Every Fall, St. Louis hosts a huge balloon race that originates in Forest Park and ends where ever the wind takes the balloons. The Energizer Bunny balloon takes off first and all the other balloons race to catch it. On Fri they light up the balloons for about an hour and a half. If you are going to go, go really early. Every year more and more people come out to see these balloons. I guess its because everything is free, but it creates awful traffic and limited parking. On Saturday, the race begins in the early afternoon and the crowd is even bigger.
Unique Suggestions: The race can be a lot of fun but come early and be prepared for huge crowds.
Located at the base of the arch is a museum dedicated to the westward expansion. It has some rather large and interesting murals about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but other than that there isn't too much of interest. If you have seen anything even remotely similar to the topic, this will be a pale comparison. Even seeing some old cowboy movies would teach you as much, and the displays are simply vanilla. The upside is, that the museum isn't very large, so you can see it in less than an hour.
Unique Suggestions: Going here isn't a fate worse than death, just more of the same recycled themes. You can go here and not be miserable.
It is the most boring boat trip you'll ever see. The river is nasty.. the only things you'll see are old factories that are not working anymore and a couple of dirty ass casinos laying on the river. We really hated and just take a look at the faces of all the people who are getting out of the boat it sucks!! Don't waste your money there.
Unique Suggestions: The only interesting thing I found about the boat trip is the history about the bridges. But no, 10 dollars per person no no no..
Fun Alternatives: Spend that money at the Zoo or have a nice dinner in a nice restaurant.
Look everyone ends up in one of these places. Even the locals. But if you are really looking for good food, dig a little deeper. Blueberry Hill is cool if you are going to see Chuck Berry, Science Hip Hop, Acoustic Alchemy, or stopping in as you shop the loop, but there are much better places to eat. Granted they do have pinball and darts, but for great food, do some better research. Sauce Magazine is a local newspaper like periodical available at the Whole Foods Market on Brentwood or at www.saucemagazine.com. It will give you a lot more info on better places to go. Way more than I could even dream of sharing.
Unique Suggestions: Re: Blueberry Hill, at least go for the music. Go for a burger, or go to entertain your kids. FYI, under 21 is not allowed in the evening.
If you have to go to Annie Gunn's go to impress your Chesterfield friends.
If you have to go to Casa's go cuz your kids are noisy and you like fried ice cream.
If you have to go to Hard Rock, don't. You are a goofy tourist.
Fun Alternatives: Try Saleem's for Middle Eastern food, where garlic is king. Better yet, try Thai Country Cafe it is at the end of the loop, so you'll walk a bit further, but the prices, the food, and the ambiance is worth it. Try the Red Sea for Ethiopian Cuisine. Try Brandt's for fun semi-gourmet food and music. Also...Skip Fitz's unless you are just totally fascinated with Root Beer, cuz the food sucks. (These are all on the Delmar Loop)
Also I'd like to mention to avoid the following ...Annie Gunn's, Casa Guillardo's, and Hard Rock Cafe...They are NOT the best in taste or experience as far as St. Louis is concerned. They are just the most often recommended because we are too lazy to come up with something interesting and fun for you to do.
I took this cruise as part of my visit to the Gateway Arch as it was included as part of the optional excursion laid on by our tour company. It departs from the riverfront beneath the Arch.
Cost is around $10 and the cruise lasts around an hour.
Although mildly informative, the views along the river are uninspiring at best. The only really scenic item is the arch itself with the city of St Louis as a backdrop.
Save your money.
As the only thing, to my mind, worth taking this cruise for is the Arch, then one should see it at it's best...at night.
Although, I did not take the cruise when it was dark, I have seen some pictures (try a Google Image Search) that appear to do it justice.
Its not a trap
Unique Suggestions: There is more to the arch then going up in it. While it does cost 7 dollars its not that expensive you want expensive go to panama city beach, FL and pay 25 bucks a person for there small zoo. There is the museum that goes with the arch as well, and lets not forget if you come in the summer pack a picnic and eat on the arch grounds. Want to see a view of the arch that most don't get to? Go at night. Its beautiful and at most times peaceful and quite. Yes the trams that take you to the top are small, but lets be honest the arch is old and so is the system, but it works. I still love the arch and I have lived in saint louis all my life
It's little wonder that the St. Louis CVB has been using 'More Than Meets the Arch' as a tourist slogan. I imagine most people would find it's worth doing once, but there's a lot more to do in St. Louis than just taking a ride up the Arch.
That said, the complex, known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is wonderful. There are insightful displays about the history of the city and westward expansion, the grounds are beautiful and watching boats float down the Mississippi is a great way to spend the afternoon.
Serious warning: If you are claustrophobic DO NOT ride up the Arch.
The Anheuser-Busch brewery has so much promise. It's a beautiful set of buildings, all on the National Historic Register for beautiful old buildings. And the tour is free, and they give you beer samples at the end. Unfortunately, it's just so depressing, since the beer is so terrible. I can't believe that my countrymen drink this stuff. What must the rest of the world think? The horror, the horror...
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