Gateway Arch#1 in Best Things To Do in St. Louis
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.
This attraction sits right on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis' Gateway Arch National Park. Just west of the Gateway Arch is the Old Courthouse, a 19th-century structure with free exhibits about St. Louis' early years. The landmark welcomes visitors from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day; winter hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Travelers can walk to the property from downtown hotels or take the light rail to Laclede's Landing station. No dedicated parking is available for the Arch. For more information, visit the attraction's website.
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#2 Forest Park
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.
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