Downtown - Old Post Office (1884)
Originally the Custom House, this exuberant Beaux-Arts pile has just undergone (as of 2006) a major $35 million renovation that has transformed it into a model multi-use facility in the heart of downtown, at 815 Olive.
The major section of the first two floors house the downtown campus of Webster University, while above that the Missouri Court of Appeals operates, along with several other prominent state offices. There are a few restaurants and shops on the ground floor, along with a branch of the St. Louis Public Library!
The building was designed by Alfred Mullett, and opened its doors for the first time in 1884.
Visit the Arch -...
Visit the Arch - www.nps.gov/jeff Hanging out in the Loop and browsing through Coyote's Paw Gallery and the other unique shops, galleries, cafes and restuarants in the area. If you go there, check out Blueberry Hill and enjoy lunch or dinner at a sidewalk cafe.
Downtown - Saint Louis Place (1983)
This mid-rise office building at the corner of Broadway and Pine reminds me of the hanging gardens of Babylon. I admire the engineering and design (by the firm of Peckham, Guyton & Viets) that allows the top four floors to have such a dramatic "overhang." Saint Louis Place has a total of 20 floors, and reaches a height of 253 feet.
Must have's from a local
Always check the forecast. The weather is very unpredictable. We have all four seasons and some joke that we have them all in one week. It can be bitterly bone chilling in winter, or as pleasant as a warm spring day - no telling. Also always bring an umbrella, a light jacket, and consider layers. It does rain from time to time, and sometimes unpredictably. Plan on layers for fall, winter, and spring months. You just never know. Summer is notoriously HOT in St. Louis, although can also be very pleasant. Remeber we don't have a breeze from the coast, so plan on sweating. We love our AC. For winter (Dec.-Mar.) don't even think about leaving your wool at home. A heavy coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and even long underwear are essential. Wool sweaters with Tee Shirts under are good. When you get inside you will want to take the outer layer off. We are a river city, so if you are coming during the late spring to early fall you will find mosquitos lingering in the early morning and after the sun begins to set. Not like the tropics, but you can count on a bite or two. If you are driving, keep in mind we St. Louisans are full of road rage. Just get use to it. No we aren't as bad as NY or LA, but you may get a little frustrated if you aren't use to aggressive driving. We aren't full of southern hospitality either. It is a racially and socially divided town - to an extent. But we make an effort to all get along. Now we aren't all bad either. It's a very family oriented city. So if you are single don't expect the posh nighttime attractions of more cosmopolitan cities. We are on the upswing however. Jazz is making a footprint again on the local scene. Hip hop of course is huge here. Plenty of places to drink and get your groove on, but remember to be sensitive to all types and all colors. And of course use your head when you go out at night. Beware of "The East Side." If you go to IL, keep your senses about you. There are some great daytime attractions for locals and visitors in "The Lou." So don't miss them.
If you are interested in wine, visit either the Augusta or Ste. Genevieve wineries. Each location has several wineries, the most popular being Crown Valley in Ste. Genevieve and Mount Pleasant in Augusta. If you've never been there, you will be amazed at how upscale and fun this experience is. There is often live music. A hidden gem is Cave Winery in the Ste. Genevieve area - after visiting the tasing room, you can buy a bottle and head down a hill to tables inside a large cave. For my money, they usually have the best Norton...
Both areas are about and hour or hour and a half outside of town. Please note these places are extremely popular with the locals, so your best bet is to head out mid-morning. I recommend arriving around noon if you can manage it. The drive alone is worth the trip, plus the towns of Augusta and Ste. Gevieve are both charming and worth exploring on their own.
If you don't mind driving and extra hour, try Hermann, MO. Stone Hill winery is the most popular, but Hermanhoff is also very nice. Check out www.missouriwine.org for lots more info.