Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis#3 in Best Things To Do in St. Louis
Although this beautiful, neo-Byzantine Roman Catholic cathedral was completed less than a century ago in the early 1900s (long after many of the churches in Europe), the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis enjoys worldwide renown for its mosaics collection on its walls and ceiling. Nearly 42 million glass tesserae pieces comprise the installation, making it one of the largest in the world.
The cathedral's massive mosaics collection is why many previous visitors recommend spending several hours here, even if you're not religious. Just be sure to check the church's schedule: When Mass is in session, tours are not available.
The cathedral is located in the Central West End neighborhood just east of Forest Park. This free attraction is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and complimentary tours are regularly held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturdays. A small donation of $2 per person is requested to enter the property's lower-level mosaics museum. Restrooms, a gift shop and a parking lot are also located on-site. For visitors without a car, there's the Central West End MetroLink station, which sits less than a mile away. Check out the cathedral's website to learn more.
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#1 Gateway Arch
This monument to the country's westward expansion is also an engineering marvel, which St. Louisans remain proud of more than 50 years after its construction. The stainless steel Gateway Arch, which was designed and submitted by Eero Saarinen during a national competition, rises 630 feet into the air and spans 630 feet from leg to leg. Visitors can learn more about the history of the arch at the Museum of Westward Expansion and the Gateway Arch Visitors Center. Opened in July 2018, the building sits below the arch and includes six new galleries that detail the history of the West. What's more, the park now boasts more than 5 miles of walking and biking paths.
Although it's free to enjoy on the ground, many former travelers suggest paying the $10 to $13 fee to ride to the top of the Gateway Arch, citing its incredible aerial views. For another stunning vantage point during the warmer months, consider buying a one-hour sightseeing cruise ticket, which costs $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 15. Tickets for both activities can be purchased in advance on the Gateway Arch ticket portal.
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