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St. Louis

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Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Missouri St. Louis

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Introduction

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The Gateway City of St. Louis is the epitome of the modern Midwestern metropolis. Missouri's second-largest city is vibrant but laid-back, populous but navigable, historic but still relevant. The city's planners have created an aesthetically beautiful city, with plenty of green space amidst buildings both old and new, framed by the majestic Mississippi and Missouri rivers. And capping it all is the world's tallest man-made monument, the beautiful and iconic Gateway Arch.

St. Louis is a city of culture and surprisingly inexpensive. Among American cities, only Washington, D.C., has more free attractions for tourists and residents alike. Hotels, restaurants, and even parking garages avoid the premium pricing common in other big cities. Although often overlooked, St. Louis can be (and sometimes is!) an affordable, educational, and fun family getaway!

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Neighbourhoods

  • Downtown - The Central Business District of St. Louis, downtown is nearing the end of a decade-long multi-billion dollar revitalization. Featuring both professional sporting teams' stadiums, dozens of hotels, corporate headquarters, trendy dining and shopping, entertainment, nightlife, and the Gateway arch, downtown St. Louis is now also home to tens of thousands of residents, many living in warehouses that have been converted to affordable and luxurious apartments and condominiums.
  • Laclede's Landing - On the city's eastern edge, this is one of the oldest standing neighborhoods of the city. A former industrial area, the Landing has original cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriage rides in the evenings, live music, and restaurants and bars in converted industrial buildings.
  • Soulard - To the immediate southwest of downtown lies St. Louis's oldest neighborhood. Today it is a perfect case study for traditional St. Louis red brick architecture, and also features the famous Soulard Farmers Market and many trendy restaurants.
  • Lafayette Square - Although some may group this with Soulard due to proximity, Lafayette Square features its own distinct architecture (Victorian and French Second Empire) and demographics. Surrounding the oldest park in St. Louis are tree-lined streets with rehabbed townhouses, some shopping and dining, and bed and breakfasts.
  • Old North Saint Louis - just north of Downtown, the historic Old North neighborhood is in the midst of a dramatic revitalization that includes a significant number of historically rehabilitated brick, 19th Century structures; new businesses, such as Old North Grocery Co-op, Therapy Boutique, and La Mancha Coffeehouse; and a diverse community of residents, with a population that grew by 28% since 2000. The center of the neighborhood is at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street, which is where the legendary Crown Candy Kitchen is located, along with the award-winning Crown Square, the recently completed $35 million redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall. Crown Square is also the site of the North City Farmers' Market, which in 2010 was identified as one of "America's Favorite Farmers' Markets," according to American Farmland Trust.
  • Benton Park/Brewery - Located just south of Soulard, Benton Park has recently come back from decades of disrepair. The area contains the Anheuser Busch Brewery and the old Lemp Brewery, in addition to a small eponymous park and working-class versions of the townhomes of Lafayette Square.
  • Forest Park Southeast - Situated just where the name suggests, Forest Park Southeast is at the beginning of a revitalization. Younger professionals have been attracted to the area due to the popular bars, and have since settled down and contributed to the area's infrastructure.
  • Grand Center/Midtown - Located going West of Downtown down an area known as the Central Corridor (that includes Forest Park and the CWE), Grand Center is home to a booming performing arts, theatre, and museum district. St. Louis University is in this area.
  • Tower Grove/South Grand - a few miles south of Grand Center is Tower Grove Park, a 19th-century Victorian walking park. The nearby South Grand strip has a variety of shops, coffeehouses, bars, service businesses, and the area's largest concentration of Asian restaurants and shops. An ethnically diverse, gay-friendly area with an active street life and turn-of-the-century architecture.
  • Central West End - A very cosmpolitan neighborhood featuring stunning turn-of-the-century palace-like homes, upscale dining, and boutique shopping, the Central West End also contains an eclectic mix of antique shops, coffee houses, and art galleries. Located on the eastern edge of Forest Park, it also includes the world-renowned Medical School of Washington University.
  • The Hill - St. Louis's Little Italy is home to a large number of locally renowned Italian restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores. Its name is due to its proximity to the highest point of the city.
  • North St. Louis - The historic African-American neighborhood known as "The Ville", and contains many historical sites relating to the history of Black America in the Midwest,i.e. Sumner High School and Homer G. Phillips Hospital. This area extends from Delmar to I-270 and contains much of the industrial record of St. Louis and the migration of new comers to the city.

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Sights and Activities

Gate Way Arch is the famous arch and a symbol of how St. Louis was the gateway to the west.

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Weather

St. Louis lies in the transitional zone between the humid continental climate type and the humid subtropical climate type, with neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The city experiences hot, humid summers and cold winters. It is subject to both cold Arctic air and hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. The average annual temperature recorded at nearby Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 13.9 °C. Both 38 °C and -18 °C temperatures can be seen on an average 2 or 3 days per year. Average annual precipitation is about 1,040 mm, but annual precipitation has ranged from 523 mm in 1953 to 1,555 mm in 2015.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max3.2 °C5.9 °C12.6 °C19.4 °C24.5 °C29.6 °C31.8 °C30.7 °C26.6 °C20.3 °C12.6 °C5.4 °C
Avg Min-6.2 °C-3.8 °C1.9 °C8 °C13.3 °C18.7 °C21.3 °C19.9 °C15.8 °C9.1 °C3.2 °C-3.3 °C
Rainfall46 mm53.8 mm90.9 mm88.9 mm100.8 mm94.5 mm97.8 mm72.4 mm79.2 mm68.1 mm83.3 mm77 mm
Rain Days66.29.19.18.57.97.16.26.66.67.37.4

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Getting There

By Plane

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) is the main gateway to St. Louis. It is located about 10 miles (16 kilometres) from the downtown area. It mainly has domestic flights but there are some international connections as well, to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: Each of the airport's terminals has a rail station with direct trains to downtown St. Louis on MetroLink's Red Line.
  • Bus: MetroLink also operates two buses: 49 Lindbergh and 66 Clayton-Airport.
  • Car: parking places, car rental facilities and taxis are all widely available at Lambert as well.

By Train

Several trains operated by Amtrak, travel to St. Louis. These include:

  • The Illinois Service from Chicago.
  • The Missouri Routes also from Chicago, to Kansas City.
  • The Texas Eagle, also from Chicago, travelling further from St. Louis (daily) towards Dallas and San Antonio and further from here (three times a week) to Los Angeles.

By Car

St. Louis can be accessed by Interstate 70 West from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and points eastward, I-64W from Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and points southeastward, I-55N from Arkansas, Tennessee, and points southward, I-55S from Illinois, I-44E from Tulsa, and I-70E from Kansas City. There is a loop around St. Louis which is I-270 (I-255 on the Illinois side). Don't be surprised if locals refer to I-64 as Highway 40; US40 is coincident with I64 through St. Louis, and it's not uncommon to speak of "40" rather than "64."

By Bus

The bus terminal, which is serviced by both Greyhound and Megabus, is at 430 S 15th St, next to the train station.
Greyhound, +1 314 231-4485, operates service to most cities including Chicago, Bloomington-Normal, Kansas City, Columbia,
Megabus operates service to/from Chicago, Memphis, Dallas, and Little Rock. Fares from $1 when reserved very far in advance.

By Boat

The Mississippi River forms the eastern boundary of the city, separating it from Illinois. The Missouri River runs into the Mississippi just north of St. Louis.

You may be able to arrive on a cruise boat from a nearby city like Peoria [1] or Memphis.

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Getting Around

By Car

Travel by car is the most common mode of transportation in St. Louis.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

MetroLink is a light rail system that runs from Lambert-St. Louis Int'l Airport (STL) in Missouri to Scott AFB in Illinois. The MetroLink has stops in many of the metropolitan area's most popular destinations, such as Delmar Loop, Grand Center arts district, Forest Park, the Central West End, and Downtown St. Louis. The campuses of University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University and St. Louis University each have stops on campus or nearby. A 2-hour transfer pass costs $3 ($4 if purchased at the airport station).

Metro St. Louis operates buses around the St. Louis metro area, although in many cases, they don't run as frequently as you would like. A single fare is $2.00.

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Eat

St. Louis has its very own magazine and accompanying website, Sauce, which is the definitive guide to dining in St. Louis.

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Drink

Most tourists will be familiar with St. Louis' world famous Anheuser-Busch brewery, especially its signature variety Budweiser, or their best-seller Bud Light. However, unless you are accustomed to American style pilsners, it is unlikely you will find these and other Anheuser-Busch brands suit your palate. For those more familiar with European brews or who have been caught up in the domestic microbrewery explosion interested in sampling a local brewery's product, the Saint Louis Brewery's Schlafly microbrews are more likely to satisfy. Schlfaly is the largest microbrewery in St. Louis but not the only one. 4Hands, Civil Life, Urban Chestnut, Square One, Perennial Artisan Ales, and O'Fallon Brewery are just a few of the other breweries in town. They are definitely worth a look.

If you are would rather explore rather than choose one specific establishment, two areas in St. Louis are great for wandering from location to location: The Central West End (featuring Sub-Zero Vodka Bar, the Drunken Fish, Tom's Bar, the Loading Zone, Mandarin Lounge, and Bissinger's Chocolate Lounge all off Euclid Ave), and Downtown centered around Washington Ave (featuring Kyo, Home, Pepper Lounge, Lucas Park Grille, Plush, Nectar, and rue13).

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Sleep

St. Louis does have the host of usual Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn and similar chains. Check out chain websites for exact locations throughout the metropolitan region. One great thing about the city is an abundance of hotel rooms, convention and meeting space, and amenities for travelers. Since the city has a low cost of living, even for the Midwest, you might find even the most expensive hotels relatively affordable; rooms at even the Ritz-Carlton start in the mid $200s per night.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Motel 6 St Louis East-Caseyville2431 Old Country Inn Road St LouisHOTEL-
Americas Best Value Inn-Airport4545 Woodson RoadHOTEL-
America's Best Value Inn220 Arlington WayHotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 38.646991
  • Longitude: -90.224967

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This is version 17. Last edited at 12:18 on Sep 13, 16 by Utrecht. 34 articles link to this page.

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