St. Louis' Forest Park#2 in Best Things To Do in St. Louis
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Forest Park is huge. If you want to get an idea of how large, consider this: It's about 500 acres larger than New York City's sprawling Central Park. As such, this "forest" holds nearly 1,300 acres of things to do. You'll find everything from a zoo to summer concerts to museums to a fish hatchery to a golf course inside its borders. You can also jog its trails, boat its waterways and swing your racket on its tennis courts, among other activities. Just glance at this map; you'll see it takes effort to become bored here.
And if you're looking for a bit of St. Louis history, you're in luck: There's plenty of that on-site, too. Forest Park has not only been open since 1876 but has also played host to the 1904 World's Fair. (In fact, proceeds earned from the 1904 World's Fair were used to construct the park's World's Fair Pavilion in 1909, which is free to visit.) Additionally, the park also houses the Cabanne House – the first brick farmhouse built west of the Mississippi.
Overall, former travelers enjoyed visiting this park, citing its beautiful grounds and ample facilities as highlights. However, some cautioned that parking fills up fast here, so consider taking the light rail to the Skinker, Forest Park-DeBaliviere or Central West End station, or ride the Forest Park Trolley to one of several stops along its route.
This city oasis sits west of downtown St. Louis near the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Although the park is free to enter 24 hours a day, some of its attractions and activities may charge a small fee. Complimentary guided walking tours are available on select Fridays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. through the private nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever. Tour information can be found on the conservancy's website. For additional details about Forest Park's facilities, visit the City of St. Louis' website.
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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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