’s more than meets the arch” to St. Louis, and they are right!  St. Louis has to offer visitors, whether cultural, historical, sporting, educational or just plain fun! Another must see, is the Mississippi River, just across the street, where you can take a trip and enjoy a narrated tour of the area on the Gateway Arch Riverboats. The narrator will help you re-live the days of the Mississippi steamboats and what happened along the banks during that time period.

Take a step back in time to the 50’s with a drip down the famous Route 66, and the state park where you can see one of the most famous highways in America.

St. Louis has a continental temperature climate,and has neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The weather can be highly variable and dynamic. The area is affected by both cold Canadian arctic air, and also hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. The city has four distinct seasons. Summer daytime average highs reach 89 with lows of 67, while winter highs may average 24 with average lows around 16.


St. Louis is the world headquarters of Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer. The brewery tour takes visitors through the beechwood aging cellars, the historic Brew House, the Bevo packaging plant, and the famous Clydesdale horses paddock and stables. End the tour with a trip to the hospitality room where complimentary tastings of Anheuser-Busch beers are served. Admission is free. For more information visit www.budweisertours.com.
St. Louis has a ton of family friendly activities, that kids of all ages will enjoy.  Whether you are into art, adventure, or educational trips, you can find something just right for everyone.

Six Flags (I-44 SW St. Louis, Exit 261; Six Flags), enjoy non-stop, high speed thrill rides around every turn.  Heart-pounding roller coasters, family rides and attractions are just the ticket.  in 2011 a new ride was created, called the SkyScreamer.  This is the tallest ride in the park at 326 feet in the air.  Also feel free to cool off at their free water park, Hurricane Harbor.

Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Ave.; Saint Louis Science Center ), explore over 700 exhibits, the OMNIMAX Theater, planetarium, special traveling exhibitions, and a lot more.

Saint Louis Art Museum (One Fine Arts Drive; Saint Louis Art Museum) was originally built as the Fine Arts Palace of the 1904 World's Fair, and one of the nation's leading comprehensive art museums. Collections include works of the highest quality across time and cultures.  The museum aspires to educate, inspire, and elevate the human spirit.  They do offer free admission to special exhibitions on Fridays, and programs that range from films to performances.


Opened in 1965 as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's dream of a continental United States, the Gateway Arch is the nation's tallest monument. Ride 630 feet up to the top for a 30-mile bird's-eye view of St. Louis. Lines for the tram to the observation area on top are shortest right after the monument opens at 8:30 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. www.stlouisarch.com

The Sporting News named St. Louis the best sports city in all of North America. St. Louisans are noted for their support of the baseball Cardinals, the hockey Blues and the NFL's Rams.

Cardinals

St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Blues

The newly renovated Hyatt Regency St. Louis reflects the grace and opulence of the Romanesque architecture and enjoys proximity to business and financial centers. 539 luxurious guestrooms and suites offer visitors a choice between traditional elegance and contemporary ambiance. As part of historic St. Louis Union Station, it offers easy access to many cultural and tourist attractions. www.stlouis.hyatt.com
There are plenty of options for shoppers, from malls to outlets, you will have your pick of where to go.

For the outlet shopper check out St. Louis Mills (555 St. Louis Mills Blvd.,St. Louis Mills. Here you will find over a hundred stored filled with great finds!

West County Center (I-270 & Manchester Rd., West County Center ), is an expansive shopping center with the perfect combination of popular and renown stored and shops, located in the heart of St. Louis.  

Chesterfield Mall (I-64/Hwy 40 & Clarkson Rd., Chesterfield Mall ), is filled with popular department stores, boutiques, entertainment, and food.  The classic shopping choice for the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis has a great night life, filled with bars, and nightclubs for everyone.  Locals and visitors alike, have a great time mingling in a fun and welcoming atmosphere here.  Al Hraboskys' Ballpark Saloon, (800 Cerre St.), just two blocks from Busch Stadium is always hopping, game nights or not.  Every night after games there is no cover charge for the St. Louis bar, making it a fantastic choice for an after party. A live DJ spins every Friday and Saturday night, and offers $2 draft beer. 

The downtown area is the number one place to go to, and the center of the attention is Club Buca (707 Clamorgan Aly).  They offer a night of drinking and dancing in the Laclede's Landing area.  DJ's Spinning R&B, Hip Hop, and even some good ol' rock 'n roll pulling everyone on the dance floor.  



For great ideas on what to do, and what to see, make sure to check out, Explore St. Louis, as it is a great resource of the current happenings of all St. Louis has to offer.  Metro Transit is available for those that prefer public transportation around the area, plus it's a great way to view the sites.

Al's

Al's isn't deliberately retro, it's just a very traditional steak place. No written menu, just the house's version of "show" (main courses, superb quality protein, both land- and water-based) and "tell" (an incredible number of first courses) . The decor is unchanged from the Johnson administration, the service is impeccable, and yes, that's probably a professional athlete over in the corner. While the building, in an industrial area north of Laclede's Landing, doesn't inspire confidence, the limos parked in front are highly reassuring. Prices are never mentioned in the ritual of an evening, but they're steep; this is no longer the most expensive spot in town, but it could be if you're feeling indulgent. Male guests are asked to wear jackets.

Al's
1200 North First St.
(314) 421-6399
www.alsrestaurant.net


Annie Gunn's

He just wants a good steak, she likes haute cuisine. Solution: Annie Gunn's, which grew out of the meat market and smokehouse next door, meaning the sausages and things like huge smoked shrimp are all done in-house. This is New American cooking at its best--five or six potato dishes, a deft hand with game and banana bread pudding with caramel sauce that makes the unsuspecting groan with delight. The wine list is large, expensive and expertly handled. Reservations a necessity at this very popular (and loud) place in the Chesterfield Valley just off I-64, especially if you want one of the "snugs" that hold six to eight, depending on avoirdupois and relationship.

Annie Gunn's
16806 Chesterfield Airport Rd.
(636) 532-7684
www.anniegunns.com


Bar Italia

St. Louis' first serious encounter with Italian that wasn't tomato-sauce based, Bar Italia in the Central West End has proven its worth. You never know what to expect out of this kitchen, with interesting treatments of risotti, fish and vegetables. The wine and grappa lists are very serious indeed. And it's become increasingly chic, with interesting types populating the bar late at night. The large outdoor seating area is protected from the wind, and no one grumbles if you linger over a mid-afternoon coffee. Service is knowledgeable, but the tempo of the meal is more leisurely than what most Americans are accustomed to. Dinner reservations are a necessity.

Bar Italia
13 Maryland Plaza
(314) 361-7010
www.baritaliastl.com


Café Mira

Clayton is the hot restaurant district right now. Café Mira practically sizzles when you touch the door. Spare decor reminds customers to wear minimalist chic, but don't expect anything like similar treatment from the kitchen. That trend stops at the door. Dishes like sweet-hot fried calimari and rock shrimp, lamb shank in white bean ragout with tomatoes or Creole seared salmon with a crawfish and corn beignet appear with uncommon vegetable companions, leaving scarcely any room for the dynamite desserts. Reservations are important.

Café Mira
12 North Meramec Ave.
(314) 721-7801


Cardwell's at The Plaza

Don't be fooled by a location in a shopping center and nearness to Neiman-Marcus. Cardwell's at the Plaza is a very serious restaurant indeed, serious enough that visiting wine gurus take lunch here. The menu involves riffs on how America eats now, which means everything from stellar soups to forays into curry. A little pasta, frequent variations on duck, a pork chop and some exciting vegetarian food, courtesy of one of the owner-chefs whose preference it is, add up to lots of choices. Not surprisingly, the wine list is a big one. This is too good to keep for the ladies who shop.

Cardwell's at The Plaza
94 Plaza Frontenac
(314) 997-8885
www.cardwellsattheplaza.com


Chez Leon

At the southern end of the Central West End near Washington University Medical Center, Chez Leon does bistro French with considerable success. The interior feels right, with mirrors and hat racks above the banquettes and French doors opening to the street. So does the menu which delivers fine versions of bistro standards like onion soup, roast chicken and sweetbreads. There's also a cheese platter, a relative rarity in this town. Laudable steak frites, with better-than-French beef and earthshaking fries. Good service from people who understand their menu. Closed Mondays.

Chez Leon
4580 Laclede Ave.
(314) 361-1589
www.chezleon.com


The Crossing

This relatively small spot in Clayton offers some of the best celebrity-spotting in town. But that's secondary at The Crossing, where the pleasures of the palate are indulged with luxurious food. The emphasis is on Midwestern products whenever possible, so game and duck are handled well, pork is always exciting, and particularly in summer, vegetables shine. Nevertheless, it's not Granny's food, unless she studied fairly recently at the CIA; this is definitely modern cuisine from a kitchen whose bloodlines come from Daniel and Gotham in New York. Pleasant but not overwhelming decor, service occasionally stumbles.

The Crossing
7823 Forsyth Blvd.
(314) 721-7375
www.thecrossingstl.com


Eau

Eau boy, is this room in the reborn Chase Hotel in the Central West End a happening place! The café section does breakfast and lunch and serves as an after-dark meeting spot for the young and thirsty; the handsome, high-ceilinged bistro across the hall offers dinner and a fine Sunday brunch. The emphasis, not surprisingly, is on fish, but there's plenty to keep the carnivores content in this new enterprise of the Kansas City-based PB&J group. There's also a terrace overlooking the pool, particularly pleasant on a fine spring afternoon or an atypical (i.e., only slightly warm) summer night.

Eau
212 North Kingshighway Blvd.
(314) 454-9000
www.chaseparkplaza.com


Frazer's

The Clydesdales don't put on the feedbags at this dinner only spot within sight of the Anheuser-Busch motherhouse in south St. Louis, but everyone else does. Frazer's is a storefront serving food that refers to everything from New Orleans to a sweet white-haired granny, resulting in a variety that ranges from chicken sandwiches to lavender duck. The spot is noisy, with clientele that range from oncologists to blue-collar types on their way to sports events, but the good-natured servers are knowledgeable about their wares. If they mention a chocolate-studded bread pudding, grab it. Reservations are a very good idea.

Frazer's
1811 Pestalozzi St.
(314) 773-8646
www.frazergoodeats.com


Giovanni's

Dining on The Hill, St. Louis' Italian neighborhood, is a St. Louis tradition. Elegant restaurants sit elbow-to-elbow with small bungalows and Mom-and-Pop businesses. Giovanni's is a choice spot for really big celebrations, and the food, now under the second generation, is being reborn. Traditional dishes like osso bucco and tagliatelle with mussels glow, but newer ideas like duck breast in cognac/orange sauce positively sparkle. Giovanni himself is often in attendance, but the service from black-tie waiters doesn't lag, no matter what.

Giovanni's
5201 Shaw Ave.
(314) 772-5958
www.giovannisonthehill.com


Harvest

Harvest offers modern American food in a California-esque setting. In the close-in suburb of Richmond Heights and sharing a vestibule with a superior cheesecake bakery, it's a great spot for those who like their vegetables as well as their meat or fish because the interesting sides are part of the pleasure. First courses seem particularly tempting to the adventurous, but the traditional palates shouldn't miss the buttermilk-battered onion rings. Not a place for a quiet conversation but extremely popular. Reserve unless you want to beg them to let you eat at the bar.

Harvest
1059 South Big Bend
(314) 645-3522

www.harveststlouis.com


King & I

Who knows how St. Louis ended up with one of the most authentic Thai restaurants around at least when it comes to food? The King & I introduced hundreds to the joys of pad Thai and yum squid. Diners, ranging from suburbanites to students, throng to the bigger-than-it-looks site in a multi-ethnic neighborhood of South St. Louis. Main courses are probably better than appetizers. Caution: This place is serious about spicing. Customers who specify "hot" often get much more than they bargained for. Pina coladas aren't ethnically accurate but prove to be an effective antidote.

King & I
3157 South Grand Blvd.
(314) 771-1777
www.thaispicy.com


King Louie's

King Louie's began as an ancient brewery tasting room near the St. Louis University Hospital that became a bar which spawned a restaurant. In the process, the food evolved, too, adding contemporary riffs to global cuisine, from chicken sandwiches to Southeast Asian vegetable curries, pasta with mussels to steak under a porcini mushroom sauce. Word-of-mouth has drawn flocks of downtown lunchers and pre-symphony/theater/sports events diners who don't mind the advent of white tablecloths and an interesting wine list. Here's another vegetarian chef who takes care of his constituency but makes sure everything tastes good.

King Louie's
3800 Chouteau Ave.
(314) 865-3662
www.kinglouies.com


Tony's

Located in downtown St. Louis, that temple of the eating arts, Tony's is formal dining, traditional style. The Italian roots are still fully evident but the kitchen gives a wide range of treatments to the best ingredients money and reputation can obtain. Lobster albanello is the signature dish, its rich creamy sauce calling for pasta to avoid wasting any. First courses are a particularly hard decision, with wonderful soups, truffled scallops and lots of old favorites you'd forgotten you loved. The best cake-and-ice cream dessert in the Midwest, maybe the country, is served here. And if nothing sounds good, make a suggestion -- they can do it. Service is a little less formal than it used to be, perhaps a result of the long-awaited redecoration of the dining room.

Tony's
410 Market St.
(314) 231-7007
www.tonysstlouis.com


Trattoria Marcella

Loud, happy, packed with people having a good time and eating great food described as "rustic Italian," Trattoria Marcella rocks on. The menu carries lots of pasta, pizza and at least one risotto, plus carne and pesce done with American ingredients, but it's a far cry from spaghetti and meatballs. Swordfish paillards stuffed with eggplant and tomatoes, polenta "french fries" with a porcini sauce, flash-fried spinach and squid topped with shards of parmigiano show the house style. A young, new dessert chef brought up through the ranks shows great potential. Is it any surprise this is a family-owned restaurant? Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Trattoria Marcella
3600 Watson Rd.
(314) 352-7706
www.trattoriamarcella.com



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